• 30 April 2019
  • USB-ED
  • 6 min

What does it take to become an executive coach?

Inc.com – a magazine targeted at small businesses in the States – believes executive coaches are critical because they say things, know things and see things that managers or businesses would not be able to do themselves.

​​Management coaching is a fast-growing industry, which has burgeoned at a frantic pace in line with the growing global recognition of the benefits of a 'coaching leadership' style. It's often confused or used interchangeably with 'executive coaching and leadership coaching', but, crucially, it's very focused on partnering with a manager to develop their talents through various coaching and leadership skills. If you're someone who thrives when you can bring out the potential in others, then management coaching could be your professional match.

The International Coaching Federation estimated coaching to be a $2-billion global industry back in 2016. Today, it remains a highly respected profession, with Bill Gates and other successful CEOs benefitting from its services. Importantly, its focus on intra- and interpersonal relationships is extremely advantageous. Whether you're considering studying it to develop your own leadership coaching style or to become a coach to bring this out in others, it's a journey that'll deeply develop emotional intelligence.

What skills do you need for executive management coaching?

Professional coaching goes beyond mentorship to create a reciprocal relationship of equal standing between coach and client. It takes a lot of skill to build this kind of relationship.

You need to be:

  • Curious. Being genuinely interested in others and the world around you is essential.
  • An excellent communicator.
  • An exceptional listener. A lot of the time, you're going to be someone's soundboard.
  • A mentor. You need to be passionate about fostering other people's development. This means asking questions rather than giving solutions to let others develop innovative ways to solve challenges.
  • Self-assured. Having confidence in your own abilities will inspire people to trust you.
  • Experienced. Years of managerial experience as a transformational leader will stand you in good stead.
  • Sensitive and empathetic. It's imperative you can engage across cultures.
  • Collaborative. You need to love working with people.
  • Strong ethics. It's important you have a very responsible approach to coaching.

What does it take to become a management coach?

  • Leadership experience in a managerial role is a huge plus.
  • Certification through studying is essential. Studying management coaching online is an excellent foundation.
  • Lots of coaching experience hours. If you're planning to go into coaching fulltime, start to build up a portfolio of testimonials.
  • Ask another, more experienced coach to mentor you.
  • Join the right governing bodies and associations – for example, the Coaches and Mentors of South Africa (COMENSA) association.

Who should study management coaching?

If you're in Human Resources, an external trainer, a consultant, manager or leader who is currently coaching or aspiring to coach, then studying management coaching is an excellent option, especially when it comes to the development of people.

Forthcoming changes to management coaching:

It's important to be cognisant of big trends in coaching as these could differentiate your offering and help you find a market gap.  Here are a few Forbes identified for 2019:

  1. The principles of positive psychology will form a foundation for coaching, in order to catalyse greater productivity. This kind of psychology focuses on what strengths help people to thrive and lead meaningful lives, by honing their best attributes.
  2. Interpersonal skills are everything. Much of the focus of coaching will be on how to cultivate relationships with other people, by increasing one's EQ and understanding of self.
  3. Tech and AI will be essential. Coaches are already conducting sessions over Skype with clients all over the world. These kinds of capabilities will only increase in line with the demand for convenience. People's reliance on tech will demand new kinds of content – and different ways to consume it.
  4. Professional coaching will get more and more niche, with management coaches specialising in specific industries and roles.

USB-ED offers a course in the essentials of management coaching. This gives you an excellent grounding in the foundations of professional coaching practice, knowledge of different coaching frameworks, and insight into your own way of being. This combines theoretical knowledge with personal development. Because, at the end of the day, you need to know yourself to be able to understand and empower others. 

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