Ah yes, here they are, the 3 benefits of executive coaching! Wait a minute… not so fast. Before you read on, take a moment to do a deep dive on this question to yourself: “Do I fully possess self-awareness, adaptability, humility, authenticity, focus, patience, optimism, respect, confidence, empathy, and resiliency?” If you said a resounding “yes” to all of these, then you’re in rarified air and you don’t need an executive coach.
If you’re human, however, there’s a reasonable chance you haven’t reached your fullest potential in at least some of these areas. Yes, you may very well possess each of these attributes to some degree. However, without an outside eye, it’s extremely challenging to fully optimize any of these traits on your own. That’s because we can’t change what we don’t see.
You’re not alone though. Many executives are in the same position you are. They’re held captive at their current level of performance because they haven’t done the deep, personal work necessary to move forward.
This, however, can be skillfully remedied. An executive coach can provide you with this impartial analysis, resulting in you fully realizing your potential. A skilled coach will use an unbiased approach in observing your actions, methods, and behaviors and then process that analysis into highly productive feedback. It is through this objective point of view that they offer you insight on how to enhance your skillset from top to bottom.
The assets gained from working with an executive coach are, obviously, specific to each client. Every professional is working on his or her own strengths and weaknesses. There are, however, three benefits that clients consistently cite as paramount in their progress, and as the reason they often recommend working with a coach to their friends and colleagues.
The definition of self-awareness is conscious knowledge of one’s own values, aspirations, character, and desires. Studies show that when we see ourselves accurately, we are more creative, confident, and productive. We make well-informed decisions, build better relationships, and communicate on a much higher level. We’re less likely to feel the need to exaggerate or deceive to get what we want. We’re better employees who move up the ranks quicker, and we’re stronger leaders with more faithful employees and more successful companies.
Despite the fact that many people think they’re self-aware, the quality of truly understanding oneself is quite rare. Studies show that only about 10-15% of company leaders actually hold that essential trait. That leaves a lot of people in very important positions not knowing who they really are.
Unfortunately, experience doesn’t necessarily translate to self-awareness. Oftentimes it keeps people from questioning their assumptions and/or accepting outside viewpoints. An abundance of experience can lead to a false sense of security and can, unwittingly, encourage overconfidence in one’s level of self-knowledge. In fact, less experienced managers have been found to be more accurate in assessing their leadership effectiveness than more experienced ones.
Another obstacle for people in the position of power is that they seldom get accurate feedback on who they really are. The higher up someone goes, the less people there are to offer honest, straightforward commentary on their work. This is because the more power an executive wields, the more likely it is that people around them will hold back constructive comments, fearing possible negative repercussions.
Conversely, an executive coach is able to give unbiased feedback without the fear of adverse consequences. Though the client may not always relish hearing the criticism, this candid honesty is at the core of their progress. It is this constructive analysis that will ensure they and their company will reach the next level of performance. When a client knows their own tendencies, principles, goals, and overall personality (and how all of this affects their actions and influence on others) they’re able to make better decisions, appropriately manage stress, and ultimately lead others to do the same.
2. AUTHENTIC CONFIDENCE
The beauty of true self-awareness is that it naturally boosts your authentic confidence level. People often assume that leadership and confidence go hand in hand. Not necessarily. Many leaders have great confidence in some areas but are simply adept at making it seem like they’re confident in areas they’re actually not. This lack of comprehensive confidence leads to the people around them not investing in their vision wholeheartedly. Their leader may appear strong and may be able to get them to do what they say, but they’ll often struggle getting deeply rooted commitment from those individuals because of their wavering self-assurance.
Confidence is, without a doubt, one of the most essential qualities any professional can possess. When leaders feel mentally strong and secure, their decision making becomes more efficient and effective. This, consequently, leads to their employees having genuine faith in their guidance. Just like a patient wants to trust their surgeon without reservation, employees want to feel secure under the leadership of a confident, poised leader.
Although the “fake it ‘til you make it” game plan works for a period of time, ultimately the curtain gets lifted on those using this approach. This results in more problems than the artificiality covered up in the first place. Genuine confidence demands respect, while fragile courage is easily detected, and ultimately rejected. Employees benefit a great deal more under the leadership of an executive that has done the personal work, put in the reps, and carries themselves with confidence because of it.
For example, I’ve witnessed numerous clients struggle with their communication and public speaking skills and have seen how this effects those around them. There’s a collective doubt and hesitation from colleagues and employees that winds up stunting necessary growth because of this adversity.
Conversely, I’ve watched as a client’s confidence with their speaking abilities grew, and how their employees not only admired this but also embraced the desire to improve their own communication skills. This positive development has a ripple effect that helps the company grow by leaps and bounds. It’s exciting to witness.
An executive coach is able to point out these types of blindspots so that weaknesses then get inverted and become part of a client’s impactful skillset. They’re also able to point out a client’s strengths and help them understand the true value of those traits. This can be just as important as alerting an executive to their deficiencies. It helps them lean into the attributes that will help them accelerate their growing potential. Through this bolstering of strengths and elimination of deficiencies, the client’s authentic confidence begins to naturally expand. And their relationships with colleagues and employees grow even stronger as a result.
3. INCREASED REVENUE
Self awareness and confidence, though nice to possess, don’t mean much in the business world if they fail to bring you more revenue.
The good news, though, is that studies show that the benefits from executive coaching reach far beyond the development of positive attributes. A study by Metrix Global LLC illustrates that the return on investment (ROI) from executive coaching is an astonishing 529%. And if math isn’t your specialty, that means for every dollar you put in, that’s over $5 back in your pocket. Or if we’re using more relative numbers, when you put $10,000 into executive coaching you’ll be getting an average of $52,900 back. How many other investments do you know that have that kind of proven return?
The numbers get even better when you dig a little deeper. Add employee satisfaction and retention and that percentage jumps to a whopping 788% ROI. That’s because happy workers are harder and more committed workers.
In case you’re like me and need more than one study to validate the existence of something you’re told, The Manchester Review surveyed 100 executives from various Fortune 1,000 companies and found that the average ROI for those executives was six times the amount invested into executive coaching. So, the numbers certainly add up.
Need more evidence? Here’s a few other stats that support the value of working with an executive coach:
88% increase in productivity from team members utilizing a coach*
96% executives that would work with a coach again**
70% enhanced professional relationships+
*Gerald Olivero, Denise Bane, Richard Kopelman; Public Personnel Management
** International Coaching Federation
+Harvard Business Review
As you can see, executive coaches provide the foundation necessary to achieve successful behavioral change that will have a profound impact on your career. The working relationship between coach and client is a close and confidential one that unearths both your strengths and your weaknesses, and allows you to develop both. This important alliance helps you achieve a heightened self-awareness and confidence, and will aid you in establishing a path that will accelerate you towards your personal, professional, and financial goals.
The list above is, obviously, an abbreviated one when it comes to the advantages gained from working with an executive coach. Once you and your coach begin to work together and develop a rapport, the assets achieved become immeasurable. And when you break down the evidence of how beneficial and profitable executive coaching has been for so many professionals, it becomes clear that to work with one may turn out to be one of your shrewdest career decisions.