What Does an Executive Coach Do?

Executive coaching is a well-established and fascinating field -- but what does an executive coach do? Coach Juliann Wiese explains.

The Everything Life Coaching Podcast, featuring Lumia Coaching founders John Kim and Noelle Cordeaux, is a deep dive into the experience and business of being a life coach. Subscribe to get new episodes weekly!
Lumia instructor and executive coach Juliann Wiese

Juliann Wiese has over 25 years of corporate experience in a variety of capacities including; organization development, talent management, leadership and executive development. She has worked across a wide variety of industries and sectors including health care, hospitality, manufacturing, retail and service industries, and call center environments. Juliann has provided coaching, training and consulting around the world in over a dozen countries. 

To learn more about Juliann’s coaching practice, you can visit her website or connect on LinkedIn

‍What does Juliann teach in the Lumia coach training program? 

  • Sales Process and Client Prospecting
  • Coaching Presence
  • Reframing & Reflecting
  • ICF Mentoring

Let’s Explore Executive Coaching!

In this episode, coach Juliann Wiese and Lumia CEO Noelle Cordeaux discuss what it’s like to be an executive coach, and how Juliann transitioned into coaching from her career in organizational development and talent management.

Conversation Highlights

At what point is an executive coach typically brought in to work with a leader, and who initiates the process?

Some managers actively choose to hire a coach as part of their professional growth and development. However, in many instances it’s the organization that initiates (and sponsors) leadership coaching. In Juliann’s experience, an executive coach is often contracted when a high potential employee has been promoted into a leadership role and that transition isn’t going well. 

Often, standout employees who shine as individual contributors are tapped for management and leadership positions within their organization. And as they rise up the management ranks, it's not uncommon to stumble in the process. The skills and capabilities that got a star player this far in their career often no longer apply when it comes to leading a team.

An executive coach can be a valuable asset in this process, helping the coachee to reflect on what's needed to successfully navigate the leap into leadership.

What does an executive coach work on with their clients?

Executive coaching is very similar to what life coaches do in many ways! Leaders are human beings first and foremost, and the issues and challenges that they bring into the space of coaching run the gamut.

The biggest difference between life and leadership coaching in Juliann’s practice is that with leadership clients, she uses a large number of business related frameworks, instruments, tools, mental models and content to measure progress and provide the client with prompts to reflect from. 

An executive coach provides a clear structure - something tangible that both parties can refer back to in order to measure the client’s progress in coaching. In many instances, a company sponsor is paying for the coaching. As such, the organization wants to see clear, demonstrable results from their investment in coaching. 

In these instances, part of the coach’s job is often to develop appropriate ways to benchmark progress throughout the engagement. In many cases, the areas that have been identified for growth include subjective qualities, such as better communication, or an improved ability to motivate and inspire employees.

A skilled coach knows what instruments and tools to use to help quantify and measure professional growth.

How do you navigate the coachee/sponsor dynamic?

Before Juliann comes on board, she meets with the sponsor first to really learn about the context and situation. Sometimes there are multiple sponsors involved, including the prospective client’s boss, a member of the executive team, and/or human resources representatives.

When there are multiple stakeholders in the coaching relationship, it's vital to ensure alignment between what the coachee and the sponsor(s) believe the coaching is for, what the expected outcomes are, and why the coach is being hired. This is especially true when performance concerns on the part of the sponsor are driving the coaching engagement. To ensure a productive experience, the goals of coaching need to be explicit and clear between all parties!

A lack of clarity between sponsor, client, and coach can result in misunderstandings and dissatisfaction down the line. Before accepting a contract, make sure (to the best of your ability) that everyone is on the same page. You don’t want to find yourself in the middle of internal dynamics that aren’t productive or transparent.

Listen in as Juliann and Noelle discuss:

  • How Juliann transitioned from an internal coach to launching her own coaching and consulting practice
  • Coaching within corporations, and how the coaching process helps to develop internal talent
  • The processes organizations use to determine which employees have high potential, and how they make decisions regarding who will receive coaching and leadership development investments
  • Assessing an employee’s leadership potential
  • The breadth of transition that’s required when a successful individual contributor gets promoted into the management ranks
  • What’s necessary from a mental and emotional perspective to become a successful leader
  • Navigating contracts with multiple stakeholders (client, bosses and human resources representatives)
  • What the day-to-day looks like in Juliann’s practice: coaching, teaching, and facilitating leadership development programs
  • The three things she brings to the table as a coach that are of greatest value to leaders

Ready to Become a Coach?

One of our values at Lumia is that we dare to be different. Our instructors like Juliann live from their own truth and help you develop the skills and tools to do the same. If you are ready to step into your power as a coach, come check out Lumia Life Coach Training. Grounded in science, our ICF accredited program features authentic instructors, a robust curriculum, and business instruction to prepare you for liftoff.

Lumia Coaching: Vibrant community. Evidence-based life coach training. Lifetime support.

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