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Why Top Leaders Hire Executive Coaches

Stuck on the leadership plateau? Finding it challenging to navigate obstacles with the success you hoped for? Feeling like you are not living your best life? It's common to feel like you have a handle on things on minute, only to realize you are stuck making an important decision and cannot see the bigger picture because of the daily grind. As you climb the ladder in any organization, the need for a trusted thought partner increases, yet it's harder to find. That is where an executive coach can provide a fresh perspective. Executive coaching is a transformative process that challenges your mindset, encourages self-awareness, and brings out your best. By fostering a safe environment, an executive coach helps you unlock your full potential, empowering you to make the best decisions and take decisive actions toward achieving your goals. Here are five reasons why you should hire an executive coach and how an executive coach works with you.

Why should you hire an executive coach?

Having coached frontline and executive leaders in organizations of all sizes for over twenty years, I have found that the most accomplished leaders recognize the value of continuous growth and development. They seek out executive coaches to gain fresh perspectives, enhance their skills, and navigate complex challenges. Here are five common reasons why you should hire an executive coach.

1. Accelerate your career. Most of us go through day-to-day life giving more thought to what we wear each day than our careers. If your career is stalling, you need a plan to boost your career. Hiring a coach focused on your career goals leads to improved performance. Coaching keeps you feeling challenged versus being worried about what's next. An executive coach increases your self-awareness and helps you avoid jeopardizing current and future potential opportunities because of blind spots.

2. Shift your mindset. As the world changes, individuals or organizations need to change too. Your mindset is causative. How we feel about change influences our behaviors in response to the change. Shifting our mindset allows new perspectives and presents a never-ending opportunity to grow and achieve new heights in life and work. An executive coach will challenge assumptions and views and encourage, stretch, and challenge you.

"If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." Wayne Dyer

3. Develop a career transition plan. I know many high-performing leaders who are in their current role because of doors that a company opened. As a result, these same leaders have fascinating hobbies outside of work to offset a missing sense of purpose. Whether you're a frontline or executive leader, transitioning careers is never easy. An executive coach invokes greater understanding, awareness, and clarity and uses powerful questions to facilitate clear actions and explore options.

4. Focus on personal development. Without a goal, any path can lead you to your destination, but you may waste time and miss reaching your full potential. An executive coach assists you in defining success and significance for you and collaborates with you to set clear, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound actions to bring you closer to accomplishing your objectives.

"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." Benjamin Franklin

5. Living Life to the Fullest. Do you ever feel like others seem to live a whole and happy life? If you have or do, you are not alone, but living a whole and happy life requires work and learning. Life is short and worth living our best life. An executive coach can help you see different interrelated factors impacting you and be a genuine champion in a supportive way. Coaching facilitates experimentation and self-discovery through the application of what is discussed. A skillful coach helps you dance in the present moment and take actions necessary for what matters to you.

What is the typical executive coaching process?

Research indicates that different psychological methods used in executive coaching, including cognitive-behavioral, solution-focused, strength-based, and GROW, have proven to be successful. Despite their similarities, the GROW model stands out as widely used in executive coaching.

Given that executive coaching's ultimate goal is change within the executive, the process centers on using essential questions and client-centered critical thinking to invoke the executive's self-awareness and personal responsibility.

The GROW model represents a journey that begins with clarifying the goal, which is inspiring and challenging to the executive. Then, the following step involves exploring the current reality and considering barriers between the current state and the desired future. The next step involves exploring options based on the principle that imagination creates breakthroughs. The final step is clarifying the executive's will and the way forward. It defines specific timebound actions with the commitment, accountability, and reporting to lead to transformation. The client ultimately chooses the decisions and steps to meet their goals.

A typical coaching program includes four fundamental steps:

Executive Coaching Step #1:

A crucial initial phase in the executive coaching process involves a preliminary meeting between the coach and the client. This meeting is a foundation for establishing a solid rapport and mutual understanding. During this stage, the coach aims to delve into the context for coaching, gaining insights into the client's background, challenges, and aspirations. This step lays the groundwork for a successful coaching journey by setting the stage for open communication and trust.

Executive Coaching Step #2:

As the coaching progresses, the utilization of proven behavioral assessments becomes a valuable tool to gain a deeper understanding of the client's strengths and areas for development. These assessments provide valuable talent insights that help the coach and the client tailor the coaching approach to address specific needs effectively. The coaching process becomes more targeted and impactful by leveraging behavioral assessments and guiding clients toward meaningful growth and self-awareness.

Executive Coaching Step #3

Moving forward, the coaching journey focuses on partnering with the client to experiment and take steps toward their envisioned future. This step involves comprehensively exploring the client's current situation and aspirations, identifying potential obstacles, and strategizing on the steps needed to achieve their desired outcomes. Through discovery, the coach collaborates with the client to define clear objectives and develop a roadmap for progress. This step propels the client towards their professional goals by aligning actions with aspirations.

Executive Coaching Step #4:

Measurement and evaluation play a pivotal role in the coaching process. This step is essential to establish clear goals, track progress, and acknowledge achievements. The client can gauge their advancement and stay motivated throughout the coaching journey by setting measurable milestones. Celebrating successes reinforces positive behaviors and fosters a sense of accomplishment and momentum toward continued growth and development.


Athanasopoulou, A., & Dopson, S. (2018). A systematic review of executive coaching outcomes: Is it the journey or the destination that matters most? The Leadership Quarterly. 29(1), 70-88.

Kimsey-House, K., Kimsey-House, H., Sandhal, P., & Whitworth, L., (2018). Co-active coaching: The proven framework for transformative conversations at work and in life. Nicholas Brealey Publishing.


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Hi, I'm Dr. Jeff Doolittle. I'm determined to make your personal and professional goals a reality. My only question is, are you?

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About Dr. Jeff Doolittle

He is the founder of Organizational Talent Consulting in Grand Rapids, MI, and Program Director of online graduate and continuing business education at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, IL. Executive leaders who work with Jeff describe him as thoughtful, decisive, intelligent, and collaborative. Jeff is a business executive with over twenty years of talent development and organizational strategy experience working with C-suite leaders in Fortune 100, Forbes top 25 private, for-profit, non-profit, and global companies in many industries.

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