Executive Coaching from the Executive’s Perspective

Not long ago I invited several CEOs and Presidents to share what executive coaching is as they experience it and define it. To continue this Series, here are their thoughts and commentary to Question 4.

Q 4:  For you, what has been most useful (or valuable) from executive coaching?

“When coaching is done successfully, my view is more robust and encompassing, what becomes important shifts, and my capacity for making sense of complex, ambiguous affairs expands.  Then my choices and decisions are better, and the right actions follow.”

“Coaching helped me to see beyond myself and what I was doing…and that is the most important thing to me about being a good leader…to understand that it is not all about ‘you’.”

“Coaching helps me to go beyond what I think I know, and that’s really important because that enables me to be more considered in my work as the leader of this organization.”

“The process of talking out loud offered the opportunity for reflection; you get to hear your own voice in a fuller dimension. In addition to hearing the coach’s voice, I could hear myself better.”

“Being reminded that I was the one responsible…and being reminded of what I was responsible for. It was kind of like being held accountable, but without the negative judgment of a boss.”

“Executive coaching helped my work as President become more meaningful to me and to the organization in the sense that it (my work) made a greater difference.”

“Executive coaching helped me check my perceptions and alter my judgments about how I viewed issues. Then I had the choice to soften or modify my position, or to change my approach.”

“I think that in many organizations, people don’t really talk to each another…they just move through their day. When they do talk, it is simply a transaction. Executive coaching gives people a chance to really talk about what they think and feel relative to the work they do and the meaning of it, it certainly did that for me.”

“Sometimes things you said would not immediately affect the way I was thinking about something. Sometimes I even disagreed with what you said. However, over time, rolling around in my mind was your perspective, your point of view, your comments, and eventually I got around to looking at the issue differently. Many times it even happened that I then changed my view or changed what I was initially going to do. I found that most helpful, as I think back to our work together.”

“Executive coaching helped me sort out my own reactions to things so that I’d make a more measured and informed response rather than an impulsive or emotional one. I then could say what needed saying in a way that wasn’t a personal attack on someone because I was using my role responsibilities in the organization as my anchor, not my personal feelings about the issue or the person.”

Next K&S: Leadership Alchemy blog entry: Q 5:  What are 2-3 ‘pitfalls’ that executives should keep in mind when considering whether or not to participate in an executive coaching relationship?

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