By Steve Crawford
When talking to executives about their jobs, it is the norm to hear them say that they are constantly working, never finding time for themselves, or they are just feeling overwhelmed by life in general. What I find the most upsetting, though, is that they think they are stuck with that kind of chaotic lifestyle as long as they want to stay in their current position. I was a big-name executive for 20 years, so I understand where that thought process stems from. However, what a lot of executives do not understand is how beneficial 1:1 coaching can be for them, their teams, and their organization.
Executive coaching is no longer a taboo topic in the business world—investing in a coach does not mean you are admitting weakness, it simply shows your high level of self-awareness and your desire to continue improving. Financially speaking, it would be senseless for companies not to hire a professional business coach for their executives. According to Forbes, one study found that the average ROI for executive coaching was over 7 times the initial investment. This high return comes from the fact that an organization’s culture is set by their top executives; when a leader is highly productive and an effective communicator, those traits will trickle down throughout the rest of the company.
The best thing about Executive 1:1 coaching is how customizable the process is to you and your needs. Personally, I always start my 1:1 coaching with a pre-call to give me insight on what my client’s business rhythm is and what their work environment looks like. I then use that information to guide me through our 8-hour deskside process, so that I am able to support my clients in the areas that they need the most assistance. Some executives need support on managing their team, while others need support on prioritizing their family and spending less time at work. When it comes down to it, every single executive in every single company has something to gain from 1:1 coaching, regardless of their organization’s size.
For example, during the first meeting with one of my clients, a National Partner for a Fortune 500 Consulting Firm, he threw his hands in the air and said he had accepted the fact that he would never have a personal life. Now, after one pre-call, one 8-hour deskside session, and countless follow-up calls, the same executive has told me, “The time I spent with [you] in the coaching program has already been gained back ten-fold. I can honestly say that this coaching changed my life personally and professionally.” Not only has his performance and productivity at work dramatically improved, but he has also gained hours of his time back each week, so that he can be more and do more for himself and others.in every single company has something to gain from 1:1 coaching, regardless of their organization’s size.
The results from Executive 1:1 coaching sessions are not always measurable, but the growing industry speaks for itself. The market for professional coaching hit $1.02 billion in 2016, a drastic rise from $707 million in 2011. This market growth is not surprising considering an estimated 25-40% of Fortune 500 companies utilize professional coaching for their top executives and leaders. If Fortune 500 executives are able to put their egos aside and accept help from a coach, what is everyone else’s excuse not to?
What many executives don’t understand is that executive coaching is not a ‘brain dump’ where I tell my clients all of the secrets to success, instead it is a conversation between two people to uncover the best possible solutions to their daily struggles and workload. Furthermore, it is important to hire a coach that aligns with your belief system, as the coaching process takes time and dedication from both the executive and the coach themselves. Executive 1:1 coaching may not be a quick fix, but it is a solution-driven process that is sustainable for everyone involved.