Coaching might provide the key to unlocking the potential of some executives
Published in Macau Business magazine, April 2013
By André Ribeiro
Executive coaching is a flourishing field that has become ever more widely known and ever more in demand. The thinking behind it is simple. Just as a personal trainer helps people achieve physical fitness, an executive coach will challenge an executive and support him to achieve results at work.
A coach will employ a range of structures, models and methods to obtain results. One powerful attraction of coaching is that it makes the client commit to developing his potential and attaining his goals. The coach is a sounding board, a challenger to a client’s thinking, can help stimulate creativity, provides tools and techniques to deal with problems and gives feedback.
Coaches can work with managers and executives at any level within an organisation, with an individual seeking growth and development. Most clients are sponsored by their organisation and could be initiated by the company or by the manager.
The process will potentially involve similar training and development activities that a group undertakes, but coaching is a one-on-one practice, not a group activity.
At the first meeting a coaching process is agreed upon. After that, the process usually lasts from six to 12 months. Coaching can take less time when there is an urgent, defined need.
A coach will identify objectives and define the results a client is prepared to commit to achieving. An assessment follows. It defines where the client is at, with a view to showing the gap between where they are and where they want to be. The organisation can contribute with an initial briefing.
The process is always confidential. It is tailored to suit the individual needs of the executive and the collective needs of the sponsoring organisation.
Most companies use coaching to develop the capabilities of high-potential executives or to facilitate transition.
There are some common themes among clients. They may want to propel the company to the next level, better manage time spent at work and away from it, improve performance at work, or prepare for a new role or learn techniques to cope with promotion.
The coach works with clients to identify factors keeping them from achieving results, and builds an action plan to help them achieve their objectives.
The costs vary according to the experience of the coach and the process, and can fall anywhere from MOP2,000 (US$250 / 200 GBP) a session to MOP20,000 (US$2500 / 2000 GBP) a session.
Coaching is effective in times of change, such as being promoted or managing a special project. In these situations, a coach can assist in developing the skills needed for a new role or situation, and measure, monitor and support their client to make sure they stay committed and take consistent action to guarantee results.
To offer some real-life examples, processes might include: succession coaching in a family-owned, multinational wine company; coaching at an Internet consultancy; coaching a newly appointed chief executive of a global marketing services company; or developing high-potential executives at a telecommunications company.
Executive coaching is in its infancy in East Asia but it appears to be creating a space for itself in the Asian corporate landscape, particularly as multinational organisations expand.
André Ribeiro is the founder of ExtraCoaching.