Elevate Executive Coaching with Strategic Debriefing


Leadership development has evolved dramatically, with new tools like executive coaching emerging as essential. Executive coaching has surged in popularity, doubling in the past decade, and becoming a staple in corporate leader development programs. At Afterburner, Inc., we’ve worked with Global 1000 companies worldwide. Initially, understanding executive coaching seemed daunting, so further exploration was necessary. Through reading, speaking with experts, and observing coaches, it became evident that the essence of executive coaching aligns closely with what Afterburner has been teaching for years — strategic debriefing.

The Power of Debriefing

In the U.S. Air Force, debriefing after every flight is essential.  Individual and team debriefing remains a successful practice in the U.S. Navy’s famous Top Gun program and the U.S. Air Force’s Fighter Weapons School.  With many essential jobs, such as surgeons and Fighter Pilots, using Debriefing daily to reach a 98% success rate, we saw it as a gap in the corporate world that could skyrocket success in every field. At Afterburner, we have helped thousands of organizations incorporate our ORCA Debriefing Model into their business, and watched them reach new heights of success they hadn’t seen before.

Building Successful Teams

Both executive coaching and debriefing aim to enhance self-awareness and establish actionable objectives. However, while coaching focuses on individual growth, debriefing benefits both individuals and teams, fostering continuous improvement.

Debriefing’s strength lies in its structured, repeatable process. Unlike coaching, which depends heavily on the coach’s skill, debriefing follows a clear, objective-oriented approach. Setting the right tone is vital—nameless and rankless—creating a psychologically safe environment where honest feedback can flourish.

ORCA Debriefing Model

  1. Objectives: Define clear, measurable goals.
  2. Results: Assess whether objectives were met.
  3. Causes: Identify the root causes of successes and failures.
  4. Actions: Develop actionable steps to improve future performance.

Effective debriefing digs deep into performance, asking “why” repeatedly to uncover root causes. This process is essential for addressing issues and replicating successes. Both debriefing and coaching focus on making reflective activities actionable, driving personal and team improvement.

For debriefing to be effective, it must be done frequently. Small, incremental improvements lead to significant organizational changes over time. This approach aligns with successful change methodologies, such as Kaizen, which emphasizes continuous, small-scale improvements.

Unlock Your Team’s Potential with Debriefing

Debriefing and executive coaching are powerful tools for facilitated learning. While coaching typically involves a third party, debriefing empowers teams to learn and grow together. By integrating debriefing into regular practices, teams can unlock their full potential and drive sustained success.

Don’t wait to unleash your team’s full potential. Contact Afterburner today to learn how our proven strategic debriefing techniques can elevate your organization to new heights. Start your journey to continuous improvement now!