Executive coaching: What is it and who is it suitable for?

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Executive coaching: What is it and who is it suitable for?

Managers are confronted with special challenges in their daily work. It is part of their daily duties to make important decisions and take responsibility for their employees. Not infrequently, they also have to resolve internal conflicts in order to maintain a productive working atmosphere - executive coaching is particularly suitable for this topic.

An executive coach can advise the manager in all important matters. The goal is that you constantly develop personally in order to lead your department purposefully and successfully. What exactly constitutes the work of an executive coach and in which situations this particular form of coaching is suitable, you will learn in the following article.

Executive coaching: What makes a good leader?

Before we look at the tasks of an executive coach, let's first take a look at what skills a competent executive needs to have.

Successful leaders aren't content to verbally encourage their employees to Personal initiative but actively encourage them to do so. This is achieved, for example, by the entire team working toward a common goal to which each individual is allowed to make an individual contribution. Only in this way can true commitment on the part of employees emerge.

In addition, the following skills are critical:

  • Confident handling of critical situations in the workplace
  • Confident handling of difficult employees
  • Solution-oriented communication in conflict and criticism discussions
  • Emitting Self-confidence and sovereignty
  • Identify and resolve conflicts at an early stage
  • A high degree of responsibility and sense of duty
  • Empathy and Empathy
  • Responsible use of influence and power
  • Authenticity
  • Objectivity
  • Motivate and promote employees

You may be reading this article even though you are not yet in a leadership position. If the latter is your wish, our Further training offer be interesting for you.

What are the reasons for poor leadership skills?

If a manager does not meet the criteria listed above, this does not necessarily mean that he or she is fundamentally unsuitable. Rather, inexperience and false ambition can be the cause of failure. This is particularly common - though not exclusive - among young and inexperienced bosses. Those who are uptight and don't want to make mistakes virtually provoke them.

Bad managers, for example, tend to be overly controlling of their employees. The lack of trust often results from the Fearnot (yet) being up to the task. Also choleric behavior indicates own Uncertainty and does not ensure respect in any way.

Leadership coaching for authentic communication in the team

Now the question arises: Why do people with poor leadership skills end up in leading positions in the first place? The explanation is usually quite simple: It is not uncommon for them to be skilled workers or experts who have been promoted on the basis of good, professional performance. However, these people have never learned - possibly not even at home - how to lead a team. This is where an executive coach can help.

This can help to work through the missing basics. The top priority here is the topic of communication: How do you conduct appraisal interviews? How do you criticize constructively? How do you gain the desired respect without appearing arrogant? Professional executive coaching contributes decisively to positioning you as a leader in the long term.

Which tasks and topics does a coach for executives deal with?

As mentioned at the beginning, executive coaching is primarily aimed at the personal development of the executive. If you want to lead a team, you have to be authentic and believe in your own strengths. Self-doubters or people who do not pursue a clear perspective will not be able to last long in a leadership position. A proverbial thick skin is indispensable.

The topics that an executive coach deals with are individually tailored to the executive being coached. After all, every person has different prerequisites. In most cases, the content is about the leadership skills listed above, which must either be learned completely from scratch or deepened. The former naturally takes more time and effort.

Since the coaching topics are of course based on the existing competencies of the respective executive, the first step is an as-is analysis: Where are you now and where do you want to go? Then your requirements profile is created: What do you need to achieve the previously defined goals?

The coach then discusses suitable measures with you, which are to be subjected to a joint performance review at regular intervals. In this way, the measures can be optimized as needed. A proven method in the area of executive coaching is, for example, the four pillars of character:

  • 1. goal and success orientation
  • 2. social integration
  • 3. inspirational leadership
  • 4. shaping willpower

Internalizing and implementing these four elements is what makes a successful leader.

What methods are used in executive coaching?

The executive coach focuses on the concerns of his client. A serious coach will never tell you what to do, but will guide you to activate your own resources and find your own solutions. You can think of it as helping yourself. To achieve this, an executive coach has various methods at his disposal:

ask questions

Asking the right questions forms the basis of every coaching session. In this way, the executive coach encourages his client to reflect on himself. You are held up a mirror, which allows you to view the issues discussed from a different perspective afterwards. This often opens up completely new approaches to solutions.

Let's assume you don't know how to deal with a problem employee. Possible questions for the coach in this case could be as follows: What opportunities might arise from the difficult conversation? In what way can both sides benefit from a clarification?

Associative methods

Creating associations is extremely helpful in identifying problems and visualizing goals. Let's say you're a client and you're in a leadership position... overwhelmed feel. The coach will now ask you to feel the Overload figuratively. This could be, for example, an unmanageably large puzzle with various pieces missing.

