In short, coaches have a role in executive leadership development that improves organizations' productivity and profitability. We understand that some people are skeptical about coaching ‐ to them, it seems like a cottage industry where credentials are questionable, services are expensive and success is hard to measure.
Consider a survey of Fortune 1000 companies who engaged executive coaches (source Manchester, Inc.) that found the benefits of coaching to include:
- 77% Improved working relationships with direct reports
- 71% Improved relationship with immediate supervisors
- 67% Improved team work
- 63% Improved relationships with peers
- 61% Improved job satisfaction
- 52% Conflict reduction
- 44% Improved organizational commitment
- 37% Improved relationship with clients
- 53% Improved productivity
- 48% Improved quality
- 48% Improved organizational strength
- 39% Improved customer service
- 34% Reduction in customer complaints
- 32% Retention of executives who received coaching
On average, every $1.00 invested in executive coaching yields a $7.90 return according to a survey of Fortune 500 firms by Metrix Global Research.
According to a recent American Management Association survey, more than 52% of organizations in the United States use executive coaches and 55% of organizations internationally, and the numbers are growing.
Professional athletes and singers have coaches. Executive Chairman and former CEO of Google Eric Schmidt has said the best advice he ever got was to hire an executive coach. When a board member suggested it, Schmidt didn't think he needed a coach. However, he later was quoted in Fortune Magazine saying, "everyone needs a coach."
Why? Folks in the C-suite have a lot to gain by working with an executive coach.
Coaches can speak the truth to power. It can be career-ending for a subordinate staff member to deliver critical feedback to a member of the C-suite. An executive coach can give objective and constructive feedback on blind spots, and provide an outside perspective on the company and the team. Coaches also serve as thinking partners. They are able to serve as an impartial sounding board -- a safe place to test out ideas and strategy. An executive coach also assists with onboarding executives into new roles and accelerates transitions and assimilation. A good coach will also help you stay ahead of the curve with instruments and tools. Finally, chemistry is critically important to executive coaching. Fit is essential in the success of an executive coaching engagement. We focus a great deal on finding the right match within our cadre of coaches for each executive coaching engagement.
For more information on why coaching is important for those at the top of their game, please review this article from The New Yorker: Coaching a Surgeon -- What Makes Top Performers Better
We are intensely focused on impact. At Liberty Business Strategies, we provide custom-delivered development opportunities to both current and high-potential leaders. Our fees are in line with industry rates (we have nonprofit rates as well). We are all seasoned consultants with credentials and relevant business experience. We also believe that one of the perils to coaching is not matching the client with the right coach. Matching people according to business expertise and personality is in our experience the best strategy for a successful coaching outcome.
Companies hire us to work with our clients via a combination of methods. We prefer the majority of our interaction with our clients to occur face-to-face either at your offices or ours. We are also available to our clients over the phone and via email. We work in confidence as a partner and sounding board to "C-suite" or rising star executives with a focus on optimizing the individual’s success as a leader to drive results for the company.
A typical executive coaching engagement begins with a six-month commitment and is re-evaluated at the conclusion of the contract.
Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter describes successful companies as having "a culture that keeps moving all the time." Today’s senior executives increasingly find they have responsibility for major transformations of large enterprises. They and their advisors conventionally focus their attention on devising the best strategic and tactical plans. But to succeed, they also must have an intimate understanding of the human side of change management — the alignment of the company’s culture, values, people, and behaviors — to encourage the desired results. Plans themselves do not capture value; value is realized only through the sustained, collective actions of the employees who are responsible for designing, executing, and living with the changed environment.
Each enterprise we work with has a different way to measure impact based on their goals for each particular project. We can however point to several specific examples that illustrate how Liberty Business Strategies brings value to our clients.
1) Liberty Business Strategies provided leadership development and training opportunities for a large nonprofit cultural organization which lacked internal capacity for training and coaching. With our help, the executive team recognized how to be more effective in guiding staff and more focused developing managers and supervisors. This effort led directly to a jump in employee satisfaction.
2) We partnered with the executive leadership of a Mid-Atlantic regional bank to develop and implement a change management strategy for the branch network that included a new sales philosophy, sales tools and workshops for every branch employee. Sales increased significantly across four out of five metrics tracked by the company.
3) We worked with a senior executive at an international pharmaceutical firm who headed up a line of business perceived by him and his team to be marginalized within the company. His work with Liberty Business Strategies helped him to integrate and properly position the business unit within the enterprise. This effort propelled the team’s visibility within the company, allowed the line of business to be better resourced, produced a greater focus on M & A activity. The renewed energy of the overall team reframed their perceptions of the company, the unit and increased their pride in their work.
4) We worked with three colleagues from three different continents to look at a conflict through a cultural lens. Liberty Business Strategies was able to help them identify the source of friction which resulted in more effective communications and a more productive operating unit.
5) A Fortune 500 technology company was seeking a new CEO. The president of the largest business unit of the company had the background and perspective to assume the CEO role but lacked the personal support of the current leaders. Liberty consultants worked with the president to strengthen his relationships with his own team, so there could be no doubt about his leadership abilities. Concurrently they worked on enhancing his influence with his peers and the retiring CEO. In time, the president demonstrated that he was the optimum choice and was named CEO. He and Liberty continued their partnership, but with a new focus: building effective relationships with directors, analysts, shareholder representatives and other key stakeholders.