Why Execs shouldn’t buy coaching (& how coaches can sell more)

Don't buy coachingCoaching is really well established in many parts of the business world as a method of helping leaders develop highly desirable skill sets, positive changes to mindset and achievement of goals. I know, I’ve helped many senior Executives achieve these positive results and many more.

The thing is, so many coaches, in my experience, are often too wrapped up in the world of coaching. Usually for really positive reasons e.g. they want to understand and develop their craft, which bearing in mind the responsibilities they have in their role, most of us would agree to be a wholly laudable aspiration.

The thing is, most Execs don’t care about coaching per se. What they do care about is results, which bearing in mind the responsibilities they have in their role, most of us would agree to be a wholly laudable aspiration (see what I did there?)

For those really senior leaders who engage with their own development most of them would engage in yogic flying if you could prove it would positively impact the bottom line. The outcome is their focus not the methodology. How a coach does what they do is only of real concern once an approach has been made and even then I find many senior leaders willing to engage in a wide range of approaches if they have confidence that it will help them deliver what they need.

Leaders don’t care

For many busy, under pressure, highly accountable and highly regulated senior executives of large organisations the key point is this, the delivery mechanism of change and performance improvement is much less important than the results themselves. Due to the very subjective nature of individual Executive Development, leaders will firstly engage coaches (and mentors) that have been recommended to them and secondly, those coaches who have a great track record of helping other senior leaders achieve demonstrably great results.

Caveat emptor

Buyers of coaching should not look for coaches, they should look at the results and the areas of focus that those selling coaching and mentoring can demonstrate that they have been able to help bring about. Therein lies a challenge because of the confidential nature of much of what goes on in coaching sessions but there are ways to get at that information.

Coaches could make things a lot easier for buyers by focusing less on their approaches to coaching, their accreditation etc (all important, of course!) and spend much more space helping those purchasing their services to understand what observable differences their work will bring about. For professionals who spend a lot of time being empathic in our practice of coaching it is too easy not to be similarly empathic towards buyers who want to help leaders develop. Think results and outcomes first, approach, methodology etc second.

Glenn P Wallis works with senior executives and teams to bring about significant, positive performance level changes, quickly and sustainably. His focus is on leaders leading in a way that blends strength and clarity with humility and a deep connection with those they lead. If you would like to engage Glenn to work with you or your senior leaders, please contact him here.


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