Recently, the Center for Executive Coaching graduates met for our first-ever reunion. Among the events were panels in which our members shared their best practices and experiences. It was so wonderful to hear examples from so many of our coaches about how they have developed successful practices and working with leaders at well-known organizations to achieve amazing results.
Following are seven examples which represent key approaches that most coaches seem to be taking to succeed. The common factors include hard work, courage, persistence, listening to what the client works instead of using coaching jargon, using the toolkits provided by the Center for Executive Coaching, and following our guidance about business development and pricing.
[Editor’s Note: If you like what you read below, please visit us now at https://centerforexecutivecoaching.com and explore our programs. We are different than any other coach training program because of our practical, results-driven approach for seasoned professionals who want to become executive and leadership coaches.]
Here are the specific examples and approaches:
One: Get a small foothold with a client and build from there. In this approach, which I follow myself, a fast nickel is better than a slow dime. The coaches using this approach typically start with a single coaching engagement (e.g., six with a client at $15 – $20,000) or a team retreat. Once they get in the door and over-deliver, they listen for additional opportunities to bring value to the client. That usually leads to long-term relationships and engagements, often lasting many years. One coach who graduated from our program only this past year shared how she already has earned six figures following this approach.
Two: Go big by planning out a long-term plan with the client. At least one coach took a bolder approach that the approach above. Only a few months after completing our seminar, he sat down with leadership at a manufacturing company in need of organizational development. Initially he thought about proposing a single coaching engagement. However, on hearing about all of their needs, he decided to aim high. He proposed $500,000 worth of coaching and related services over five years. The client agreed to about $250,000 of what he proposed.
Three: Focus exclusively on one or two key solutions to major problems that leaders in your market have. One very successful coach and HR consultant shared that she has packaged two solutions: strategic planning and leadership development. Everything she does is about being the best in coaching clients to plan strategy that gets executed and in developing leaders to grow and strengthen the organization. As a result, she is selling packages of services worth a minimum of $70,000 at a time.
Four: Be visible and plant seeds about the value you bring. A team of two coaches who work together, usually to help build high performance teams, shared a great case study about a $1.5 million engagement that they led (and are still leading) over the past four years. It began when they courageously suggested to an executive that, despite what she was telling them, she didn’t have a high-performing team. She had high performers, but not a high-performing team. The executive didn’t like their comment. However, two years later, in a new role, and in a company that was more supportive of paying for coaching, she called them again to help turn her team into a high-performing team. These coaches are constantly out there educating the market about how to create high performing teams, and planting seeds. You reap what you sow.
Five: Dominate a niche like no one else. A number of our coaches have become leading coaches in their niches: coaching physician leaders, coaching federal government leaders, coaching healthcare technology leaders, coaching CEOs who are recovering from addiction, and even some specialty niches like coaching aspiring travel writers to build six-figure businesses. Many have created amazing platforms to support their coaching: books, member areas, seminars, conferences, invite-only events, and tele-seminars. By going deep, these coaches have built what Warren Buffet calls a moat around their businesses.
Six: Write a book and use it as a platform for a brand. Teri Citterman is one of my favorite coaches because of her energy and grit, and is a great example of this approach. She wrote a great book, From the CEO’s Perspective, and has used it as a platform that she has turned into coaching, events, and more value-added solutions for top technology CEOs and their teams. At our reunion it was so great to see how many coaches have written or are in the process of writing books on a variety of topics related to leadership. When you join the Center for Executive Coaching, you receive tools and guidance to do this, if this is an aspiration for you.
Seven: Assessments leading to million-dollar coaching. Mike Pacholek is an amazing coach and also happens to love assessments. He shared a number of cases where he has sold assessments starting with a single assessment for $750 to a small group of assessments for under $5,000 and this has led to multi-million dollar client engagements in coaching, training, and more assessments over multiple-year client relationships.
There are lots of coach training programs out there. One theme that came through loud and clear at this event was this: It really DOES matter which program you choose. We are not the biggest, and we don’t want to be. What you get from us are great tools, personalized support to achieve your goals, and a focus on delivering practical results and value so that you delight your clients. We don’t waste your time with jargon, pseudoscience, fluff, or language that will frustrate your clients and turn them off from coaching. You learn how to start with the client’s needs, an idea which shouldn’t be revolutionary in coach training, but unfortunately seems to be. If you are willing to do the work, we will go to the mat to help you succeed as an executive, leadership, and business coach. That is my pledge to you.
