Greetings to all,
Many times I am asked, "What is coaching?" My response is usually something like, coaching is an ongoing partnership that helps clients produce fulfilling results in their personal and professional lives. Through the process of coaching, clients deepen their learning, improve their performance, and enhance their quality of life.

The What and Why of Executive Coaching

Driving the trend for executive coaching is the business reality that good people are hard to find and harder to keep. With a constant need to stay competitive, companies are seeing coaching as a way to help valued employees develop swiftly in a rapidly changing business environment.

A growing number of Fortune 500 companies offer executive coaching to their top people. Whether hiring external coaches or training their own leaders in coaching skills, companies find that coaching is essential for evolving people towards their highest performance potential.

Research shows that the quality of the relationship between manager and employee is a major predictor of an employee's intentions to remain in an organization. Coaching helps managers talk with subordinates about their developmental needs in a coaching manner. There's a potential exponential payoff in developing positive relationships through coaching.

Defining Executive Coaching

A brief definition of coaching as formulated by the International Coach Federation:

Professional coaching is an ongoing partnership that helps clients produce fulfilling results in their personal and professional lives. Through the process of coaching, clients deepen their learning, improve their performance, and enhance their quality of life.

The Executive Summit of the ICF further defines executive coaching as:

A facilitative one-to-one mutually designed relationship between a professional coach and a key contributor who has a powerful position in the organization. The focus of the coaching is usually upon organizational performance or development, but may have a personal component as well.

Why Executive Coaching?

Executive coaching can be very useful in helping executives carry what they learn in leadership development programs back to the workplace and applying those lessons into practice.

One study examined the effects of executive coaching in a public sector municipal agency. Thirty-one managers underwent a conventional managerial training program, which was followed by 8 weeks of one-on-one coaching. Training increased productivity by 22.4%.

The coaching, which included goal setting, collaborative problem solving, practice, feedback, supervisory involvement, evaluation of end results, and a public presentation, increased productivity by 88%, a significantly greater gain compared to training alone (Olivero, Bane, & Kopeirnan 1997).

If the observations from this study bear out, it means that executive coaching coupled with management and leadership training can boost productivity and help build leadership competencies.

The objectivity that an executive coach brings to a developmental opportunity is helpful to managers seeking to make difficult changes in attitudes, work habits, perspectives and interpersonal relationships.

There seems to be little question that coaching is a valid method of producing desired change with leaders. Companies that have employed coaches will agree that, overall, there are performance improvements, as well as improved well-being among participants.

About 6 out of 10 organizations currently offer coaching or other developmental counseling to their managers and executives according to a survey by Manchester, Inc., a Jacksonville, Florida, career management consulting firm. Another 20% of companies said they plan to offer such coaching within the next year.

The top reasons for offering coaching include:

Sharpening the leadership skills of high-potential individuals (86%)

Correcting management behavior problems such as poor communication skills, failure to develop subordinates, or indecisiveness (72%)

Ensuring the success, or decreasing the failure rate, of newly promoted managers (64%)

Correcting employee relations problems such as poor interpersonal skills, disorganization, demeaning or arrogant behavior (59%)

Providing the required management and leadership skills to technically oriented employees (58%).

The Masterful Coaching Experience

What makes a masterful coaching experience, one that provides long-lasting and magnificent results? On the face, coaching sounds like simple goal setting with accountability and motivational pep talks thrown in.

The athletic coach comes to mind, transformed into a business-like version. Even Ken Blanchard co-authored a book with football legend Don Shula, Everyone's A Coach. But the truth is, not everyone's a masterful coach.

The work of truly effective coaching within organizations involves much more than goal-setting. It involves unleashing the human spirit and expanding people's capacity to achieve stretch goals and bring about real change.

This does not start with simple coaching techniques like setting goals, motivating people and giving feedback. It starts with considering and altering the underlying context in which these occur.

The underlying context is all of the conclusions, beliefs and assumptions people in the organization have reached in order to succeed. This context is shaped by the shared interpretations people make about their business environment. And it also includes the management culture that is inherited or self-imposed. This basic cultural context must be considered in creating a framework for effective coaching.

Xerox's Paul Allaire says, "The key to the new productivity is people - helping them do what they can do, what they want to do, what they inherently know is the right thing to do."

Developing individuals' capacities for productivity is critical to the competitive life of business organizations today.

In its simplest terms, masterful coaching involves expanding people's capacity to take effective action. It involves challenging underlying beliefs and assumptions that are responsible for one's actions and behaviors.

At its deepest level, masterful coaching examines not only what one does, and why one does what one does, but also who one is.

Final Thoughts:

I hope you and your coach are having a lot of fun and creating a lot of energy through personal coaching. If you know of anyone that is interested in exploring coaching, I offer a complementary coaching session so you can determine if coaching is right for you. If it is, I will help you find the right coach for you.

Have a GREAT month,

Coach Jerry

The highest compliment you can give us is to refer your family and friends.

Jerry Pinney

For the last twenty years Jerry has been president of his own firm. He has spent his career helping small business organizations grow and succeed. He has a passion for success that he shares with his clients. His current focus is providing executive and personal coaching to persons who are interested in improving their effectiveness and their ability to be successful. He is a facilitator for peer advisory groups with The Alternative Board and is a Certified One Page Plan Consultant. Jerry has facilitated planning retreats and planning sessions for many organizations.

Jerry’s experience includes serving as Vice-president of Marketing for IGA staff office, Vice-president of membership for the National Grocers Association, Sr. Vice-president of procurement for Shurfine International and the Managing Director of The Zenon Hansen Foundation.

Jerry is an Eagle Scout. He lives in Chicago with his wife Terri. Jerry spends his volunteer time as a coach and consultant for The Executive Service Corps of Chicago, an organization committed to help the non-profits in the community improve.

Jerry Pinney & Associates
102 East 32nd Street
Chicago, IL,
phone: 312-842-4577,
fax: 312-842-4705

e-mail me by clicking here

Visit the Web Page:

If you would like to adjust your subscription - Please click here