What is Executive Coaching: What to Look for in a Professional Executive Coach?

The main benefit that executives receive from having a coach is increased focus and productivity which will help them yield greater results and improve their overall business sales. | Coaching Go Where.


The truth is coaching is a secret weapon for people on many rungs of the corporate ladder, but especially for mid-level people leaders who may be eyeing that corner office (or one near it) but haven't made it there yet.

I see it firsthand with clients of our coaching program, and I believe HR should use executive, career, and leadership coaching more often than it does right now, frankly, and with a broader group of coaching executives. Why? The bottom line is, that it will help your bottom line. Executive coaching can be defined as a partnership between an executive and their coach, to achieve specific goals.

The main benefit that executives receive from having a coach is increased focus and productivity which will help them yield greater results and improve their overall business sales. A coach can help an executive with their time management, prioritizing tasks, and managing the workload. The benefits of coaching are not only seen in the work environment but also at home.

All you need to know about Professional Executive Coaching

  • Executive coaching doesn’t have to be 12 months of extremely intensive (and expensive) in-depth analysis and development of the key characteristics necessary to run the entire enterprise (at least, not at first). Focused coaching helps emerging leaders in your company, middle managers, and mid-senior executives identify and achieve professional goals that are both strategic and practical.

  • With the right professional coach, your people who are already on the cusp of leadership greatness can enhance key competencies, grow their decision-making skills, up their communication game and work on specific areas that need improvement, honing, and polishing.

  • The executive coaching process can help leaders achieve their goals and exceed expectations and there are many more. By understanding the benefits of executive coaching, leaders can make the most of the process.

What is the effect of executive coaching?

Executive coaching can have a huge effect on work leadership and have a major impact on businesses and organizations. It helps in redefining their goals, improving their skills, and addressing various issues to aid in their success by holding various leadership development sessions. Research has shown that people who are coached by professionals perform better in their jobs and have many more fulfilling careers than those who do not receive.

An effective coaching experience would include various coaching programs about team coaching, development programs, performance coaching, challenges, behaviour psychology classes, different face-to-face situations, feedback, and much more.

Executive coaching is often used in the corporate world to help leaders and managers develop more skills on time, improve performance, and work with teams and more clients. It can also be a personal development tool for people who want to improve their life, and self-confidence, enjoy a more fulfilling career, and make better life choices for exceptional results.

  1. Coaching can help leaders identify and address their challenges.

  2. Coaching can help leaders develop better decision-making skills.

  3. Coaching can help leaders work on their relationships with others.

  4. Coaching can help leaders improve their productivity and performance.

  5. Coaching can help leaders achieve their goals and exceed expectations.

Executive Coaching

Benefits of professional executive coaching

Navigate change in senior positions

All organizations will go through periods of change at some stage. From leadership changes to entering new markets, organizations can use executive coaching to gain invaluable insights and recommendations to help support those steering the ship.

Identify strengths and weaknesses (both individually and collectively)

Executive coaching can help identify strengths and weaknesses and help utilize this data to create actionable insights for the organization. This can help ensure that executives are working to the best of their abilities within specific contexts.

Improve productivity

Organizations need to be productive at every level. Leaders and executives can use coaching to ensure their time is being well spent and that they are delivering the biggest impact for the organization. Executives might be working hard, but are they having the biggest impact they possibly could? This is a question that needs exploring otherwise it could be costly for an organization.

Effect feedback loops

Executive coaching creates the perfect feedback loop whereby executives can gain valuable opinions and feedback to help seek continual improvements. It helps celebrate transparency and communication, ensuring executives feel listened to and valued.

Micro and macro goal setting and targets

Coaching can help keep executives in alignment with the bigger organizational goals and targets. This can be important, especially for technical executives whereby their day-to-day may be very focused and detail orientated. Stepping back and looking at the broader goals and targets can ensure personal development targets, as well as the wider team or organizational targets, are united.

Empowerment and personal development

Coaching can help empower leaders and executives through support and tailored guidance. This can also lead to the development of core leadership skills such as communication, confidence, empathy, and self-awareness. Coaching can also be really useful in promoting work and personal well-being and satisfaction, which is important to retain top talent.

