"The goal of coaching is the goal of good management: to make the most of an
organization's valuable resources."


Senior managers need help to make the required changes in real time, on their jobs. Just knowing what was wrong is not enough to make the changes. When coaches work well with senior managers, the results tell the story. Executives like the confidentiality and the personal attention; they like what coaching does for their careers.

Coaches are used to help executives through a wide range of issues over varying time spans. Coaching is meant to be a practical, goal-focused form of personal, one on one learning for busy managers. It may be used for a number of purposes. Some of which include:

  • to improve performance or executive behavior
  • enhance a career or prevent derailment
  • work through organizational issues or change initiatives

Essentially, coaches provide managers with important feedback that they would normally never receive. Issues covered by executive coaching programs range from relatively easy ones such as writing skills, setting priorities, and assessing staff needs, to more difficult problems such as improving relationships with bosses, improving interpersonal skills, and how to implement layoffs. Coaches are also used extensively in team building.

A possible reason for the rising popularity of the coaching practice is that it allows managers the opportunity to address the kinds of issues that often go unattended in the rush of everyday business life. In a coaching relationship, these issues take centre stage. Coaching provides focus for important work that would otherwise fall through the cracks. According to a Fortune Magazine article, it works. Highly effective leaders use coaches to improve their effectiveness and the effectiveness of others in their teams.


If possible, a face to face meeting of about an hour and half to two hours is conducted. Initially, the manager completes a small package of background information to help speed up the process. The purpose is to establish the initial focus of the coaching sessions. A formal 360-degree feedback process, recognized self-assessments and small self-discovery questionnaires may or may not be used depending on the objectives of the individual. (See options below.)

Subsequent meetings are conducted either in person or over the telephone for 30-40 minute segments three times a month.  In person sessions are usually of greater duration but less often. Regular contact also occurs through e-mail and on the spot telephone calls. In addition, it is not uncommon to work with the managerís team directly.

Length and Costs

We expect a participant to make a commitment of six months of coaching which can then be extended. Coaching relationships usually last between nine months to two years.  Although each package is designed for the senior manager in mind, the recommended arrangement is coaching for six months for a total of over 20 hours including all assessments at a fixed fee payable up front.

Typical Coaching Issues for Senior and Middle Management

From our experience, the coaching needs of executives and senior managers usually fall into three major categories:

  1. Influence (issues around power and decisions making style)
  2. Real Leadership (issues around vision, change and teams)
  3. Personal Mastery (issues around balance, confidence and values)

Based on your leadership needs and interests, some of the on-line instruments that could useful for you include:

  • Various Multi-Rater / 360 degree feedback assessments

    • The Platinum Rule (excellent for team work)

    • LPI (Leadership Practices Inventory by Kouzes and Posner)

    • Professional Effectiveness Assessment

    • Leadership Competency Assessment

    • Leadership 12

    • Global Leader of the Future

    • Insights Mirror

    • Panoramic Feedback

  • MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator)

  • DiSC 

  • Values

  • The Enneagram

  • Firo-B

  • MAPP (Motivational Appraisal of Personal Potential)

  • Career Values Scales

Just a few of the other assessments that can be used in our Leadership Coaching include: 

  • Kolbe A

  • PIAV (Personal Interests, Attitudes and Values)

  • Emotional Intelligence

  • Hermann Brain Dominance

  • InQ Thinking Styles

  • Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument

  • Situational Leadership (Hersey and Blanchard)

Leadership comes in many forms and shapes. See possible books below.  The foundation of all good leadership both on a personal and professional basis comes from a clear set of purpose and values.  For this reason, much of the work I do in this area follows the five practices of exemplary leadership, based on the work of James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner in their landmark book: The Leadership Challenge.

  1. Challenging the Process

  2. Inspiring a Shared Vision

  3. Enabling Others to Act

  4. Modeling the Way

  5. Encouraging the Heart

In addition to the above principles, there are times when specific interventions are required.  This might involve the following types of coaching:

  • Developing a Leadership Vision

  • Strategic Planning

  • Team Building

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Leadership Books

Besides some that may be listed below here are one's that I am recommending:

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't, Jim Collins
The Leadership Challenge, James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner  (updated version 2002)
The Congruent Life : Following the Inward Path to Fulfilling Work and Inspired Leadership, by C. Michael Thompson, Robert A. Johnson
Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman, et al
Leadership and the New Science: Learning about Organization from an Orderly Universe, Margaret J. Wheatly




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