#executive coaching#active listening#business practices#public speaking

Hiring an Executive Coach

|Aug 5|magazine7 min read

 

Written by Sarah Woods, Executive Coach and Senior Communications Consultant

As a coach to top performers, I’ve had a front row seat to some of the most significant business challenges happening within companies.  I have witnessed decision-making at its best, learning from some amazing leaders across a range of industries. These extraordinary people are moving mountains, changing our world, and impacting thousands every day. So why would they hire an executive coach?  The reason is that they have something in common…they are the best, and they want to be even better.

Recently, I worked with the CEO of a major healthcare company. Hard to believe but…he’s actually an introvert!  As he was promoted to CEO, it became imperative that he develop a high level of skill at public speaking and acting as the face of the business.  This was certainly far outside of his comfort zone…and yet, he took it on with determination.

In the process, he hired a coach and worked hard to develop a discipline around preparing for a great speech, embracing the finer points of talking to the media and developing great skill at making small talk at events. He pushed himself to raise the bar on his communication style, something that has since paid off in spades. And even more impressive, he’s still working at it!

Here are some lessons I have gleaned from working with these leaders:

  • Be a life-long learner: Respect is gained from what you know, as well as from acknowledging what you don’t know. 
  • Be open to feedback: Ask for and be open to honest feedback from others, find trusted advisors.
  • Have courage: After you’ve told yourself over and over that the problems are “out there,” it’s time to turn inward, reflect upon your own accountability.  
  • Get together a plan: More often than not, you’re left on your own to interpret the meaning of the scores and graphs charting your progress.  Don’t go it alone – if you’re headed to the top, you’ll need help.
  • Pay it forward: Set an expectation on your team of open and respectful exchanges, and make time to check back in to offer guidance and ongoing support.

Whether you are at the pinnacle of your career or on your way to the top, remember the words of Will Rogers: “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”

Sarah Woods is an executive coach and senior communications consultant. She spent a decade as a management consultant, advising both international corporations and early-stage startup companies in the area of communications, and sales & marketing strategy. Contact Sarah at 781-235-8239 or by visiting http://www.bates-communications.com.