Executive Coaching FAQs

by Mario Sikora

What does the client get out of a coaching engagement?
                  A client once said, “I’ve worked with other executive coaches, and most of them try to help you focus on changing your behavior. Mario helps you focus on the way you think, so you can change your own behavior. “
                  My goal as a coach is to equip my clients with skills that will serve them long after their engagement with me is over. I work to help them reshape the way they see the world and their approach to it, enabling them to be more flexible and responsive to their circumstances rather than stuck in the habitual patterns that were very often the source of their early success but can become roadblocks to future growth.
                  I achieve this by blending challenging, thought-provoking questions with direct tactical advice. It is an approached based on experience gleaned from 15 years of coaching hundreds of leaders across the globe in organizations ranging from small businesses with under a 100 employees to government agencies to Fortune 500 multinational corporations.

Who are good candidates for coaching?
                  First, a good candidate must be willing to engage in the process and committed to doing the work necessary to grow. They must also have the requisite technical skills or intellectual capacity for the role they are in or for which they are being prepared.
                  Once these criteria are met, I find the coaching candidates fall into three broad categories:
·       Remedial clients. These are leaders who are struggling in their roles and need help to “fix” behaviors that are threatening their current role. My role here is to quickly identify the challenges and work with the client to create and execute on specific action plans that will get the client back on track.
·       High-Potential Leaders. These are leaders who have a track record of success and are being groomed for larger roles. I help these clients identify and address issues of “scale”:  the ability to take on larger, more complex challenges. While every situation is unique, the focus of the engagement is often areas such as leadership, developing employees, networking and organizational politics, executive presence, and career management.
·       Senior Leaders. Very often, senior leaders simply need an unbiased sounding board and guide in honing their already formidable talents. Here, my role is to serve as a trusted advisor in a safe and confidential environment.

What is the process?
                  Again, every engagement is unique, but I do follow a basic process. The coaching engagement starts with an in-depth interview that includes a personality-style assessment, career history, and initial goal-setting exercise. This meeting takes place in person and is generally about two and a half hours.
                  Next comes a 360° assessment, which I conduct as a series of verbal interviews with key co-workers and other critical stakeholders. I find that verbal interviews—rather than a standardized online questionnaire—give an excellent view into the client’s strengths and developmental needs in the context of the organization’s needs. It also helps to identify the two or three high-leverage changes that need to be focused on.
                  Step three is another two and a half hour meeting with the client to conduct a thorough review of the feedback, and I work with the client to establish specific action plans in response to the feedback.
                  Rather than leave the client to his or her own devices, I typically conduct four to eight one-hour coaching sessions after the feedback review, usually about three to four weeks apart. This ongoing coaching helps to reinforce the learning, course-correct as necessary, and provide continued guidance as the client begins to engage in new behaviors.

What are my areas of expertise?
                  While I work with all types of clients, my area of expertise is in helping high-potential and high-performing leaders looking for an edge in performance as they prepare for larger roles. Over the years, I’ve seen clients rise from middle management to senior leadership roles, and I know what it takes to make that transition. Many of these same clients have also moved from regional to global roles and my client base has expanded to leaders from many countries facing the challenges of leading cross-cultural teams.

For more information or to get started with a coaching engagement,
contact me today at