Have you just completed an executive education programme, an executive MBA or another professional development programme or course - congratulations! It must have taken quite the effort, not to mention all the time you spent on it. Usually the time is however well spent as investing time and effort in your professional growth tend to be quite rewarding at the same time and fill you up with inspiration, new ideas and models to take to practice. So, what now?
How are you planning to make use of all your new learnings and insights to benefit yourself, your career and the company you are working for at present? In most cases EMBA is sponsored by the employer who therefore also expects return on investment. “From insights to impact to results”.
There are challenges that all executive education graduates face after graduation. Like, you want 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 program now awaiting you at work. Or, you might have neglected your friends or taking care of your own wellbeing. Or, you might be drawn 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 program alive and active. Maybe not the whole course, maybe just a handful or one or two of the closest. You will gain a lot from some sort of continuous sparring-partnership or sounding board and so will your “class mates”. It must be a give-and-take relationship, though.
Second. If you really want to make sure you get the most out of your EMBA, get yourself a professional business coach or experienced mentor. Get practice-hours with someone more experienced than you are either in business or in mental training (“the inner game”). Maybe you have tried business coaching earlier or during the EMBA itself. The coach will help you sort out all the thoughts and plans that are spinning in your head right now. Help you plan for the execution part, walk on your side for a length of time you jointly 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: https://www.blinkist.com/en/books/the-inner-game-of-tennis-en/preview – written and audio presentation.
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”.
Hanken & SSE / HRM Partners' definition: “Business Coaching is a target oriented, solution focused and time specific development process in a business environment.”