Executive Coaching and Debriefing for Corporate Leadership Development Programs
In today’s management environment, new forms of and tools for corporate leadership development programs have emerged. One of the most popular development executive coaching tools is executive coaching. The number of executive coaches has more than doubled in the past decade and corporate leadership development programs are utilizing their services more frequently. However, the fundamentals of executive coaching have actually been around for many years in the form of debriefing.
In the U.S. Air Force, debriefing after every flight was an essential process in my training and development as an F-15 fighter pilot. My instructor pilot debriefed with me after every training flight. Later, when I became an instructor pilot and squadron training officer, I did the same with my young pilots. After leaving the Air Force, I used the basic tenets of the debriefing process I had learned, adapted the process to a sales force I led in a civilian company, and further refined that process over the next 16 years.
I was recently reminded just how broadly applicable the debriefing framework is as an executive coaching tool when a professor approached me at the end of a lecture to a healthcare team, thanking me for explaining the process of debriefing to the team. She told me, “You’ve given me the means to have a difficult conversation with a student, allowing her see what, in herself, needs to change in order for her to be successful.”
Corporate leadership development programs require both executive coaching and debriefing practices, processes that utilize complex discussions and deep analyses that resist oversimplification. Executive coaches help their clients to see themselves more accurately, allowing clients to establish actionable objectives for personal change. Likewise, debriefing helps individuals and teams more accurately analyze the work that they have done in order to make efforts to improve upon their past initiatives. While executive coaching focuses upon the individual, proper debriefing is effective in both individual and team development. The principles are the same, but for the debriefing process, the approach is more direct, objective, and simple.
Differences Between Executive Coaching and Debriefing Practices