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A conversation with Kirk Fox: Understanding the positive power of executive coaching

Kirk Fox founded D’VelUp in 2013 to help provide executives and organizations with support to in boosting their success to the next level. However – and perhaps ironically – Fox is quick to point out he doesn’t have all the answers.

Fox made that point during an address to delegates at the Ontario Municipal Administrators’ Association 2019 Spring Workshop, in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Following that presentation, he sat down with Municipal World CEO Susan Gardner to explain executive coaching and how it works.

Coaching Takes a Forward Focus Approach

“Coaching is also very forward focused. We don’t spend a lot of time looking back on what hasn’t worked, and problems,” Fox said. “That is more therapy, even though sometimes I’ve heard coaching is like therapy. We might ask some questions that say: What have you tried? What worked? What hasn’t worked? And now, let’s use that information to see what we’re going to do next. It’s very forward focused.”

Typically, Fox said, he has found people want to hire a coach for sharpening interpersonal skills, communications skills, looking at work-life balance issues, improving productivity for themselves and their teams.

A good coach, he explained, is going to ask questions that get people thinking differently about their everyday challenges. In particular, they will uncover some of the client’s blind spots and decide on how they can be used to create change.

Many Misconceptions Around Executive Coaching

The match between coach and client, Fox said, can be very subjective. While acknowledging there are “many misconceptions” around the executive coaching profession, the chief one is people often hire a coach when what they really want is a consultant.

The difference between the two professions, he contends, is fundamental and something that needs to get worked out at the beginning of a relationship. MW

✯ Municipal World Insider and Executive Members: You might also be interested in the article: The change mindset: Strategies to unlock your “A” game – for you and your team. Note that you can now access the complete collection of past articles (and more) from your membership dashboard.


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