You Need a Coach?
As people seek
better lives for themselves, either personally or
professionally, or both, they're more likely to find
outside help to get them there: a professional
With coaching all
around, we wouldn't blame you for wondering, Is it time
for me to get a coach? Here are some FAQs with answers
before you jump into a coaching relationship:
1. Who are these
There are an estimated
20,000 coaches around the globe. You can check out some
personal and business coaching websites at the
to Coach Network
Although coaching certificates are good things to look
for, the most important credential a coach needs is your
trust to help you get to that place of self-awareness.
2. What kind of
coach is right for me?
Executive coaches, who
work with executives in large firms and business
owners in small
companies, are brought in as (mostly) agenda-free
That's become especially important in this mobile age
when it's rare to find a lifelong veteran available to
offer support and guidance.
Life coaches, on the
other hand, are brought in to help people reorder their
life to get to where they want to be. Making hard choices
attention to your
requires being listened to by a supportive, brainstorming
and independent viewpoint.
3. Who needs a
People seek out coaches
for an infinite variety of reasons, but there are two
typical coachees: people navigating some significant
transition in their
life or career
and those who have some inkling that their
leadership style or
is holding them
reported that one reader said, "I went into the coaching
experience kicking and screaming, at the insistence of my
then-boss. And what an eye-opener it turned out to be. I
won't even go into the grim details of bad management
habits I had unthinkingly developed in my 14-year career
up to that point--but I will say that since I was 'cured'
by 12 weeks of pretty intense coaching, I've been
promoted three times."
4. What does
coaching engagements typically
cost upward of
$10,000 per person over a set period of time and include
a few face-to-face meetings followed by email and
telephone discussions. To help develop executives
internally, rather than look for outsiders, companies are
often more happy to foot the bill to fix dysfunctional
leaders. For the return on investment (ROI) of executive
fast-trackers can and do shell out for their own
advancement. As the price slides downward, though, the
buyer should beware.
5. What should you
Coaching is not a
substitute for therapy and it's not business strategy.
The clients do the heavy lifting. The coach guides the
person being coached by asking the right questions. The
client has to figure out what behavior needs to change
and how best to change it.
6. Does coaching
People seeking coaching
so the answer is yes. However, it is best to maintain a
guarded edge during the coach selection process to make a
good match between what you want out of the coaching
experience and the person who can guide you throughout
the coaching process. For why many small business owners
resist being coached, click
Source: Are You
Being Coached? FAST COMPANY, February
Business Case: Why do 40% of new leaders fail?
executives think it is important to "go it alone" due to
their belief in the myth of individualism; they hold
tightly to the idea that everyone succeeds or fails on
the basis of individual efforts and abilities. This
assumption is so powerful that when an alternative view
is suggested (that success depends on our relationships
with others as much as it does on us) the usual reaction
is denial. Denial of the role of relationships in the
executive's success preserves the self-enhancing illusion
that we are masters of our own fates and, therefore,
deserving of all the credit for our successes.
The myth of
individualism can negatively affect our chances for
success. Consider that four out of ten newly promoted
managers and executives fail within 18 months of starting
new jobs, according to research by Manchester, Inc, a
leadership development firm in Bala Cynwyd, PA. "Failing"
includes being terminated for performance, performing
significantly below expectations or voluntarily resigning
from the new position. When newly recruited, the
following types of executives experienced the highest
failure rates within the first 18 months: senior-level
executives (39%), sales executives (30%), marketing
executives (25%), and operations executives
are the major reasons for failure in the new job:
They fail to establish
They fail to build
teamwork with staff and
They are unclear about
what their bosses expect
They don't have the
required internal political
There's no process to
assimilate executives into the
out of every five new CEOs fail in the first 18 months
(HBR, January 2005).
During the second half
of 1999, when statistics began to be compiled,
270 chief executives were forced to
companies or simply resigned, according to Challenger,
Gray & Christmas, the Chicago-based outplacement firm
that follows employment issues. Since then, the pace has
quickened--in 2004, 663 chief executives departed and
turnover doubled to 1,322 in 2005, according to the firm.
CEOs are now lasting
just 7.6 years in office on a global average, down from
9.5 years in 1995, according to consulting firm Booz
often fail for a few common
reasons: due to
unclear or outsized expectations, a failure to build
partnerships with key stakeholders, a failure to learn
the company, industry or the job itself fast enough, a
failure to determine the process for gaining commitments
from direct reports and a failure to recognize and manage
the impact of change on people.
G. Self of
JohnGSelf Associates, Inc., an executive
search firm in Dallas, TX, said, "When I first read L.
Kevin Kelleys comments in the Financial Times
that 40 percent of 20,000 executives that Heidrick
& Struggles placed quit, were fired or forced out in
18 months [I] was astounded. As a
recruiter, I have never had that kind of failure rate.
But I have since read other studies and apparently,
between the poor recruiting processes and the refusal of
executives to reach out for help, Heidricks
experience is apparently an industry average."
of the newly recruited or promoted executive can
turnaround this high rate of
job. New employer. And new headaches when staffers resist
your new approaches.
Americans will soon confront this challenge. How can you
champion enough change to justify your hiring -- without
rocking the boat so much that you endanger your latest
to strike the right balance often derails newcomers.
