1. What is executive coaching?

Executive coaching is a partnership and a creative process between a coach and a leader that aims to improve leadership effectiveness and maximize potential through raising self-awareness and practicing new skills and behaviors. The executive coaching process facilitates learning, obtaining new ideas and skills, and expanding perspective through support, challenge, championing, and feedback in the organizational context.

    2. How does coaching differ from other leadership development programs?

Coaching process creates an environment that is free from judgment, expectations, and criticism. In this kind environment, leaders are free to ask questions, experiment, observe, learn, change, and appear vulnerable without fear.

    3. Does everyone benefit from coaching?

In many cases people can benefit from coaching, but in some cases, there is no engagement despite the best efforts of coaches. There are personal or contextual issues that may keep people from forming efficiently working alliances with a coach. Sometimes executive coaching is not the best intervention and should be replaced with some other type of intervention, such as, counseling (therapy), consulting, or training.


Executive coaching is particularly useful for:

  • Successful executives and other high-potential employees who has no performance issues and interested in their further development and evolution as leaders: to receive external support, have an objective sound opinion from a coach, have continuous feedback, boost sense of fulfillment, resist stagnation and burning out.

  • Emerging leaders who is interested in developing their personal leadership style: to learn leadership styles and thinking preferences, increase self-awareness, emotional and social intelligence, cultural awareness, as well as reveal individual behavior issues, such as micro-management, perfectionism, lack of honest feedback, and so on.

  • Professionals in transition (in, out, up): to identify the best-fit career, facilitate the transition to a new career, role, organization, or industry, manage a promotion, prepare for a new role, deepen self-awareness, and get clarity and confidence.

  • Leaders who feel that their current behavior or leadership style don’t serve best their personal and professional goals: to enhance self-awareness, define cognitive and emotional barriers to goal achievement, develop more effective thinking and behavioral skills, build self-confidence and self-acceptance, receive sound feedback, develop emotional, social, and cultural competencies.

​      4. Is there proof coaching works?

Here’s some industry statistics and a general overview of the value and ROI executive coaching offers:

  • In one study conducted by MetrixGlobal LLC, companies including Booz Allen Hamilton received an average return of $7.90 for every $1 invested in executive coaching.

  • A recent study of Executive Coaching in a Fortune 500 firm by MetrixGlobal reported a 529% return on investment and significant intangible benefits to the business.

  • A survey by Manchester Inc. of 100 executives found that coaching provided an average return on investment of almost six times the cost of the coaching.

  • An internal report of the Personnel Management Association showed that when training is combined with coaching, individuals increase their productivity by an average of 86% compared to 22% with training alone.

  • A Hay Group study of Fortune 500 companies found that 21 to 40% utilize Executive Coaching; Coaching was used as standard leadership development for elite executives and talented up-and-comers.

  • A 2001 study on the impact of executive coaching by Manchester Inc. showed an average ROI of 5.7 times the initial investment or a return of more than $100,000, according to executives who estimated the monetary value of the results achieved through coaching*.

  • Among the benefits to the companies that provided coaching:

·      Productivity (reported by 53% of executives)

·      Quality (48%)

·      Organizational strength (48%)

·      Customer service (39%)

·      Reducing customer complaints (34%)

·      Retaining executives who received coaching (32%)

·      Cost reductions (23%)

·      Bottom-line profitability (22%)

·      Among the benefits to executives who received coaching were improved:

·      Working relationships with direct reports (reported by 77% of executives)

·      Working relationships with immediate supervisors (71%)

·      Teamwork (67%)

·      Working relationships with peers (63%)

·      Job satisfaction (61%)

·      Conflict reduction (52%)

·      Organizational commitment (44%)

·      Working relationships with clients (37%)

*The respondents were executives from large (mostly FORTUNE 1,000) companies who had participated in either “change oriented” coaching, aimed at improving certain behaviors or skills, or “growth oriented” coaching, designed to sharpen overall job performance. The programs lasted from six months to a year. About 60% of the executives were ages 40-49, a prime age bracket for career retooling. Half held positions of vice president or higher and a third earned $200,000 or more per year. (Retrieved from https://www.montewyatt.com/business-coaching-statistics)

     5. How is coaching distinct from other service professions?

Professional coaching focuses on setting goals, creating outcomes and managing personal change. Sometimes it’s helpful to understand coaching by distinguishing it from other personal or organizational support professions.

Therapy: Therapy deals with healing pain, dysfunction and conflict within an individual or in relationships. The focus is often on resolving difficulties arising from the past that hamper an individual’s emotional functioning in the present, improving overall psychological functioning, and dealing with the present in more emotionally healthy ways. Coaching, on the other hand, supports personal and professional growth based on self-initiated change in pursuit of specific actionable outcomes. These outcomes are linked to personal or professional success. Coaching is future focused. While positive feelings/emotions may be a natural outcome of coaching, the primary focus is on creating actionable strategies for achieving specific goals in one’s work or personal life. The emphases in a coaching relationship are on action, accountability, and follow through.

Consulting: Individuals or organizations retain consultants for their expertise. While consulting approaches vary widely, the assumption is the consultant will diagnose problems and prescribe and, sometimes, implement solutions. With coaching, the assumption is that individuals or teams are capable of generating their own solutions, with the coach supplying supportive, discovery-based approaches and frameworks.

