What is Executive Coaching?

Executive coaching is a relationship formed between a client and a consultant. The relationship benefits the client and his or her executive responsibilities and authority within an organization. The consultant may utilize a wide and eclectic variety of developmental modalities and techniques to assist the client with his or her usually identified improvement goals, professional development, and role satisfaction. The coach generally works towards documented improvement goals, to improve the effectiveness of the client’s organization.

Put simply, an executive coach positively impacts a person’s workplace performance.

What could an executive coach do for me?

If you are a senior executive, an executive coach can help you leverage your strengths and to become more effective in your job, as a leader, an innovator, mentor, and as a change agent. The goal of the executive coach is to help you remove obstacles and , gain new tools, awareness, and insights; and then develop new behaviors and neural pathways that correspond with your future visions and goals. The executive coach can facilitate and up-level your efforts by serving as a trusted mindshare partner, an objective and confidential mirror, an accountability partner, and a fully dedicated advocate.

When is executive coaching most useful?

Executive coaching is highly useful in several scenarios:

  • To offer dedicated one-on-one support enabling positive professional transformation and/or career advancement.
  • To support the development of leaders by increasing their skills for:

~ delivering tangible results

~ improving communication

~ removing obstacles through creative problem solving and removing obstacles

~ thinking strategically thinking

~ visioning, which is – creating  creating and rolling out new vision and direction

~ accelerating effective change

~ motivating and honesty, integrity, motivating and energizing individuals, teams, and partners through honesty, integrity

~ influencing others

~ mentoring and professionally developing others

  • To providing a safe container for effectively addressing roadblocks and challenges.
  • When supporting individual, team, or organizational change performance.
  • When dealing with conflict management within team dynamics or between individuals.


What is the difference between therapy and executive coaching?

Therapy is more psychological and often involves deep dives into the past to initiate healing, while coaching is more philosophical and focuses on building on the existing health and wisdom that already exists. Executive coaching is also more oriented on the future and desired outcomes. Executive coaching concentrates on personal and organizational success and how well the person is functioning within the organization.

How long does the coaching relationship last?

Executive coaching is tailor-made to each person’s needs. Many people retain a coach for a short duration (6-7 months) to work on a specific, limited challenge. Others partner with a coach for years, perhaps to work through a variety of issues or to complete a protracted initiative.

What happens in a coaching engagement?

At Evoke Leadership, we initially contract for the engagement focused on helping a client with an improvement goal. Prior to starting, we mutually define the terms, fees, and coaching topics by Letter of Agreement.

Month one:

The first month is spent getting to know the client and benchmarking “what is.” During this time, we gather both qualitative and quantitative data. We generally complete an Interview Based Assessment (qualitative) review of peers, subordinates, and managers, along with a Leadership WorkStyles and Talent Insights assessment (both quantitative). Having more data gathered up front helps us to move the needle later in the relationship. The client is also asked to complete a self-assessment surrounding professional goals, goals for coaching, reasons for desiring coaching, and, if known, what types of coaching is being sought.

At the completion of the assessments and intake, we create a personalized development plan focused on the coaching topics.

Months 2-7:

Once the development plan is complete, the coaching can begin. The conventional wisdom is to meet semi-monthly/every two weeks for 60-90 minutes. On occasion, it is reasonable to meet more often depending on the urgency and intensity of a client’s need. If meeting weekly for an extended period of time, pricing may be adjusted upward. During this time, the client will be asked to show up, work with practices, and be present to the work. Openness always helps. Creating new neural pathways that support novel outcomes and future vision takes time and practice. Here is where we develop the awareness, clarity, vision, habits of mind, and practices to embody the changes we are seeking.

Closure: End of engagement reporting to management, HR, and client to assess how the client has and is performing against the coaching goals.

What is required of me if I decide to pursue executive coaching?

For coaching to be successful, you must feel that your work is important to you and that coaching would provide much-desired change in your life. You are seeking to dramatically improve in chosen areas, and you feel some urgency about getting better in those areas. Coaches often utilize a wide variety of disciplines and wisdom that will sometimes require clients to use different parts of themselves to grow. If you can be present to the work and have a quality of openness, coaching can be very helpful. You should be committed enough to your outcomes to work with practices in between coaching sessions.

The more you are engaged in identifying the issues and working out and applying solutions for yourself, as well as in reviewing the results, the more long-term success you will experience.

How do I choose an executive coach?

You will want to get as clear as possible on the topics for which you want support. This is helpful in identifying a coach who has the right professional background, experience, and training for your needs. Both the breadth and depth of the coach’s relevant experience will be important.

It is important that you and the coach you choose have good chemistry and that you can arrive at a position of trust with him or her. In the absence of trust, the relationship will likely be one of limited value. The relationship must feel mutually respectful.

Trust your intuition. Ask prospective coaches questions about how they would handle situations and consider how the solutions and style of communication and approach will work for you.

How does a coaching agreement work?

Formal coaching relationships are based on written agreements between the coach and the individual being coached. This written agreement details the goals and mutual expectations for how the coaching relationship will work, the timeline, and what success looks like. The individual, coach, HR representative, and supervisor (where applicable) must be in agreement regarding the desired results of the coaching relationship. These are typically called Coaching Contracts, Letter of Engagement, and Letter of Agreement.