Executive Coaching

We have found that many participants in our programs welcome the chance to have a one-on-one session after the course to explore issues and challenges related to application of new learning as well as broader job challenges not directly related to the training. It often happens that participants choose to expand this arrangement into a longer-term coaching relationship.

We also provide coaching to team leaders as well as their teams. We assist intact teams to improve their effectiveness in working together or in tackling particularly challenging issues.

Our Philosophy

Our executive coaching work is based on the following principles:

  1. Personal and professional growth requires three things from the individual: motivation to change and grow; the willingness to devote sufficient time to the coaching process; and the commitment to focus sustained effort over time on addressing current challenges.
  2. It is not unusual for current performance challenges to be a result of overuse or inappropriate use of strengths that contributed to past success. At various career stages, it is necessary to take stock of what is required for current and future job success. Expanding responsibilities require not only new skills and perspectives but the ability to step back from activities that contributed to earlier career success. It is important to help the individual realize that the talents and skills that contributed to his/her success so far are often not the same ones required for success at the next level.
  3. We find that behavioural change and growth is most likely to emerge from a combination of conceptual insight plus skills development. A new and more appropriate way of looking at the current situation is often the trigger that leads to acceptance of the need for change and willingness to work on a neglected or denied aspect of development. It is rare that conceptual insight alone produces the desired change, however, because habits and behavioural patterns are very resilient. Thus the new insights must be followed by consistent and mindful application of new behaviour and development of appropriate skills.

    The coach plays a critical role in both aspects. It is helpful to acknowledge whenever possible that the current way of operating was legitimate and purposeful at some stage in the past while presenting a conceptual alternative which enables the individual to reframe counterproductive behaviours and attitudes in light of the current situation. Through questioning, discussion and holding the individual accountable, the coach can then assist the individual in finding the most appropriate ways to try out and begin to consolidate new behaviours on the job.
  4. In our experience, issues impacting job performance often have an impact on home life and vice-versa. We recognize that it may be necessary to go beyond the boundaries of work life to identify and address some issues which are affecting performance at work. However, we also know that coaching and counseling are not therapy. Our coaching and counseling activities are based on the presumption of sound mental health. In those infrequent cases where coaching activities lead to concerns about deeper mental health issues, we will recommend that the individual seek assistance from competent professionals and limit the focus of the coaching relationship to those areas where we believe we can have a positive impact on job performance.
  5. We treat conversations between the coach and the individual as confidential. While we will provide an overall assessment to the client of progress (or lack thereof) and the apparent level of commitment by the individual to the coaching process, we do not normally provide further details without the clear agreement of the individual.

Our Approach

Exploration and diagnosis - We begin with an exploration session (1 � hours recommended) between the coach and the individual to allow for deeper exploration of the presenting issues and identification of coachable issues which could be the focus of subsequent sessions. It is important to explore whether the presenting issues are to be the points of focus or whether they may simply be symptoms of deeper issues which should be the focus of coaching efforts.

Assessment - It is often helpful to make use of one or more diagnostic assessments to better understand the individual's underlying style and preferences.

Contracting - Looking at the coachable issues which emerge from the exploration and diagnosis session and any subsequent assessments, the coach and individual agree on the specific issues which will be the focus of the coaching relationship. Commitments are made on both sides in terms of time, availability, energy and accountability. A clear statement of what each side is willing to devote to the relationship and how to hold each other accountable for this helps to prevent miscommunication, to ensure alignment of expectations and to clarify the individual's role in making the process successful.

Commitment of at least 5 sessions - After the exploration and diagnosis session, the individual may decide not to work with the coach. Assuming the individual and coach agree to work together, then we ask for a commitment of at least five coaching sessions at intervals of not less than four weeks. In our experience, fewer sessions may produce conceptual insight but are unlikely to produce actual behavioural change.

At the end of the initial package of sessions, the client has the option of commiting to additional sessions or bringing the coaching process to a close.

Find out how Orion International's Executive Coaches can work with your team. Contact Craig Collins for more information.

Related Article:

Choosing an Executive Coach

Self-knowledge and flexibility are your two most powerful tools.
Robert Benfari