What is executive coaching? A four-part definition to a growing field

Kathy Iverson is an associate professor in Roosevelt University's Training and Development graduate program. She teaches organization development, cultural diversity, research methodology, training foundations, consulting, and evaluation.

Kathy Iverson is an associate professor in Roosevelt University’s Training and Development graduate program. She teaches organization development, cultural diversity, research methodology, training foundations, consulting, and evaluation.

The field of coaching has grown dramatically in the past 20 years. One reason is the high cost of attrition. Research indicates that 35 to 40 percent of new managers fail within the first 18 months (Fisher, 2005). The cost of replacement is estimated at $150,000 for a manager and as much as $750,000 for an executive (McCune, 1999).

Companies look to coaches to facilitate performance improvement in struggling workers, aid change and transition, resolve conflict, and address performance gaps. Individuals hire coaches to address all of the above and to also address career change and upward mobility.

Coaches can be either internal, working within larger organizations, or external, hired by organizations or individuals on a consulting basis. Coaching can be defined in many ways, but typically involves a one-on-one or team relationship that involves focused performance improvement. Berman and Brandt (2006) have further extended the definition of coaching to include:

  1. Facilitative Coaching: Short term, very focused on specific core skills needed by leaders and managers such as strategic planning, team building, motivation, etc.
  2. Executive Consulting: Offers senior leaders a resource to bounce ideas off of and to help with difficult and costly decisions. It can be brief or long term and involves the use of directive questioning to facilitate problem solving.
  3. Restorative Coaching:  Short term coaching that helps a valued employee overcome difficulties or performance gaps.  I can involve the development of new skills or performance interventions to address issues with organization or motivation.
  4. Developmental Coaching: Typically a long term coaching relationship that addresses significant gaps in skill or performance.  These clients might have long standing interpersonal issues or core skills gap that are holding them back from achieving their goals.

For more on this topic, please see Berman and Brandt’s Executive Coaching: Different strokes for different folks. 

Also, watch the following video, 
The Psychology of Coaching. This is a preview to a full length DVD. Note: If you are viewing this blog via Blackboard, you’ll need to right click the link above and select “open link in new tab” so that it will work.

We will be offering TRDV 445 Executive Coaching Spring 2015 in a fully online version if you’d like to learn more about this discipline.

What did you think of the movie? What can you add to the above definition? What area of coaching most interests you?

About Eric

Eric Hahn is a graduate assistant in the Training & Development program and works as an editor, graphic designer and writer. He lives in Chicago and has a cat with a criminal mind.
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5 Responses to What is executive coaching? A four-part definition to a growing field

  1. Aaron Rolle says:

    What I took from the video is the importance of balance there must be between the professional and the emotional sides of the relationship in order to provide effective coaching. This relationship takes so much time to build but is crucial to the process. I also notice how much they stress the importance of having knowledge of the organization and how things work. This is definitely a Documentary I am going to watch in full.

  2. The short video drew attention to the importance of coaching. If I could give a single thought on it, it would be that coaches are there to see the “issue” through until the very end. Coaches are there turn potential into actual/concrete habits or performance.

    After reading the blog post, restorative coaching stood out the most to me. I think I’d like to further explore that area of coaching.

  3. Wendy Buntel says:

    The comment in the preview about how the coach becomes a confidant reminded me of another blog post Coaching vs Therapy (https://rutraining.org/2015/03/30/coaching-vs-therapy/). A therapist helps the client make sense of things in the rear view mirror; a coach helps the client push forward on a new path.

  4. Marady Leary says:

    This is interesting data on how many new managers fail in the first 18 months. I work for a program where we implement a bunch of managers into companies and we have only thought about getting them the job but not the retention add in. I am excited to learn more through my class this semester!

  5. There were multiple key points about coaching that stood out in this short video. Drawing attention to the importance of building trust, in order to have an effective coaching relationship/experience had a great amount of impact with me. Many, if not all of us have encountered a coaching scenario that progressed in a downward spiral, often times very quickly. On the contrary, many, if not all of us have experienced a positive coaching moment. Looking back on situations from both scenarios, trust was a key factor. I look forward to learning more about ways to establish trust early on in working relationships. With some people and some relationships, this attribute comes naturally, but with others who have a guard up, or who have had negative experiences, tend to require more when it comes to earning one’s trust.

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