Mentoring: A mentor is an expert who provides wisdom and guidance based on his or her own experience. Mentoring may include advising, counseling and coaching. The coaching process does not include advising or counseling, and focuses instead on individuals or groups setting and reaching their own objectives.

Training: Training programs are based on objectives set out by the trainer or instructor. Though objectives are clarified in the coaching process, they are set by the individual or team being coached, with guidance provided by the coach. Training also assumes a linear learning path that coincides with an established curriculum. Coaching is less linear without a set curriculum.

(Retrieved from https://coachfederation.org/faqs)

     6. How do I choose a right coach for me?

Looking for a coach who specializes in your area of need, perhaps the most important thing is to find someone you feel absolutely comfortable with. Remember that you are going to work closely with your coach, have a deep conversation, so right match is a key success factor in coaching process. MDC recommends to meet a prospective coach prior to starting a coaching engagement and offers a trial session for free to check whether you have “good chemistry” with the coach.

Additionally to “good chemistry”, what are other criteria you can be informed about?

  • Clarity of the coaching process, coaching engagement’s structure, and price. Your coach should be clear and transparent about the process and terms. Don’t hesitate to ask your prospective coach as many questions about coaching and the coach as you want to.

  • Competencies. Check a prospective coach’s education, background, experience, a certification in coaching from a recognized institution, ask about supervision, mentoring, and other ways the coach uses to support and develop their coaching skill set.

  • Ability to challenge. Look for a coach who is ready to stretch you, encourage and evoke transformation providing you with a safe environment to experiment with new ways of thinking, try out new behaviors and approaches, as well as practice new skills.

  • Honesty. Look for a coach who is not afraid to be honest with you, even when this is “the hard truth”. Your coach should ask insightful, provocative questions supporting and challenging you.

  • Leveraging diversity. Your coach should be able to tailor their approach, goal setting, plans and experiments to you, based on your thinking, learning styles, personality traits and values, as well as cultural factors.

  • Adherence to high standards of ethical conduct. Feel free to ask what kind of ethical standards a coach adheres to.

       7. Should the coach be an expert in my field or line of work?

In coaching, we assume that a client is an expert in their field or functional area. We never suggest business solutions or specific advice on the client’s work because this is the client’s job. The coach provides feedback, ask the right questions, help you gain fresh perspective, and develop new ways to tackle old problems. Your trustworthy collaborative relationship with your coach works much better than the coach’s industry knowledge. And nevertheless, it is helpful for a coach to have a business background and organizational acumen to understand the kind of challenges and pressures leaders face.

        8.  How often do I meet with my coach?

The coach normally meet with clients twice a month. This frequency offers time for reflection and application of skills and knowledge between sessions, while maintaining the momentum of our work together. We'll adjust the frequency to your unique situation.

       9.  Where will I meet my coach?

In order to make coaching as convenient as possible for you, MDC offers several options. Coaching services can be conducted in person at the coach’s office in Poughkeepsie, New York, on-site for corporate engagements, or via the video-conference and the phone for remote clients and busy executives.

       10.  How long does coaching engagement last?

Since coaching is tailor-made to each person’s or organization’s need, there is no exact answer. For certain types of focused work on a specific limited challenge, three to six months of coaching may be sufficient. Most of MDC coaching engagements are six to twelve months long. Some clients prefer to keep partnership with the coach for years to work through a variety of tasks or to complete a large scale initiative.

Factors that may impact the length of time include: the types of goals, the scale of change, the client’s commitment and openness to change, the frequency of coaching sessions and financial resources available to support coaching, and other unique factors.

       11.  What if I want to end my coaching engagement?

You may end work at any time you want to. We kindly ask you to notify the coach about your decision two weeks before the termination to provide the coach with time to prepare a final session that focuses on review and closure. Other terms and conditions may be included into the coaching agreement.

       12.  How will I get the most from coaching?

To benefit from coaching, the clients should:

  • Be ready for change (a change in effectiveness, a behavioral change, a change in quality of life, and so on)

  • Be ready to accept full responsibility for their actions, the impact of change they desire

  • Be open to feedback, an honest conversation, failures and setbacks as a part of learning process

  • Be willing to commit to coaching and take things seriously and responsibly

       13.  How much does coaching cost?

The MDC coaching is competitively priced. Each coaching intervention is customized and designed for the certain client or organization. MDC sets a negotiated flat fee to the term of coaching engagement or hourly fee for a Breakthrough Session. Thus, part of our engagements are paid by the client’s company, MDC offers the clients who personally pay for coaching a discounted rate. A more favorable pricing for coaching multiple clients at the same location is negotiable. 

MDC recommends to meet a prospective coach prior to starting a coaching engagement and offers a trial session for free to check whether you have “good chemistry” with the coach.

       14.  How are coaching fees paid?

Fees can be paid either by individuals or by their organizations. MDC normally expects payment in advance for each engagement. When a flat fee is charged for 6-month engagement or a longer one, MDC usually asks for 50% down payment and 50% at the mid-point of the engagement.

Maria Dvurechenskaya, 
Executive coach, MBA, PMP
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