The aim of executive coaching is to help leaders improve their performance at work for the benefit of their organization as well as themselves. To this end, my focus is on enabling them to become as effective and successful as possible in the context of their professional role and business goals. Therapy and counselling, on the other hand, address emotional or psychological problems, often stemming from childhood, which interfere with the individual’s ability to enjoy life, sustain successful relationships or cope with everyday challenges and pressures. They help with conditions such as anxiety or depression or destabilizing life events, for example, trauma and severe bereavement.
versus other coaching
Four factors distinguish executive coaches from other coaches. These factors are defined by the Executive Coaching Forum and the Institute of Coaching at McLean, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School. The four factors, or rather core competencies specific of the executive coach, are business acumen, psychological knowledge, organizational knowledge and coaching knowledge. These can be demonstrated and assessed at different degrees of proficiency. Two factors distinguish the executive coaching process from other coaching processes. First, to be most effective it involves a three-party commitment among the executive, the executive’s boss and the executive coach. This partnership ensures alignment around the coaching agenda and around specific goals to be achieved and their link to business outcomes. Taking a systemic approach, direct reports, human resources and other key stakeholders may also be involved in the programme. Second, goals of executive coaching link back to and support overall business objectives.
Executive coaching is performance driven – designed to improve a leader’s on-the-job performance. Mentoring is taking a long term approach to career development and is most often called for when someone needs immediate advice from a person with long experience from the same professional field. In short, whereas the mentor is someone who has subject matter expertise in a particular subject or somebody that has experienced the same career path that the mentee aspires to pursue, the executive coach is someone with the formal training and expertise to address those underlying factors that prevent leaders from reaching their full potential and to enable change and development in leaders’ performance.