Executive Coaching Model
The role of a coach is to assess and develop “fit” between a person’s individual capabilities and the capabilities required by the job as represented in the figure below.

Strategic Context
Michael always starts a coaching engagement by exploring and getting to know the strategic context since it is imperative to know how the position supports the strategy of the firm and/or business unit.

This knowledge that enables Michael to customize the coaching engagement to the unique needs of the position.

For example, it is important to know whether the person in this position needs to be competent at turning around a business, starting up a business, growing an existing business, or merging with another business. He gains this knowledge through a variety of methods including interviews of key, appropriate executives at your company.

Ed Lawler, named by BusinessWeek as one of the nation’s leading management expert, in his 2008 book Talent, says that human capital centric organizations “realize that their competitive advantage rests on the ability to attract, develop, retain, and manage people who fit their business strategy by providing the competencies and capabilities it calls for.”

Organizational Dynamics
Similarly, it is critical to know a company’s organizational dynamics.

What is your culture like?

Does it reward innovation and risk taking or does it reward a more conservative approach?

What gets rewarded and what gets people into trouble?

It is also important to know the dynamics of the teams this person will be a member of or lead. For example, what type of leadership style would work best with the team the person will be leading?

The fit between the individual’s behaviors, values and drivers and the surrounding culture is key tothe person’s success. Someone can have the “right” skills but derail due to a mismatch with the culture’s norms.

As a result, Michael explores an organization’s dynamics through interviews and surveys to enable him to assess fit and then coach people appropriately.

Individual Capabilities
The five core capabilities that he assesses and form the foundation of his coaching are:
  1. Intelligence
  2. Personality and leadership style
  3. Motivation and values
  4. Observable skills and behaviors
  5. Reaction to stress

Each capability is distinct and gives a different perspective on potential fit between the person and the position. Together, they give a comprehensive set of data.

He works with clients to make sure you understand the insights you gain with each type of assessment.

In brief, some key points are:
1. Intelligence
  Most executive positions need an above average intelligence level.
  Intelligence is not a coachable capability.
  A review of the literature reveals that in general, intelligence accounts forless than 10% of successful job performance.
2. Personality and leadership style
  These style assessments can give important insights into people’s tendencies, but they are often applied inappropriately to assess other capabilities.
3. Motivation and values
  Comparing the results of an organization culture assessment and an individual’s motivation and values assessment can result in important insights for both assessing for fit and for coaching.
4. Observable skills and behaviors
  360 feedback is an excellent way to see how others perceive an individual’s relative strengths and weaknesses on observable skills and behaviors. As reported by Thach in a 2002 article in Leadership and Organizational Development Journal, “the combination of multi-rater feed back and individual coaching do increase leadership effectiveness up to 60 per cent -- according to direct report and peer post-survey feedback.”
  If 360’s are used as the only source of data, however, one gets a very narrow perspective of someone’s capabilities and potential. You are limiting your assessment to what others perceive.
5. Reaction to stress
  How one behaves under stressful conditions is a critical factor in one’s success.
  High levels of stress can result in dysfunctional overuse of one’s strengths
(i.e., someone who is appropriately assertive under normal conditions can become inappropriately aggressive under stress).

In order to maximize the value of a coaching engagement, clients need to understand what impacts fit.

While Michael recommends a comprehensive approach that takes into account more than one individual capability, at a minimum clients should engage in a discussion that allows for an informed decision about what to include and not to include.