The 21st Century Executive: Innovative Practices for Building Leadership at the Top

By Rob Silzer | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
Coaching Executives
Individual Leader Development

George P. Hollenbeck

Executive coaching has become the leadership development method of choice in many organizations. “Get him (or her) a coach” has replaced “Get him some training” or “send him to Harvard” as an all-purpose solution for enhancing executive performance. Although executive coaching itself has a long history, in recent years the coaching phenomenon has blossomed to the point of meriting articles in most of the business press and newspapers, a steady stream of books about coaching, and a circuit of workshops and programs by consultants displaying their wares and their experiences. A recent article describes the state of the art: “Coaches are everywhere these days”; “Coaching really is the Wild West of HR” (Morris, 2000, pp. 145, 152).

With the widespread use of coaches, with coaching everywhere in a free- (or not so free-) for-all market, with every consultant a coach, it seems useful to identify and discuss the issues and trends in executive coaching. But how do companies use executive coaching? Where did executive coaching come from and why is it so popular? What makes it so attractive as a general-purpose leader development tool? What do executive coaches do? How does executive

Note: The discussion of the selection of executive coaches and their matching with
individual executives has been informed by conversations with Raymond Flautt
at Chase Manhattan Bank, Steve Hrop and Cynthia Lowden at The Prudential In-
surance Company, and Doug McKenna at Microsoft Corporation.

-137-

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