Thursday, 8 November 2012
Coaching is hot. Is it right for you?
By Vickie Elmer, contributor
August 29, 2011
FORTUNE -- When Ryan Harris, 44, started working with an executive coach two years ago, he knew he needed to delegate more work and act more like a strategist. The top human resources exec at a New York City-based health company saw his challenges as "managing up and managing sideways." So, on his own initiative, he began meeting with his coach, Nancy Mercurio, about once a month. Since then, Harris says, he has learned to focus on results and approach more experienced executives with confidence. "He's become a more effective leader who holds people accountable," says Mercurio. So much so that he's sold his boss, the CEO, on offering company-paid coaching to other senior executives.
Once seen as a last-chance effort to turn around flagging careers, coaches for top talent are going mainstream. They're being brought in for newly hired senior executives, as well as for newly promoted department heads who suddenly must manage many more people. "Leadership coaching is the hottest thing these days," says Kate Wendleton, president of the Five O'Clock Club, which has turned some of its outplacement and career coaches into executive coaches because demand has been so strong.
According to a July 2011 American Management Association survey, almost half of participating companies use coaching to prepare individuals for a promotion or new role. While half of companies provide coaches to midlevel or senior staff only, 38% make them available to anyone. Coaching's three most common uses, according to the AMA survey: leadership development, remedial performance improvement, and optimizing strong contributors. "A coach is like a personal trainer for business," says Erika Andersen, author of Being Strategic and coach to many media executives.