Despite the fact that executive coaching proved to be almost recession-proof, many coaches hesitate to train and master this field. The ‘Executive’ is often perceived as being a tough target for coaches to hit. Executives are important busy people. They are remote, hidden behind layers of secretaries, assistants and underlings. They are aloft, sailing above us all in their corner offices and business networks. They are tough, brisk, and efficient. They are cunning, charismatic and posses a bourn tendency to command. They are also pure fiction. Or at least – the imaginary portrait of them that I just painted here is.
The truth is that executives are people. They have problems just like any other people; often more than others, because their lives tend to be more complicated. Most executives do posses some qualities of excellence or they would not have been promoted to their rank. However, such qualities mainly have to do with their professional side. It does not necessarily mean that they possess any special wisdom or superiority in other fields.
Strip away the power suites and polished offices, and you find that executives are as human as any other. They have good traits and bad habits. They strive to succeed but make mistakes along the way. They are usually able to see a broader picture, yet still suffer from embarrassing blind-spots. They struggle to balance their personal lives with their careers. Worst of all is the fact that their position often insulates them from others, and limits the number of people that they can communicate with freely.
A coach, once he won the executive’s trust, actually have his job easier than when coaching other people. Executives are used to consider facts and look for results. They are trained to separate their emotions from the matter at hand, and their job requires them to consider the long term as well as the immediate situation. These are all things that a coach often struggles with his client to achieve. Executives are used to plan and to act, thus making it much easier to get tangible coaching result. Meaning your coaching succeeds faster and more often. And not less important – one can usually charge them more for coaching.
The myth of the executive as a tough client probably reflects the perceived difficulty in marketing coaching to executives. But it is not true that coaching them is difficult. If you thought that executive coaching training is not for you, think again.
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