Coaching has been steadily increasing in popularity over the last few years from the perspective of both the numbers looking to be coached and the number of people becoming a coach. This is with good reason because coaching has proved to be able to deliver sustainable personal growth, leading to long term benefits.

The generation of interest in coaching, however, has led to complexities in terminology as the different types of coaching services grow. For example, sports coaches, life coaches, performance coaches, executive coaches. You get the picture!.

In this blog post, we discuss the difference between executive coaching and life coaching.

Executive coaching explained

Executive coaching is a process that helps executives, who recognise the importance of self-development, identify what is personally and professionally important to them and, facilitates the creation of strategies to achieve their goals. The executive coach works with the executive to gain valuable insights about themselves and the environment that surrounds them, celebrating their successes but focusing on the future. Working on a one-to-one basis with an executive coach generates deeper levels of understanding, which produces a longer lasting positive impact. This benefits both individuals and organisations.

It’s not about giving advice. The coach provides opportunities for self-reflection on an individual’s performance and how to improve it. Allowing space and time is critical for the production of strategies and plans, which supports an increase in motivation, resilience and leadership skills. Taking responsibility for our own actions and being accountable, not just to others but also to ourselves, are necessary attributes for a great leader.

Executive coaching involves working with an executive coach (sometimes also referred to as a leadership coach) in a safe, trusting relationship where both parties demonstrate mutual respect. The role of an executive carries with it high levels of seniority and experience, and therefore the work undertaken with an executive coach is tailored to acknowledge this.

Where does life coaching fit in?

Life coaching has some similarities with executive coaching in that, it may be a one-to-one relationship, which focuses on personal growth. Life coaching can however also be a group activity.

The key difference is that the attention is centred on personal life aspects such as relationships, career path, happiness in general and self-actualisation. There isn’t an organisational or performance agenda.

It's fair to say that an executive coaching session can move into the life coaching space, particularly when personal issues impact on work however it is not reasonable to expect a life coach to deal with corporate issues that appear within a coaching engagement.

In summary, executive coaching is only appropriate for executive-level team members who are either transitioning into the role or would like to improve their performance. This is likely to tap into their conscious and unconscious thoughts and actions; coaching the person as a whole and all that that entails. Life coaching, however, does not focus on executives or leaders and is more focused on improving aspects of personal life.

To understand more about the role of executive coaching, here are some common questions that are asked:

Should I get executive coaching AND life coaching at the same time?

It’s not unusual for people to work with more than one type of coach, for example sports stars who have a variety of coaches to help them work on different skills or “areas of their game”.

With regards to executive and life coaching however, it’s not advisable to have two coaches who may need to explore similar areas if personal issues appear.

If you are an executive, then executive coaching is all you need to support your self-development requirements.

Is executive coaching different to leadership coaching?

There are subtle differences between the two. Leadership coaching concentrates on how to become or be a better leader whereas executive coaching addresses the development of the person as a whole, which is likely to improve their leadership skills. Executive or leadership coaching involves working with a professional coach to improve your leadership skills and it’s highly effective for anyone wanting to succeed at the executive level.

Can Ramsay Todd help with executive coaching?

Yes, we can. At Ramsay Todd, we have highly qualified and experienced professional coaches who can help you to develop the skills and performance of your leadership team.