Strong leadership has emerged as one of the most valuable assets in the new millennium. The abilities and positions bestowed upon individuals in present-day society often come with immense responsibilities. Executive coaching has often been utilized within very complex business organizations to improve their success and operations. Executive leadership and coaching refer to the ability of training, usually identified by younger people in the environment, to learn and to equip employees with tools and skills to improve their performance. In work environments, executive leaders have been using this technique to solve performance problems and to better the quality of work by their employees, teams, and departments.
While at first, the two appear to be quite similar, there is actually a significant difference between coaching and mentoring. Mentorship generally helps an individual shape his values and beliefs by learning from someone in the industry who has been there for a long time, and who is willing to share the wisdom amassed over the years. In other words, mentors are usually more experienced versions of their mentees. On the other hand, coaching refers to increasing the technical know-how of an individual in the industry. Compared to mentorship, coaching is often short-term, structured, and focuses on a specific development situation.
The study of executive leadership and coaching is vital for navigating change in senior positions at various social levels. All organizations and societal leadership positions will encounter change at some point in their existence (Rosha & Lace, 2016). As such, it is always important for the new individuals taking the mantle of leadership to demonstrate high levels of competence from the start. Another significant contribution of the study concerns the improvement of other societal factions. For instance, individuals that have been taken through the coaching process can typically be released to lead in other areas. Studies like this can be crucial for the production of strong and better leaders.
Themes and Trends
Various themes and trends often emerge from executive leadership and coaching. The first significant theme established by the study entails increasing the self-confidence of the subjects. The individuals exposed to coaching and effective executive leadership have often registered a significant improvement in their self-confidence while carrying out various duties. This result has been witnessed multiple times, as coaching has become a mainstream leadership technique in many organizations and societies. Another significant theme observed in the study involves making career transitions. Significantly, most people that have been coached and trained effectively tend to shift from their current careers to new employment opportunities. This increased career mobility has allowed such individuals to more freely pursue their passions.
The first crucial element of coaching and executive leadership entails how these approaches are employed in practice. For instance, to enhance the learning experience for individuals, coaches often apply strategies from five essentials of learning: cognitivism, behaviorism, humanism, social learning, and constructivism (Allen & Buller, 2018). The authors, Allen, Jenkins, and Buller, offer reflections on the leadership domains they have learned, practiced, and coached. Scott Allen, for example, analyzes his experiences in springboard diving. The author spent considerable years in this field coaching high school students and other teams through college. Allen asserts that one of the tactics he passed on to his trainees was deliberate practice, a skill which set them apart from their competitors throughout their athletic careers. The author gives an example of Greg Louganis, a diving group that posted the highest results in the games for years.
According to Allen, one of the most crucial factors that enabled certain teams to record such significant performances was self-confidence. As an athlete himself, Allen did not begin with a ten-meter race. He instead began from the one-meter diving board, where he continued to jump forward, increasing his skills on a gradual basis. The development of Allen’s self-confidence was greatly attributed to his coaches and the supervised practice that he undertook. For years, the coaching he received got him out of his comfort zone for 60 minutes out of the 90 minutes of practice. Due to the competitive nature of the sport, there were significant targets that all the athletes and coaches had to focus on. The coaches were keen to ensure that they guided their subjects through perfecting the game. For instance, the degree of difficulty for one particular game kept increasing year in, year out during the training period. This ever-increasing difficulty was coupled with the incorporation of new techniques that were emerging in the sport. Such measures were critical for increasing the participants’ confidence as they were in a position to take part in the competitions effectively. Through coaching and training, the trainees became perfectionists who went on to train the next generation of players.
Moving on to one of the other authors, Dan Jenkins analyzes his encounter with jazz, as he coached CLC teams for many years. Jenkins worked with teams where interdependent individuals were empowered and equipped with the skills necessary to achieve collective goals in jazz music. Jenkins asserts that one of the critical factors for successful coaching was servant leadership that could be applied by all the coaches. Significantly, he argues that effective coaching and executive leadership requires a leader who understands the varied nature of the trainees. This understanding is vital for seeking ways to blend the varieties and harmonize them to produce the desired objectives. The blending, however, does not occur aimlessly, as leaders must undertake several steps to ensure the success of coaching and executive leadership.
