Nearly every leader can benefit from executive coaching at some point in his or her career.
According to Susan C. Gatton, an executive coach, there are multiple times when coaching is appropriate:
- After a person has been promoted and needs to acclimate to their new role quickly and effectively.
- When a leader wants to increase his/her effectiveness with their team, peers, senior managers and/or customers.
- When performance is meeting expectations, but now it’s time to exceed expectations.
- When a leader gets derailed by a slippage in work performance.
- When a leader has a limited communication style, unproductive work relationships or lacks political savvy.
Typically, there are five steps in the executive coaching process:
- Become aware of the present situation
- Assess the issues
- Design an action plan
- Implement and measure action steps
- Celebrate successes and follow-up to maintain momentum
Executive coaching projects often range from six months to one year, depending on the scope and depth of the issues being addressed. Coaching involves regularly scheduled face-to-face meetings and phone conversations.
Gatton, who during her 25 years in business worked for The Forum Corporation, an international leader in management and sales training, said leaders often don’t achieve optimum success because:
- they don’t embrace change in the workplace
- can’t motivate others
- can’t achieve buy-in to their vision
- ineffectively embrace their role and responsibilities
- ineffectively manage upward
Leaders who experience any of these shortfalls are prime candidates for executive coaching.
During Gatton’s career she’s seen a lot of different types of leaders. She thinks there are indeed differences
between leaders who are entrepreneurs versus leaders who are in non-entrepreneurial businesses. For example, Gatton said:
- “Leaders who have the entrepreneurial spirit move at a quick pace, take risks, create visions, embrace change, and break the rules.
- “Leaders who are in non-entrepreneurial businesses are more focused on improving efficiency and productivity. They will assess and streamline work processes, implement policies and procedures, set objectives and expectations, and play by the rules.
“Each of these leaders has a different focus and mandate, said Gatton. “However, both contribute tremendously to the bottom line.”
Within Greater Kansas City, Gatton has been impressed by UMB Financial Corporation for its strong leadership. She also admires Alcon Laboratories.
Gatton, based in Dallas/Fort Worth, TX, offers coaching services throughout the U.S from her company, S. C. Gatton & Associates. Her clients have included Verizon, Marriott International, Pembroke Hill School (Kansas City, MO), Hallmark Cards (Kansas City, MO), Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline. She can be reached at (817) 267-5890.