Have you just completed an executive education programme, an executive MBA or another professional development programme - congratulations! It must have taken quite the effort, not to mention all the time you must have spent on it. Usually the time spent pays of as investing time and effort in your professional growth tends to be quite rewarding at the same time and fill you with inspiration, new ideas and models to take to practice. But then what?
How are you planning to make use of all your new learnings and insights to benefit yourself, your career and the organisation you are working for? In most cases and executive MBA is sponsored by the employer who therefore also expects return on investment. “From insights to impact and results”.
There are challenges that everyone who completes an executive education programme face. Like wanting to pay back some of the time you borrowed from your family during the process. Or, you have a pile of projects you put on hold during the programme that now awaits you at work. Or, you might have neglected your friends or not been focusing on your own wellbeing. Or, you might be drawn back to old habits like Odysseus was drawn to the Sirens's singing.
In my experience there are several ways to secure successful implementation of your new insights and learnings.
First. Keep the network of professional and like-minded friends that you got to know during the programme alive and active. Maybe not everyone, but perhaps a handful. Both you and them will gain a lot from a continuous sparring-partnership or sounding board. It must be a give-and-take relationship, though.
Second. If you really want to make sure you get the most out of your Executive MBA, get yourself a professional business coach or experienced mentor. Get time with someone more experienced than you, either in business or in mental training (“the inner game”). Maybe you have even tried business coaching earlier or during the EMBA itself but the value is clear. The coach will help you sort out all the thoughts and plans that are spinning in your head. They will help you plan for the execution part, walk on your side for a length of time that you agree upon. Depending on the concrete target of the coaching-process it can be everything from a couple of meetings to the co-called “first hundred days” or even several months.
One of the very early pioneers of the coaching (psychological) methodology was Timothy Gallway who back in the early 1970´s started to observe and study the mental inner game in the minds of tennis-players. Fast track to the roots of coaching
Third. A third alternative can be as good for you as the first two but will demand even more of you. It is you conducting conscious self-management and self-leadership. Sorting out your thoughts and plans alone or together with your spouse, a friend, a colleague. Someone willing to help you get started but not necessarily mastering “the inner game”. This is also a good alternative but will demand much more self-discipline of you. In professional coaching the coach takes the responsibility of the process (insight to impact) but not the content or the substance as such. That is your responsibility.
To conclude, a professional coach is specially trained for this methodology, preferably certified to conduct this type of guidance. And most important, he or she has real coaching experience and is equipped with a heart that is passionate about helping people grow and become the very best version of themselves. The coach knows the inner game.
Let me finally say that coaching is not consulting, nor mentoring, nor counseling, nor training, nor therapy although the different methodologies can support one-another when used wisely.
Footnote: “The International Coaching Federation (ICF) defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. The process of coaching often unlocks previously untapped sources of imagination, productivity and leadership. We all have goals we want to reach, challenges we’re striving to overcome and times when we feel stuck. Partnering with a coach can change your life, setting you on a path to greater personal and professional fulfillment”.
The Hanken & SSE and HRM Partners definition is: Business Coaching is a target oriented, solution focused and time specific development process in a business context.