Continuing Education

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My colleague sent me an e-mail this morning with the quotation (below) and she asks: “how does the quotation resonate for you?”

Executive coaches are not for the meek. They’re for people who value unambiguous feedback. All coaches have one thing in common; it’s that they are ruthlessly results-oriented


Her invitation to explore my ideas about executive coaching was really nice and provocative. About the quotation… this is what I make up:

I actually like the quotation. “Ruthlessly” doesn’t entirely land for me but overall, I like how the quotation shows that coaches will push/ kiss/ kick/ demand/ force/ challenge clients over their edges. Coaching is rigorous; not ruthless.

The “results oriented” piece, for me, does not always look like items to be checked off a list. Sometimes the coach supporting a client drifting is what’s needed. From my coaching stance, I will support the client in the process they choose; it is the client’s agenda. That isn’t to say I won’t offer ideas and suggestions for them to consider in their choice-making. And it’s their choice.

Coaching is not always about “we can do this and this and this…” Some results are quantifiable and some are not, yet they are still results. As a coach, I look for big, dramatic, meaningful results…results that matter to the client…and sometimes they are measured and sometimes they are not.

I do really like “unambiguous feedback” since that is exactly what I offer to my clients and feel it is our greatest power (and asset) as coaches… it is why we are hired. Clients are familiar with the people and patterns of “tell me what to do” and BS and ambiguity. And they want something different. Clients want us to tell them something others are not. Coaches name what they see for their clients and it’s the client’s job to explore.

There is a curiosity that erupts in me about the term “executive coach.” There is a conceptual, and in some cases a practical difference among coaches. Executive coaches, Life coaches, Success coaches, Fitness coaches, Prosperity coaches, Leadership coaches… there are so many different kinds of coaches these days. After reading the quotation I am wondering are only executive coaches “not for the meek” and “ruthlessly results-oriented” or are life coaches also? Will a fitness coach “value unambiguous feedback?” All of this reminds me that it is the coach that the client is in relationship with, not the type of coach.

What are the traits you want in your coach?


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Gary M. Groth, MS, PCC, CPCC

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