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“Coaching is a popular and potent solution for ensuring top performance from an organization’s most critical talent,” writes David Petersen on

Executive coaches use tools and methodologies such as 360-degree feedback or psychological assessments to guide the coaching relationship. As early as 2004 the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development in the UK reported that 64 percent of organizations surveyed use external coaches, 92 percent of the survey participants judged the coaching to be ‘effective’ or ‘very effective’, and 96 percent reported that coaching is an effective way to promote learning in organizations (Jarvis, 2004).

[Coaching] is used in organizational settings to improve employee, team and organizational performance in a number of ways, including but not limited to: helping shorten the learning curve in a new organization, country or role, succession planning and career planning, to improve job satisfaction, flexibility, interpersonal relationships, and leadership and management skills (Williams S, Offley N. Research and reality: Innovations in coaching. London: NHS Leadership Centre, 2005.)

Jones et al. (2014) further reported that executive coaching also has a greater impact on performance compared with other popular workplace development tools.


  • Prework

    Ensure chemistry match between Coach and Coachee, identify broad coaching agenda, common understanding of coaching process, agreement of logistics, etc.

  • Organizational Inputs

    A three-way meeting between Coach, Coachee and relevant stakeholder(s), to get additional inputs and the organization's expectations from the engagement

  • Profile Story

    Understanding the coachee's story, distinct phases, challenges faced, successes, choices made, etc.

  • Data Gathering

    360 Assessment to generate additional inputs, review and debrief of any existing client organization standard tools/reports

  • SMART Goals

    Identification of 2-3 SMART goals by the coachee; chosen based on their need, aligning with organizational needs and data gathered

  • Transformation

    Working closely with coachee to arrive at strategies and action plans that will be most effective in achieving these goals, with precise measures of success; progress review, course correction where required and action tracking

  • Assessment Closure

    Identify and measure transformation achieved, a dipstick closure 360 survey explicitly focused on the coaching goals, closure meeting with stakeholder, HR review, assessment and feedback by coachee, coach and stakeholders



Coaching helps aspiring leaders define their direction through a series of powerful and purposeful conversations.

It is important to define the chosen direction in context of the leader’s personal values and their true unrealized potential. Both values and potential are unraveled further through the use of powerful tools as part of the coaching process.

Executive Coaching

Executive coaching as a means to improve one’s skills and abilities is a fairly recent phenomenon within organizations. Nevertheless, it has quickly become recognized as an important tool to empower high potentials and existing leaders in the C-Suite. In the 1970s companies rarely talked about coaching for their executives, although it is suspected that the practice occurred in private. In the 1990s executive coaching started to receive more attention. Executive coaching was oftentimes used as a last resort for executives who had behavioral issues or personalities which threatened the dynamics or culture of an organization. However, since the beginning of the twenty-first century, executive coaching has been used as a developmental tool for high-potential employees and executives transitioning to new roles, taking on additional responsibilities, or in need of exercising additional influence within the organization. In the ever-changing business environment it is expected that executive coaching will be needed for many managers and executives as they navigate their road to the C-Suite and within the C-Suite. A study by Stanford Leadership Development & Research and the Miles Group found that "Nearly Two-Thirds of CEOs Do Not Receive Outside Leadership Advice – But Nearly All Want It".


The Executive Coach

The Executive Coach should be selected based on their ability to identify an effective approach for coaching. A Harvard Business Report recommends that if a coach is unable to identify the methodology they will use, then organizations should continue looking until they find a coach that can. The methodology could be through 360 degree feedback or psychological assessment or other reputable methods. However, the coach should be able to easily respond to this question. Furthermore, it is important that the coach is trustworthy. The coach and the manager or executive will likely share intimate aspects of their professional life, and possibly their personal life, so the coach needs to keep the appropriate confidences. Equally important is the ability of the coach to demonstrate commitment to the employee being coached. This will then be reflected in the client’s enthusiasm and commitment for the coaching process. Lastly, the coach needs to communicate effectively with the client and should inspire others to perform their best while overcoming barriers to their success.

Elements of a Successful Executive Coaching Relationship

The ultimate purpose of engaging an executive coach is to assist in improving the personal and professional growth of managers and executives which, in turn, positively influences their leadership, co-workers and direct reports. It is important when entering into an executive coaching relationship that the manager or executive is prepared for the investment (both financially and emotionally) just as in any other venture. Therefore, managers and executives should think of success in four major areas of the relationship:

The Executive Coach

The Manager or Executive

The Relationship Between the Two

Organizational Support

The Relationship Between the Two

One of the main factors that determine the success of executive coaching is the relationship between the coach and the client. The relationship begins with ensuring that the selected coach (either by the client or the client’s organization) is a good match with the manager or executive to be coached. Based on a Harvard Business Review Research Report, it is not recommended that coaches are selected purely based on reputation or experience. Instead, the client and the coach need to ensure that an open, honest, and authentic relationship can develop, allowing the client to successfully learn and grow.

The Manager or Executive

It is important when entering a coaching relationship that the manager or executive is equally committed to the process of being coached. They should “have a fierce desire to learn” as stated in the Harvard Business Review Research Report, in order to be open to the feedback given by the assessment methodology. Finally, the manager or executive needs to be open to solving problems in new ways. Given the goal of engaging an executive coach is usually to prepare for the next position or to be more effective within the organization, it is important that the client demonstrates an ability to consider a wide variety of perspectives.

Organizational Support

Finally, it is important that the organization of the manager or executive supports the executive coaching experience and relationship. In addition to financial support, companies may need to provide access to people within the organization that can respond to the 360 assessment, which usually forms the basis of the coaching relationship. Finally, the culture of the organization should support the recommendations of the coach, thus allowing the manager or executive to prepare, learn, and grow.