Goal-setting, decision-making and self-discovery


Executive Coaching is a thriving global industry, worth over $9 billion. Athletes, executives, actors and entrepreneurs all turn to coaches to elevate their performance. But what are the benefits of coaching, and how does it work?

Management consultants guide clients through complex decisions involved in starting and expanding their businesses. Research points to several benefits of coaching, including goal achievement, increased satisfaction and improved relationships. These benefits align with three coaching approaches I’ll refer to as Goal, Choice and Relationships, which draw inspiration from the Co-Active© Coaching model in which I was trained at Duquesne University.

Goal Coaching involves assisting clients in setting, developing and achieving their objectives. This is often favored by high-achieving executives and action-oriented entrepreneurs. In this coaching style, we use questions to explore strategic scenarios, determine direction and create action plans. Goal-based coaching is a results-driven approach that particularly resonates with individuals aiming for professional advancement.

Clients collaborate closely with their coaches to define specific, measurable and time-bound goals. This approach proves highly valuable for executives and entrepreneurs pursuing career milestones and business success.

The next coaching approach centers on Choices and Perspectives. If you’ve ever worked with a coach who had you create a diagram resembling a wheel or pie chart, you were engaging in coaching related to choices and perspectives. I’ve often used this type of coaching when clients are grappling with external or internal decisions. Startup clients, for example, might enter with multiple ideas and uncertainty about their direction. Others might face conflicts involving multiple stakeholders and need to explore various viewpoints.

Imagine an executive wrestling with the challenge of balancing a demanding career with family responsibilities. Balance or perspective coaching delves into strategies for work-life balance, stress management techniques and aligning personal values with professional pursuits. By addressing these foundational elements, the coaching process enhances well-being and personal growth.

Finally, there’s what I term Relationship Coaching, also known as process coaching in the Co-Active Coaching© model. This type of coaching resembles counseling in that it often involves exploring meaning, emotions and relationships — particularly one’s relationship with oneself. It comes into play when you’ve achieved a long-pursued goal and suddenly find your life lacking meaning and motivation. This type of coaching is also instrumental in overcoming internal and emotional blocks and resistance that are preventing you from living your fullest life.

Coaching boils down to asking questions and actively listening. This open exchange of ideas and feelings empowers clients to explore, decide and develop their own answers. If you’re grappling with challenges related to your goals, choices, or relationships, seek the services of a trained executive coach. Personally, I’ve found coaching invaluable for setting and achieving goals, understanding various perspectives and overcoming obstacles to propel me into the future. Coaching isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution; it’s a personalized journey that respects individual aspirations and values. Whether you’re an executive aiming for the C-suite, an entrepreneur launching a new venture, or simply someone in pursuit of a more fulfilling life, coaching can serve as your compass on the path to success and happiness. 

Dr. Eric Swift is a management consultant at the Institute of Entrepreneur Excellence, University of Pittsburgh