How Does Executive Business Coaching Help You Create and Implement an Action Plan?

by | Jun 14, 2016

exec_coach_blog_feb_25As an executive coach, I serve my client’ aspirations; my senses are always tuned towards empathy (i.e., the characteristics driving their decisions). Among these characteristics are emotional reactions, thoughts, feelings, and the things about which they care deeply from their hearts. In the course of the executive business coaching process, my role is to help spawn fresh ideas and perspectives.

Ideas are useless unless used. The proof of their value is in their implementation. Until then, they are in limbo.

– American economist Theodore Levitt

It is valuable to consider the importance of focus in executive business coaching, which I cover briefly in my Feb. 11, 2014, article. In that text, I coached my clients how to develop unique snapshots of their business, identify inspirations that uncover the best ideas, and clarify situations that lead to strategies for dealing with the challenge at hand in the most robust ways.

The “Focus” Phase

In the “focus” phase, the goal is movement. This is the time to create an action plan; we use the clients’ ideas and move forward with implementing those ideas in the form of an action plan—to get us out of limbo. A critical step in this process is to help my clients create the resolve and courage needed to execute their strategies.

Taking an empathetic approach with my clients helps me gather pertinent details other than what is usually expressed in words, resulting in a more holistic view. In doing so, I gain a deeper understanding of the challenge. I am able to gauge emotional reactions and levels of commitment to an idea as a way of helping my coachees land on the best resolution to their challenge. My focus is to bring clarity to conversations that enable my clients to determine the best outcomes and, from there, create an action plan to achieve their “best solution.”

Focus and Assessment: A Dynamic Process and Part of the Bigger Picture

The five steps of the executive business coaching process (i.e., connect, gather, strategize, focus, and assess) are fluid, and each step continually informs the others. As my clients plan how they are going to deal with their situation, assessment on a preliminary basis comes into play, to the extent of reviewing an issue and assessing the appropriateness of the intended solution. It’s about recognizing what should be done, and having the stick-to-it-iveness and resolve to see the problem through. Assessment also plays a larger role when keeping my clients “on track” and moving forward.

Pushback on implementation can be unnerving and, when a coachee feels resistance and challenged by other perspectives, it’s possible to feels as though a better decision could have been made. I ask this rhetorical question: “Is this person able to stay the course?” Keeping the clients on track is an integral part of the assessment process, and I want to be sure that any blocks to performance are cleared.

Assessment as a Follow-Up Tool

In follow-up meetings, I ask that we step back and review the matter to determine if new information has come to light. This is especially useful when prolonged resistance to change is met. A coachee tends to condense ideas during the focus phase and settle on a plan of action. Broadening a viewpoint to get a wider perspective allows for consideration of questions, such as, “Where does this ultimately leave me?” and “How do I establish the resolve to see this resolution to my problem through?”

Critical to a good outcome for the executive business coaching process, my assertion is that each of these functions—from focus to assessment—are dynamic and not to be overlooked. When we revisit an idea to gather more information, we then consider how the coachee uses what has been learned. What new information currently impacts the situation? How do we craft alternative strategies from our current understanding?

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