The 1-1 executive coaching model of the past is stale and less relevant every day as our coachees and workplaces change.
Many executive coaches are stuck in the old model of leadership coaching, where delivery is primarily through the 1-1 coaching conversation. Meet twice per month with your coachee, 60-90 minutes per session, and charge a commoditized fee that keeps dropping as more inexpensive and inexperienced executive coaches enter the industry.
It’s an old model that is getting stale as the landscape of coaching is changing around us. New coaching tools and technologies are beginning to disrupt the industry, bringing executive coaching inexpensively to the masses, not just to executives.
It’s also losing relevance because the workplace and what leaders need are evolving. We are moving faster than ever and have experienced more change in the past 10 years in business than in the previous 100. And people need resources, information, and tools at their fingertips. We also know that millennial leaders, who will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025, are more tech savvy than older generations and expect technology to support their learning and development experience.
If we continue to use the same executive coaching models of the past without evolving how we coach, we’ll have less and less of an impact. And after all, positively impacting the lives and workplaces of our clients is why we do the work we do.
We have to keep evolving our executive coaching practice. Not only to keep up, but, more importantly, to give emerging leaders what they need to be successful in today’s volatile, uncertain, and chaotic work environment.
Three ideas to extend your executive coaching
When we think about how people develop, it’s often a combination of developing their skills (their outer game) and their mindset and thinking (their inner game). Thinking holistically about both sides of the equation can expand how we work with clients to add more value and extend coaching beyond the 1-1 conversation.
Here are three ideas:
Just-in-time access to resources (the outer game):
The Peter Principle states that people get promoted to their level of incompetence. We believe that people get promoted to their level of development and the bottom line is that leaders need to develop skills. To support the development of skills, people need resources, frameworks, and tools to help them organize their actions and create new habits. Unfortunately, people don’t carry around leadership development workbooks in the workplace. The good news is that they always have access to their mobile devices. As coaches, we have to think about providing access to these resources, frameworks, and coaching tools in a way that prompts leaders to use them when they need them. Imagine, as an example, a leader who is working on being more assertive and having more courageous conversations in the workplace. A simple framework for helping leaders have difficult conversations could help them accelerate the implementation of this new skill set. But they need the framework at their fingertips in order to apply it effectively in the workplace.
Right-on-time pulse checks (the inner game):
Developing a new skill is one thing—changing how leaders think is another. We all know as coaches that helping people change their inner game is as (or more) important than changing their outer game. But the timing of your twice per month coaching sessions may not support a leader’s change in thinking. So, what do we do about it? Consider providing other forms of check-ins throughout a coaching engagement. If you know, for example, that a leader has a big presentation at their quarterly board meeting, schedule a check-in, online or in person, two days prior to help the leader prepare. Then check-in, online or in person, soon after the presentation to walk the leader through a post-action assessment and solidify learnings and next steps from the experience. Right-on-time pulse checks can accelerate a leader’s change in thinking.
Real-time observation (the outer and inner game):
To coach well, you have to find a way to watch the player play. In other words, we have to find a way to observe the leader in the workplace. To see if they are implementing the skills they are learning and to see if their thinking and mindset are changing. Look for opportunities such as team meetings to observe a leader in relationship with their direct reports. Look for opportunities in larger company meetings to observe a leader’s enterprise presence. If you are coaching leaders remotely, join a meeting via conference call or video to get a sense of how the leader is showing up.
How to apply these tools in your executive coaching business
These are just a few ideas on how to extend the value of your executive coaching so that you can help your senior and emerging leaders accelerate their evolution.
Start with one or try them all. Build them into your executive coaching process.
The bottom line is that we have an opportunity to make a bigger impact and, as the world changes around us, we must change our executive coaching models too.
I’d love to hear your ideas on how you extend beyond the 1-1 in your coaching practice. And, as always, check out how the Coachmetrix coaching tool can help in all of these areas and more.