Defining executive coaching

Executive coaching is the professional consultancy, coaching and support of persons with leadership and executive functions, and of experts in companies and organisations. The objective of executive coaching is to develop individual or collective learning and performance primarily within business.

Executive coaching is a result and solution oriented form of consultancy and helps to increase and preserve general efficiency, ability and competitiveness. The consultancy process is tailored to individual needs and an executive coach provides support in the process of improving the professional situation and the shaping of roles under demanding and exacting conditions.

By maximizing human potentials the economic success and the development of the company or organisation is to be promoted.

Executive coaching consists of a combination of individual support to cope with a variety of issues, and personal consulting. Through consulting the client is motivated to develop his own solutions. The executive coach helps him to understand the causes of problems and therefore also helps him to identify the processes leading to problem solution. Ideally, the client learns to solve his problems independently, to develop his behaviour and attitudes and to reach effective results.

One fundamental characteristic of professional executive coaching is the promotion of self-reflection and self-perception. Others are the expansion and improvement of the client’s potential – controlled by the client himself – with reference to perception, experience and behaviour.

Is coaching psychotherapy? 

In contrast to psychotherapy, executive coaching aims at “healthy” persons and predominantly deals with problems arising from the client’s role in business and at work. These can only be tackled with the special knowledge of the executive coach. Psychological illnesses, drug addiction or any other disorders that impair the client’s ability for self-control fall exclusively under the area of responsibility of trained psychotherapists, doctors and medical institutions.

Is executive coaching the same as consulting?

Executive coaching cannot replace special consultants (for example business consultants, IT-consultants, industrial medical consultants, lawyers etc.). Nevertheless, the executive coach is often considered as a professional contact for certain issues and is asked to offer advice or a personal opinion. If the advice is constructive for the coaching process and if the coach has the professional know- how, this can be part of the coaching process.

Is executive coaching the same as training?

Training directly helps to develop certain kinds of behaviour. Learning the “ideal” pattern of behaviour is often given priority. Although the needs of the client are generally decisive factors, the subject matters of the training (for example sales training, presentation training, rhetoric etc.) are given the main emphasis. Training can be used as one element of coaching, for example to correct behavioural deficiencies. In this case executive coaching is the immediate cause of and the framework for building or improving certain abilities.

Is executive coaching the same as mentoring?

In mentoring an experienced executive assumes responsibility for a young or new member of staff. The mentor is responsible for imparting knowledge and know-how of a specific organisation, creating ties to the organisation and sometimes giving career advice. The objective of mentoring is to promote high potentials, to reduce fluctuation costs and to avoid conflicts when integrating new members of staff. Executive coaching as we see it can thus be an additional element in a mentoring relationship.

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