Harvard Business Schools Take on Executive Coaching

A Harvard Business Review survey on business coaching has revealed some very interesting data that will assist those on the fence make up their minds about the potential value of executive coaching.

Within the study a lot of useful questions were asked that can cast light on what is required to set up the best possible relationship between an executive coach and any business leader they are working with.

The very first question asked was: Do the coach and the executive have good chemistry? If the answer is yes, this will definitely help the pair move forward and attain their goals. On the other hand if the answer is no, it’s probably advantageous to search for another coach as a coaching relationship is intimate and the individual being coached must trust the coach.

The 2nd question was: Is the executive willing to change their leadership style? A ‘yes’ is required for the relationship to have any chance of success, since change is hard to make and even harder to make stick. If the answer is ‘no’, then the executive is fixed in their ‘way of being’ and not open to change, so in all likelihood the coaching won’t work.

The 3rd concern asked was: Does the executive have the support of his/her leading management? If management is supportive of their leader then the coach and the executive can accomplish terrific things together. However if management is not fully supportive of the leader, there is little point in hiring a coach as its not really going to produce measurable results, and the real potential of the relationship is likely to be stunted. Often it is a direct result of management trying to push an executive along that coaching is offered and it can certainly be a great technique for maintaining personnel.

The 4th and final question focuses on the concern of “shifting focus”. Many of respondents who were surveyed for this study agreed that their coaching focus altered in time. And this is generally an excellent thing. When a coach’s focus shifts, many times it’s because development has actually been made. The important issue is to make sure that the scope of the coaching work is well recorded, as this ensures focus is maintained and a positive measurable result is more likely.