Greater insights lead to better decisions

Coaching can create a wealth of qualitative insights that coupled with strong analysis can help organizations make better business decisions. From clear signals to very subtle hints, coaching may help spot and identify how businesses can maximize the effectiveness of their leaders.

Executive coaching with Coaching Go Where

The benefits identified above only scratch the surface in terms of what executive coaching can bring to an organization. The personal, team, and organizational development from effective coaching can lead to a more productive and engaged workforce. Depending on your specific challenges and opportunities, we can work with you to ensure you’re getting the most out of all of your key people.

Here at Coaching Go Where, we focus on results-orientated, data-driven, and measured coaching. All of our coaches possess high-level coaching qualifications as well as experience in business, so they bring real-world experience into coaching sessions.

The typical process for our coaching starts with a briefing, so we can understand the organizational context behind the coaching, and how the coaching ‘fits’ with the overall system that the coachee operates within. This stage also helps us to identify which of our coaches will be best matched to meet the coachee at the ‘chemistry’ meeting.

Learn more about our executive coaching today or simply get in touch to learn about all our services.

What might I discuss at my session with an executive coach?

Executive coaching can be a vital tool in developing leadership skills. It is common for an executive coach to help leaders gain new perspectives, develop skills and experiences that are needed on the job, or help them overcome personal challenges.

The sessions are designed in such a form to be confidential, and the coach does not provide any advice or guidance on what should be done. The goal is for the individual to gain confidence and view the world through a different lens after therapy.

What should I look for in an executive coach, and how can you tell you're getting a good one?

Today’s corporate world is full of uncertainty, ambiguity, complexity, and large-scale change. In this environment, experienced and skilled executive coaches can help executives lead in a way that is realistic, aligned, and inclusive. 

We know that chemistry in a coaching relationship is key. But what are the criteria for selecting coaches who can best serve the personal and professional needs of organizational leaders in this volatile climate? 

Coach Evaluation Checklist

There are five specific qualities you should include in your checklist when evaluating your coaching match. The first three are fundamental skills that any good coach should have:

1. Deep Listening Skills

Skilled coaches know how to listen. They want to learn about your agenda and business objectives. Coaching conversations are focused on cultivating your expertise, not showing off theirs. The coach holds up a mirror to you and your current reality without judging and facilitates a crystal-clear assessment of where you are now, reinforced by quantitative and qualitative feedback.

An experienced coach also asks penetrating questions that take your discussion to another level, drawing out insights and ideas that you didn’t know you had. They will encourage you to build out and probe different options, and then challenge you to select a course of action while being persistent in following you around with that mirror to encourage accountability for following through. 

2. Experience with Organizational Change

  •  (M&A, new product or software rollouts, restructuring, etc.): For more senior executives, it can be useful to have a coach who is not only a superb listener, but who has also “been there and done that,” either as a veteran coach or as a fellow executive — someone with a wide range of experience who readily relates to you, your organization, and your industry. Find someone who is fluent in the language of your business, and who can get up to speed and understand what you’re looking for quickly while also asking questions that are provocative and on point.

  • Organizations across the world face massive changes as a result of the current work environment — everything from mergers and acquisitions to near-complete restructurings.

  • To maintain productivity and morale through these challenging, complicated times, the perspective of experienced coaches is critical. They are not going to tell you how to run your business, but they can guide you in cutting through the complexity you face to prioritize effectively and make informed courageous decisions.

    Group discussion

3. Emotional Intelligence in Crisis

  • Many executives are familiar with the functional, black-and-white, nuts-and-bolts elements of crisis management in the modern business world. However, there’s another critical element that also needs to get addressed — the emotional side. During stressful times, employees may be concerned about their jobs, their families, their health, and the state of the world in general.

  • Leadership throughout an organization — from executives to team leaders — needs to adapt to this current environment by expressing empathy, communicating openly, and addressing the human requirements of their employees.

