Coaching in the Knowledge Era
This is the era of information overload. The advent of the internet, personal computers, and smartphones mean everyone has easy access to almost all kinds of information.
This has posed a special challenge for coaches from all fields of life, especially business. Executive coaching is evolving and it is expected to embrace quite a few trends in the coming years.
Watch the video to find out what executive coaching is and why you need it.
The only thing that is constant in this world is change.
There are certain things in our society such as collective values, beliefs, thoughts, family life, working practices and lifestyle that change from time to time.
For example, it was not necessary for the executives in the 1950s to acquire a work/life balance because the entire responsibility of running homes was rested with the women.
Moreover, they strictly followed a structured and regimental 9-5 hours a day work routine.
They would also not try to balance the leisure time against the work because it was culturally not important back then.
Imagine coaching someone in the 1950s or the 1960s compared to modern era executives and businessmen.
The issues of today are totally different from the problems encountered by the executives some 60-70 years ago.
As the priorities and problems of the business and people have changed, the coaching industry has evolved itself accordingly as well.
The people of the 50s and the 60s consider coaching as we know it today as a new form of psychotherapy.
It was not until the 80s or the 90s that they started taking coaching as a way to learn new techniques and ideas and how to implement them to drive the company’s success.
With the passage of time, coaching became a full-fledged service and the coaches started to create and employ scientific methods to teach their “students.”
Here is a famous Six-Question process for adopting a coaching approach by the best executive coach in the world, Marshall Goldsmith.
COACHING IN THE MODERN ERA
There is nothing wrong in saying that executive coaching has totally changed from what it was just a decade ago.
It is important to delve little further into history in order to fully understand this transformation.
As mentioned above, coaching transformed into a fully commercial activity way back in the 1970s. Since then, it has changed and evolved drastically.
From the early 70s to the early 80s, coaching was only associated with sports.
However, it infiltrated into other fields, especially business as the time passed by.
It was during that decade that companies seriously started to think about their corporate cultures and things like embracing change, professional development, and employee mindset.
Coaching became an important component of companies’ functions across Australia and the rest of the world in the later years of the 1980s.
Sir John Whitmore presented his famous GROW Model of coaching at the beginning of the 1990s which garnered worldwide popularity. The basic purpose of the model was problem-solving and goal setting.
The model is so effective that individual coaches and institutes still widely use it to great effect.
Subsequently, coaches across the globe started to adopt many different techniques such as learning & development theories and psychological development to name the few as the importance of coaching started to grow.
Here is a basic diagram of the Grow Model.
Life coaching also gained tremendous popularity in addition to executive coaching in the 1990s.
More and more people hired personal coaches to seek help regarding decision making, how to boost their confidence or make a career change.
It was in the 1990s that executive and life coaching entered into the mainstream mode and got all the limelight it deserved.
However, a large number of under-qualified and untrained people also moved into this growing and lucrative industry, which had adverse effects on the quality and results of corporate coaching.
Therefore, companies started to consider coaching as a specialized field.
By then, a number of reputable organizations had already started to offer accreditation programs.
These organizations also put forward industry-specific rules and regulations.
Today, thousands of coaching organizations are working in the United States alone.
They impart industry-specific training and knowledge to both the experienced and novice businessmen. Even the general public has access to a variety of coaching programs.
Some of the organizations go to the extent of finding different methods and techniques to support their coaches.
There are ample professional development opportunities for different types of coaches.
Similarly, various networking events, books and publications, and coaching supervisions also add to their knowledge and experience.
The following chart, taken from the final research report of Executive Coaching Industry Research published in 2013, highlights the primary purposes of executive coaching.
THE REQUIRED DISCIPLINE
It can be said with certainty that coaching has become a required discipline in almost all kinds of companies.
Most of the courses are designed for senior management, but there are some brilliant coaching programs for junior management and low-level staff as well.
Today, around 52% of companies offer coaching programs, both to their senior management and employees.
The coaching field is still expanding and there is a lot of scope for new and emerging personal coaches as well as the coaching organizations. The industry is also not stagnant, but it continues to grow.
