How to make the most of an executive coach

Coaching can yield far-reaching benefits for your IT leadership career. IT execs share tips on how to make the most of an experience that will reshape how you work and lead.

How to make the most of an executive coach
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Seeking out executive coaching can be a great move for ensuring your success as an IT leader. But you need to be prepared to do some difficult work, which can include dealing with negative feedback, engaging in serious introspection, and making changes to how you work and lead. And you need to approach the process with the correct mindset.

“As my coach says, nobody’s perfect and we are all works in progress,” says Keyur Ajmera, vice president of corporate technology and security at iCIMS “The industry keeps changing, and learning should never stop. That’s why you need humility and self-awareness” throughout the coaching experience, he adds.

Ajmera’s ultimate career goal is to be “an impactful and successful” CIO at a top company but he found that his trajectory at a large investment bank was moving him farther away from core technology, which he feels today’s top IT execs need to understand at a deep level. So he took a position at a smaller firm that allowed him to become familiar with cloud computing and other corporate tech, but still felt “I was missing that finishing touch, someone who could help me develop those core characteristics” of a successful CIO. To Ajmera, it’s not about just achieving the title but doing the job as well as it can be done.

Ajmera has been fortunate to have an in-house mentor who connected him with the right external coach. His company also pays the coaching tab, which is not unusual. Ajmera has had around a dozen meetings with his coach, but is ready at this point to take a break to fully process the lessons he’s learned and put them into practice — and then resume meeting with his coach once he feels he’s in a position where he can learn more.

Ajmera says the coaching process has “absolutely been working,” to help him figure out and sort through options and handle on-the-job issues.

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