Jenkins posits that one technique often employed is the crafting of an informed curriculum that is guided by the accomplishments of the best performers. This guidance is often fundamental in ensuring uniformity throughout the practice sessions. According to the researcher, shining as an individual does not mean you will shine as a collective group. Therefore, it is vital that, even in the quest to sharpen their own skills, individual members contribute positively towards the success of the group. That said, to properly implement coaching, it is paramount to compare the group being trained with the current best performing teams. Doing so improves performance analysis by determining the areas that need the most work, while those being coached develop mental representations of what high performance looks and feels like through deliberate practice. This propels them to work extra-hard to make sure they achieve their desired best performances.
On the other hand, Eric Buller states that deliberate practice is one of the hallmark techniques used in training the United States Army in preparation for combat: “The trainings are often conducted in mock military operations to allow the officers to ensure instant evaluation in from the simulations.” Throughout the training, the cadets are always split into small units of tactics and leadership. These units enable the cadets to practice forms of leadership that are fundamental in the battlefield and which have for years been crucial for ensuring the victories attained by the army. Notably, the training provided in the military allows trainees to understand the complexities of their work by teaching them effective responses to war events. Other business organizations apply simulation techniques to train their employees (Lipshitz & Nevo, 1992, p. 6). The simulation process provides managers with a guide concerning what they should do to ensure that their work becomes effective.
Executive Coaching in Project Management
The application of personal competencies has proved to be consistently reliable in enhancing the success of project management. Executive coaching has always been critical for improving the personal competencies of project managers in fields (Ballesteros-Sanchez & Rodriguez-Rivero, 2019). For instance, Ballesteros, Marcos, and Rodriguez conducted a study observing 30 project managers and 30 observers to determine the impact of coaching on different competencies. In the context of project management, the study results showed that executive coaching had the greatest impact on several behaviors exhibited by the trainees. These behaviors included leading, managing, and finding productive strategies for coping with challenging situations in the workplace. In other words, the results suggest that different executive coaching styles may be employed to ensure that trainees are better suited for performing their vital tasks.
Training junior organizational members through executive coaching equips them with technical skills that enhance the organizations’ success, with the trainees in the frontline. The study is also in line with the complex theory. Complex theory asserts that present-day organizations are complicated, meaning that it takes the employees a significant amount of time, training, and induction to fully understand them. According to the theory, modern businesses spend a lot of time and effort maintaining a vast, centralized system to enhance the control of their large organizational structures. Most organizations have found it difficult to maximize their success due to the small number of trained employees who can conduct the necessary duties. As a result, junior employees have since been gradually taken through trainings using various platforms such as workshops. The organizations have taken several measures to enhance the effectiveness of the trainings. The first crucial step has been the simplification of the organizational rule structures. Under this technique, companies have been reducing unnecessary procedures in their line of operations, something which ultimately boosts employee efficiency. The organizations have further ensured that all the requisite materials to conduct the training are available. Through such measures, the junior employees have recorded tremendous improvements in their operations, adding to the overall success of their organizations.
Putting Coaching Leadership Style into Practice
There is a great need for organizations to ensure that they put the identified coaching leadership styles into practice to enhance their success. The main responsibilities of project management include planning, organizing, staffing, monitoring, controlling, and evaluating the organization’s operations. However, the job comes with immense challenges such as coping with a complex project environment, dealing with issues across the functional lines, handling conflicts in the organization, and managing change (Berg &Karlsen, 2016). As a result, it becomes quite hectic for the managers to apply effective coaching leadership styles in the dispensation of their duties.
According to the research conducted by Berg and Karlsen, the success of coaching leadership styles depends on several factors. The first critical factor that determines the aspect involves organizational culture. Organizational culture is built on its members’ values and principles and is often embedded in its mission and vision statements. To improve their leadership, management must first develop a culture of friendliness with the junior employees. Different organizations apply diverse techniques to encourage friendliness and productive coaching techniques (Sarsur & Parente, 2019, p. 140). Among these critical techniques include creating a time where the junior employees and the management interact informally on a friendly basis (Tews & Noe, 2017). This method has been vital in assuring employee satisfaction and increasing the probability of improved performance. A culture of friendliness promotes cooperation among the trainees, bettering the chances of success for the coaching processes (Matsudaira, 2019, p. 12) Another tactic employed to establish an environment of friendliness is making sure that junior employees are involved in crucial organizational affairs.
A culture of friendliness in an organization motivates the employees to learn from their managers in various ways. Employees that are open with their managers are, for instance, more ready to ask questions and to push their managers into teaching them skills and techniques to enhance their success. On the other hand, a culture that does not support the junior employees forces many of them to begin considering other employment opportunities. Besides contributing to high turnover rates, this means there is a high possibility that employees will not pay attention during coaching sessions, which leads to project failure.
