When Do You Need an Executive Coach – Part 2

Businessman ponders need for executive coaching

Welcome back.

In the first part of When Do You Need An Executive Coach, we looked into a scary statistic from the HBR that suggests as many as 60% of newly hired executives fail in the first 18 months. Making it even more scary is that figure used to be accepted at 40%.

We also got a peek behind the curtain thanks to a 10-year study by Ron Carucci and Eric Hansen.  This concluded that nearly two-thirds of leaders entering into executive roles lack sufficient understanding of what is required of them.  They are underprepared for what they will face.

A clear-cut vote, you say, for the executive coach.  Indeed, but let’s just pause before we get there.

The remedial aspect of coaching is powerful, one of the most effective ways to correct a serious performance problem.  But why do we have the problem?

The blame for having an asset inserted into the rarified leadership environment – at significant cost – who is underprepared for presumably specific challenges has to be shared by the persons who put him or her there.


Recruiting methods vary

Which brings us to the different methodologies of recruitment.  The several hundred executive search specialists at Cornerstone International Group deliver Retained Executive Search.  It’s one of three primary hiring methods, along with Contingency and In-House, and likely the most successful when you get into leadership issues.

There are many convincing reasons why. If you need a refresher, start with our e-Book “Retained or Contingency”.  The point here is that a certain amount of cause for recruiting failure will come from how you went about filling the role.

But, and it’s a big but, despite even the extraordinary level of research, investigation and assessment inherent in the retained executive search process, you will not eliminate all risk.   But you can take large steps to lower any remaining risk with the strategic engagement of an executive coach.

Why strategic? Because the Carucci-Hansen study clearly identifies compatibility issues that you would probably not have anticipated, however thorough your “fit research”.  The study calls this a “lack of depth in competitive context.”


Gaps in competitive knowledge

Leadership tends to be insular.  A new leader has learned to deal with internal issues such as managing performance.   She is comfortable with that.  But she has obviously not had a chance to learn ahead of time strategic issues specific to her new organization such as competitor moves, customer trends and technology developments.

Her learning curve will be dramatically impacted by the quantity and quality of input she receives.  Nothing is going to exceed the benefit of a one-on-one executive coaching program to address these specific issues.

So the answer to when you should engage an executive coach?  Yesterday.

The nature of the going-in coaching deliverables makes finding the right coach an unusually difficult challenge.   This has led in recent years to the creation of a new coaching specialization known as Integration Coaching.

Ginger Duncan of Cornerstone Nashville is one of the leading voices behind Integration Coaching.  In our next post she explains why this is a far cry from onboarding.


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