If there was any other theme at this reunion it was: “I wish I had done this sooner.” Take action now.
The healthcare industry continues to be one of the growth areas for coaching. Meanwhile, the Center for Executive Coaching attracts many healthcare professionals who want to learn practical, best practices in executive and leadership coaching. There are many reasons for this, among them our experience coaching healthcare leaders, our background in healthcare strategy and performance improvement work, and the fact that many of our methodologies have their roots in our founder’s work in complex healthcare initiatives.
Following is an update on some of the trends and happenings we are seeing in coaching in the healthcare field:
Keep it focused on results, simple language, and practical solutions. Many previous approaches to coaching (not to mention consulting) have brought so much academic theory and jargon into healthcare systems that the work has gone over the heads of frontline managers and workers. It has also served as a way for leaders to avoid results, using complex language to complicate situations, talk around issues, and not be accountable, rather than to get to the root causes of issues and hold each other accountable for high standards and doing what is best for patients, physicians, the financial standing of the system, and the overall needs of the community. We are finding that healthcare system leadership yearn for straight talk, but sometimes need an objective party to create an environment where people can say what needs to be said, set clear expectations, speak in clear and simple language, and insist on accountability and effective execution.
Create a culture of success through coaching. Many other industries have discovered the hierarchical, command-and-control leadership doesn’t work, and hasn’t for decades. In healthcare, a certain hierarchy is essential in urgent care situations. However, coaching becomes a core management and leadership competency when developing people for the future. More and more healthcare systems are recognizing the value of coaching as a tool to develop leaders and build a pipeline of leaders who can grow the organization into the future.
Deploy coaching to support Six Sigma and other performance improvement initiatives. As healthcare systems adopt six sigma they find that Six Sigma practitioners can speak the language of Six Sigma, but struggle to implement it in their complex organizations. It is hard to make change in healthcare systems. There seems to be resistance to change everywhere, and it is not easy to apply the concepts. Coaching skills help to implement initiatives like Six Sigma by helping people get great ideas, get buy in for great ideas, and then implement great ideas.
Tie coaching to competency models, as well as to performance. Healthcare systems often have competency models and wonder how best to implement them and measure results. Best-practice coaching methodologies offer ways to measure and track changes in behavior and tie them right back to competencies. In fact, one best-practice online coaching platform even allows coaches to integrate competency models performance management systems via coaching plans.
Coaching academies offer an affordable way to improve leadership skills and get measurable results. Health systems wanting to develop supervisors, managers, and high-potential managers as leaders are implementing high-performance coaching academies. These academies combine coaching, peer support, best-practice leadership content, and assessments all focused on having participants not only develop over time, but bring significant and measurable results back to their jobs and teams over a period of six months to a year. Cohorts of up to 24 participants meet in groups for about 4 hours each month, and hold each other accountable for achieving results over the course of their time together. Unlike traditional leadership training, dubbed “The Great Training Robbery” in some publications, the Coaching Academy format is flexible, engaging, practical, and bakes results into the process for a measurable return on investment.
Train Organizational Development specialists, EAP professionals, physicians, nurses, and others in the healthcare system as coaches. We are seeing a trend of training specific leaders in the healthcare organization to be coaches to fill various roles. Sometimes these roles are as full time coaches to coach specific levels of the organization and roll out coaching programs. Other times the role is to enhance their skills as a leader in the organization. We also see professionals being trained to train other coaches and create that culture of coaching described earlier.
Take advantage of huge opportunities to coach for high-impact results. We continue to see many places where coaching brings significant value to healthcare organizations:
Helping new nurse managers develop skills and adapt to their roles.
Coaching leadership teams to work more effectively together, develop trust, execute better, and lead change.
Support leaders in changing the culture, leading significant performance improvement, and accelerating change.
Helping clinicians transition into administrative/leadership roles.
Supporting merger integration when two or more different organizations come together and have to learn how to work with a different culture or cultures.
Enabling disruptive physicians to change behaviors.
Coaching supervisors and managers to improve employee engagement, including measurable improvements in survey scores.
Supporting leaders to handle overwhelm and stress, and juggle multiple priorities with all of the challenges they face.
In summary, coaching continues to grow within the healthcare industry. Why? Because it gets results and is an affordable, non-invasive, high-impact way to address the challenges that healthcare leaders face. Many healthcare systems are sending professionals — whether executive team members, physicians, nurse managers, Human Resources professionals, or internal coaches seeking additional training — to the Center for Executive Coaching for training in best-practice methodologies and processes in order to address these challenges.