Another element that can augment the success of executive coaching entails self-management. Executive coaching’s principal objective is often to empower the employees into believing that they have the capacity to influence their work. According to the research, the success of coaching leadership styles relies on the employees’ ability to develop positive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, which will culminate in commendable results. The approaches applied in the coaching often determine the adaptive performance of the subordinates and the feelings of anxiety in the workplace (Hui & Sue-Chan, 2018, p. 675). Positive thoughts often involve the goals of the employees, the projects that require implementation, and individual strengths and success stories. To encourage positive thoughts, coaching is bolstered through the use of an appropriate and engaging technique that incorporates the lessons learned in business school (Butler & Spoelstra, 2018, p. 440). The inculcation of such attributes by the individual increases the chances of recording high levels of success from the coaching sessions and of offering leadership in such fields. Positive emotions include the commitment to the processes, passion, joy, self-efficacy, and optimism. Significantly, the techniques are often vital for ensuring that the junior employees have the requisite level of motivation to acquire the skills being passed on to them. According to the research study, employees that have successfully inculcated positive emotions have, in most cases, been able to excel and even surpass the skills of their trainers.
The researchers posit that positive behaviors include delegation of tasks, conflict resolution, applying incentives, listening attentively, and seeking clarification. Achieving project management goals requires the employees to be very effective in their self-management. Such employees are often better equipped to conduct project activities sufficiently, as positive behaviors are known to produce good results for the various business organizations’ project management.
Another significant element that contributes to the success of coaching leadership projects entails the coaches’ signature strengths. Most project managers are tempted to become mentors or to use more directive strengths if they feel that time is not in their favor. Other managers may lack the requisite self-discipline and the patience to offer high-quality coaching. One crucial technique through which managers can provide more successful coaching involves understanding their signature strengths. These strengths involve the basic attributes that define the character of an individual, such as discipline, creativity, courage, and emotional intelligence, among other qualities. Ethical leadership, furthermore, contributes to the success of the coaching leadership styles (Tu & Guo, 2018). Understanding signature strengths makes a corporation more mindful, which allows the managers to perform well in their coaching (Passmore, 2019, p. 170). Managers who have successfully applied their signature strengths in their coaching improve the experience for the junior trainees.
Coaching leadership styles rely on the principle of interpretivism. This principle involves a people-centered approach embedded in applying mixed methods to enhance its success (Ellul & Wond, 2020). For example, Ellul and Wond conducted a research study on executive coaching in Malta. The results of the study indicated that there exists a significant misunderstanding of the type of executive coaching being applied in the country. The misunderstanding stemmed from the confusion between executive coaching and the role given to people who undertake the duties of supervision, consultation, therapy, mentoring, and auditing.
This research study has been vital, as it highlights the specific areas that can be improved upon to enhance managerial effectiveness, especially in public affairs. To better their efficiency, there is a great need for the organizations to ensure the restructuring of the systems, structures, and dynamics within the public administration. Doing so will ensure the recognition of talents among the stakeholders, thus improving their skills and operations. Matsudaira (2019, p.17) postulates that it is essential to improve on managerial effectiveness by working on a five-plus-year timeline. Fundamentally, this includes documenting priorities, sustaining an open line of communication among team members, and ensuring one is always updated on the industry, to mention but a few (Matsudaira, 2019, p.17). The research also found out that organizations need to create specialized coaching for the various employees to enhance an increase, not only in the employees’ performances but also in the performances of the organizations at large.
Impact of CLS
There is a big difference between the managers who enhance the coaching leadership styles of their junior employees and those who do not. Significantly, managers who ensure that their subordinates receive career mentoring often record higher performance ratings than their counterparts (Wang & Lim, 2018). These managers contribute to their companies’ overall success, and employees who have been taken through such training pieces are often able to take the lead on projects in the absence of senior management teams. The CLS enhances the reduction of insecurities among the trainees in the employment sector (Debus & Konig, 2019, p. 334). The trainings enable the employees to apply appropriate stress reactions and techniques in dealing with difficult situations.
Conclusion and Recommendations
Executive leadership coaching is a critical element in the success of organizations and societies. The managers and coaches who use the executive leadership approach often employ a multitude of techniques to ensure the success of their training sessions. Typical examples of the techniques that have been employed include deliberate practice and measures such as enhancing friendliness with the trainees. These techniques have often set the managers apart concerning the amount of success they record. To ensure effective performance, managers need to inculcate appropriate practices to conduct effective training for their subordinates.