Executive Coaching

Sterling Plaza
5949 Sherry Lane, Suite 825
Dallas, Texas 75225
(214) 373-6370


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Frequently Asked Questions About Executive Coaching

What are the reasons coaching works?

There are 3 unique variables of coaching that contribute to its success:

  • Synergy - The client/coachee and the coach become a team focused on the client's goals as a way to accomplish more than the client would have alone.

  • Structure - The coach provides accountability and therefore the coachee thinks bigger, takes more action and accomplishes more goals.

  • Expertise - The coach is skilled in helping the coachee make better decisions, set the most productive goals and restructure their personal and professional lives for maximum productivity.


Who works with an executive coach?

Generally, people who want to have the maximum positive impact on the organization and their own careers.  This may include C-Suite executives, partners, managing partners, directors, managers and high performing individuals.  The executive coach may help with role changes, organizational restructuring, goal planning and execution, behavioral change, situational analysis, or any other facet of an executive's career and performance.


How is an executive coach different from a psychotherapist?

The two types of relationships are similar in some important ways. Both require a core level of trust and understanding between the professional and the client. Goals are developed for either type of relationship, and either type should result in growth for the client. For either type of relationship, you should make sure that your coach or therapist is trained and experienced in ways that best serve your needs as coachee or therapy client.

However, there are significant differences as well. The focus of each process is different, and the training and experience required of the professional are quite distinct. A coach works primarily on the present and the future, whereas a therapist may spend significant amounts of time returning to the past to better help the client understand and change current patterns. An executive coach deals primarily with the organizational and professional goals of the client, and so must understand business and the needs of business persons, specifically those in the C-Suite and Partner-level roles.  A therapist must understand a wide variety of types of personalities, emotional issues, and methods for helping the client to address the issues in their past and present. A life coach is somewhere in between, focused on the client's life goals in addition to, or instead of, professional ones.

Dr Chester's deep experience in both the world of therapy and the world of executive and professional coaching gives her a great number of options for dealing with the unique needs of each client.


What's the difference between executive coaching and professional coaching?

The answer is simple: the same as the difference between a Partner/C-Suite Executive and a Manager/Professional.  There is a difference in focus, a difference in span and a difference in support.

Focus: Executive coaching is generally focused on realizing some goal for the benefit of the organization, often grooming the executive for higher positions, supporting the executive through role change, or preventing some errant characteristic from derailing the executive's career.  Generally it includes assessments from colleagues, superiors and subordinates.  These assessments provide direct feedback for the executive to identify strengths and weaknesses and modify behavior accordingly.  Obviously, this provides career benefits for the executive, and the organization thrives in response.

Professional coaching may include similar feedback methods, where politically possible, but is generally orientated toward the career and life goals of the client.  The focus is on maximizing the client's positive impact on his own life and career, which will also have benefits for any organization the client chooses to join and support.

Span: In addition to behavioral change, an executive coach may provide guidance about effecting organizational change, whereas a professional coach may add guidance about career change.  In either case, a coach with clinical expertise can also support the client in terms of analyzing interpersonal issues, maintaining life balance and solving personal needs.

Support: Executive coaching is generally engaged with the full support of the organization, whereas professional coaching more often is an individual initiative.


What kinds of things are worked on in the executive coaching process?

There are many possible answers based upon the personal and organizational reasons for the coaching.  Some of the common ones are:

  • Achieve maximum executive performance

  • Design and implement a vision for the organization

  • Prioritize actions and projects

  • Gather feedback to identify executive core strengths and growth needs

  • Support the executive through role change

  • Groom executives for the next-level-and-beyond positions

  • Create and maintain work/life balance

  • Identify, direct and support behavioral change


How does the process work?

Executive coaching is generally accomplished under a project model, with four phases: Initiation, Planning, Execution and Conclusion.

The Initiation Phase is where it all starts.  The executive or organization has a general idea of what they would like to accomplish, and is looking for a vetted resource to help them with that goal.  Coaches are interviewed to find one that is a good match for the personality and needs of the executive.  In some cases, "fit" can require cultural or gender sensitivity, but most often industry knowledge and personality fit are more important.

The Planning Phase is where the purposes, goals, methods, budget and timeline for the project are established.  Based upon the executive goals and the current situation, the executive, the sponsoring organization and Dr. Chester together will establish the parameters for the coaching process.  This includes a clear statement of which coaching and feedback items will be confidential to the executive and which will be shared with the organization.

The Execution Phase is where the majority of the work will be done.  It almost always commences with a formal Assessment action, where feedback is requested and received from a range of the executive's colleagues, superiors and subordinates, to provide a valid baseline of the executive's external behavior.  In addition, personal assessment instruments provide insight to the internal processes of the executive.  Several different scientifically validated assessment instruments are available, based upon the exact needs of the client.

After the Assessment action, the coach and client work to implement the plan, changing methods and behaviors as needed to approach the project goal.  Often, items come up during the execution phase that cause tuning to the overall plan, but this is an expected aspect of the process.

The Conclusion Phase happens when the goals of the coaching have been fully or largely achieved.  The outcome is evaluated according to the goals established during the planning phase, and new parameters are established for any follow-on work by the executive and the coach.  Generally there are monthly or quarterly check-backs for a period of time, to allow the executive to continue to tune his performance.  These may be either on a schedule or an ad hoc basis, based upon need.


What should I look for in a coach?

The right coach brings out your best on a consistent basis. To do this, the coach you select should pass the following tests:

  1. Does the coach have a track record of helping someone like me accomplish the goals that I want?

  2. Do I feel good and motivated to act when I am with this coach?

  3. Will this coach keep up with me and more importantly stay ahead of me as I am growing?

Trying out a coach for a month is a reasonable thing to do. Dr. Chester prefers to work with two types of clients: Individuals who are making substantial changes in their personal and professional lives and professionals who are smart, quick, and ready to do what it takes to reach beyond-the-next-level goals.


What is Dr. Chester's training in coaching?

Dr. Chester has extensive training and experience in human behavior, motivation, and strategies of change.  She is the North Texas Principal of the Global Consulting Partnership, an organization focused on business psychology and behavior change.

Dr. Chester has worked with managers and C-Suite executives of Fortune 500 companies, nonprofit organizations and privately held companies, to improve their abilities, their promotability, their businesses and their lives.  She has a specialty in public accounting firms, having worked with partners, directors, and managing partners in two of the top four public accounting firms.  She has also worked with countless individuals wanting to improve their relationships and their personal productivity.


How much does coaching cost?

It is difficult to give a meaningful answer to this question without first exploring your needs, goals, targets, and current situation.  Dr. Chester would be happy to discuss this with you and then give you the answer for your particular situation.  Please call to schedule a time for a free telephone consultation.


How do I get started with executive coaching?

If you believe that Dr. Chester may be a fit for your executive coaching needs, please call her to schedule a phone interview about your coaching project, the needs of the executive and the needs of the organization.  If you both agree that she might be a match, then an in-person interview can be scheduled.

Once the relationship is established, a formal process of planning and goal-setting can begin, as described under "the process" above.


About Dr. Chester | Counseling Services | Professional Services | Fees | Directions


Dr. Gail Chester

Sterling Plaza
5949 Sherry Lane, Suite 825
Dallas, Texas 75225
(214) 373-6370