Executive Coaching: Is This Career For You? Here's What You Need To Know
Management & Leadership

Executive coaching: Is this career for you? Here’s what you need to know

Jun 19, 2019
Mobile Curve
Mobile Curve

Executive coaches will play an invaluable role in training the leaders of the future. Here’s an overview of what a career as an executive coach entails.

Businesses are being reshaped by the rapid change brought about by technological advancement, as is the very nature of business itself. We need people to lead us into the future, but who do the leaders themselves turn to for guidance? Executive coaches will play a vital role as advisors to those who hold the reins of power.

What is an executive coach?

The executive coach works with business leaders to help them improve their decision-making, motivational and management skills. As opposed to a professional consultant, who is hired by companies to help them improve their methods and processes; the focus of the coach is on individuals rather than concepts. They are not therapists either, as their approach is future-oriented and geared toward helping the client achieve their goals, rather than overcoming the trauma of their past.

What does an executive coach do?

An increasing number of businesses are turning to professional coaches, believing they can play an invaluable role in achieving optimal performance levels. Sometimes it’s the executives themselves seeking guidance, while at other times, they enlist coaches to help develop potential future leaders of the company.

As an executive coach, you’ll be dealing with people who place a lot of emphasis on results, and for whom time is a valuable resource. Fortunately, executive coaches are professionals, with their own methods to help them do their work and manage time efficiently.

You’ll learn more about these if you choose to embark on a professional coaching course. In the meantime, here’s a brief overview of what the executive coaching process entails, courtesy of WJM Associates:

  • Assessment: Evaluate the client, in order to determine their background, strengths and weaknesses, and mentality. This can be achieved through interviews, aptitude tests and observation.
  • Set targets: Identify areas where improvement will be most beneficial to the company (in many cases, the executive coach will have already been given this information as part of the brief), and determine the magnitude of the gap between the current and desired level of performance.
  • Feedback: Providing feedback to the executive and his or her employer, based on the data collected.
  • Planning: Working with the executive and/or their employer to create a ‘developmental action plan’, a written report that summarises the findings of the assessment, and states the goals of the coaching process. The developmental action plan will serve as a guideline for the coach and their client, and help them track their progress.
  • Coaching: The process itself will involve scheduling regular sessions (preferably face-to-face) over a period of a few months, where the executive coach and their client can discuss, strategise, and assess.

Becoming an executive coach

Sandra Richardson, who leads professional coach training programmes throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia on behalf of Coaches Training Institute (CTI), has the following advice for those who wish to pursue a career as an executive coach: “…get certified. Previously you might not have needed it but now any organisation that employs a coach wants them to be certified.”

Even if you elect not to pursue a career as an executive coach, the skills you develop can serve you in a wide range of careers. But acquiring a certification that is recognised by the International Coach Federation (ICF) will stand you in good stead to pursue a career as a professional coach in independent practice or as part of an interdisciplinary team.

Postgraduate Diploma in Coaching

SACAP’s Postgraduate Diploma in Coaching, like all of their coaching courses, is International Coach Federation (ICF) accredited and COMENSA aligned. The programme equips students as professional coach practitioners for multiple contexts, including personal coaching, corporate coaching and executive coaching.

The benefits of studying a postgraduate diploma in coaching at SACAP include:

  • Practical experience: A combination of rigorous academic theory with practical skills, workplace experience and self-development, so as to ensure you graduate with the knowledge and skills necessary to make an immediate impact.
  • Psychological angle: Since SACAP is also a psychology college, they’re able to incorporate the principles of applied psychology into their coaching courses, providing students with additional skill sets that will serve them well in their coaching career. Though a coach is not supposed to be a counsellor, there’s no doubt counselling skills will be valuable, especially since part of your job will be to help future leaders develop their communication skills and improve their self-awareness.
  • Flexibility: SACAP’s courses are designed for working professionals, so they can be pursued on a part-time basis.

The course is two years part-time, and requires a Bachelors degree or a professional qualification, and (ideally) five years of post-qualification life/work experience.

SACAP also offers a shorter courses in the form of the Coach Practitioner Programme, a part-time, five month, learning programme that serves as a pathway to continue into SACAP’s Postgraduate Diploma in Coaching, should you meet the admission requirements of that programme.

Training the leaders of tomorrow

If you want to play a role in training the future leaders of the business world, equipping them with the skills they need to face the changes ahead, then a career in executive coaching may be the right fit for you. For more information on executive coaching, the postgraduate diploma in coaching, and other coaching programmes on offer at SACAP, enquire now.

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