Coaching: turn insight into action

Successful women | AnnDaly.comWhat do women really get out of executive coaching? Beyond my own clients’ experiences, I’m always on the lookout for good research on the effectiveness of what I do. (“Does it really work?” “How?”) When PhD candidate Deborah Galuk conducted her dissertation research (“Executive Coaching: What is the experience like for executive women?,” University of Minnesota, 2009), she discovered a set of common themes. A coach, according to Galuk’s informants, is a trusted professional guide who expects action and guides strength-building. For executive women, the coaching process is about turning insight into action:

  1. Self-discovery and awareness. Self-awareness — reconnecting with one’s self, values, and behaviors — provides the foundation for all growth.
  2. Emotions. Coaching engages emotions in the process of learning and change, including occasional impatience, and growing pains.
  3. Commitment. Successful coaching clients are committed to the work.
  4. Challenge to thinking. Through the skillful use of questions, a coach helps clients dig deeper to recognize patterns and assumptions or to think through decisions. Challenges lead to breakthroughs.
  5. Tools guide actions. A coach provides her clients with tools for skill-building such as self-management, influence, and change leadership.
  6. Different actions. Coaching helps women gain new perspectives, which lead to fresh problem-solving, which leads to better results.

Next time: Galuk’s findings about coaching outcomes.

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