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Types of Executive Coaching for Your Career

Jan 30, 2024 | Becoming a Coach FAQ, Career coaching, Executive Coaching

Have you ever encountered a challenging career roadblock and had no one you could consult for good advice?

Most of us grapple with the heavy decisions we need to make at work and share them with our peers. However, not everyone is aware of the transformative influence of executive coaching in simplifying these decision-making processes.

What is executive coaching? Executive coaching has become an indispensable resource for professionals seeking to enhance their skills, overcome career challenges, and achieve their career goals.

Especially in an environment where layoffs are apparent and the market is becoming more competitive, executives often turn to executive coaches to gain valuable insights and guidance.

Many of us think that executive coaches are career coaches, but there’s more to it than just that. In this blog, we share the types of executive coaching available. If you’re contemplating a career as a coach, we also discuss expanding your service offerings to incorporate these diverse sessions for your clients.

Here are 6 Different Types of Executive Coaching 

 1 – Performance Coaching 

If you’ve ever felt stuck in your career, struggled with a not so good performance review, or found yourself unable to move from mediocrity to excellence, performance coaches specialize in guiding individuals through performance coaching sessions.

Performance coaching focuses on improving an executive’s overall effectiveness and productivity in an organisation. Coaches work closely with individuals to identify areas of strength and areas that need improvement.

Through the coaching session, the client will set measurable goals, work through or solicit feedback from team mates and develop strategies to enhance performance together with a coach.

This type of coaching is particularly beneficial for executives aiming to optimize their work output, overcome obstacles, and consistently deliver excellent results, boosting your overall review.

Note: High performers can also engage a coach to see what else they can be doing differently at work!

A model you can reference when leading such coaching conversations can be found in a book called ‘Challenging Coaching’.

Performance Coaching Model

2 – Change Management

When we talk about workplace restructuring or job transition, navigating organisational change can be a daunting task for executives.

Change management coaching aims to help executives adapt and lead through periods of transition. Coaches in this category guide executives in developing the skills and mindset required to effectively lead themselves and their teams through change.

Favorable outcomes out of the session would lead to deeper resilience and adaptability. No longer would you have to dread change but look forward to new horizons and opportunities that can come out of an uncomfortable experience. This type of coaching is crucial in today’s fast-paced business landscape where adaptability is a key leadership trait.

When coaching, you can reference this model based on Kübler-Ross – The “Five Stages of Grief.”


3 – Leadership Coaching

If you’ve ever met someone who has leadership potential but can’t seem to climb up or play the part right, chances are, they would need some coaching. As the name suggests, leadership coaching is designed to empower executives with the skills needed to lead teams successfully.

Coaches work with leaders to enhance their emotional intelligence, communication, decision-making, and strategic thinking. Coaches also provide a sounding board to them when navigating workplace politics. 

This type of coaching is tailored to address specific leadership challenges, such as team dynamics, conflict resolution, and building a positive organizational culture. Leadership coaching is pivotal in nurturing and refining the qualities that make exceptional leaders.

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 4 – Career Coaching

If you’re looking for a career switch or thinking of re-evaluating your career, career coaching is for you.  For executives at various stages of their careers, career coaching provides personalized guidance to help them navigate their professional journey. 

This type of coaching involves identifying career goals, creating a roadmap for advancement, and addressing obstacles hindering progress.

Career coaches assist executives in making informed decisions about job changes, skill development, and long-term career planning, ultimately fostering a fulfilling and successful professional life.

Career coaching uses psychometric tools like Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Gallup’s Strengthsfinder and other self assessment tools to make data informed decisions for careers that fit their personality and skill set.

Another assessment you can also use is a model called Ikigai, or you can help your clients find their career values and help them make sense of it.  You can find a guide to our career values handout here. 

 5 – Coaching Derailed Employees

At some point in your career, facing a performance dip is normal. Work could be too challenging, or other factors could be hindering your progress.

Instead of ‘firing’ the employee these executives are matched with an executive coach to evaluate what could be hindering their progress or negatively impacting their performance.

Coaches specialising in working with derailed employees focus on identifying and addressing the underlying issues. This may include personal development, stress management, or conflict resolution. The goal is to help the executive overcome obstacles and regain momentum in their career. Here are some podcast episodes you can listen to for inspiration on how you can coach your clients – Permission to Fail and What to do when you’ve lost your MOJO

6 – Transitional Coaching

Executives undergoing significant transitions, such as promotions, job changes, or retirement, can benefit from transitional coaching.

Coaches in this category help individuals navigate the complexities of transitions, providing support in adapting to new roles, managing expectations, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

Transitional coaching is crucial for ensuring a smooth and successful transition to new professional phases. You can hear more about this in our podcast with HR directors Vanessa Iloste and Vanessa Teo on Compassion and Vulnerability in the Face of Career Transitions.

To sum up… 

In conclusion, the world of executive coaching is diverse, offering a range of specialised services to cater to the unique needs of individuals in both leadership and executive roles. 

Whether it’s optimising performance, navigating change, honing leadership skills, planning a career trajectory, addressing challenges, or managing transitions, executive coaching plays a pivotal role in shaping successful and fulfilled leaders in the ever-evolving business landscape.

If you’re interested in specialising in any of the above, we train leaders to become great executive coaches and introduce frameworks and models they can use.  Find out more about our Level 1 and Level 2 ICF trainings.

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Jean Balfour ICF Accredited Professional Coach and Managing Director of Bailey Balfour

Jean Balfour

Founder & Programmes Director


About the Author

Jean Balfour is Managing Director of Bailey Balfour and Programme Director of our ICF Accredited Coach Training Programmes. Jean is passionate about helping people to have good conversations both at work and at home. She believes that coaching is a life skill and that you never regret learning to coach.

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