Then think of a pleasant association that reflects the feeling you would like to have in your work. Many coaches work with photos here to make the mental images even more tangible. Your association will now be a support in your daily work life, as you can refer to it in difficult situations.

NLP Training

Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP for short) brings about an improvement in your Communication skills and is therefore an essential building block in executive coaching. If you would like to learn more about the NLP method, you can find more information under this link our detailed technical article on this topic.

How is executive coaching different from ordinary coaching?

There are now a wide variety of coaching formats for almost all areas of life: life coachingnutrition coaching, values coaching, development coaching... The palette is colourful. Basically, all types of coaching are based on the same concept: help for self-help in the respective area of life. However, executive coaching goes one step further.

Other forms of coaching are mostly about private wishes or an improved quality of life. The client only has to look after himself. A manager, on the other hand, has to keep an eye on all his employees. So the question is not only what is best for the executive, but for the whole team. The goal of executive coaching is to develop an appropriate leadership style.

In addition, it is important to take the company structure into account. Not every department can be managed in the same way. The executive coach therefore has to take complex factors into account. Whether the executive hires a coach of his or her choice or whether the coach is provided by the company also depends on the individual case. In a private setting, one always hires the coach oneself.

For whom is executive coaching suitable?

Executive coaching is suitable for both young and experienced managers. For newcomers, the advantages are obvious: In a responsible position, you first have to orient yourself. A coach can offer valuable assistance in this regard.

But even "old hands" can benefit from professional coaching. After many years in the same position, it is not uncommon to be struck by the much-cited operational blindness. A coach helps to recognize and optimize work processes that are no longer up to date.

Setting focus in executive coaching

Executive coaching encompasses much more than just learning how to Conflict Management and the appropriate rhetoric. Rather, professional coaching encourages self-reflection. Successful changes can only take place if the executive understands why a certain method no longer works. In executive coaching, a special focus is placed on this aspect.

Sometimes there is also a concrete reason why a manager consults a coach. Possibly internal power struggles that threaten the working atmosphere and the leadership position may be brought to an end. But also an inconsistent work-life-balance can call an executive coach on the scene. In some cases, the coach is hired to help develop new visions and strategies.

How do you find a competent executive coach?

Since the job title is not protected, theoretically anyone could call themselves a coach. Of course, this makes it difficult to find a really competent coach. Executives should look even more closely than private individuals, because in the worst case, their job could be at risk if they receive incorrect advice.

But how do you recognize a good coach? As a leader, you should check the following criteria: The coach...

  • has a degree in behavioural science (e.g. psychology).
  • has extensive experience as a manager himself.
  • can provide meaningful references, e.g. as a long-standing consultant to well-known executives and companies.
  • is sympathetic to you as a human being.
  • The competencies of the coach match your specific questions.

The last point may seem a little banal at first, but personal sympathy is of enormous importance. If you don't like the coach as a person, the cooperation will not work. be successful. No matter how outstanding his expertise may be.

If you are not on the same wavelength, you will listen to his / her advice only with reluctance. It is self-explanatory that this cannot be helpful. Therefore, insist on a non-binding meeting to get to know each other.

Executive coaching: What does a coach earn?

An executive coach earns an average of €55,800 per year in Germany. (Source: Stepstone). However, earnings can vary significantly up or down in individual cases. Immediately after completing coaching training, it can take some time to establish yourself in the industry. Who is booked only rarely, earns less, of course.

The degree of recognition and the references play a decisive role in the earning potential. Ideally, you will already make sure to establish important industry contacts during your training. Well-known executive coaches who cooperate with well-known companies can significantly exceed the average earnings mentioned above.

Freelance or employed?

In terms of earning potential, it also depends on whether you work as a freelance or salaried coach. Employed coaches only advise the managers of the company that employs them. Freelance Become a coach on the other hand, are booked by various companies. Both variants have different advantages and disadvantages.

If you are employed as a coach, you receive a regular monthly salary, which offers financial security. As a freelancer, however, you have the chance to take on several profitable engagements in a row. However, you have to make an effort to acquire orders. After all, no bookings mean no money.

How does one become an executive coach?

There are various ways to train as an executive coach. Ideally, you should have a degree in psychology or, alternatively, years of practical experience as a manager. The specific requirements depend on the respective training provider. Sometimes a minimum age is specified to ensure the necessary personal maturity and (professional) experience.

You can train to become an executive coach either by distance learning or on-site (e.g. at the IHK or ils). After successfully passing the final exam, you will receive a certificate. Which of the two options is right for you ultimately depends on your circumstances. If you have a full-time job, a distance learning course is usually more recommendable.

Another way to lay the fundamental foundation for your career as an executive coach is our Coaching Program. You will learn all the essential methods that you will later need in your work with clients. This gives you an optimal basis for further training as an executive coach.

Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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