In fact, numerous companies are developing in-house coaching programs for their employees. It also means the demand for individual coaches and coaching organizations will not dwindle anytime soon.
THINGS TO TAKE NOTICE OF
Business coaching has changed a lot over the years and there is no doubt about it. Companies are also much more aware of this change than ever before.
They have also recognized the essential link between behavioral psychology and the functioning of an organization.
Therefore, it is becoming even more important for the coaches to raise a bar on their performance and enhance their knowledge in areas like individual psychology and organizational understanding.
It is the only way to maintain professionalism and high standards in the industry which is getting overly crowded.
Business and life coaches are also putting greater emphasis on various psychological aspects of coaching including cognitive behaviors, mindfulness, neuroscience, positive psychology, and emotional intelligence.
Nowadays, coaching has a greater impact on human psychology and behavior as well as professionalism. It also explains why it has transformed into a proper profession over the course of 6-7 decades.
Businesses across the world are currently experiencing a sort of recession.
During these desperate times, coaching organizations are offering programs which assert the importance of aggressive marketing and sales techniques.
The main goal of these programs is to help organizations increase their revenue in a very competitive yet frustrating business environment where some of the most experienced marketers have failed to deliver.
Similarly, dedicated and highly professional coaches also continually evolve and adapt to changing the business landscape, making this industry even more attractive and fascinating.
The sports coaches of 1970s worked differently from the coaches of today. There are three main reasons which prompted this change.
First of all, the expectations of the clients have changed.
Secondly, a number of new businesses with different requirements have emerged in recent years.
Thirdly, incessant technological advancements have introduced new methods of delivering effective coaching.
But, the techniques they use to become effective leaders are constantly evolving as is every other aspect of their business, making it necessary for the coaches to always stay on their toes to survive in this industry.
CERTIFICATION AND ACCREDITATION IS VERY IMPORTANT
Just because you are a qualified coach does not mean you are an effective coach as well. In fact, these two attributes have nothing in common.
It can be said that the growing number of coaching accreditation and certification programs is a positive development.
Unfortunately, most of these programs are not good enough to produce high-quality coaches who have the ability to be effective and successful with their clients.
It has become mandatory for the coaches to acquire coaching certificates despite their apparent shortcomings. If you don’t, you will significantly decrease your chances of getting hired.
These programs are growing in importance as companies are hiring both business and life coaches for their employees at a continually increasing rate.
After all, a company that is investing heavily in executive coaching programs will make sure that the return on their investment is always positive.
Therefore, it is necessary for you as an executive coach to get accredited with a reputable coaching organization if you want to have any chance of success.
Here is a detailed guide on how to become a certified coach.
COMPANIES EXPECT FAST, MEASURABLE RESULTS
Coaching is no longer an exercise which only boosts the confidence of your client and increases his happiness levels.
Nowadays, both companies and individual clients want fast and measurable results over a specified period of time.
For instance, gone are the days when companies would wait for years for their newly appointed CEOs to reach their full competence.
Now, they would rather hire a coach who promises to deliver quick results in the short run and permanent results in the long run.
Some of the best executive coaches who deal with c-level executives are equipped with all sorts of analytics and assessment tools.
These tools help them develop an actionable plan with their client, including objectives and goals and how to attain them.
In simple words, companies expect a business coach to deliver demonstrable results. Most importantly, these results should make a real difference to their company as well.
APP-BASED COACHING PLATFORMS
The influx of mobile coaching apps has had a major impact on the coaching industry. Some of these apps are really popular and they have totally changed the way people think of executive coaching.
You may argue that apps cannot replace human coaches. We have to agree with you because executive coaching requires actual human relationship which an application can never stimulate.
Nevertheless, app-based coaching programs are springing up like mushrooms.
They are also expected to make coaching tools such as tracking functions and assessments much more reliable, accurate, and faster.
There are, in fact, many benefits of mobile-based coaching programs especially for your clients.
For example, he can easily measure his progress against the set milestones.
He can also measure your performance as a coach with the utmost ease.
You do not have to explain to him everything during the next in-person coaching session and both of you can spend your time on more important matters, such as learning and practicing new leadership techniques.
The purpose of mobile apps is to complement coaching and make it more efficient. They are not here to supplant it.
