Your Business: Is Executive Coaching A PR Executive’s Business?

Executive coaches - whether they help with public appearances, reputation-management sessions or media debuts - are ubiquitous stewards of effective communications. Given their acceptance in many spotlight industries, what place do they have among corporate executives and PR professionals? For example, should communications executives fill that role? In many cases, the top dogs in the communications department double as media liaisons, crisis mitigators, reputation guardians and personal coaches for a CEO. But other organizations fill the role of executive coach from outside, especially for a one-time or unusual event. These individuals may act as motivational speakers, but their qualifications are top notch. Executive-coaching students include Martha Stewart of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Philip Morris USA President Mike Szymansck, and Brady Dougan, chairman and CEO of Credit Suisse. They use executive coaches to: Prepare business pitches; Guide crisis communications; Prepare for meetings with investors or analysts; Write speeches; and Deal with mergers. The benefits of hiring an executing coach are clear, but what are the arguments against? Cost is an obvious concern, as coaching is rarely included in communications budgets. In addition, you have to take a leap of faith before you see an ROI. These can be a tough sale when you ask the boardroom for coaching funds, but the results very often justify the effort.

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