Determine whether the executive is really sincere about wanting to improve themselves or whether they are confidently positioned in their job and like things pretty much the same as they are personally. They may just want coworkers to maybe change but are not interested in changing themselves. Choose to coach executives who truly want to change for the better along with their coworkers and not executives who are in status quo mode themselves and in reality don’t want to change their behavior at all.
Work only with truthful executives with integrity who don’t say one thing but really think and don’t believe that what they are saying is the truth. This untruthfulness can be detected by noting a statement and hearing a contradictory one at a later date. Abandon untruthful clients as soon as possible.
Don’t let a subjective desire to be loved and respected interfere with your hopefully objective helpful approach to coaching. Being overly nice and expecting to be complimented about your helpful suggestions is the wrong kind of anticipation which will interfere with objective businesslike goal(s) achievement.
Keep communication short, brief, or to the point. Executive time is valuable so try not to waste it with needless lengthy peripheral conversation on things which detract from the business goals which you all have in mind.
Remember that executive improvement also means that coworkers working for them must be just as anxious to improve in the team effort and must be permitted the opportunity to improve too. You will be coaching not only the executive but also the key stakeholders or key coworkers who will try to improve along with the executive.
Ask for improvement suggestions from the executive client and key stakeholders and actively involve them as contributing members of the team. You may get some surprisingly good suggestions and make them feel important and noticed as well rather than make them feel ignored in the improvement process.
Prioritize the approximately no more than three important things or behaviors to be changed or improved upon at a time. Start with preferably one thing to improve upon so it is easier for the executive to focus on and give you feedback on progress in the most important behavioral area chosen first.
Get feedback on a regular basis from the executive but keep it brief and to the point with possibly a short check list of questions to be answered every time or modified somewhat each time to fit the hopefully new and improved circumstances.
Feedback from important or key stakeholders or key coworkers should also be obtained on a regular basis. Demand or expect honest and truthful feedback from them on whether the executive is beginning to show improvement or not and whether they too are improving in some way along with the executive.
Key stakeholders will generally quit if they are punished for trying to improve themselves or their behavior by the executive so be keenly aware of this potential major executive flaw and it should be changed or addressed first if detected during the initial startup with the client coaching relationship.
Don’t repeat or remind the executive and key stakeholders of past mistakes which can’t be changed but be forward looking with an optimistic motivated anticipatory attitude.
Avoid harsh criticism, put downs, ridicule, name calling, insults, sarcasm, cynicism, and being to judgmental. Instead try to maintain a helpful and assisting attitude which makes it clear that you are there for the client’s benefit and are not there to blame or punish the executive client and others for failing or making mistakes.
Get feedback from executives and key stakeholders and don’t be afraid to ask for their opinions on your suggestions and their opinions on behavioral progress or absence of any progress.
Executive and key stakeholders should agree on the behaviors to be changed which will hopefully improve the situation. Feedback from all the key participants should facilitate this agreement on the behaviors to be changed. Feedback from all key participants will monitor if any improvement is actually being achieved towards the desired goals or behavioral changes. Feedback means more listening on your part than trying at all costs to enforce your subjective suggestions with verbosity.
Finally a truly professional executive behavioral coach should have a comprehensive prepared list in order of important priority specifying which behaviors are most and least desirable to have. The list of behaviors should definitely include the undesirable prioritized executive behaviors. This thorough prioritized list should be used as a quick guide to pinpoint behavioral strengths and behavioral deficiencies in running the business. An executive coach can’t consider him or herself to be a true professional unless he or she has a comprehensive ordered list of good and bad behaviors from most to least important to choose from. Absence of this prioritized list of behaviors means that the executive coach is coaching largely impulsively and making suggestions and receiving suggestions inefficiently with little expertise in his or her profession.
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