Executive Coaching - why do it?
Updated: Mar 14
If you've ever wondered what Executive Coaching is and why you might enlist the help of a coach, read on!
I once had a client who did Executive Coaching with me for 6 months. Her confidence exploded and she got a new job in a dream industry. She raved to me about how great (and unexpected) her success and results had been working with me - I helped transform her future. When I asked if she'd mind writing me a recommendation to put on my LinkedIn and website, she was hesitant and unsure. She decided she didn't feel comfortable sharing publicly that she had been working with a coach.
I don’t blame her - she's certainly not the first. Why is it that we’ll recommend a restaurant, a podcast, a physio, or a Broadway show called Hamilton (which was always going to be great, because - well, the name says it all)... but not a psychologist, therapist, or Executive Coach?!
Despite huge leaps and bounds from great causes like Beyond Blue and I Am Here, there is still a stigma around mental health. Often, in a professional context, you don't want to disclose that you're seeing a psychologist or therapist. But coaching is different - it's about taking high achievers to the next level of performance. So what would stop someone wanting to share the incredible experience and benefits they've had?
Our unspoken expectation
I think it's a fear of seeming vulnerable for needing support and help. As modern women, we've been taught that we can reach our dreams, become whatever we want, be financially independent, and stand on our own two feet - we can have it all. But there's an unspoken expectation that we must do that by ourselves for that success to be valid.
I've fallen into this trap myself. I almost never ask for help. I take pride in achieving great things in my career, my business, and my life "on my own". But then if I think back, the times I've made the greatest leaps and bounds has been when I've gotten support. I've worked with 4 different coaches over the last 6 years on everything from relationships to business, and I attend personal and business development courses once or twice a year.
No two results are the same
It's hard for me to define the benefits of Executive Coaching because every client's success is different: some change careers, some get promotions, some get epic pay rises, some start their own businesses, some relocate overseas, some get lucrative redundancies, some heal their romantic and family relationships, and some even get pregnant (because when you release emotional blockages and you align your mind, heart and gut, your body may sometimes decide it's safe to bring new life into the world).
The common outcomes every client gets is absolute clarity on what they want from their career, their leadership and their life and confidence to go after it. Everything else depends on a client's individual goals and dreams. And without their permission, I can't share their success with you.
In others' words
So I admit - I find it incredibly hard to clearly explain the benefits you would get from working with an Executive Coach like me.
Which is why, when I was listening to the Seize the Yay podcast this week and heard Miki Agrawal, Co-Founder of Thinx, Tushy and Wild, frame so beautifully the benefits of coaching she's had, I thought maybe I could share that:
Miki: I think everyone should have a coach, or have some kind of someone with experience helping guide you. It's absolutely one of the important things that changed my life... It's about not being too proud, or too: "I don't need a coach. Oh yeah, what do you mean? I'm perfect, I'm great, I'm working it out on my own." ... I don't think you really understand the magic of it. It's someone that's helping you be the best version of you, don't you want that?
And the snaps for Executive Coaching kept coming, as host Sarah Davidson explained her own experience:
Sarah: Oh it's amazing. I have a psychologist who is also an Executive Coach, who I see once a week, if not once a fortnight. And it's extraordinarily expensive and a really big amount of energy investment and time to do that. But there's not really anything that gives you the same returns. I don't think anyone whose brain operates at a really crazy level can continue that and sustain it without someone objective to... kind of... The way I think of it is you take everything out of your brain and put it on a table, and someone experienced helps organise it all and put it back in. And it's like - you can't do that by yourself. You need a third party to help you with that objective observation and it's extraordinary, what happens, when you do give your brain the time to figure everything out.
Let me make it super clear - I am neither Miki nor Sarah's Executive Coach. I just adored and appreciated how openly they shared their experiences of something that can seem intangible, and did it in such a vulnerable and positive way to start challenging stigma and encourage people to open their minds to getting support (I recommend listening to the podcast episode here).
Building it together
Having a business is hard, and asking for recommendations is harder. If you've ever had coaching with me or been on one of my webinars or programs, and want to write (or even film!) a recommendation, I would love to receive it and I would share it proudly. Because the more that people talk about the coaching they had or the programs or courses they did, the more we will normalise that it is not only ok, but actually smart, to get help becoming the best possible version of you.
Lata Hamilton is the Founder & CEO of Passion Pioneers, an Executive Coach, and Change Leadership Trainer. Sign up to her Change Inspiration mailing list here to get weekly goodies such as articles, templates, tools, videos and upcoming courses direct to your inbox.