Executive Coaching or HR Coaching, whats the difference?

If your an HR professional, you might think that coaching and HR coaching go hand in hand. If fact, you might even think that because you interact with executives and other managers and provide them with advise, ensure they are people focused or help deal with their under performers that you are coaching.  Well yes, you are partially right!

There is a massive difference in approach and style between coaching and HR coaching. Generally speaking I believe that this is a massive skill shortage for many HR professionals out there. Most HR professionals have only managed small teams or in some situations have never managed people at all. However, they seem to feel as if they have the knowledge and experience to offer sound advise to their business partners. I'm sure we all can relate to how different a situation might feel when someone discussed it with us verse when we were actually in the situation ourselves... it's massive! 

I'm certainly not trying to take a punt at HR professionals. I do feel that there are many amazing HR people out there that do great work and still inspire me everyday. I'm just saying that this might be one of the reasons why the Human Resource profession is continuing to be undervalued and in some situations has a negative vibe in certain organisations. 

As an executive coach, you must know what it's like to walk in your coachee's shoes. The most important aspect of being a coach is not having an agenda and maintaining a judgement free and trusting environment. Most Human Resource coaching involves trying to lead someone to the answer that you already know is right or that you want them to act on. That of course is the wrong approach as it only creates judgment. Coaching should be agenda free and come from a place and feeling of personal safety. Your goal should be to challenge the thinking and to help them generate new ways of thinking.

I believe this creates a gap for true executive coaching to exist within business environments, but be removed at the same time. Every leader should have a coach that is removed from the organisation to create space for confidential and non-biased conversations. It's only when we are in this place that we will see real development and change occur.