“Is an executive coach more like a therapist, or a sports coach, or a boss?”
Here’s what my clients tell me:
- You’re like the really great peers I used to have. I can ask you anything, and you’ll help me think it through. Now that I’m a VP, my peers are too competitive and too busy to make time for those conversations.
- You’re like my boss when she has time to help me strategize about the work and develop myself as a leader. Since I’m a high-performer and my team isn’t on fire, usually she cancels our 1-to-1s, so you’re the only person I talk about this stuff with.
- You’re like my track coach. You want me to win, but you care even more about who I am as a person and how I’ll succeed over the years, not just the next meet.
- You’re like my favorite professor in college. You have lots of ways of thinking about things I’ve never thought of.
- You’re like the drama teacher in high school. She got me, this shy kid, to project my voice and actually have fun on stage. That’s been useful my whole life.
- You’re my secret weapon. None of my colleagues have a coach (I think), and I can tell I’m growing faster than they are.
- You’re like one of my early angel investors. He gave advice just when I asked for it, and he thought we could grow even bigger than I did. He could see my weaknesses but didn’t judge them. I always felt he had my back.
- You’re like my really good friends from high school. (Only you understand what I do at work.) You listen and you care, and you sometimes notice things about me that I haven’t seen so clearly.
If you work with an executive coach, who is that person to you?