Executive coaching is a sustainable investment in leadership.

When to consider Executive Coaching

Professional challenges, conflict situations within a company, change of leadership – there are many occasions in which a person or a company can benefit from executive coaching. Alexander Wilhelm, managing partner at InterSearch Executive Consultants in Frankfurt and himself a trained coach with ten years of experience, knows the opportunities that executive coaching can provide companies. “Suppose you have two employees who do not get along and spend a large part of their workday entangled in conflict. As a result, productivity and work climate suffer but coaching can offer a satisfactory resolution for everyone involved.”

Is executive coaching worth it?

Executive coaching should be regarded as a sustainable investment in a company’s development. Internal conflicts and problems within a company inevitably lead to a decrease in productivity, not to mention the negative effects on the work climate. Coaching can get to the root of these conflicts and resolve them, ensuring productivity, long-term profitability and cost avoidance. Companies can retain excellent employees and support their personal development. In the end, all sides benefit – even in terms of costs. Wilhelm compares the price of executive coaching (e.g. 2,000 – 3,000 Euros) to the costs of personnel, severance pay, interim managers and a new personnel search in case a conflict cannot be resolved and the company has to part with employees. “You really have to see coaching as a sustainable investment in your managers and not just look at short-term costs. It is comparable to getting your car serviced. If you only ever have the most minimal, inexpensive repairs done, you will not be enjoying your car for very long.”

What are the prerequisites for successful executive coaching?

For executive coaching to be successful, the coachee and coach must be willing to open up to one another. The coachee needs have patience and to adjust their expectations as there are no “shortcuts” and it may take some time to achieve “visible” results. To do this, it is essential to be willing to build trust with the coach. This process also requires complete transparency. If a coachee is hiding something, a coach cannot effectively help them. Wilhelm notes that the contents of a coaching session are strictly confidential and are never divulged to the company that commissioned the coaching. “We still really need a change in mentality. Coaching is still stigmatized in many parts of society. Especially seasoned managers see coaching as an admission of weakness because they “cannot succeed on their own”. Of course, this is absolutely not the case,” Wilhelm assures.

Executive mentoring can aid in processes of professional reorientation 

While Wilhelm is a trained coach with many years of coaching experience, at InterSearch he is more involved in executive mentoring. This field combines aspects of executive coaching and the regular work of executive search consultants. Wilhelm calls it “the best of both worlds.” In executive mentoring, mentors support their mentees in professional reorientation and sometimes also in looking for a new position, using aspects of executive search. In addition, an executive mentor can also serve as a sparring partner in other subject areas. “Individuals asking themselves whether they should become self-employed or whether to acquire a company could really benefit from such an exchange.” Wilhelm explains.

What is the difference between executive coaching and executive mentoring?

Coaching is basically about helping people help themselves. A coach is interested in giving the coachee the necessary tools and the right impulses to develop solutions themselves. For this purpose, a deep analysis is made and aspects of the coachees private life are taken into account, as they can often have an impact on their professional life. Executive mentoring, on the other hand, focuses exclusively on job-related factors. Here, the focus is mostly on questions of professional development. The mentor draws on many years of professional experience to advise mentees, incorporating professional networks. They may thusly be able to achieve initial success more quickly by making concrete suggestions. Coaching effects sometimes occur with a sort of “time lag”. Wilhelm recalls various cases in which coachees experienced a late “breakthrough”: “Sometimes people come up to me a year later and tell me that they have only now fully understood what we discussed in coaching. That was when it really clicked for them.”

Since coaching largely takes place in conflict situations, only trained coaches can take on these tasks. Wilhelm explains: “Executive mentoring can also be carried out by an exceptionally well-trained personnel consultant. But for coaching, you really need someone with qualified training. For me personally, it was important to undergo coaching training certified by the umbrella organization Deutscher Bundesverband Coaching e.V. (DBVC).” In becoming a certified coach, Wilhelm was primarily motivated by his curiosity. “I really wanted to explore where the work of a coach diverges from that of a classic executive consultant.” In executive mentoring he now has the opportunity to combine both of his areas of expertise.

About InterSearch Executive Consultants

InterSearch Executive Consultants is one of the leading personnel consultancies and specializes in the recruitment of executives (Executive Search) and systematic analyses of executive potential (Management Audit / Executive Diagnostic). Founded in 1985 under the name “MR Personalberatung”, the company is now represented in Germany with three offices in Hamburg, Frankfurt and Cologne and was a founding partner of InterSearch Worldwide in 1989. Today, InterSearch operates worldwide in the field of executive search with more than 600 consultants in over 50 countries with more than 90 locations.

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