Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 18, 2013 3:34PM
Thomas Edison invented a clear light bulb. The use of clear glass was intentional because he wanted to see if the filament worked between the two supply wires. After thousands of tries in finding the right filament, Edison had his first successful test on Oct. 22, 1879. Had Edison begun with what we now would identify as a frosted light bulb, he probably would have had even more failures.
The essence of executive coaching is clarity, much like Edison’s invention of the light bulb. To achieve this clarity is not without failures and does not happen overnight. Also, as in the light bulb, you have all the answers or light within you.
The coach through intentional questioning and pausing supports you to discover those answers or to place the correct filament allowing for the actual light to glow. In a very simple way, you become your own heurist, your own guiding light to gain your own clarity as you walk down your current, somewhat cloudy path.
Executive coaches in their purest role do not have any answers. All they have are simple and yet exceptional questions and great active listening skills along with a depth of knowledge and experience. From this perspective and knowing where you want to be, the focus on clarity becomes the coaches’ guiding beacon.
Another skill set executive coaches bring to the clarity table is strategic thinking. From the big picture to the day in and day out thinking, the coach many times is ahead of you as the “coachee.” For the executive coach a major goal is to outthink the obstacles currently in the path to clarity being faced by the coachee.
As guides, executive coaches may bring other processes or tools to support the coachee in his or her path to clarity. These processes or tools may include a proven process such as beliefs drive actions (behaviors) generating results; curriculum relative to the coachee’s current role such as executive leadership, management or sales; assessments to establish benchmarks to measure actual growth through clarity; and audio reinforcement focusing on identified knowledge gaps. For many of my clients, providing a goal setting process along with a goal setting worksheet (too) has proven invaluable for them.
Within clarity there exists connectivity. By being able to connect life experiences, specific talents and emotions to the current actions leading to the desired results is probably one of the strongest elements coaches bring to the dynamics of the relationship. Executive coaches connect the coachee to himself or herself in a more positive way. They may also connect their clients to new resources of information as well as new people connections.
Yes, clarity is the essence of coaching. From my 15-plus years of experience as an executive coach, I believe the more crystal clarity (and I emphasize the word crystal) individuals have the greater likelihood of individual success. I also believe the lack of crystal clarity is responsible for so many unintentional failures.
Executive coaching is all about results. To secure those results and ensure they are sustainable requires the crystallization of clarity while recognizing those results may not happen overnight.
P.S. Shout Out – Elevate Ventures in Porter County and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC)in Lake County both work to support entrepreneurs to small business owners.