Diversity Woman Magazine

SUM 2019

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

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We Mean Business > d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m S u m m e r 2 0 1 9 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N 29 a perfect time to seek executive coaching because of the tendency to plateau. "e importance of continually learn- ing and generating new ideas and new insights that help the organization get better is something not a lot of people do because they get complacent when they're in that midcareer trajectory," Horwath says. "People develop goals, but they don't take the time to develop the strategies or pathways to get there." Women especially can benefit from coaching so they can analyze what could be inhibiting their growth and leadership (besides, of course, the very real gender discrimination practices endemic in Cor- porate America). "Frequently, we find that women are be- ing held back by their own internal voice," Belzer says, adding that coaching can help women acknowledge how that voice is shaping their beliefs about themselves. "We help them learn how to put those beliefs aside and be able to move forward with more purpose." e coaching relationship tends to begin with an assessment. For Bermes and her team, who work primarily with organiza- tions, this starts with a 360-degree review in which they venture to the client's work- place and interview bosses, peers, direct reports, and internal customers. at gives the leader the opportunity to see where she is strong, where her assets re- ally count, and what people acknowledge is valuable about her leadership style. It also gives a clear lens into areas of devel- opment for the leader and gives coaches enough data to formulate a plan. "ere is some magic in being an external person," Bermes says of her team performing the 360-degree review. "And the client knows I'm not going to be around the wa- ter cooler, that I can't talk about this stuff because I don't work there. You get more of the real story." Krohn, who coaches a mix of individual clients and leaders brought to her by com- panies, also begins the process with vari- ous self-assessment tools. One in particu- lar she likes to use, the Leadership Circle Profile, measures what it deems "creative competencies" and "reactive tendencies" in an effort to expose specific areas for de- velopment. Coaches help calibrate how executives see themselves with how others view them. "It's a very healthy experience to go through that, because people don't often get real feedback," Krohn says. "An execu- tive coach can help plan what to do about it. 'Okay, people see that I'm autocratic. I never realized that. What are some specific things I might do because I don't want to show up as autocratic?' Coaching is, on one hand, aspirational, visionary, strategic. But at the same time, it's also practical." Coaching engagements with personal coaches and with leadership centers and firms typically last at least six months, with two to three in-person or virtual sessions a month. With rising leaders, sessions can also focus on executive assimilation, helping tran- sition someone into a new role or team; sometimes, they focus on specific situa- tions, such as when an executive needs to fire someone or reorganize staff. Coaches can also focus on such elements as developing executive presence, what Bermes calls "followership in your people," and alignment, so that direct reports can work together more effectively. Coaches will work on flexing a leader's style to fit situations, cultures, and teams. Coaches also make themselves available on a type of on-call basis, should an urgent situa- tion come up in which a leader needs 10 to 15 minutes to talk through problems and scenarios. "e role of coaching is to help someone challenge her assumptions, create new possibilities," Habig says, "and that often happens through powerful questions— not giving advice." Coaches can also help reinvigorate an executive. Rich Horwath says he worked with a female executive who had been with her company for 20 years and didn't feel she was bringing new thinking to the table and had become a bit stale with her thought process. To counter that, he introduced the idea of innovative thinking techniques. To connect the techniques to the real world, every week she went through exercises in her workbook that applied to her busi- ness. Horwath gave her one new tool or technique each week. One, called domain jumping, took a business problem she was working on and put it in a completely dif- ferent context. Horwath would tell her, "'Let's say you were working in an Indianapolis 500 rac- ing pit crew. How would you address this issue?' Having her jump to different do- mains helped stimulate some innovative thinking." At the core, executive coaching is about creating leaders that a team wants to follow. "Executives experience extreme pressure, and it can make them fearful, irrational, re- actionary," Bermes says. "Coaching does the best job of getting them back to calm, wise, strategic, creative thinking, which always drives the best result for the business." DW Erin Chan Ding is an award-winning freelance journalist whose work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times, among others. "The role of coaching is to help someone challenge her assumptions, create new possibilities, and that often happens through powerful questions— not giving advice." TYPICAL EXECUTIVE COACHING RATES Rates vary from $100 to $1,000 per hour, according to Sharon Krohn, execu- tive coach, with the middle range between $150 and $350 per hour. Coaching rates at the Center for Creative Leadership range from $350 to $650 per hour, depending on the leader level.

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