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  Some Frequently-Asked Questions about Coaching





Executive Coaching
Anna Marie Valerio




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Why use executive coaching?

Leadership is tougher today than ever before—and promises to get increasingly difficult.

  • Leaders face ever stiffening global competition
  • Leaders encounter increased demands and decreasing decision time
  • Leaders must assume greater responsibilities more quickly, with less preparation
  • Leaders must improve performance with a younger and less experienced workforce
  • Leaders must deal with greater workforce diversity
  • Leaders must simultaneously exert managerial control while stimulating creativity and innovation
  • Leaders are increasingly challenged to adapt to change and confront the novel

Coaching accelerates development and enables success.

Coaching has emerged as the preferred “just in time” learning to help you leverage the areas that have the greatest impact on your business results.

What is coaching?

It is a one-on-one development process formally contracted between a coach and a management-level client to help achieve goals related to professional development and/or business performance. Coaching typically focuses on helping the client become more self-aware through the use of action learning methods.

When is executive coaching appropriate?

Coaching tends to be most appropriate when:

  • Performance makes an important difference to the employer. Almost by definition, the contributions expected of senior executives fall into this category. Managers at other levels who are in especially significant roles also are responsible for making an important contribution, so they too can be appropriate coaching clients.
  • The relevant learning issues are in the “soft skills” area. These skills include the ability to build relationships with others and to work in teams.
  • There are no right answers. You need to develop your own solutions to certain of the puzzles of executive life, and it’s hard to do it on your own. If there were right answers hidden away somewhere, the task would be a lot easier.
  • The learning needs to happen according to your schedule, and quickly. People who are moved into important positions with little advance notice can be supported with a coach.

What do the coach and the coaching process contribute to the learning?

Focus of attention.

Having a coach means paying attention to the issues. Appointments are scheduled, time is spent, confidential discussions are held regarding the relevant topics.


Because of the regularity of appointments and the involvement of other people, it’s a lot easier to stay on track. Organizational life is full of distractions, even emergencies. Having a coach is a way to increase the priority on this change effort.

Valid data.

Change and learning require good data, and the coach can help bring that about. Information is needed on what you bring to the job, what actions are being effective, what is needed in order to succeed. The coach can help interpret 360º surveys, attitude surveys, or performance reviews. Perhaps most importantly, the coach can help you make sense of all this data.

New ideas.

The coach may or may not have ever held a job such as yours. But he or she has talked to a lot of people like you, and knows something about how they have succeeded. The coach brings new perspective to your thinking, helps you get out of mental ruts and dead ends. Not all the ideas are brilliant, or will work for you. Nonetheless, there’s a pool of suggestions waiting for you to check out.


It’s not easy to do things differently. Making changes means taking risks, persevering in the face of resistance, and possibly feeling a little strange or silly at times. Changes require a “safe” environment in which to takes these risks. The coach is there to provide encouragement, help, and someone to talk to while all this is happening.

The learning process.

Sometimes the greatest value coming out of a coaching relationship isn’t just your changed behavior or the changed perceptions of others in the organization. Sometimes it is the client’s insight into how to learn. The coach’s expertise is exactly in this domain. The goal is for the client to take away good insights into how to handle the learning/change process, and a sense as to how to use these insights in future situations.

Anna Marie Valerio, Ph.D.
Executive Leadership Strategies, LLC
Metro New York Area