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Executive Coaching Tips: A Discussion with Kirk Fox

Executive Coaching Tips: A Discussion with Kirk Fox

Kirk Fox is a senior leadership development facilitator and executive coach. With his background in learning and development combined with his experience as an HR professional, he brings a unique focus to his sessions on management, leadership, team and organizational development, as well as customer service and sales training.

We asked Fox a few questions about executive coaching.

1) What's the biggest mistake people make when they think they're coaching someone?

The biggest mistake I observe is that people think they’re coaching someone when they give them advice or literally tell them what to do when they are asked for help. 

While this may indeed get “compliance”, it won’t instill commitment or accountability in the person being coached. All they’ve learned is how to get a quick answer without having to think for themselves. 

When I teach people how to coach, one of the first things we discuss is the mindset required to effectively coach someone. This includes seeing the person as capable and competent. Inherent in this mindset is the belief that, given some guidance the individual can come up with their own solutions. 

2) Can you think of any situations where coaching wouldn't be the recommended strategy?

Yes. Coaching isn’t recommended when you’re dealing with performance issues that come from a person being too new to understand how to accomplish a certain task or if he or she is lacking a necessary skill. You can’t coach them on that task or skill until they have some idea of what’s required of them in their role. Other barriers to coaching being effective are when the person lacks necessary direction and feedback about their performance or if they lack tools or resources to be able to perform. All of these issues must be addressed before a person can be truly coached. 

3) Are there some personalities that just aren't coachable?

I don’t believe there are personalities that aren’t coachable; however it definitely makes coaching difficult (if not impossible) if the person is not open to being coached and/or lacks the motivation to learn or consider new options. 

4) What's the best thing about coaching people? 

This best thing is seeing a person pause and shift their perspective to one that frees them up to move forward with renewed energy and possibility. 

For more strategies and thoughts on coaching, join Fox on Wednesday March 9th at 2 p.m. for the CAE webinar Using a coach approach in your conversations.

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