"They push too hard, too fast and do it in a
nondiplomatic way," says Ben Dattner, a New York
industrial psychologist. Yet few corporate orientation
programs help recruits "work through what's the best
approach to get up to speed in the new job," reports
Michael Watkins, a Harvard associate professor of
business administration and author of the new book, "The
First 90 Days."
to you to manage your early days well, navigate
a different business
and win support for your game plan. For starters, make
sure you understand what kind of workplace you joined. A
troubled enterprise is more likely to welcome radical
fixes than a successful one.
hired executives increasingly turn to an outside
"onboarding" coach. Such services can be costly. The
coaching division of recruiters Korn/Ferry International
typically charges a company about $10,000 to counsel a
newcomer for six weeks.
pitch during the courtship for your potential employer to
cover some assimilation
Describe it as evidence of your commitment to get up and
running fast, recommends Marti Smye, the division's
pay for the advice
Judi Glova coughed up $500 for four assimilation sessions
with executive coach Paula Robb during her first month
last summer as a public-affairs director of Roche
Pharmaceuticals in Nutley, N.J. "It gave me the
confidence to feel I at least had the first steps" needed
for acceptance, the 36-year-old manager
Glova learned to identify players with the power to block
her ideas, for example. She spent extra time getting
acquainted with them before their meetings and
deliberately sat beside them during lunch. Today, those
colleagues help with her requests.
Joann S. Lublin, The Wall Street Journal, Nov 25,
their life's work,
attention to their intentions, get
to where they want to be,
their leadership skills
embrace a sense of well-being.
Executive Can Use Some Guidance
Despite years of
experience making complicated, far-reaching decisions,
can use some guidance
when they find
themselves in new situations where little, if anything,
is familiar. Because as many as 40 percent of new leaders
fail in their new roles to meet an organization's
expectations, purchasing executive insurance in the form
of "onboarding" or assimilation coaching helps a company
ensure that an important investment pays off. Onboarding
involves an intense, protracted period of coaching that's
designed to help a new employee--often a senior-level
executive or manager--not only adjust to a new
environment, but establish a set of priorities.
and business coach, John
receives an email request or telephone message from a
failure-bound executive that goes something like this, "I
am caught in the middle of a political firestorm at work.
Can you help me?" In most cases, he can help them survive
through immediate damage control while they personally
discover the reasons for the crossfire. However, coaching
can be more productive if the relationship begins when
the executive is first recruited or promoted.
Onboarding helps the
executive more quickly adapt to the employer's culture,
create rapport with his or her immediate team and find
productive ways to achieve necessary goals. The Wall
Street Journal reported that assimilation coaches are
helping newly hired executives to manage the transition
from the first day. "It's a result of the job market,"
says Bernadette Kenny, an executive vice president at Lee
Hecht Harrison, an outplacement-counseling firm in
Woodcliff Lake, NJ. "More organizations are
senior leadership changes and bringing in talent from the
So these people have to be effective as quickly as
Some onboarding coaches
begin to advise executives before they start their new
role. They help the executive clarify expectations,
develop an action plan and assess potential black holes.
For most senior-level people, assimilation coaching is
paid for by their employer and usually costs around
the myth of individualism continues to drive most
executives, they don't know that help is available to
grow into a new job. They fail to realize that a coaching
relationship would help them become productive quickly in
their new positions.
Many executives fear
that their subordinates will learn how inadequate they
feel in their new jobs. Many are looking for help
managing in today's faster, cheaper, better global
economy. Although hiding vulnerabilities is hardly new,
this concern has been exacerbated by a new fear of either
becoming obsolete or technology-driven toast in a world
of business transformation.
"I've never seen businesspeople have to fake it
more," says B.
Joseph White, past business school dean and interim
president of University of Michigan.
Today, new managers
don't have to fake it when they have access to an
executive or business coach who helps them achieve
increased awareness, purpose, competencies and well
being. Executive development and the creation of
productive relationships start by achieving clarity.
Clarity begins when the executive is directly connected
to a coach.
practical realities of your current situation may not
allow for a coach. After all, a coach can be expensive --
anywhere from $200 an hour to over $12,000 a day -- and
if your company isn't willing to pay for it, you may not
want to bear the expense yourself. Click
for some personal coaching costs and monthly plan
leadership books like, "You're in Charge--Now What?"
to prepare you for your onboarding experience.
do you know when you're ready to hire a
Here is a list of questions to help you decide:
you know what it is you don't know?
there a gap between where you are and where you'd like
you have clear professional goals?
you willing to focus on the present?
you interested in developing yourself?
you about to make a critical decision pertaining to
your life or career?
you getting the message from those around you that you
need to make some changes?
you willing to work extremely hard?
you have time and resources to invest in your future?
the answer to most of these questions is
then it's probably time to start seeking the services of
a professional coach.
Executive Coaching Worries
executives who were asked, "What characteristics are
needed to be an effective leader today?" 56 percent
ranked ethical behavior as an important characteristic,
followed by sound judgment (51%) and being
asked, "What are the biggest challenges to implementing
executive coaching in your organization?" 56 percent of
220 human resource professionals polled said the lack of
HR inclusion in decisions was the biggest hurdle. Other
responses included, time constraints due to business
demands (39%), management unaware of coaching's value
(20%) and a perception that coaching is punitive
your employer hires an executive
polish your prowess should you celebrate or worry that
you're considered damaged goods?
coaches often are brought in to help a star player
navigate a new role or advance faster inside a company.
Other businesses, however, hire a coach to fix a
manager's flaws, such as poor interpersonal
the reason, be smart and maximize the career benefits of
having a coach. Outright resistance or passive
aggressiveness are bad ideas. Coaches cost a lot of money
and using this personal development resource wisely is in
your best interest. Getting an outside point of view can
help you become clearer on who you are and what you need
to do to get to where you want to be.
American Management Association, DBM. The Wall Street
What interests you in becoming a more
734.426.2000 (US Eastern Time Zone) or
for a free consultation regarding your leadership
more about John
certified executive & business
Inc., PO Box 2086, Ann Arbor, MI 48106