Executive Coaching Articles

5 Tips for Selecting an Executive Coach

Author: Paul Dillenburg, Date: 1/9/2013

Whereas coaching was once viewed as a remedy for an organization’s “problem employees,” today organizations are using coaching to hold onto and improve their very best leaders.  But if you are looking for a coach, how do you go about finding the right one?  Below are 5 tips to help you select the coach that is right for you:

1.    Look for good fit. One of the key ingredients to a successful coaching relationship is the chemistry/fit between the coach and client – ask for a “complimentary session” to help determine the coaches style.

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Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Author: Diane Hamilton, Date: 11/6/2012

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” —Brian TracyComfort

When is the last time you pushed yourself out of your comfort zone?

If you are a new leader you may be answering, “every day.” For those who are more seasoned, you may have to stop and think about the last time that you felt “awkward” or “uncomfortable.”

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Rewarding Others: Personal Currencies

Author: Paul Dillenburg, Date: 8/1/2012

One of the challenges many managers face is determining how to engage, motivate and reward their workforce. While financial incentives do have a part to play, they often are not enough to keep employees “happy” with their work.

Not long ago I was discussing this topic with colleagues and the phrase “personal currency” came up. The theory behind personal currency is that each of us place a high value on different things in our work lives. Those things we value most are our currency. For example, some individuals find the most value from monetary rewards or advancement opportunities. Others covet flexibility of schedule or autonomy in their work. Still others place a high value on skill development or involvement in a variety of projects. The list of personal currencies can go on and on.

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Will Coaching Work: 4 Questions to Answer

Author: Paul Dillenburg, Date: 7/10/2012

Faced with smaller developmental budgets, organizations need to be selective and invest a disproportionate amount of resources in key talent. One avenue for developing top talent is hiring a coach. But, truth be told, not everyone in your organization needs a coach. And, it is not appropriate to invest in coaching for all leaders. How do you know if a coach is the best resource for a given leader?

Here are 4 questions to help you determine if a leader should work with a coach:

1. Does your organization support coaching?
In order to achieve the results intended, individuals need support not only from their coach but also their boss and peers.

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Know What You Do Well and Build On It

Author: Diane Hamilton, Date: 7/5/2012

Einstein QuoteFor the past 20 years or so, I have used 360 degree feedback tools to help leaders continue to learn and grow. I think they are extremely valuable in helping people see where they are at; what strengths to leverage; and, what improvement opportunities exist.

While extremely valuable, a mistake I regularly see is the desire to focus only on the negative. Now, I understand this. By nature, when I look at something I’ve done, it is easier for me to talk about what still needs to be improved versus commenting on what was right. When it comes to my own self-examination, I have a nasty inner critic of excellence that tells me to do more, do better, change, or adjust.

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Teacher and Student

Author: Paul Dillenburg, Date: 6/13/2012

On a fairly regular basis, I facilitate mastermind groups for high potential employees. For those of you not familiar with a mastermind group, it is a monthly gathering of 5 – 8 individuals from different organizations that seek professional development through peer learning and the presentation of leadership content.

One of the key “ground rules” I like to present to the group is the idea that we are all teachers and students.  Meaning, you can teach everybody you interact with something and everyone you meet can teach you something.  This is an extremely powerful message and one not everyone embraces – especially as leaders.  But for those of us that must lead through collaboration, if you aren’t open to others input you may find yourself without followers.

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Never Forget the ‘Why’

Author: Paul Dillenburg, Date: 5/23/2012

As I’ve trained and coached new managers over the years, one area I try to focus some attention on is connecting the “manager” to the “individual.” So often we are forced to wear the “manager” hat at work. The “manager” cares about what gets done. The “manager” is interested in the assignment of tasks, the completion of projects, and the quantifying of results.

But what about the “individual?” We as “individuals” care about the why. The “individual” wants to find the connection between who I am as a person and who I am as a manager. The “individual” asks questions like, “Why did I become a manager?” “Why should others follow me?” “Why do I do what I do?” “Why am I putting in so much effort?”

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The Value of Executive Coaching

Author: Paul Dillenburg, Date: 3/6/2012

More and more companies are using executive coaching to improve their bottom line. It is one of many approaches to developing leadership talent. Three reasons that coaching is particularly effective include:

  1. Individualized attention. Unlike many other approaches to leadership development, each participant gets focused attention to learn about their strengths and development opportunities; and, develop specific action steps that tie to organizational results.
  2. Accountability. Coaching is results-focused. The client creates goals and the coach helps hold the client accountable to those goals. Coaches provide clients with the process, tools, structure, and support to achieve higher levels of performance.
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Build Relationships with Your Employees

Author: Diane Hamilton, Date: 1/4/2012

Sports IllustratedIf you like college basketball, the names Coach K (Duke Blue Devils) and Pat Summit (Tennessee Lady Volunteers) are familiar. They are the two winningest coaches in Division I college basketball history. Both were honored by Sports Illustrated as the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the year in 2011. You may (or may not) be a fan of their respective teams; either way, you can’t argue with their success.

The December 2011 SI article that honored the two coaches caught my eye—in part because I like college basketball. It also grabbed my attention because of a reference to leadership that goes beyond the obvious records and accomplishments that they both have achieved. For Krzyzewski and Summit, “coaching starts with understanding the individual,” wrote Donald G. Zauderer, a professor emeritus at American University in an assessment of the two coaches. “Both invest large amounts of time and energy in getting to know players—their values, emotional makeup, and hopes and dreams for a successful life.”

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10-10-10 Decision Making

Author: Diane Hamilton, Date: 11/23/2011

Are you looking for a quick and simple tool to help you in decision-making?  A tool that can help when you are ‘stuck’ and can’t seem to determine the appropriate next step?  The tool I’ve been recommending of late is from Suzy Welch’s book, 10-10-10: A Life Transforming Idea.

The exercise goes like this:

Think (journal) about a decision you are facing.  Answer the 10-10-10 question:

1.  What will the consequences of my decision be in 10 minutes (the first 10 basically stands for “right now” – as in, one minute, one hour, or one week)?

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