Executive coaching has become more popular in recent years for one major reason- CEOS, leaders, entrepreneurs and managers have found that it works. In fact, the Institute of Coaching cites that over 70% of individuals who receive coaching benefited from improved work performance, relationships and more effective communication skills. Additionally, they found that an impressive 86% of companies believe they not only recovered the investment they put into coaching but also gained additional returns. What used to have somewhat of a stigma is now a billion dollar industry, and leaders are embracing it as an effective way to grow and cultivate a thriving workforce.
So why are all of these leaders turning to executive coaching? What are they hoping to get out of it? Interestingly, most leaders aren’t hiring coaches to get advice on a business strategy. In a recent survey of coaches done by Korn Ferry, an executive search and advisory firm, “self awareness” was the number one topic they coached CEOs on, followed by ”Interpersonal relationships, listening skills and empathy.”
Many leaders rise up the ladder by solely relying on their technical skills, intelligence, and drive. However, once you reach the top, you need a new set of skills to lead and develop your people, which is what many leaders are realizing. By engaging with an executive coach, you can avoid hitting the ceiling and learn how to break through, gaining benefits such as heightened self awareness, emotional intelligence and social skills, which are all crucial for taking your leadership skills to the next level. Here are the major benefits of executive coaching for you and your organization.
1. Heightened Self Awareness
The first step to cultivating a thriving workforce is to build a self-aware organization, and there’s research to support it. When you have heightened awareness of your core motivators and natural behaviors, that awareness becomes a catalyst for personal development and trickles down into your organization. Without this first step of self awareness, you can blindly continue doing things that you may not realize are detrimental to your growth and the success of your organization as a whole. By gathering input from you and your peers, executive coaching will help you leverage your strengths and the things that hold you back and provide you with a customized action plan so that you can learn to better lead yourself, your team and your entire organization.
2. Heightened Emotional Intelligence & Self-Regulation
With heightened self-awareness comes heightened emotional intelligence. According to MindTools, emotional intelligence is
“the ability to recognize your emotions, understand what they’re telling you, and realize how your emotions affect people around you. It also involves your perception of others: when you understand how they feel, this allows you to manage relationships more effectively.”
Awareness of your own emotions gives you the ability to observe and deal with challenging emotions in a way that’s helpful, not hurtful. Instead of going off on an employee who does something differently than you, you can learn to handle the situation with grace and empathy by being aware of why you’re feeling that way at that moment and attempting to understand their feelings. Additionally, as your coach leads you down the path of heightened self-awareness and emotional intelligence, you will start to notice that you will have better control over every aspect of your life, including better time management skills, organization and work-life balance.
3.Social Awareness & Intelligence
Social intelligence is defined by psychologist, Daniel Goleman, as “a set of interpersonal competencies built on specific neural circuits (and related endocrine systems) that inspire others to be effective.”
In the past ten years, advances in this field have found that certain things leaders do—specifically, exhibiting empathy and becoming attuned to others’ moods—literally affects both their own brain chemistry and that of their followers. Fascinating research conducted by Italian scientists on mirror neurons was the first evidence that the brain is laced with neurons that mimic, or mirror, what another person does. This is especially important for organizations because it scientifically proves that leaders’ emotions and actions prompt followers to mirror those feelings and deeds. When a leader becomes aware of their own emotions and actions through the executive coaching process, they learn how to leverage these emotions in order to foster a positive mood in their team so they will perform better.
4.Improved Employee Engagement, Retention & Development
With this improved social awareness and intelligence comes the ability to establish rapport, or what Annie Mckee, PhD and best-selling author, refers to as “resonance.”
Once you’ve cultivated awareness of your own natural tendencies and how they effect your social relationships with people, you’ll increase engagement and have employees who are loyal and want to grow with the organization, as seen in a recent study by MSW Research. According to this study, employees cited the personal relationship with their immediate supervisor as the key factor that influenced their level of engagement. The study found that “a manager’s ability to build strong relationships with employees, build strong team interaction and lead in a ‘person-centered’ way creates an engaging environment in which employees can perform at the highest possible level.”
5. Clearer Vision & Peak Performance
Ultimately, we all want to be our most efficient, happiest and best self, and executive coaching can help you fulfill this desire. A good coach can help you clarify your aspirations and the things that are holding you back from achieving them so that you can realize your full potential, and, as a result, your organization’s full potential. Your coach can be a powerful support system when you are faced with making behavioral changes, while still being objective and neutral, and can teach you new ways of thinking and operating for sustainable growth.