C-level executives are increasingly turning to business coaches to help them cope with various managerial duties. Even IT professionals are getting in on the action. Despite this trend, many are still unclear about what exactly a business coach is and why organizations would hire one in the first place.
Nowadays, IT professionals are expected to have certain business skills and perform managerial duties. But many technicians are rigid in their thinking, says Bill Dueease, president and co-founder of The Coach Connection (TCC) in Fort Myers, Fla. In many cases, when technicians are moved up the ranks of an organization, they act more like computers than humans – and that holds them back.
“If you tell a computer to do something, it does exactly what you tell it to do,” says Dueease. “You tell a human to do something, it’s anybody’s guess.”
Business coaches can be used for an enterprise-wide intervention – such as during a merger or acquisition – or on an individual basis, says Wendy Johnson, president and CEO of the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches (WABC) in Vancouver. A coach could work with an individual, for example, on issues related to how effective they are in their present role, or what obstacles they’re facing that may potentially be getting in the way of being more effective in that role.
“But all of the work that’s being done at that level must be inextricably linked to the organization’s or business’s goals,” she says. “[Otherwise] we would see this as personal coaching.”
Business coaching is not always corrective or based on challenges. Sometimes a company may be doing exceedingly well, but would hire a business coach to help it stay at the top of its game, says Johnson. A coach could also be brought in for succession planning.
Coaching is different from consulting, she adds. Consulting is about providing advice and producing a solution, possibly even implementing that solution. “Coaching is a partnering between a client and a coach, where they co-create solutions together,” says Johnson.