The Executive Coaching Timeline: When Can You Expect Results?

executive coaching leadership Oct 03, 2023
Executive Coaching Session

This is a common question and concern when professionals consider engaging in an executive coaching relationship.

However, the answer is that it varies. The first thing to understand is the coach is not responsible for clients' results. While a coach offers guidance, support, and accountability, the outcomes largely hinge on the client's dedication and proactive steps, among other things. 

In today's fast-food society, we're conditioned to want everything now. When clients expect to be given a roadmap or a play-by-play guide to achieving their results, they can become quickly disillusioned with the whole idea of coaching. But executive coaching doesn't work like that.

Unlike sports coaches who provide tactics, teaching, training, and telling their clients what to do, executive coaches help you tap into your own reservoir of wisdom and expertise. The focus is to craft a space where their techniques can guide you in revealing the answers best suited for YOU. Coaches don't dictate the solutions but rather ask profound questions and perspectives that lead you to those revelations. It's a journey, one that requires time, commitment, and patience.

Arnold Schwarzenegger said, "If you don't take the time if you don't do the work, you won't get the results." With coaching, transformation doesn't happen overnight. On average, it takes clients six months to a year to witness transformative results, but it depends on the specific goals. An effective coach-client relationship starts by defining both overarching goals and incremental objectives.

For example, suppose an executive struggles with time management or delegating tasks because they struggle with perfectionism or always being in control. Once clear objectives are set and strategies are employed, a noticeable change could be observed within weeks. However, changing behavior and reducing the stress of losing control might take a few months. In either case, the leader's commitment to embracing the process and doing the work is essential for any real change.

During the coaching process, you must always check in with yourself, asking if you're putting in the effort.

  • Are you completing the tasks set by your coach?
  • Are you practicing and refining the tools provided?
  • Are you reflecting and assimilating your learnings?

Expecting coaches to deliver results on a silver platter leads to dissatisfaction. Instead, value the incremental growth. A seasoned coach will highlight those gradual changes and transformations throughout the engagement. While you might not see it or be fixated on the end results, the nuances in your evolution—those little jumps, those 30° or 45° shifts are monumentally altering your path.

For those who embrace the journey, transformations can come sooner. But you'll be left wanting if waiting for a drastic, immediate change. It's the subtle shifts that will genuinely define and shape your trajectory.

Executive coaching is a collaborative venture. However, those who thrive are not individuals seeking scapegoats or holding onto unyielding perspectives but are eager to learn, grow, and pivot. For these individuals, the act of investing in coaching can be enough to confer a sense of hope, initiating the change process. 

And yes, the chemistry between a coach and a coachee helps tremendously.

So, before you embark on this transformative journey, understand that coaching is not about instant fixes. It's about mutual commitment, patience, and the small, consistent steps that lead to monumental success.

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