Support from the Sidelines Barbara Bowes

Winnipeg Free Press, August 25, 2012 | Go to article overview

Support from the Sidelines Barbara Bowes


Hiring an expert to coach executives benefits both individuals and their companies

The summer Olympic Games are finally over, but the thrill of both winning and participating will be felt by our athletes and their families for a much longer time. After all, these competitions are all about striving to be the best that you can be and the hype and excitement that comes along with this stays with you for quite a while.

Yet, we often don't think of or even realize all of the time, effort and support that goes into "making" an athlete who can cope with competing on such a grand world stage. While sponsors are some of the behind-the-scenes supporters, in my view, the most important supporter is the coach. The coach is a specialist in their sport and is also an expert in giving guidance, advice and encouragement. If you really want to think about it, these Olympic coaches are part psychologist, teacher, parent, friend and technical expert all rolled into one.

Sports coaching has a well-known and long history, while the concept of "executive coaching" is more recent. In fact, it is only since the 1990s that executive coaching has developed into an independent discipline and is continuing to grow in popularity. What exactly is executive coaching and what benefits can this provide a professional?

Executive coaching is a counselling/coaching process that helps to facilitate both personal and professional development. Executive coaching can focus specifically on a career, such as helping an individual to set a career path and develop steps to achieve career goals, transitioning to a different career, and/or managing your career within a challenging work environment.

Executive coaching is also used for skill enhancement, particularly in the areas of developing strategic thinking skills, improving communication, identifying and implementing organizational effectiveness improvements, dealing with conflict, developing strategies on how to build a high-performing team or how to deal with daily challenges that arise.

Executive coaching provides a number of benefits to individuals as well as an organization itself. While executive coaching was initially used mostly to support underperforming employees, today it is more common to use executive coaching as development tool for high-performing employees. These benefits for individual employees include the following:

-- Executive coaching provides individualized and customized unbiased support that is designed to address each person's unique needs.

-- Individuals discover elements of their personality and communication style that might be "blind spots" and learn strategies for overcoming these issues.

-- Individual assessment brings out increased self-awareness with respect to skills, career goals, relationships and personal motivation that can then be turned into goals and objectives.

-- Coaching provides for real-time learning, where all of an individual's learning is applied immediately back to the workplace, where results can be seen immediately.

-- Executive coaches help individuals learn new strategies for old problems and then provide support and encouragement as the individuals begin learning and practising new skills. …

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Support from the Sidelines Barbara Bowes
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