What is Executive Coaching?

Coaching is the facilitation of learning and development with the purpose of improving performance and enhancing effective action, goal achievement and personal satisfaction. It invariably involves growth and change, whether that is in perspective, attitude or behaviour. (Peter Bluckert, 2009)

Executive coaching is normally focused on mid to senior level employees, where individual performance has an impact on the overall performance of the organisation. The coaching is a one to one confidential learning space where the executive can address a range of themes including: 

  1. Skills and Performance
    1. Learning a new skill/enhancing a capability
    2. Solve a business problem
    3. Adapt management style or make behavioural changes
  2. Personal Development
    1. Develop emotional intelligence
    2. Develop deeper self-belief and confidence
  3. Leadership
    1. Prepare for a future leadership role
    2. Become more strategic
  4. Executives agenda
    1. Work/life balance – gaining greater satisfaction and balance
    2. Discover what you really want from life

With coaching, both the coach and the coachee are peers in the process. Unlike traditional models of mentoring or lecturing, the coach is not an advice-giver with all the answers – rather, coaching is a partnership in discovery. By intensely listening, asking effective questions, and offering sincere encouragement, the coach facilitates the process for the person to learn his or her own answers and then to take responsibility for acting on them. As such, coaching can be seen to be a true form of empowerment.

Why use Executive Coaching?


Executive coaching is gaining in popularity as the rate of change in our business life increases and the effectiveness of coaching as a way of learning becomes more broadly acknowledged. In a recent survey of Irish Managers of the top 1000 companies in Ireland (2007) by the UCD Smurfit School of Business, 42% rated coaching as their most preferred choice of training. Another report by a local coaching organisation, Praesta, found that 45% of Irish Business Leaders had undergone some form of coaching or mentoring service. 

In Britain, in a study by the Chartered Institute of Personal Development (CIPD);

  • 99% of respondents believe coaching delivers tangible benefits 
  • 90% believe coaching is a key mechanism for transferring training skills into the workplace

  • Over 90% of respondents believe that when coaching is applied appropriately, it can positively influence the bottom line

  • Over three-quarters of all respondents reported that coaching takes place in their organisations

In a study by the Hay Group of international attendees at their annual conference, 100% of respondents believed that coaching can improve a leader’s effectiveness. While ROI can be difficult to calculate, Manchester Inc, an American based company, in a study of 100 Fortune 500 companies, found that executive coaching yields a ROI of almost six times its cost.
With such widespread support it is clear that Executive Coaching is gaining popularity and proving its value to the business community at home and abroad.