What is the importance of executive coaching within organizations? How do companies like Google help their employees to grow?
“Gone are the days of using coaching as a remedial tool,” says Joanne Kelly, head of executive talent and internal coach at the John Lewis Partnership. “We use coaching to stretch and grow our next generation of leaders, to increase the performance of the individual and the business, and to enable transitions to new roles or increased responsibility.
“Given the pace of change in organizations, the best development we can give our leaders is the self-awareness to be able to build resilience and embrace lifelong learning.”
In 2011, Joanne decided to pursue Ashridge Executive Education’s Masters in Executive Coaching – a two-year, part-time, modular, self-directed program for professionals looking to become accredited executive coaches.
At the time, she was head of talent for UK supermarket chain Waitrose, responsible for sourcing its external executive coaches.
“I wanted to understand what a good coach and coaching experience looked like. Then, as I was doing my research on courses, I became interested in the idea of becoming a coach myself.
“Having completed a Master in Psychology, I thought I was fairly self-aware, but the Ashridge coaching program took me to another level. I have used the knowledge I gained on the program to review our external coaches and approach to coaching at John Lewis.”
Ashridge’s Masters in Executive Coaching brings together some of the most experienced practitioners in the field, developing coaching and mentoring skills through supervision, co-coaching, reflection, and experimentation. Among its expert faculty; Erik de Haan, a consultant and psychotherapist with 20 years’ experience, and co-author of more than 150 articles and 11 books.
The program takes a relational psychological perspective with short teaching inputs on coaching theories and models combined with group discussions.
Stephanie Conway, a senior organizational development practitioner and executive coach at Google in Ireland, chose Ashridge’s program to boost her coaching skillset in a trusted environment.
“I strongly believe that coaching is a skill that can only be developed effectively when it’s practiced,” she says. “I was looking for a globally-recognized, people-centered program that would be practical and experiential in nature.
“Ashridge came highly recommended by many people in my network and in the industry.”
At Google, Stephanie’s seen how executive coaching can add value to an organization, supporting Human Resources and Learning and Development departments.
“Participants who are graduating from Ashridge’s Masters in Executive Coaching have all been exposed to an intense transformational experience which enhances personal awareness on how a person comes across to others and what drives their behavior,” she continues.
“From an organizational perspective, this can be of huge benefit. Enhanced self-awareness can lead to a more productive, happy and motivated workforce.”
Stephanie spent the majority of her professional career in sales and operations before joining Ashridge’s executive coaching program in 2010. She’s now pursuing a diploma in organizational supervision at the school, and works as an Ashridge associate part-time.
The Masters in Executive Coaching program at Ashridge is practical and emergent in nature which is in line with my preferred way of learning,” she says. “I have been able to build a very strong network across Europe through my time at the school.
“It was life changing for me. That’s why I keep coming back!”