1. Managing difficult decisions

These could be professional or personal decisions clients are facing. Generally, we work on understanding the hurdles, why they might prove difficult for my client, exploring options for a way forward, examining pros & cons, and setting clear and actionable (SMART) goals and next steps.

  1. Building resilience

My fellow executive coaches can probably confirm that this is an important and re-occurring topic.  It means helping clients with their resourcefulness to effectively manage crisis situations and challenging times (personal and professional). It can also revolve around ways to help deal with uncertainty and change. Helping to develop a growth mindset that enables clients to view challenges and perceived failures as opportunities for growth and learning, play an important part. Working on self-care to avoid burn-out also features regularly.

  1. Managing (new) organisational culture and expectations

Organisations spend considerable sums to recruit managers from abroad. There is then an expectation that they will hit the ground running, which can put some immense stress on my new starter clients who are trying to settle into their new work and lives without much further support. I work with my clients to tackle those first hurdles to make the process of settling in and becoming productive less stressful and more rewarding, which in turn has proven to increase their commitment to the organisation and their length of tenure.

  1. Managing workloads/ improving work-life balance

You won’t be surprised that this is another big and frequently re-occurring theme, also closely connected to building resilience. It generally includes exploring where work impinges on personal lives and why. We work on prioritising, setting healthy boundaries, planning, delegation, and exploring how balanced clients perceive the different aspects of their lives and what they might want to change. Working on well-being strategies and how to manage energy levels also features regularly.

  1. Stakeholder management

Particularly for clients who have taken on new responsibilities or roles, getting buy-in from new stakeholders and building alignment across new teams can prove challenging. Sometimes it involves managing rather difficult relationships and we work on exploring how to tackle that successfully and sustainably.

  1. Sense of wider purpose/ career planning and refocus 

Many of my clients are at the brink of a big change. I have coached clients approaching retirement or other big life or career changes that they may not have initiated themselves. We work on how to feel more in control and on gaining more clarity of where to go from here and how. I love accompanying clients on parts of these journeys and then – a year onwards or so – to see the exciting life choices they have made and their accomplishments.

  1. Processing and working with psychometrics and feedback

Particularly, when working in support of leadership development initiatives, we discuss psychometric and 360 outcomes to see where we can build on strengths and work on development areas. When I am supporting leadership training, we tend to work on how to apply learned concepts to specific work scenarios and challenges. Based on their unique need and goals, I help my clients self-reflect and identify areas where they might need some additional support or practice, developing suitable action plans.  Ensuring clients stay on track and committed through effective and manageable goal setting and accountabilities, we also work together to identify any possible barriers to learning and develop strategies to overcome them.

  1. Exploring role fit

This is closely linked to the last two topic areas and something clients want to explore for their current or potential new roles. We explore how my  clients’ values fit with their current role, where they draw most of their energy and enjoyment from and what that might mean for their way forward in their current or a new role.

  1. Leading a (new) team

This might be part of new responsibilities or an existing team. I have worked on inclusivity, managing varying requirements of members in diverse teams (culturally or behaviourally), managing relationships, effective communication, developing others, and ensuring ownership and accountabilities.

  1. Improving leadership presence and credibility

Some of my clients have been promoted into more senior roles and have come into our coaching relationship to work on  areas, such as confidence, assertiveness, and greater comfort operating at senior levels.

  1. Working on time management

This is an interesting area, as often it turns out that there is an underlying barrier which might interfere with effective time management. We explore how to overcome such barriers and help improve focus and prioritisation.

  1. Situational management (style and results)

Sometimes clients bring examples of situations at work into our sessions, where they might not have achieved the outcomes they expected. We examine what happened and explore perceptions from all parties involved. We then explore how alternative actions might result in different and preferred outcomes.

  1. Preparing for difficult conversations

This could involve conversation with colleagues, stakeholders, or personal situations. We work on building rapport, working on useful beliefs about oneself and the person involved and emotional states that might help get what my clients wants to get out of their conversation. Using ‘gestalt’ methods, such as the ‘empty chair technique’ have proven to be popular and successful with my clients.

While this (not exhaustive) list summarises some of the common themes my clients have been keen to work on in their coaching journey, the focus is always on my client rather than just the goal they have set to achieve. Often my clients enter a session with a clear objective, but when exploring it, this objective might shift as there are other more pressing priorities that come to the surface. Importantly, my clients know that our sessions provide a safe space for them to reflect, explore and gain more clarity on where they want to be and how to get there. Recognising and celebrating successes plays a big role throughout our coaching journey together.

Britta Corrigan is a multi-cultural and bi-lingual German/English executive coach. Britta specialises in coaching professionals to adjust to new work challenges, by helping them reflect and develop a deeper understanding of what they want to achieve and how to get there.

If you’d like to know more, Britta offers a complimentary, non-obligation ‘discovery’ call to explore where you currently are and where you want to be, where the gaps are and what you might want to focus on. You can also  peruse the wide range of Executive Coaches on the Trusted Coach Directory.

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