Many leaders take a passive approach towards their own development, often waiting for their manager or someone else in the organization to offer the opportunity for professional growth. Why wait? Advocating for your own development demonstrates a core leadership attribute — proactive interest in expanding your skill set in support of your company’s success. And, one of the most proven and efficient ways to enhance your effectiveness as a leader is to partner with an experienced executive coach.
The purpose of executive coaching is to accelerate individual, team, and business performance. Coaches work with executives in a number of ways, helping with transitioning into a new role, closing development gaps, and/or building leadership competencies for enhanced well-being and on-the-job performance. Executive coaching is beneficial for the organization as well — when organizations undergo growth or change, coaching helps leaders to understand and demonstrate new behaviors that are the key to transformative change. Asking for executive coaching can be intimidating and uncomfortable for some, but it’s a career move in the right direction for those looking to step into leadership roles.
Many leaders lack the confidence to ask for coaching or cannot clearly articulate the value of the investment. To help you prepare to ask for (and get!) executive coaching, we’ve developed a 4-step process. Continue reading below to discover the steps.
Step 1: Do Your Research
Preparation is key. First, identify what the appropriate administrative processes are within your organization to contract for leadership development. Will you need permission from your manager or human resources representative? What professional development resources does your company have in place? Is executive coaching offered at your organization? Does your company use a preferred external coaching partner? This logistical research allows you to present your executive coaching proposal in a manner that is easy for leadership to implement — they just need to say “yes.”
Next, find out what your organization's top priorities are and how they align with your current skill set. Consider your manager's priorities and the priorities of your department. How will your personal development efforts, including working with a coach, contribute to the overall success of your company? Research a renowned executive coaching firm in your industry and bring your recommendation to the table with a comprehensive argument for what this firm can provide not only for you but for your company as well. There are demonstrated benefits of using an external coach in providing you with a personal and corporate perspective, benefitting both you and your organization.
Questions to Consider:
- What are my expectations regarding coaching? What are my desired outcomes?
- What type of coaching is best for me? (New leader integration, team coaching, executive coaching, etc.)
- Are there any preferences I have as it relates to coaching that could help me be successful? (e.g. A coach’s experience in a particular role or department, geography/location for in-person vs. virtual work, experience with particular subject matter such as burnout or ED&I, etc.)
Step 2: Assess Your Strengths and Identify Areas of Improvement
When it comes to executive coaching, its success is commensurate with your level of commitment. You will get the most from coaching if you come to it expecting to put in the work and are aware of the skills and areas you would like to target for development. Prior to meeting with your manager, compile a list of accomplishments from the previous year and another list of developmental opportunities that, if improved, could contribute to your future success. Quantify your accomplishments. Be specific, show the impact your actions had on the financial and overall performance of your department, unit, etc. Consider where the skills you’re looking to develop align with your organization’s long-term goals. This area of overlap between your personal goals and your organization’s goals is the sweet spot where executive coaching will have the most impact.
By showing your conclusions to your boss, they will understand that you are taking your leadership role seriously and want to perform at your absolute best for the organization.
Questions to Consider:
- What are you most satisfied with in your work right now? What are you least satisfied with?
- What aspirations, dreams and goals do you have for your leadership? For your career?
- What do you consider your top strengths? What are your developmental opportunities?
- What are your 3 greatest accomplishments or achievements today?
- What would you like your coach to know in order to support you best?
Step 3: Build a Strong Case for the Organization (Not Yourself)
Demonstrate your strategic thinking by discussing what is on the horizon for the business and suggest that your continued professional development will be an asset. Utilize statements that focus on your organization rather than yourself:
- “As we enter into a significant time of leadership change…”
- “As I take on this new leadership position…”
- “I’d like to be sure that I am aware of any ‘blind spots’ which might impact my success. I know that engaging a coach will allow me to better understand my strengths and opportunities for development.”
Address what an investment in executive coaching can bring to the company and your team. Executive coaching should be framed as an investment in the company’s success, not just your own. This investment will help develop the key leadership skills you need to overcome any obstacles facing your team and blocking success.
Questions to Consider:
- What business challenges are you currently facing? How will coaching help you successfully overcome these challenges?
- What are the biggest roadblocks to your success in your current role? What is your commitment to eliminating these constraints?
- What are your two or three primary goals for coaching?
Step 4: Pitch Your Idea with Confidence
The better prepared you are prior to pitching executive coaching, the more likely you will be able to garner support.
First, communicate to your manager your level of enthusiasm towards your job, team, and company. Explain what you would like to achieve over the next few years and present a list of strengths that will help you accomplish these goals along with a list of developmental objectives that will help you accelerate your progress. Next, ask for your manager’s opinion and feedback. What is their vision for your future? What do they see as your biggest opportunity for improvement? Do they agree that coaching would be a worthwhile investment in helping you, and by extension the company, succeed? Their feedback not only demonstrates that you’re approaching this step as a joint decision but helps you to refine what skills you’re hoping to develop through executive coaching.
Questions to Consider:
- Is there a naturally appropriate time for me to talk to my manager about my professional development?
- What is my manager’s vision for the future? How do they view my role in achieving that desired future?
Executive coaching is a valuable resource to help you become more effective in your leadership role. TLD Group offers executive coaching from experts in leadership development who understand the complexities of the healthcare ecosystem. Our coaches work one-on-one with you to help you reach your leadership potential. Learn more about our executive coaching services and get in touch with us to see how our executive coaching experts can help you develop into the leader you want to be.