Coaching Partnership Expectations
Although many leaders recognize the benefits of a coaching partnership to improve performance, deliver results and positively impact organizational culture, most have lingering questions about what the process will entail.
Concerns range from the level of time commitment required to the potential impact of revealing the coaching relationship to others within the organization. When underlying assumptions meet high levels of uncertainty about what to expect, many leaders miss out on opportunities a coaching partnership can create in their professional lives.
The process outlined below details the structure of a typical Executive Coaching Partnership. While this provides a general outline of the process, it is important to note that the needs of each client are evaluated before the process begins to determine their individual path toward achievement of professional goals.
The analysis phase of the coaching partnership relies on objective measures to evaluate leadership strengths, blind spots and opportunities for improvement. Clients generally complete a series of five to seven executive assessments for us to gain insight into current leadership skills and values, including critical thinking, decision making, stress tolerance, motivation, influence, emotional intelligence and other sources of leadership strength. The cumulative assessment results are examined to reveal emerging trends in the data to deepen a leader’s understanding of what they do exceptionally well, as well as potential development opportunities.
We conduct extensive interviews to gain insight and form a well-rounded profile of each leader. Clients complete a professional history interview to provide the personal, academic and career context that creates an essential foundation for the coaching partnership. In addition, clients submit a list of key stakeholders including mentors, managers, peers and direct reports who are interviewed to ascertain their perspectives on leadership strengths and opportunities for improvement. The goal is to develop a comprehensive understanding of leadership aptitudes within the context of the professional environment in which each leader operates.
With assessment profiles and colleague interviews complete, clients will receive detailed reports outlining assessment results, general interview findings and a complete list of professional development recommendations based on both efforts. These reports and subsequent recommendations become the basis for a creative, collaborative process of goal setting that covers a broad range of personalized objectives. The coach and client will work together to identify specific sources of strength that can be leveraged to maximize professional potential, explore organizational changes to foster improved results and design a professional development program to improve leadership abilities.
Although the structure and schedule for each coaching partnership can vary widely to accommodate individual needs, coaching sessions are typically ninety minutes long and scheduled every seven to fourteen days for a period of six months. During sessions, clients are challenged to update the coach on progress toward coaching objectives and report any professional wins, concerns or challenges. The most effective coaching sessions are those where leaders come prepared to discuss organizational challenges and seize opportunities to develop leadership skills.
To maximize the benefit of the coaching relationship and reinforce the leadership skills covered during sessions, tasks and key deliverables may be assigned between coaching sessions. Tasks may include professional expectations such as addressing unresolved issues, conducting organizational analysis or investing in relationship development. Assignments may also include professional development priorities such as listening to podcasts, reading books and reviewing other supplemental materials. As well, the coach and client may explore organizational opportunities that require additional work with colleagues or others within the organization to achieve professional goals.
After the initial six-month coaching program, the partnership commonly evolves into a more supportive partnership known as the maintenance phase. During this time, the coach and client will meet monthly or quarterly to evaluate progress on leadership objectives and reinforce the skills developed during the initial months of the coaching partnership. At every stage of the coaching relationship, the coach is available to the client as a resource to gain perspective, navigate challenging professional circumstances and design strategic solutions in alignment with leadership values.
Throughout the coaching partnership, leaders can expect to be involved in a highly collaborative and inspiring process where insight, skill development and problem-solving become the solid foundation upon which successful outcomes are built. Those who engage in the leadership development process can expect to understand their true sources of leadership strength and gain the tools necessary to leverage those strengths to the benefit of their organizations. The results are personal fulfillment, a higher sense of professional efficacy and the confidence necessary to fully realize leadership potential.
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