An executive coach is a professional trainer who works closely with the executive of an organization to help identify his or her strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately optimize the executive’s performance and leadership. He or she is usually outsourced by an organization during a time of growth or transition, with the greater goal of growing the organization and taking it to the next level.
During the initial stage of executive coaching, the coach will typically converse with the executive directly to get his or her opinion on what he or she hopes to accomplish through the coaching. The executive coach may ask the executive to provide a low-level outline of what the executive feels are his or her strengths and weaknesses in the executive role, as well as his or her long-term vision for the organization. The executive coach will often shadow the executive during this initial phase of coaching in order to observe the executive’s day-to-day work routine. At this stage, the executive coach will take note of the executive’s schedule and particularly his or her time management, including what percentage of the executive’s time is spent on certain tasks.
At the second stage of executive coaching, the executive coach will already have an idea of what might be negatively affecting the executive’s performance, including non-executive tasks that could be better delegated to other staff members in order to free up the executive’s time. At this point, the executive coach will often converse with those in the organization who report directly to the executive, as well as others with whom the executive deals with on a day-to-day basis. This helps the executive coach get an idea of how the organization operates as a whole, and whether there is miscommunication or bottlenecks in certain processes.
After the executive coach has identified areas of the executive’s workload that could use improvement, the executive coach will relay his or her opinions and proposed solutions to the executive. These proposed strategies might include shifting certain tasks and responsibilities around in the organization, as well as suggestions to help the executive improve his or her own time management, leadership style, and communication style.