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Level Up Your Leadership: The Benefits of Executive Communication Coaching

Updated: Mar 16



Effective communication skills are a pillar of successful leadership. Business leaders have their plates full. But without good communication, their influence and impact of their efforts gets diluted easily.


According to a 2022 report by Harris Poll (PDF) that surveyed business executives and knowledge workers in the U.S., ineffective communication at the workplace could cost businesses up to $1.2 trillion annually. T for trillion.


Nine out of 10 leaders deem poor communication as costly in more ways than one. They say it hampers productivity, leads to missed deadlines and has a negative effect on brand reputation.


This echoes a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit [PDF] which established that poor communication can lead to missed performance goals, low employee morale and lost sales.


As a leader, this is something you want to curtail at all costs. And not purely because of the effect on the bottom line. Effective communication is what allows you to establish trust with your people and rally them around a shared vision.


This is why investing in executive communication coaching makes sense.


What is executive communication coaching?


Executive communication coaching is a form of coaching meant to enhance a leader’s communication skills with a view of maximising their impact within and beyond their organisation.


As a leader, your ability to communicate has a direct bearing on your success as a whole. And I don’t mean that with regard to your career trajectory. There’s that, but your communication skills also determine the impact you make on the daily as a leader, as they do your overall influence within your organisation.


Yet, many executives still struggle to communicate effectively, with a survey by Interact (PDF) revealing that 69% of managers feel uncomfortable when communicating with their employees.


It is worth highlighting that good communication skills extend beyond conversational skills. You might be able to articulate yourself better than most, but might fall short in one or more areas – listening, empathy, conflict resolution etc.


Communication coaching for business executives views communication from a holistic perspective and aims to equip leaders with a range of soft skills they need to excel.


The job of an executive communication coach is to help senior leadership and managers identify their communication weak points, hone their strengths and develop effective communication techniques and strategies. The goal is to turn business leaders into more confident and impactful communicators.


7 essential qualities you can master through leadership communication coaching


Leadership communication coaching is a great way for executives to develop and enhance different aspects of communication. A 1:1 communication coach can put together a tailored coaching solution that provides a safe and supportive environment for leaders to practice and hone multiple facets of their communication.


Through executive communication coaching, leaders can develop and refine attributes of communication such as, among others:


  • Leadership speaking

  • Communication style

  • Clarity

  • Active listening

  • Transparency

  • Negotiation

  • Body language


Leadership speaking


As a business executive, public speaking skills are something you likely possess, either as something that comes naturally to you or as a result of training or repetition. It is a skill you require in abundance as a large part of what you do involves speaking in some capacity. It could be:


  • speaking at meetings

  • addressing large groups

  • doing media interviews

  • presentations here and there, you name it


Executive communication coaching gives you a platform to build on your speaking skills and become the powerful communicator you need to be, no matter your personality.


A tailored leadership communication coaching program can prepare you to speak with confidence, develop authenticity, master speech making and other crucial elements of public speaking.


But always worth noting when searching for an executive communication coach is that the choice of coach matters too. That’s because coaching programs differ, as do personalities. The latter is particularly important if you’re looking to work with a 1:1 communication coach.


Communication style


Adaptability is one of the best skills any leader can possess, and it applies to communication as much as it does other aspects of leadership.


The ability to adapt your communication style as a leader enables you to effectively reach different employees, teams or groups. This ensures your message gets across without anyone feeling left out or unappreciated.


Adapting your communication style is like having the nous to “read the room”, and tailoring your style of communication to suit the audience of the day.


Effective business communication coaching can help you achieve that.


Clarity


As a leader, it is important to make it a habit of being clear and unambiguous in your conversations. Being specific ensures everyone understands the page they should be reading from as far as goals and priorities are concerned.


What it also does is prevent confusion and misunderstanding, while ensuring everyone feels engaged in the process.


With only 50% of employees saying they clearly understand what their managers expect of them at work, it shows the need for leaders to put deliberate effort into ensuring their message and goals are clearly conveyed.


This is something else you can hone through leadership communication skills training.


Active listening


Knowing when to talk and when to listen is a good communication skill for any leader to have.


Irrespective of your leadership style, it never hurts to show your employees that their input is valued. You can do that by creating an environment that encourages employees and other leaders to share their ideas, opinion and feedback.


Active listening is easier for some leaders than others, but it is not impossible to cultivate as a skill. Executive communication coaching can teach you to be present and engaged in conversations; and that kind of setting can only lead to better results when all is said and done.


Transparency


Leadership communication coaching can also teach leaders to be more transparent as far as communicating the company’s goals, challenges and opportunities goes.


What transparency does is tear down any barriers of communication within and outside of an organisation, while promoting a culture of honesty, trust and open communication. As a leader, transparency earns you the trust of relevant stakeholders, from employees to clients and even investors.


Transparency as a skill teaches you to promote open channels of communication, acknowledge errors, and offer and take on board regular feedback.


Negotiation


The ability to negotiate can be useful for leaders in different respects. In addition to coming in handy when conducting business transactions, this is a skill that will serve you well when resolving workplace conflicts and managing various stakeholders.


Negotiation involves active listening, so it can be useful in problem-solving and decision-making as well.


