What Is Executive Coaching and How Will I Benefit From It?

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Organizations across industries experienced significant disruption in recent years. COVID spawned an ongoing supply chain crisis, labor shortages and inflation, and sophisticated cybersecurity threats. It also prompted the rapid expansion of remote work. Companies weathered these changes with varying degrees of success. Many struggled to maintain momentum. The organizations that thrived in a business landscape increasingly defined by upheaval were often those with strong and steady leadership.

The importance of leadership in everything from promoting psychological safety to increasing the bottom line is well-documented. Research has also shown that effective executive coaching improves leadership performance, particularly in leaders dealing with uncertainty. Clients hone core competencies such as self-management, collaboration, and communication while developing intrapersonally, interpersonally, and organizationally. Executives are the primary receivers of the benefits of executive coaches, but their organizations also see positive outcomes. Leaders who invest in coaching are more likely to oversee productive and engaged teams, suggesting the benefits of executive coaching trickle down to employees, customers, and stakeholders.

Be aware, however, that there is significant variation among coaching practices. Some modalities approach coaching like mentorship. Others, such as the wraparound executive coaching built into Columbia Business School Executive Education's Advanced Management Program, help leaders become more self-reflective, emotionally intelligent, and resilient leaders while giving them roadmaps to drive positive change in their organizations. Determining which executive coaching approach aligns with your goals is a matter of learning as much as you can about coaching and its benefits.

What Is Executive Coaching?

Executive leadership coaching establishes close partnerships between executives and experienced coaches that foster professional and personal development and success. The coaching process is collaborative, customized, dynamic, and client-driven. Coaches help executives build leadership skills, create career plans, enumerate personal beliefs, identify short-and long-term career goals, strengthen decision-making skills, develop strategies to improve performance, and build self-confidence. Executives turn to coaches for support and guidance as they manage professional crises, evaluate entrepreneurship opportunities, and develop strategic plans to increase business and organizational impact. Additionally, some executive coaches provide practical career support. They may assist executives in job searches, share networking opportunities, provide interview preparation services, and guide them through salary negotiations.

However, the executive coach's primary mission is to help leaders create and execute action plans, identify career objectives, and develop self-awareness.

Why Is Executive Coaching Important?

Strong leaders are as committed to personal development as they are to professional development. Executive coaching toes the line between the two. While executives can hone their skills and habits on their own, working with an executive coach expedites progress and helps leaders deliver organization-wide value more quickly.

Coaching is about more than confidence-building. Research confirms that executive coaching fosters self-efficacy. Coaches teach leaders to trust in their capacity to achieve specific outcomes through decision-making and operational change. Unlike mentoring, coaching guides and challenges executives to discover the answers to their questions by drawing on their own knowledge and experience.

Coaching creates driven leaders who inspire employees. Studies find that coaching-based leadership interventions improve the performance of executives while increasing job performance among employees. Executives who look to coaches for personal and professional development support often intentionally or unintentionally foster a culture of coaching within their organizations.

Coaching also does more than build skills. Effective coaching is a product of engagement, openness, honesty, and compassion because coaches help leaders explore not only how to change but why change is necessary. Coaches must build trust with their executives through open communication, neutral listening, and strategic guidance to understand their needs. During a seemingly straightforward conversation about the technical aspects of leadership, a coach might sense that an executive's struggles with top-down communication stem from a lack of self-confidence.

How Can You Benefit From Executive Coaching?

Leaders work with executive coaches for several reasons. Some executives work with coaches to learn more about their own competencies, objectives, and values — becoming better leaders in the process. Others partner with coaches to better understand the pillars of effective leadership. Still others look to coaches for personal support, encouragement, and confirmation that they are making the best possible decisions for their teams. In all cases, the benefits of effective executive coaching include improved emotional intelligence, better ego control, and an enhanced perspective. Executives who work with coaches also develop leadership coaching skills to bring back to their organizations.

Your reasons for partnering with an executive coach will be highly personal, but the experience is one you will share with many highly accomplished leaders. Steve Jobs worked with executive coach John Mattone. Brian C. Cornell, the Chairman and CEO of Target, worked with Marshall Goldsmith. Salesforce founder Marc Benioff has called celebrity coach Tony Robbins critical to the company's success.

Executive Coaching in the Columbia Business School Executive Education Advanced Management Program

The Advanced Management Program at Columbia Business School Executive Education offers a wraparound executive coaching format designed to enhance your learning experience, speed your leadership development, and help you reach your highest potential.

360 Wraparound Executive Coaching

At the start of the program, Columbia Business School faculty will send a 360 feedback survey to people who work closely with you. Survey recipients can include direct reports, lateral peers, or supervisors. The survey feedback remains anonymous and, once received, becomes the basis of a deep-dive conversation with your executive coach.

You may schedule additional meetings with your coach during the program if you choose. Throughout the coaching process, you will learn and apply conceptual frameworks critical to leading diverse teams.

The final component of coaching is the peer-to-peer coaching experience. The Advanced Management Program faculty will guide you and other participants in your cohort as you work together to apply business strategy to a real-world challenge.

Advance Your Leadership Skills and Drive Change with an Executive Coaching Experience

Coaching looks at executives as people and professionals to help them grow as leaders. The best professional coaches offer executives a transformative experience — particularly in programs that pair executive coaching services with advanced executive education.

Aimed at senior executives, the Columbia Business School Executive Education Advanced Management program gives participants an individualized coaching experience plus the opportunity to learn and grow alongside other dynamic, experienced professionals.

Participants in the program enjoy a blended learning experience spread out over 22 weeks. The virtual elements of the program include webinars, collaborative synchronous sessions, and asynchronous sessions. The in-person portion of the program includes a five-day immersion in New York City where participants will engage in exploration of topics such as board governance, entrepreneurial strategy, and quantitative intuition.

Enrollment is limited to professionals with 10 or more years of management or leadership experience and proven track records of career success. Program cohorts typically include executive directors, vice presidents, and senior vice presidents from finance and accounting, consulting, education, manufacturing, healthcare, government, and other sectors.

The high-quality executive coach training component of the Columbia Business School Executive Education Advanced Management Program can give you the individualized career support you need to continue growing personally and professionally for years to come. Upon completion of the program, you will return to your organization with a strategic action plan and the skills to immediately impact your organization.

Connect with an enrollment advisor to determine if you meet the Advanced Management Program requirements or start your application today.

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