Even the most accomplished professionals may encounter obstacles in mid-career.
- Getting Life Back in Balance. It takes talent, focus and drive to achieve professional success. But getting there can take a tremendous personal toll. Often, the price is paid in chronic stress, reduced time to spend with friends and loved ones, and a diminished capacity to enjoy the very things that make life worth living. While the need to make profound life changes may be obvious, the means to effect the necessary change may not.
- Dealing With Perceived Limitations. Most people who achieve success do so despite their limitations. In fact, the more often we succeed, the more profoundly aware of our own limitations we may become.
- Making Difficult Transitions. No degree of professional achievement can insulate us from unexpected change. When we least anticipate it, business conditions change, a loved one becomes ill, or a long-sought-after promotion finds us surprisingly unprepared.
- Searching for Greater Heights. After achieving many of their life goals many professionals ask, "Is this all there is?" Clearly, there is a need for personal renewal and a new direction, but how can these be found?
Although highly capable people can usually "cope" with these types of challenges, what they need is to truly master them, in order to move on to greater levels of personal achievement. For that, what is often needed is the right coach.
Judy Nelson Describes Her Role as an Executive Coach
"My job as an executive coach is to engage you in an ongoing process of inquiry, discovery and commitment. I will listen as you describe your goals and your perceived obstacles toward achieving them. I will ask questions that help you to analyze your situation in a fresh light and arrive at new understanding. I will help you harness your own creativity in devising workable strategies to achieve your goals. And I will hold you accountable to yourself for following through. I will be constantly in your corner, and I will celebrate your success as you grow from strength to strength."
What Can You Expect from Your Executive Coach?
- Respect and candor
- Ethical practice
- Wisdom of experience
- Big picture view
- Deep listening
- Humor and connectedness
- Maturity and patience
- Willingness to follow your lead
- Thoughtful feedback
- Follow through and accountability
How Is the Executive Coaching Relationship Structured?
Initial Coaching Period. Once a fit is established, new clients may start with a 3-month commitment. Usually that is sufficient time to establish a good rapport with your coach, to get acquainted with the coaching process, and to begin to reap the benefits.
Assessments. The coaching relationship often begins with an executive assessment. Using sophisticated standardized tests, the coach gains a basic understanding of the client's strengths and weaknesses. Tests may include:
- the EQ Map (assessing "emotional intelligence")
- the Leadership Profile Inventory
- the VIA Signature Strengths Questionnaire.
The results of these tests are shared with the client and often make an excellent jumping-off point for the discussions that follow.
Coaching Sessions. Most executive coaching is done by phone, so distance need not be a factor. The typical coaching process, whether by phone or in person, is 3 to 4 hours per month. Most clients find that 1-1/2 hours twice a month works well, but the sessions can be tailored to the individual's needs.
Financial Arrangements. Coaching fees are paid in advance. The preferred arrangement is usually for the executive's employer to provide coaching as a pre-tax benefit. For top-level executives, this may involve requesting of the board that executive coaching be included as part of a compensation package. However, in cases where this is not possible, executives may elect to treat this as an out-of-pocket expense.
How Do You Get Started?
It is of the utmost importance that you feel comfortable with your executive coach. While establishing an excellent rapport might require several weeks, you can often learn quite a bit from a free 30-minute consultation. Such a "get-acquainted session" allows you to get a feeling for the coach's style and decide whether you would be a good fit. There is absolutely no obligation in signing up for a free consultation.