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7 Reasons Why You Need a Leadership Development Coach to Get Ahead

7 Reasons Why You Need a Leadership Development Coach to Get Ahead

A couple of years ago I was asked to work with the Vice-President of a large health care organization and coach her on what it takes to have Executive Presence. After my initial meeting with HR, clearly, what they wanted was a mentor/trainer not necessarily a coach  as there is a a significant difference between a coach, a mentor and a trainer. The prospective client and I met to discuss her needs and expectations. Yes, indeed she too was expecting training in the areas of interpersonal skills, communication skills, personal branding, presentation skills, and leadership best practices.

At Corporate Class Inc. we have developed a unique robust Executive Presence training program. In fact, this program has gained us the international reputation we enjoy today. We began her private Executive Presence training and this allowed me to go a bit deeper in some of the issues that impacted several areas of her career. I noted after the training that the next logical step was to engage in private coaching and work on her thinking process which we decided was going to be critical in advancing her personal development one step further.

Towards the end of our training engagement, and with great accolades from her CEO on her growth and development, my client shared confidentially that the current CEO was leaving. The departing CEO was encouraging my client to throw her hat in the ring for the CEO role. He said he would support her, that she was a great fit for that role. She was hesitant and didn’t think she had a real chance of landing that position. This hesitation was undoubtedly caused by some toxic thinking and confirmed to me that coaching was a definite must. We then engaged in private executive coaching sessions for 6 months.

The job interviews started just towards the end of our engagement, perfect timing. My client did a lot of good work during those 6 months and she had successfully shifted her mindset. Two months later, over a nice dinner, we celebrated her becoming the CEO or her organization. By the end of the first year in her CEO role, we resumed executive coaching and once again, great work was done and she reached new stretch goals she had set for herself.  

Before we get into why you need a leadership development coach to get ahead, it’s important to understand the difference between coaching, mentoring and training because it may set you up for disappointments if your expectations aren’t met.

What’s the difference between Coaching, Mentoring and Training?


According to the International Coach Federation (ICF), an association and regulator body for coaches defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”  Coaching isn’t about giving advice or providing roadmaps telling the client what to do and how to do the job. Coaching is about helping clients with their thinking process so that they can gain life changing insights. The client has the answer to his/her issues. Unfortunately, often the client is too busy to make thoughtful decisions or find the better solution to solve the problem or situation. They react instead of thinking, feeling, and choosing.


Many use the terms coaching, mentoring and training interchangeably, yet the meaning of each is quite different.

An article titled ‘What’s the Difference Between a Coach and a Mentor?’, published in Forbes stated that, “Mentors are successful people who share their hard-earned wisdom to provide insight and guidance as a mentee encounters challenges along their journey. They typically function in a reactive capacity, responding to issues as they arise.”

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) has distinguished that, “Mentoring may include advising, counselling and coaching whilst the coaching process does not include advising or counselling.”


A trainer gives advice based on their expertise in that specific field. Mentoring and training have similarities yet still, it is not the same. Mentoring is more informal and usually done one-to-one. The mentor may meet the mentee in a coffee shop and the mentee is for the agenda. Training is more regulated and typically done in larger groups. Although, often for the Senior Executives, it is done one-on-one as they do not wish to be part of a larger group. Training is like teaching, the trainer shares knowledge in one very specific area or topic.

Two diverse serious businesswomen discussing business project working together in office, serious female advisor and client talking at meeting, focused executive colleagues brainstorm sharing ideas

Here are 7 Reasons Why You Need a Leadership Development Coach to Get Ahead

You are at a time in your career where you have had the opportunity to attend several training programs, you have a mentor, and now you need an executive business coach. Why is that so important?

  1. Help you define your goals and make them shine so you are motivated to accomplish them.
    Having goals ensures the coaching process is solution-focused and developmental instead of remedial. Strategies are developed for each goal and they perform several functions. They help the coachee see their goals as more tangible and possible by breaking each goal down into stages. They also ensure the coachee does things differently. Goals without strategies that group actions together, end up with a long “to-do” list that can become overwhelming. The real value of the coaching is not so much in achieving the goals but in the learning journey the coachee goes through, new confidence developed, new skills learned, and in building new habits.

  2. Ensure you are creating action steps that will actually get done.
    Once you have clear strategies, it’s time to set actions. For each strategy, list a set of required actions to achieve the goal.
    These actions are:
    a. Helpful – the action relates directly to the strategy and will help you achieve it.
    b. Likely to happen – the action is clearly worded, challenging and achievable, specific, and within a timeframe.

  3. Benefit from a third party sounding board and totally confidential.
    Maintaining confidentiality is a must and is expected of the coach in accordance with the ICF Code of Ethics. Unless there are special agreements put into place prior to the start of the engagement, the coach is bound to confidentiality with client information per stakeholder agreements and pertinent laws.

  4. Leadership is always changing and your coach helps you navigate these uncharted territories.
    Changes are usually difficult and need to be approached iteratively. It is the coach’s responsibilities to help the client formulate the process for the implementation of the changes and consider the impact on all parties.

  5. Benefit from the opportunity of having someone reflect back to you some of your thoughts.
    Leaders are often people who get things done but also less adapt at being self-aware and they rarely take time to reflect. The coach helps the active leader develop the discipline of reflection to help them maximize learning from what they do in life.

  6. Be challenged by powerful questions to help your thinking process.
    The coach is a “Master of Asking”. The questions aren’t meant to trick you or make you feel inadequate. They are meant to help you think deeper about the issues or challenges you are facing. The clients often underestimate how smart they are and that in fact they have the answer, they just haven’t had a chance to properly think and they feel stuck. Anxiety sets in  and clarity of thoughts disappear. We often get the wrong answer because we ask the wrong questions. You can count on your coach to ask the right questions.

  7. Broaden your perspectives.
    There may be countless ways to solve a problem, approach a challenge but you are exhausted, stressed and don’t seem to be thinking as clearly as you would like to, or maybe you just seem to be stuck and can’t think out of the box and come up with a more creative solution. Your coach will help you explore solutions from different angles and check on the validity of your assumptions perhaps so that you get a fuller picture of what’s going on. Broadening your perspectives means you are expanding your worldview, experience and point of view.

Make sense? To find out more contact us at 416-967-1221.

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