Select Page

Diana Golden Brosnihan, a brilliant skier. Diana won 19 Gold medals in world competition.


How do you go about setting a goal?

What challenges do you face when setting goals?

How do you hold yourself accountable for accomplishing a goal?

How do you know when you are successful?

How do you celebrate success?


Setting goals and how one attains them can differ between the athlete and the executive. With the end result being success for both, it differs in how one’s goals are identified and what role the coach plays. The skier may tell their coach their overall goal of wanting to ski all the intermediate terrain comfortably. The ski coach then identifies what the skier’s needs are to accomplish this and creates the smaller goals or stepping stones for their student, telling them and showing them what to do and how to do it. They encourage and provide feedback throughout, even skiing down the hill in order to literally mirror proper movements for them; perhaps even manipulating them physically so they may feel the correct positioning.


The executive coach questions, providing space for the client to explore possibilities and express how they see, feel, or think about things. Instead of focusing on what the coach thinks, an executive coach focuses on the client’s thoughts and ideas. It is a conversation to provoke thought and bring out of the executive his or her own goals and direction they want to go; guiding the executive to identify for themselves what the path is (obstacles and resources) to get them to their goal. Executive coaching includes mirroring also, but it’s mirroring the client’s words back to them and asking for more depth of vision.


The executive coach focuses on repeating the positive statements and rephrases in an affirmative way so as to support clear, positive, proactive thought patterns; similar to how the sports coach performs the maneuvers in the correct way, leading the student to see positive movement patterns with the goal of creating the correct image for the student. Through open-ended questioning, the executive coach listens to what the client says so they can identify what the client wants.  The coach then takes the very words of the client, without analyzing or judging, and reflects them back to their client.


The scope of goals for an executive is broad and can range from any issue in the person’s life to one particular project in a particular area. This broad scope arena for goal options means the look of success for an executive is just as broad. The coach for the executive then uses their fine-tuned skills to help guide the executive to clarify and pinpoint particular goals and then prioritize them. Through further questioning to bring out existing resources and strengths, the executive coach helps the client to identify action steps and timelines as well as measures for success.


While the sports coach takes into consideration confidence levels, analyzes movement and then teaches and advises. The executive coach brings about awareness through discussion, plus exploration of their client’s wants, thoughts, and behaviors. Awareness is enlightening to the executive, just as it is to the athlete. Sports and executive coaches both seek to empower their student/client and provide action steps and timelines for making change based on new awarenesses of body mind and spirit.


In part 4, I address risk taking and behavior change.