Body language


Communication is as much about what you say as it is about how you carry yourself. Even the best communication coaches will tell you that non-verbal cues have the biggest impact when it comes to communication.


For leaders, I cannot emphasise the importance of body language enough. You serve as a beacon that everyone looks up to, so it is important to learn how to project positive body language.


Good body language does not mean feigning positivity in the face of adversity or when dealing with difficult situations. Leadership is a role that comes with its share of challenges, so it’s important to learn how to project confidence even in misfortune as the energy is sure to rub on everyone around you.



Executive communication coaching will teach you how to convey warmth and trust through body language, and how you can use nonverbal cues to your advantage. These include subtle cues such as vocal tone, poise, hand gestures and head movement.


5 Benefits of executive communication coaching


In the C-suite, effective communication is one of your most powerful weapons. As a business executive, you wear many hats. You are:


  • a visionary who provides direction

  • a representative for your company when dealing with external entities

  • a spokesperson for your organisation and its people

  • a diplomat who mediates internal (and external) conflicts

  • a beacon of inspiration whom your employees look up to


Every role and interaction calls for clear and strong communication, and leadership communication coaching is a great way to develop and sharpen your skills in order to step up to the challenge.


Some of the benefits you can expect from working with an executive business communication coach include:


  1. Relaying your vision

  2. Increased self-awareness

  3. Conflict resolution

  4. Navigating change and crisis management

  5. Managing different cultures


1. Relaying your vision


One of your top priorities as a leader is to keep your employees motivated and ensure everyone has their eyes trained on the prize. Effective communication can help you unpack your vision and relay it to your staff, revealing not just the goals and roadmap, but how it marries into the overall picture.


That includes detailing how the employees fit in and why it should matter to them. In other words, you want to sell everyone your vision and give them reasons to care about it.


That’s easier to achieve as a great communicator, and leadership communication skills training can help you do that.


2. Increased self-awareness


Another benefit of effective communication coaching for leaders is the self-awareness that comes with it. Coaching can reveal possible shortcomings in your current MO as far as communication goes.


Perhaps your presentation skills need working on. Or maybe you excel in one-on-one conversations but fall short in other forms or aspects of communication. Like written communication, for instance. Or open meetings. Listening. Or something else.


Executive communication coaching can help you identify weaknesses in your general communication and polish any areas that need improvement in order to make you a well-rounded communicator.


As you become more self-aware, you also learn how best to approach different situations that warrant your input. You learn how to control your body language, tone and mannerisms to avoid sending the wrong signals which can be misinterpreted by others.


3. Conflict resolution


One of the most important skills of a good leader is knowing how to handle challenging situations. Conflict at work will always be there, and there are times you will be called upon to step in.


Conflict resolution is part of successful communication as a leader. Learning how to diffuse tense situations can keep things from spiralling and hampering performance.


Communication coaching for leaders will equip you with the soft skills you need to navigate these situations so that you are able to respond objectively to conflicts in a way that is not based on emotion.


4. Navigating organisational change


Change is an inevitable part of business and no organisation is exempt. Whether you are growing, downsizing, merging, charting a different course with your offerings or leadership, you will undergo change over time. That’s even more so now when disruption and challenges have become the order of the day.


Periods of change tend to bring a lot of uncertainty, and your employees need guidance, reassurance and a clear roadmap during this time. It is here that as a leader, you will find communication aspects like transparency, open dialogue and empathy most useful.


These are skills that communication skills coaching teaches you as an executive, which can help you navigate organisational change and difficult situations more swimmingly and emerge out of it even stronger.


5. Managing different cultures


The modern business landscape has evolved from the conventional work model it used to be. Remote work and hybrid work models have particularly accelerated post-2020 following the global lockdown which fast-tracked what was an emerging trend.


As companies try to strike a balance on a model that works best for them, it cannot be denied that remote working and work-from-home models are here to stay. It’s a landscape that brings together people from all over the world with different backgrounds and cultures. It promises plenty of benefits, but for unprepared communicators, it presents many potential challenges as well.


Executive communication coaching can equip you with excellent communication skills that can help you bridge potential gaps that come with interacting with a global workforce whose culture and background differ from yours. As a result, misunderstandings related to elements like tone, trust, respect and perception will be far less common.


Conclusion


Communication is more than simply exchanging words. It is key to a leader’s success; a skill you need to strengthen to become a transformational leader.


Executive communication coaching can turn you into an exceptional communicator. Through coaching, you will be able to evaluate your effectiveness and identify areas that need improvement. You will acquire the right skill set that will enable you to be more effective in your role.


Communication skills can be self-taught, but nothing beats working with an experienced communication coach for leaders. The right executive coach can help you acquire the vital skills you need to succeed in today’s dynamic and challenging landscape while providing a safe and supportive environment to do so.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Why is effective communication important for a leader?

Effective executive communication is a skill every leader needs to succeed, more so in the dynamic and challenging business landscape of today.


It makes leaders better communicators, which comes in handy when articulating company goals and aligning employees with the company vision. Leadership communication is also valuable in that it equips managers with the skills to better resolve conflicts, navigate change, manage crises and effectively deal with a diverse workforce.

What are the communication skills that an effective leader needs to have?

Do you provide executive communication coaching for leaders?



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