Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Do Executive Coaches Discuss Systems and Process?

It is only partly true that corporate coaching and therefore executive coaches are focused only on individuals and not business processes and systems.

We might be tempted to think that talking about client's process and system concerns would be more about consulting. And for those who want to split hairs, this is the view.  They might argue coaching is about personal or professional forward movement or growth. Consulting is about targeted expertise toward a specific topic, generally organizational, and they have a point.

However, is there an area in between, an overlap where the dynamic of systems and the dynamic of personal leadership intermingle? An area where the leadership or executive coach actually coaches their client through some organizational challenge or opportunity they bring to the table? In my 11 years experience as an executive coach,  and over 35 years in various positions of leadership, I believe the answer is yes. There is overlap.

I help leaders 'think it through'.

  • Reorganizing the division of a company

  • Reorganizing their overcrowded schedule

  • Organizing staff where cutbacks have eaten to the bone of the operation

  • Hiring the right people for the task

  • Dealing with key people who handle all the processes and systems

  • Engineering a takeover

  • Keeping better contact with a national or international team

You get the picture. You can't deal with the individual executive or manager who wants to improve personal, professional and organizational performance and not talk about what they are working on. They want to discuss it. Coaching them as an individual takes place in the context of them improving their personal performance in relation to their work and their leadership ... their real time concerns.

As an executive coach, I don't have to know their business. I have to know people. I am an expert in people. I am not an expert in international trade, financial markets or southeast Asian diplomacy.

  • I know people. They know their business.

  • I know how to create an environment and ask questions that can help them reach superior answers. They know how to implement the conclusions they reach.

  • I know how to have leaders and executives reach for their best. They know how to take that confidence into their organization and their industry and leverage it to their advantage.

This executive coach works with whatever clients bring to each strategy session. The focus is always the individual. The playing field is whatever they bring to the call or are working on at the moment.

Leaders and executives want a return on investment. And the time and substantial dollars they invest in improving themselves had better pay off in improving the systems and processes that they take responsibility for each and every day.

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