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Executive Coaching“What is the difference between a life coach and an executive or leadership coach and which one do I need?” This is a question we hear regularly as coaches. In fact, we hear it so often, we thought it would be productive to address the differences in a blog post.

While there are some very stark distinctions between both forms of coaching, in general, both a life coach and an executive/leadership coach works with a client to help them move forward with a firm objective and purpose. The difference between the two forms of coaching comes in the area of their emphasis. Although a number of methodologies can be used in both cases (we use the Neuro-Linguistic Programming Modality), executive coaching has the added dimension of the client’s professional standing being inherent to the relationship and the outcomes. At the end of the day though, a coach hired to work with an executive will come across issues and areas related to the executives overall life over the course of a coaching contract.

A life coach generally works with an individual on a personal level. They may help clients understand personal goals and objectives and discover the things are holding them back in their effort to meet these goals and objectives and ultimately create a life in alignment with their values. The life coach often helps clients find balance in their lives, build positive relationships or improve their outlook. Success in this coaching relationship is measured by the happiness and fulfillment of the client. The coaching agenda is not mixed with a business agenda, life coaching is all about the individual.

By comparison, an executive, or leadership coach addresses the professional aspirations of the client. An individual in a leadership role has a responsibility to many people (shareholders, subordinates, the public, etc.). Because of this level of responsibility the executive coach may suggest that the leader focus on specific measurable outcomes as they impact their role in the business. For this coaching relationship, the measurement of success is directly related to the client’s professional achievements.

The rapport between the life coach and client as well as the executive coach and client is based on a level of trust that grows stronger over time; however, the considerations of the coach/coachee relationship are vastly different. While both a life coach and an executive/leadership coach work to guide or facilitate the client in meeting specific goals, the executive coach takes into account the organizational culture and business climate. Additionally, both a life coach and an executive coach seek to help their clients reach a deeper insight and understanding, but an executive coach works to help the client align this understanding with an organizational or business agenda or process.

An executive coach might best be defined as a coach who works with leaders who also have a personal life. Some thoughts or ideas that come into play in this relationship might include:

  • What areas of your professional life are working in a positive manner?
  • What areas could use improvement?
  • What type of professional feedback is affirming to you as a leader?
  • What do you consider to be a “win” in your work life?
  • What beliefs do you have that serve you well as you pursue future career goals?
  • What beliefs do you have that are not serving you?
  • What do you need to do to take your career to the next step?

At Academy of Leadership Coaching & NLP (ALCN) we seek to help leaders move to the next step in their professional endeavors. We also train coaches who want to be leaders in the field of coaching. We blend powerful NLP techniques with the ICF model of coaching creating safe space for accelerated personal and professional growth  If you would like more information on our methodologies or our international intensive coach training programs offered in San Francisco, visit our website or contact us today!

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