Coaches who have specialized in a single field or industry will be in greater demand in the years to come. Niche coaching is on the verge of becoming the next big thing in the coaching industry.
You may opine that some characters are common among all leaders and executives.
However, executives working in different industries have different requirements. What a tech executive wants is totally different from what an executive working in the gas and petroleum industry requires.
All these executives need a coach who has demonstrable experience in their respective fields, making it important for coaches to specialize in a single field of their choice.
The following infographic explains why coaching is the best leadership behavior.
COACHING FOR NON-EXECUTIVE LEADERS
Business coaching is no longer for executives and senior management only. Businesses have realized that coaching has the potential to change the life and career of non-executive leaders as well.
In fact, an increasing number of non-executive leaders are taking a keen interest in coaching and it is a very positive development.
It is a common saying that people leave the manager not the company when they resign from their jobs. In this regard, senior management can only be effective when they are worried about bad decisions, and moral problems of junior level executives.
Companies that can dedicate resources and arrange coaching programs for their non-executive leaders often perform better compared to companies which cannot or do not spend money on non-executive coaching.
INTEGRATION OF COACHING INTO LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS
Numerous companies are integrating their leadership development programs with their coaching programs.
According to some experts, the trend will continue to grow and resonate for a long time to come.
It actually makes a lot of sense because the leadership development work is actually a part of the company’s coaching process.
Instead of learning leadership in the classrooms, active coaching enables you to practice it during your routine, day to day activities.
Integrating theory-based knowledge with practical on-job application opportunities is the way to go for both the leaders and their companies.
LEADERS AS A COACH TRAINING IS GAINING TRACTION
This is another growing trend which has gained a lot of traction among business leaders. Working as a leader-coach has a lot of perks. It is an emerging skill which leaders have to master.
When leaders teach and guide others about various aspects of business or life, it expands their own knowledge of leadership and management.
Furthermore, they get in a better position to promote action and accountability in the teams they lead.
The following is a beautiful TED Talk about leadership and coaching by Mark Smith
THE TYPE OF COACHING TO FOCUS ON
There is hardly any organization in the world which does not provide professional development opportunities to their employees.
Many companies have even put coaching for their staff on the top of their priority or to-do lists.
How do these companies prioritize their coaching needs? Whether the focus should be on the team, executives, external or internal coaching or something different altogether?
In this regard, many organizations prefer to develop coaching programs or classes for their senior managers only.
On the other hand, external coaches like to coach teams, arguing that it will become a top trend in the coaching world sooner rather than later.
Here is an excellent video about different types of coaches you normally come across.
STREAMLINED AND CENTRALIZED EXECUTIVE COACHING
The trend of centralized and streamlined executive coaching enabling companies to hire fewer coaches is also on the rise. Currently, companies have dedicated coaches for every tier of their employees.
Although they are doing a pretty good job yet it is difficult to measure results when so many disconnected coaches are working in your organization.
You can align your coaching programs with your corporate goals, enhance their consistency and get demonstrable results by centralizing and streamlining your coaching system.
MORE COACHING OPPORTUNITIES FOR MILLENNIALS
It is not surprising that millennial leaders are also taking on the challenge of coaching their teams.
Similarly, companies are feeling a greater need to add more coaching opportunities for their millennial employees and leaders. Such employees have a craving for feedback.
Similarly, they are more likely to use the latest technological tools to go about their business.
Therefore, focusing on providing them with training opportunities might be the perfect recipe for success.
The International Coach Federation has also released an infographic which explains why coaching really works.
Coaching is on the rise in organizations around the world.
This is the trend which is not likely to vanish anytime soon. In fact, companies spend billions of dollars on different types of coaching every year.
Coaching has also emerged as one of the most important business trends and needs in the last couple of decades.
Similarly, coaching is also evolving just like all other professions.
The current generation of leaders who grew in the late 20th century has a totally different opinion about coaching compared to the top leaders who grew in the 60s or 70s.
Both companies and individuals are recognizing and appreciating the importance of coaching in the modern world.
Similarly, specialization and technology are helping the clients and the coaches to effectively work together and obtain desirable yet measurable results.
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