Picture this. You are a senior executive of a company, a position you have held for some time. Or maybe you have just been appointed to the post.
You have some ideas on what you would like to do to achieve the organisations’ goals. Some of these are major undertakings and you could be fairly anxious about them.
You would like to sound off your ideas, but you cannot discuss this with your subordinates, nor can you discuss this with your board in an honest, open manner.
People you might talk to within the company will have their own vested interests in what you are proposing and will give you prejudiced views.
You might want to talk to your spouse, but you will be lucky if he or she has a clear understanding of your situation and will they be completely objective?
With this situation in mind, you feel like a lone ranger and set out to make the decisions and implement your plan all the time wishing that there was someone who could honestly challenge your decisions, someone with no vested interests who would take the time to listen to you and work with you to enable you make what you feel are the best possible decisions.
If you had such a person, you would be able to see different perspectives, identify different options and help you be certain about your decisions.
Or maybe you are the head of the human resources department in your organisation and there is need to guide senior executives through a change period.
Being the head, you cannot do it all on your own and your colleagues in management cannot tackle the task of working with each individual as it takes time.
You need someone who can come in, be impartial, knowledgeable and yet have the expertise and time to work with your team so that the end result of better staff performance, better staff alignment with the organisational goals and better working relationships are established.
If you are in any of the above situations, then you are in need of an Executive Coach. And the situations I have described are not exhaustive.
People struggling with work relationships, say, with colleagues, management and others can also work with an executive coach to resolve the relationship issues.
Coaching has always been identified with sports coaching. With the 2010 World Cup now behind us, football coaching is still on our minds.
Those football fans among the readers are familiar with Jose Mourinho, the self-proclaimed Chosen One and we remember the famous Harambee Stars coach, Reinhard Fabisch.
When people think about coaching, this is the sort of coach they normally have in mind — the sports coach, who motivates team members, enhances their skills and refines performance.
The ultimate aim of coaching is to bring out the best in the individual and to make the whole team able to work better together.
This is true in sports and also in business, but the approach is different.
Executive coaching focuses on the needs of the client and it is about helping people to achieve their full potential.
It works best for individuals who are working on specific professional or personal development issues, or when they are handling challenging roles or projects.
There are benefits for both the individual and the organisation when Executive Coaching is engaged.
The organisation will benefit from improved staff performance and in the commitment and satisfaction of employees.
Executive coaching will provide support to staff who have new roles or responsibilities and it can also help staff resolve personal issues that would otherwise affect their performance.
The individual who undertakes executive coaching will benefit greatly from the improvement of their managerial and interpersonal skills and it will help them learn to solve their problems.
Individuals gain greater adaptability to change and greater confidence in their abilities.
They become effective and assertive and coaching can help improve work-life balance and reduce stress.
To determine whether you or your organisation needs coaching, you should be honest with yourself in answering the following questions:
Could your leadership skills, your relationships with staff and others, your creativity and decision-making ability, your time management and handling of sensitive issues be improved?
Could your managers improve their skills in the same areas including their own management of teams they work with?
If you can answer yes to these questions, then you and your organisation are a candidate for executive coaching and you should seek out a coach who can work with you.
Kenya has trained and internationally accredited executive coaches and you can easily get one to work with.
Executive coaches are used by successful business leaders.
They are also used by leaders in the political arena, in the donor and NGO community, in the medical profession and in the high paced technology business.
Many people in self-employment benefit from working with an executive coach and there is definitely a lot that individuals in middle management can gain from coaching.
It is important that one takes stock of their own life and life situation and if the aim is improvement, then executive coaching is likely to be the answer.
Kariuki is country manager, ACCA Kenya, and an AoEC accredited associate executive coach. [email protected]