While every coach has their own style, ICF certified executive coaches bring their rigorous training and experience to each coaching engagement, incorporating distinct roles and functions into their practice. Here are a few of the essential ones.

  1. They listen thoughtfully and carefully to fully understand the individual’s or team’s situation, and they ask deep questions that generate new insights. 

Executive coaches provide a confidential and supportive sounding board for their clients. They ask probing questions, challenge assumptions, help the client achieve clarity, provide relevant resources, and provide specific guidance. They conduct confidential 360 interviews to help clients gain greater self-awareness and establish development goals. Coaching is an invaluable resource for providing senior leaders with much-needed and objective insights.  

  1. They administer and interpret behavioral assessment tools. 

Certified executive coaches are trained and certified to issue and debrief various assessments and 360s. These tools are extremely useful for identifying or discovering the client’s strengths, blind spots, opportunities for growth, and values. The information gained carries weight throughout the coaching process. 

  1. They give objective assessment and observations that foster the individual’s or team’s self-awareness and awareness of others.

Through coaching conversations and assessments, the coach provide invaluable insights and resources, helping the leader engage the right people for any given situation and design a tailored professional development plan - a roadmap for success. By leveraging the practices of self-awareness and awareness of others, the executive coach helps clients better understand themselves and the people they interact with.   

  1. They provide honest and unbiased feedback.

Top executives require a coach to get to the punchline sooner. A good coach tells it like it is. This feedback is non-judgmental and constructive, and designed to help clients break through to a clearer understanding of how they show up and affect others.  

  1. They foster shifts in thinking that reveal fresh perspectives.

By challenging leadership assumptions and blind spots, a good executive coach can open an executive’s eyes to new possibilities, reveal game-changing potentials, and ask deep questions that can create alternative and successful scenarios.

  1. They maintain professional boundaries in the coaching relationship, including confidentiality, and adhere to the coaching profession’s code of ethics.

What happens in a coaching session must definitely stay in a coaching session. The confidentiality of the relationship allows for transparent and intimate conversations that can accelerate professional growth. Any breach of this confidentiality is a serious violation of the coaching profession’s code of ethics. 

  1. Prepare for difficult conversations. 

Leaders hold difficult conversations - it's part of their job. Many of these conversations are high-stake in nature and the outcomes must go well. An executive coach helps the leader to frame the conversation from multiple perspectives and prepare for a variety of scenarios. Role playing is often used so the leader can hear themselves speaking out loud, helping them to craft a stronger approach. 

  1. Gain the perspective of others.

There is great value in learning how others perceive us. An executive coach can hold confidential and private interviews with a group of people who work closely with the executive being coached. The coach analyzes the feedback looking for patterns, blindspots, strengths, and opportunities for growth and shares these insights with the client to help them make positive changes to be even more effective.  

Focused on the Future

Executive coaching is sharply focused on the future. Coaching helps the executive think about and plan for the future, formulate ideas around how the client can do better while moving forward, look for growth potential and  opportunities to pursue, and develop and project a stronger leadership persona.

Executive coaches care about their clients success, and do a lot to help their clients become more effective leaders in a short period of time. If you would like to explore being coached by an experienced and credentialed coach, contact me at [email protected] for a free discovery call.