Although very different, in the essence of executive and business coaching, executive and business coaches also share some commonalities. Despite their somewhat contrasting approach, executive and business coaches also have one common goal: assisting their clients in enhancing their business performance, either by resolving business-related problems they may be experiencing or helping them grow as a company leader. But even with their shared goal to assist executives and CEOs, their approaches often differ markedly regarding style. This article will describe what we mean by each executive coach style and explore the respective benefits associated with each style.
The first type of Executive Coach is what we refer to as “people-person.” These are the coaches who believe that leaders need to understand their followers in-person, face-to-face. This group believes that leaders are best served by understanding people, including their emotions, reactions, thoughts, and misunderstandings. By understanding these followers, they think that they can better guide and manage them. Moreover, this executive coaching style emphasizes problem-solving rather than simply creating an overall vision or mission for the company. As such, they are great consultants, coaches, and mentors for senior-level executives.
The second type of executive coach is the “people-type” executive coach. These coaches are great at identifying problems, developing solutions, and helping executives work through their issues. Additionally, they do not emphasize training and development programs as they believe that executives can solve most problems by themselves. In this respect, they share some of the executive business coach characteristics identified above. However, unlike the people-person executive coaching style, they place more emphasis on leadership coaching programs.
The third type of executive coach style is the “processional” one. This type of coach is typically associated with the consulting firm or think tank movement. Because most of these firms focus on providing comprehensive leadership training to their clients, they tend to prefer candidates who have already overcome major business-related obstacles. These executives typically prefer candidates who can demonstrate that they possess a thorough understanding of not only basic processes but also the strengths and weaknesses of specific business-related processes. Because most executive coaching courses focus on broad business management principles, they also prefer candidates who are also versed in non-leadership-related skills.
There are a number of benefits to hiring executive coaches. The first, as noted above, is to help executives understand the ways in which they can overcome business setbacks. In addition, these psychologists are good at providing the motivation needed to make difficult decisions. Finally, these psychologists are skilled at making difficult business decisions based on the results of research and analysis. This means that if an executive faces a situation that he or she does not feel comfortable taking, executive coaches are capable of providing practical solutions.
Unfortunately, there are also some drawbacks associated with executive coach leadership. For example, it has been shown that business owners who work with coaches who are too focused on solving their client’s problems may in turn develop dysfunctional leadership styles. In other words, a business coach may be ineffective if he or she focuses so much on solving the problems of his or her client that he or she develops a “you’ve got nothing to worry about” attitude, leading to a dearth of mentoring and coaching opportunities for other employees.
Narcissistic leaders are very likely to become narcissists. Anecdotal evidence demonstrates that executives who focus on their own success are more likely to become narcissists, while those who focus on others’ success are more likely to develop other narcissistic personality traits, such as self-dramatization and social media addiction. In addition, experts have suggested that leaders who exhibit narcissistic personality traits also tend to become impatient and demand unrealistic goals from their employees. If you manage a company that employs narcissistic leaders, you may find that the work environment becomes fraught with resentment and chaos.
As a practitioner, it is important to remember that you cannot simply adopt the strategies of every executive coaching model that you come across. Effective leadership skills require a combination of approaches that include a mix of academic, tactical, and interpersonal skills. You can effectively improve your leadership skills by engaging with a quality peer advisory group that has experience working with executives, and you can take action on these strategies immediately. You also have the opportunity to work with an executive coach who can effectively guide you through the process of learning new approaches and techniques.