  • A savvy coach will encourage you to focus not only on pragmatic crisis triage, but also on grasping and responding to employees’ emotional needs for hope, support, reassurance, clarity, and a sense that “we’ll get through this.” Enlist coaches who can assist with navigation through trying emotional times. 

  • In addition to these first three baseline coaching skills, two more qualities are essential for supporting enterprises with a commitment to inclusion on a global scale.

4. Experience with Inclusive Leadership: 

  • A commitment to globally inclusive practices during and after any crisis will help you to both implement practical solutions and offer a reassuring display of people-first values for your organization. The most effective coaches will also ask about values and principles in exploring the path to business solutions.

  • They work with an intimate understanding and appreciation of areas such as social justice, unconscious bias, microinequities, and culturally-based communication styles in both your local context and beyond.

  • A coach who encourages you to act and communicate inclusively amidst the pressing demands of crisis management will also help you to mitigate risks that can arise when employees feel left in the dark, exposed to unnecessary hazards, or left out of decisions critical to their own futures.

  • Keeping people engaged, inspired, and performing at a high level even while they feel under threat is not easy. Inclusive leaders are more likely to avoid the risks and cultivate the organizational bene

5. Cultural Insight and Experience: 

  • The modern, global workforce consists of a diverse group of people from a wide array of different cultures — each with its customs, philosophies, personalities, languages, and work styles. The best coaches have a breadth of experience across different cultures and will be familiar with the ever-changing business, political, and social situations in key markets.

  • They can guide leaders to bridge differences and create valuable connections within teams and have multilingual capabilities that enable them to speak the native language of coachees and/or employees.

  • Consider seeking a coach who can broaden your worldview rather than affirm your current cultural reality; look for personalities that will help you to explore diverse perspectives and identify potential blind spots.

    Too often, headquarters-based leadership styles have a limited toolkit for trust-building, effective communication, and teamwork. There’s immense value in finding ways to shift perspectives, and a qualified coach can offer customized, flexible tools for expanding self-awareness and knowledge of global business practices. 

Coaching Example

A Western organization with a long-term global presence had an issue with a number of its key leaders, who each began to work with executive coaches. The company had long used a “tell-oriented” approach in rolling out global change initiatives. Local team leaders, particularly those in Asia-Pacific, tended to accept these initiatives with little pushback, although often, the results were sub-optimal for their customers and employees.

The company’s new CEO felt that there were far greater insights and potential for strategic input from these local leaders than was currently being tapped, and wanted this to be part of a major organizational change initiative that would shift additional decision-making authority and product development responsibility into the regional operations.

Interviews with local executives in their languages (Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, and Malay) not only confirmed this viewpoint but also cited specific meeting behaviours of headquarters counterparts that tended to shut down regional input. Conversely, headquarters coachees expressed frustration with the communication and leadership styles of their Asia-Pacific colleagues. They cited numerous ways in which their counterparts could step up and offer more significant contributions to strategic discussions.

A coaching engagement that involved both headquarters and APAC-based executives tapped all five of the coaching skills described above. It turned out to be particularly important to inquire deeply enough to understand the “why” behind the company’s deeply ingrained “tell-oriented” leadership style, including a history of risks that APAC leaders had previously taken for which they felt they and their employees had gone unsupported when these turned out to be inconsistent with a new headquarters direction. There was deep mutual frustration and mistrust, emotions not conducive to challenging previous leadership patterns.

Getting traction for real change over time required both headquarters and regional executives to address specific, culturally ingrained behaviours in their strategic planning process as well as in virtual and face-to-face meetings, giving and receiving feedback, and talent development.

Changes in executive behaviours resulted in a far more dynamic and inclusive global enterprise, with both lower costs and higher levels of regional customer satisfaction.

Make a Transformative Impact

All five of the coaching capabilities listed above are ultimately intertwined and used simultaneously by a talented coach. Neglecting any one of these can limit the outcomes of an executive coaching engagement. Using coaches who can leverage all five of these qualities, on the other hand, can have a transformative impact not only on individual executives but also on the organizations to which they belong.

Get the right coach for your organization. Opt for a session with Coaching Go Where Today.