Frequently Asked Questions Title Image with venn diagram for personal, interpersonal and organizational excellence

 

What is the Difference Between Executive Coaching and Executive Advisement?

 

It’s a question that nobody actually asks, but the answer is important. There are various types of executive coaching. Some organizations seek executive coaching to help individuals prepare for a promotion. Others want to help a talented leader with a growth edge that must be addressed. It is typical for organizations to hire executive coaches for a specific period or to achieve a specific objective. If that is the type of coaching you are interested in, or if you are new to the process, here is an article on choosing an executive coach.

How to Choose an Executive Coach – Information for Individual Leaders and Human Resources/People Ops

Dr. Groff’s clients’ often prefer an intersection of coaching and advisement. Sometimes the work is related to individual leadership excellence. At other times, Dr. Groff is a sounding board for organizational decision-making and transitions. The seek her out for her ability to speak to both psychology and business. Thus, she usually collaborates with the Founder/Owner/CEO of an organization as her primary client. It is not time-delineated or related to only one growth edge. Sometimes, they work on specific items related to personal wellness and leadership; at other times, the focus on critical decisions. For example, if someone is selling a business, or merging with another organization, she may operate more in the Advisor capacity.  At other times, she assists with hiring decisions of key executives or assists with executive leadership teams. Due to her background as a psychologist, the focus on human behavior is an assumed aspect she brings to the table for all goals. Overall, the degree to which she is coaching, advising, consulting, or supporting depends on the needs and preferences of her primary client.

 

Relationship with Clients in Executive Coaching and Advisement 

While Dr. Groff has a “no-strings, no-pressure policy” of engagement, many clients work with her for several years. The work evolves as their organizations grow. For example, someone may start with individual executive coaching but ask if she can facilitate a strategic meeting or a team retreat. Sometimes high-stakes situations or decisions arise that necessitate her involvement. From a purely business perspective, the longer the engagement, the higher the return on investment to the client/organization. When Dr. Groff has worked with a person or team for a few years, I she has information on specifics and patterns that weren’t present for the first 6 months. Additionally, the mutual trust that is established increases the efficiency with which she and her clients can address sensitive or complex issues.

For these reasons, Dr. Groff does her best to ensure a good fit on the front end. She wants potential clients or organizations to know as much as possible about her, and vice versa, to optimize the time together and to avoid the emotional, time, and financial disruption and loss that can occur if the fit is wrong.

 Processes for Coaching and Consulting Services

 

Intellectual Process for Executive Coaching and Executive Advisement

In the same way that financial spreadsheets show patterns, humans have patterns. Through watching and listening, I learn the “human data” that helps me understand core growth edges, organizational threats, negotiation strategies, and future opportunities. I operate through root cause analysis and informational feedback loops to continuously adjust my strategy. I also eschew the notion that objectivity and caring are mutually exclusive. Rather, I believe in bringing my whole heart and my whole intellect to the table. As a result, my relationships with people are high-trust and high transparency. This mutual trust and respect create natural give-and-take interactions.

I bring the best suggestions from collecting as much historical and real-time data as possible. The more complex the situation, the longer I watch and listen. In high-stakes situations, facets continue to emerge, and there is a point when I can confidently draw a conclusion and suggest a path forward. I never give instant answers for very difficult and complex situations because I want to understand the variables at hand first. As one of my colleagues summarized it, “If you don’t know where the bombs are buried, you can’t make a plan to deal with them.”

My clients appreciate straightforward feedback. We work together to ensure specific and practical actions on the challenges that arrive. I work hard to explain the rationale for my suggestions and some of the most fun we have is when my clients disagree with me. We debate, and the synergy usually provides an optimal solution that hadn’t initially occurred to either of us.

Logistical Process for All Executive Services

Phone Consult

The process begins with the completion of the phone consult form on this website. I do not use it for marketing. If the basic information suggests a potential fit, we move forward to a phone conversation. If I am concerned that a person or organization needs a different type of expertise, I direct them to other resources.

In the phone conversation, we discuss your needs. I often ask questions and try to give you a real-time feel for the way I think. At that point, we mutually determine if it’s a good fit to move forward. The phone consultation is with the CEO/Founder/Primary Decision-Maker. I tell everyone that they should focus on whether they like me and whether they think I’m competent. I know that sounds basic, but it’s the foundation of professional trust. If we don’t move forward, I share potential next steps or resources. The phone consult feels like a conversation. People don’t need to prepare or need to know what to say. We always are able to connect the dots and come out with a conclusion and a game plan.

Meeting Location

In terms of meetings, I hold many virtual meetings (televideo and phone) across time zones, but I love to meet up in person if a leader or organization is local to Phoenix. We maintain weekly contact as this consistency quickly builds both the relationship and my knowledge of the business/organization. It also affords real-time availability in high-stakes decision-making situations.

For group collaborations or team meetings, I also do both virtual and in-person connections. Where appropriate, I like to sit in on meetings. It’s an incredibly fast and efficient way for me to learn about the organization, the dynamics, and where I can help.

Customization

I customize services for clients and their teams. I’m personally wired toward optimal outcomes, and I’ve found it difficult to achieve that with standardized approaches. The customization is a continuous collaboration to ensure the optimization of time, emotion, and financial resources. Additionally, customization allows us to adjust for growth, new directions, and the inevitable fires that occur.

Investment

Executive coaching starts at 13000/6 months or 25000/yr.  The investment for more complex engagements, such as Executive Team Development or M & A Consulting will be customized and scaled according to the needs of the organization and the budget at hand. What has worked well with other clientele is to delineate the primary focus and then deepen the engagement as needs or optimization opportunities emerge. Foundational in the engagement is a no-pressure, no-strings approach, in which upfront or automatic payments are required, but not held hostage. In the event that circumstances change, for any reason, unused monies are returned to the client/organization.

 

How Do I Know If It’s Working?

“You shouldn’t have to ask.” That is the answer I gave to someone who asked this question. I knew it sounded generic and vague, but as soon as it came out of my mouth, I knew it was the right answer. If you are inviting me or anyone else into your life and your organization, the right fit means that it feels like a win-win-win. For complex situations or cultural changes, it can take a while to see movement. However, you should be able to feel and see that things are heading in the right direction and that the investment is worth it.

I’ve found that people value me and my skillset for different reasons (ie. sounding board, confidentiality, people whispering, emotional support, strategy). Sometimes the work that we are doing drastically shifts due to unforeseen circumstances. For these reasons, while I am familiar with terms such as Key Performance Indicators, Lag Metrics, and Lead Metrics…I’ve found that they don’t always translate to the ever-evolving work we do.  To be honest, what I value, and what my clients seem to value, is whether we can generate real-time changes that impact their day, their week, and their quarter. At times, what we are doing is massive and critical; at other times, it’s just trying to keep the wheels on the bus with a sense of sanity and fulfillment intact.