There are so many coaching niches and so many coaching terms that determining the type of coaching you need can be confusing.
Do you need business coaching or executive coaching? Or do you need business executive coaching? Wait, is there even such a thing?
What Coaching Is All About
Coaching is a creative process that involves a professional coach helping the coaching client transform themselves into what they aspire to become.
The coaching process lets the client gain clarity on their goals, insights into achieving their objectives, and the drive to execute their chosen action plan. Ideally, the result of coaching is a specific, visible, measurable, and, more importantly, sustainable transformation.
What Coaching Is Not
Coaching is not training nor mentoring.
Training is more an event than a process involving a trainer and a trainee, although it can take place over a long time. The trainer has a clear lesson plan, a laundry list of things they’ll teach, and a plan of action the trainee must follow. The trainee comes to training to learn such things and follow a definite plan of action.
A good example is personal training for weight loss. The trainer takes the lead, and the trainee follows the trainer’s lead. The trainer informs the trainee about the role of calories and metabolism in weight loss. The trainer then prescribes a weight-loss method.
The trainee, for their part, does the exercises that the personal trainer tells them to do. They also eat according to the diet plan the trainer has drawn up for them.
Mentoring is an interactive process involving a mentor and a mentee. The mentor is a wise, experienced professional with the knowledge, skills, and experience that the mentee desires. In contrast, the mentee comes to the mentor for advice and counseling on their knowledge and skill gaps.
A good example is business mentoring. An experienced business person can act as the mentor of an inexperienced entrepreneur (i.e., the mentee). When the mentee wishes to learn about capital structures, they go to the mentor, who will tell them all about it. If the mentee has to make a business decision, they ask the mentor what they must do, and the mentor dispenses business advice.
Coaching, on the other hand, is an interactive process where the client takes the lead role. The professional coach’s role is to talk to the client so that the latter can gain clarity on what they want to achieve and the best way to achieve it. The professional coach takes on a supporting role, inspiring and encouraging, enhancing and facilitating.
The process does not aim to transfer skills, knowledge, and wisdom, although the coach may have all those and then some. It empowers the client to overcome obstacles on their way forward by drawing from their skills, knowledge, and experiences.
To illustrate, suppose someone wants to improve their productivity. In coaching, the coach’s role is to provide an environment that will encourage the client’s transformation into a more productive person. The method the coach will employ is mainly conversation.
The coach might ask the client what they mean by ‘improving productivity’ and how they think they may achieve it. Then the coach might lead the conversation to the client’s personal preferences and lifestyle to help the client determine which methods are or are not practical given the circumstances.
The coach then encourages the client to begin on their transformational journey. The coach’s mere presence enforces accountability, helping increase the likelihood of success.
Now that you know what coaching is and is not, it’s time to discuss business and executive coaching.
Business coaching is coaching centered on business and achieving business results. Business coaching clients are typically entrepreneurs, business owners, or chief executives who need to address specific business problems.
Business clients often pay for business coaching themselves. Clients expect it to benefit the business organization. However, people often think of business coaching as a personal investment rather than an organizational expense.
Business clients are often clear on desired business outcomes, and business coaching does not focus on the process as much as they do on the result. Therefore, business clients often measure the effectiveness of business coaching programs against their impact on the bottom line.
In business coaching, the coach empowers the client to identify their business problems and find an effective strategy to resolve such issues.
Business coaching clients, however, usually come to business coaches because their problems are urgent. This need for an immediate, practical, and effective solution often requires that business coaches have business know-how.
For instance, an entrepreneur who needs an effective business expansion plan may hire a business coach. However, they might expect their coach to take a more active role by helping them craft the expansion plan instead of just looking on as the client makes the plan themselves.
Since business coaching clients often expect business guidance, business coaches are usually well-versed in the technical aspects of running a business. Business coaching, therefore, sometimes encroaches on mentoring territory.
Executive coaching is coaching designed mainly for executives or C-suite employees, although, depending on the company, it may be available to D-level and even B-level executives, too. Unlike business coaching, the goal is personal and professional development or growth that transforms coaching clients into better leaders.
Organizations typically pay for executive coaching, although executives may pay for coaching themselves to improve their career prospects. And unlike business coaching, the effectiveness of executive coaching is not measured against its direct effect on the bottom line.
Sure, an executive’s development of strategic competencies is likely to affect an organization’s revenues positively, but such an effect is indirect.
And executive coaching remains true to the spirit of coaching, which is creating a supportive and encouraging environment to facilitate the transformation of the coaching client. The emphasis is on the process rather than on the outcome, although the result decidedly matters, too.
Business Executive Coaching, Anyone?
To summarize, business coaching is coaching to achieve business goals, while executive coaching is coaching to attain personal and professional development.
But how about business executive coaching? Well, business executive coaching is also known as executive coaching. So, you either want business coaching or executive coaching, and that’s all there is to it.
About the Author
Salma El-Shurafa is an experienced Executive Coach and founder of The Pathway Project. She is a Professional Certified Coach by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach from The Coaches Training Institute (CTI) and a graduate of CTI’s Co-Active Leadership program.
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