Develop Your Skills with Executive Coaching

Improve Your Leadership Skills with Coaching and the LSP-R

Leadership, like any other skill, requires honing. The struggle for most leaders, however, is finding the time to dedicate to their development in the face of competing demands. Furthermore, those who have created time for their personal growth often don’t know where to begin. It can be challenging to create, pursue, and accomplish ambitious goals. Personal development can feel like a solitary task, but what if you had an expert to guide you? Executive coaching is the solution.

Executive coaches are invaluable in helping leaders create lasting change in their behaviors. For instance, they can accelerate leadership development by focusing attention and effort on those competencies that will have the biggest impact in a leaders’ performance. They are also experts in keeping development on track and help leaders build in check-points that work for them.

The best part about executive coaching is how a good coach can make development accessible. To understand how executive coaching can help you grow as a leader, it’s important to know the steps of how a typical coaching engagement unfolds.

1. Develop your self-awareness through executive coaching.

Before you can grow, you need to get a sense of your current strengths and development opportunities. Begin with a scientifically-validated leadership assessment. SIGMA’s Leadership Skills Profile – Revised (LSP-R) is a self-report assessment of leadership potential. It focuses on those competencies critical for success as a leader. The LSP-R is also accompanied by the Focus report, which highlights both what you already do well and where you can improve. This provides a starting point for choosing development priorities.

2. Dive into your results.

While self-awareness begins with knowing your strengths and development opportunities, coaching can help you dig deeper. Executive coaches can identify themes within your report and explain how various leadership competencies relate to one another. Narrowing your focus to those areas where you are likely to see the biggest impact can help you make the most of your development efforts.

3. Make your plan.

Once you’ve reviewed your results, you can begin to prioritize what you want to achieve over the course of your coaching sessions. Your coach can work with you to create a personalized development plan and outline your action steps. Focusing on specific changes to your behavior in the short-term can set the stage for more long-term improvements.

4. Maintain your motivation.

Development efforts often fail when leaders become overwhelmed with other tasks and stop prioritizing their own goals. In contrast, research shows that even a single debriefing session with an executive coach can help you make progress[1]. Even better, by following a long-term coaching plan with at least 8 sessions, you are more likely to establish lasting behavior change[2],[3]. Checking in with your coach provides an opportunity to discuss roadblocks, acknowledge successes, and plan next steps. Finally, monitoring your efforts over time also makes it more likely that you will reach your goals[4].

5. Measure your executive coaching progress.

A part of effective goal-setting is understanding what success will look like. For instance, your coach can help you recognize the progress you’ve made and also keep track of goals accomplished. Additionally, you can return to assessments to quantify your progress. Consider completing a 360-degree assessment of your performance. This will help you compare your self-rated performance to those ratings from your leaders, colleagues, and direct reports. Comments and feedback from these assessments can also help guide your future development efforts. Remember, leadership development is an ongoing process, and while growth may take time, working with an executive coach will certainly help you make lasting changes.

Set Yourself Up For Success with SIGMA and Executive Coaching

Developing your skills requires an ongoing commitment to your own success, but tools like the LSP-R and an executive coach can help you make meaningful changes in your behavior. At SIGMA, we want to help you develop your competencies and become a more effective leader. For more information on our Leadership Skills Profile – Revised, 360-degree assessments, or coaching and training services, contact us today.


[1] Luthans, F., & Peterson, S. J. (2003). 360‐degree feedback with systematic coaching: Empirical analysis suggests a winning combination. Human Resource Management, 42, 243-256.

[2] Baron, L., & Morin, L. (2010). The impact of executive coaching on self-efficacy related to management soft-skills. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 31, 18-38.

[3] Sonesh, S. C., Coultas, C. W., Lacerenza, C. N., Marlow, S. L., Benishek, L. E., & Salas, E. (2015). The power of coaching: A meta-analytic investigation. Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice, 8, 73-95.

[4] Harkin, B., Webb, T. L., Chang, B. P. I., Prestwich, A., Conner, M., Kellar, I., …, & Sheeran, P. (2016). Does monitoring goal progress promote goal attainment? A meta-analysis of the experimental evidence. Psychological Bulletin, 142, 198-229.

About the Author

Sharon Van Duynhoven

Office Manager

Sharon brings our tests and assessments from the development stage to marketable product. She ensures quality control at every step of a project, edits technical documents and manuals, and artistically enhances reports and resources. She also manages contracts with clients across the globe and answers technical questions.