What is an Executive Coach?

Executive Coaching has been going a long time. 20 years in the US before the UK and Europe. An executive coach is difference from life-coach. They know and focus on performance at work.

So what does a coach do ?

Ultimately an executive coach should have the skills to support the client or else ‘Pass them on’. Downey highlights the natural occurrence of boundaries that protect the coachee based on an intuitive sense of trust and appropriateness and how other disciplines may be applicable alongside or in place of exectuive coaching.

And the most important coaching skill ? In fact human relationship skill?


Effective listening raises ‘understanding’ between Coach and Client. Each should also believe they are understood. Noticing what ‘gets in the way’ of listening is therefore very important. Profoundly the action of being listened to, can in itself raise understanding as well. Downey showed me that as a coach to seek understanding and with the right intent is a great test of correct coaching attitude we can apply especially when we realise that through better understanding comes ‘better choices’

The very first and crucial thing we discover as a young child is the art of copying. The young child mimics exactly what he sees or speaks with his moms and dads and other individuals around him. This is how we learn how to talk, stroll, and so on. Whatever we discover originates from replicating others’ actions and absorbing them as our own.

The Executive Coaching Handbook: says that Executive Coaching is an experiential, personalized leader advancement practice constructing leader’s ability to accomplish short and long lasting organisational goals.

It’s performed through individually and/or group interactions to obtain optimal effect.


For a non-directive approach to work we then see how important trusting in and supporting a client’s potential is. As coaches we should question existing limits to possibilities and how the engine of creativity produces options and success criteria.

By examining the reference point between what is possible and our own mental limits he wants to make us aware of the thoughts (and people) which seek to limit and affect us.

The Coaching Models example

Use TGROW as generally accepted model emphasises both dynamicism of the model and ‘following interest’  as a session often shuffles between various stages of the model. His differentiation the topic definition (highlighting it’s context and a long term goal) and the session’s goal is well worth reminding myself of.

We are stimulus / feedback based organisms and so feedback is vital.  Without the right /adequate feedback we cannot be effective. To raise awareness we require data without judgement or emotion and so create the basis for better choices and decisions.

Coaching Acad – extracts best practice 2002 Thesis based on work of PG on Executive Coaching in UK. Used with permission by author.

About the Author: Zoe Fletcher