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What Is Executive Coaching?

Female Executive Coach with their male client.

Executive Coaching is a compelling professional development tool that helps leaders get unstuck by unlocking their own powerful thought process. Executive Coaching is about the client’s journey, and the client’s journey is about someone who is already successful, fueled by the drive and desire to reach even more lofty heights, create more, communicate better, and achieve purpose-driven, audacious goals. Each client has the power to achieve greatness for themselves, their business, their employees, their customers, and their community. An Executive Coach helps their client unleash the client's inner strength - the ability that already resides within them - to do the great things they dream of, and those their client hasn’t even considered yet.

An Executive Coach is a trained and certified professional who works with essential people of all levels within businesses and organizations to help them improve their leadership skills, enhance their performance, and achieve their professional goals. Executive coaching involves a one-on-one relationship where the coach collaborates in a “co-creative” relationship with the client to identify areas for growth, set specific objectives, and develop strategies to overcome challenges.

Executive Coaches often use various tools and techniques to facilitate the client’s self-discovery, goal setting, and personal development. The coach-client relationship is one of deep, powerful questioning, because {questioning + action = innovation}. The primary focus of executive coaching is to support the client in maximizing their potential, refining their own question asking and decision-making abilities, enhancing their communication skills, and developing a better understanding of their strengths and areas that need improvement.

The GROW model is one of the most popular executive coaching approaches used by the top coaches in the industry. The GROW model uses the method of problem-solving and goal-reaching to help the client attain their desired results. The acronym GROW represents the four stages of the coaching conversation:

  • Goal: The first step is to have you set realistic short and long-term goals. The goals should be S-SMART (sharable, specific, measurable, achievable, and timely) as well as inspiring, challenging, and attainable.

  • Reality: Second, the coach and client discover where the client currently stands in relation to their stated goals.

  • Options: The Coach helps the client explore different routes (experiment) while providing tools and resources to help the client reach their goals.

  • Will/Way Forward: The final step is where success can be measured. It takes the initial goal and puts the previous steps into action, leading to the client’s desired outcomes.

Executive coaching can be particularly beneficial for individuals who are looking to excel in their roles, grow into new roles, navigate complex organizational and interpersonal dynamics, lead teams effectively, improve their emotional intelligence, and adapt to new leadership responsibilities. The coaching process is tailored to the unique needs and goals of each client, and it involves regular sessions over a specific period of time. These sessions can be as formal or as informal as the client desires; in person, via video chat, or by phone conversation; and are always and only driven by the client’s agenda.

Overall, the goal of executive coaching is to empower individuals to become more effective leaders, make informed decisions, ask better questions, and create positive and lasting impact for themselves, their organizations, their teams, their customers, and their community.

Andrew Parr wearing a jacket and tie

Founder, Andrew Parr, is a Coach, Advisor, Consultant, and Business Leader with 30 years of experience. His education includes a BA in Psychology and History from the University of Wisconsin along with a JD from Mitchell Hamline School of Law. Andrew is a Certified Coach through the Coach Training Alliance, Certified Independent Color Code Trainer, and a Member of the International Coach Federation (ICF), Project Management Institute (PMI), Right Question Institute (RQI), and the Advisory Board for Customer Experience at The Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder.

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