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Executive coaching in the UK: happiness + satisfaction = profits

 

179. happy teamI’ve noticed recently that certain UK business cultures are more open to investing in their people’s ‘soft’ skills; the mental and emotional skills that enrich a corporate environment. They include the ability to effectively communicate, openly negotiate, embrace change, respect diversity and have active and versatile team dynamics.

 

The 2 company types most likely to encourage maximum release of potential in their teams are:

  1. small businesses (50 people or less) with fast decision making abilities, ambitions expansion plans and the founder still at the helm; and
  2. super-large corporates (1000 +) with products and services in demand in most countries on the planet.

 

Executive coaching makes sense for leaders in these 2 categories because:

  • it provides a confidential space to talk through the possibilities and to test how convinced an MD might be about the next 12 months of growth – and when they’re convinced, they’re convincing (streamlining buy-in from group heads and inspiring collaborative action taking)
  • the more aware their leaders are the more likely they’ll make a smart decision first time round – saving time and money
  • directors who are coached are generally more satisfied with work and life; and a business that invests in its talent is more likely to retain it
  • coaching creates clarity which in turn creates confidence – and confident people inspire others to question the status quo and to push the boundaries beyond those of the competition
  • it encourages leaders to question their assumptions and limiting beliefs and replace them with innovative thinking
  • a regular conversation about what’s going well and what could be going better means that issues aren’t left unattended long enough to gather momentum
  • there’s never a moment where a leader knows it all. Lifelong learning, with an aware and conscious coach, will expand knowledge, enrich communication skills and contribute to bringing out the best in colleagues and clients alike

You may notice that not one of these points directly has a dollar sign directly against it. And that’s because there’s an emerging new era for what defines corporate success. People come first. The money flows afterwards.

 

Executive coaching contributes to happy employees, who in turn do extraordinary work every day to satisfy clients and customers.

 

The knock on reward from happiness and satisfaction is repeat business and multiple customer recommendations. There’s genuinely no more effective a marketing strategy. From that starting point, you can (in the simplest terms) leave the financial bottom line to take care of itself.

 

Jennifer Broadley is one of the UK's leading executive coaches. She works with corporate leaders, business directors and successful entrepreneurs. She specialises in continued high performance, intuitive leadership and personal & professional accomplishment. Jennifer is passionate about the ongoing self improvement of the world's future business leaders – the way-showers for our precious next generation. She coaches, speaks and writes on 'The 7 Steps to Personal & Professional Freedom'®. Her book of the same name is available on www.Amazon.co.uk . To talk further you can call, email or message Jennifer from www.JenniferBroadley.com .

Top 5 ways to manage conflict at work

346. Agreement

Conflict at work is the number 1 biggest stress factor for those signed off from their work. I covered those stresses in my last post. So here’s my top 5 ways to keep conflict to a minimum at work:

 

1. Be generous with information

It’s a challenge to stay in relationship with a colleague when they can’t do their job as effectively because they don’t have all the information. When projects, teams, schedules or leadership change make sure everyone who needs to know – bosses, peers, direct report, PAs – has the information and the context. If at all possible inform your network before the decision is done and dusted because there may be knowledge around that, if shared in a timely way, could influence a richer outcome for all.

 

2. Name the challenge

If I had a pound (or a dollar) for the number of times I heard a professional not take accountability for something not going 100% to plan I’d be … well, richer than I am right now. Here’s how to name a challenge: ‘I would be more effective next time if I:

  • develop my communication skills’
  • shared more information before the meeting
  • ask for contributions from the board, the team, our customers in time to influence the outcome
  • learned how to use that software more efficiently
  • was completely prepared around the numbers before I make a decision
  • listened more and talked less
  • let go of a bit more control and perhaps delegated some of the tasks to other departments who’re better informed

When you’re in the business of taking responsibility for your contribution you’re in the business of successfully being able to refine your skills to get a better result next time. Blame is exhausting, demoralising and  part of ‘the old game’.

 

3. Respect difference

It’s comfortable to surround yourself with people who agree with your style and those who affirm to each other how right they are. It’s also a sure sign that the business you’re in will have a shorter life-cycle than a competitor with a healthy culture of challenging, debating, refining processes, and exploring new markets, clients, systems, team mixes and partnerships. It’s not necessarily about having a mix of age, gender, culture, belief, sexual orientation, mental & physical ability or faith groups among your employees (although that’s a good start), it’s more about having an openness to feedback and new suggestions whether from employees or from customer.

 

What worked historically may not be a guaranteed formula for the product or marketplace to come. Developing a culture of many right ways is a formula for reducing conflict. Stepping away from black and white thinking and embracing infinite shades of grey!

 

4. Use time as a tool

It’s tempting to want to have a conversation or a decision concluded in a first meeting or by the close of play today. Information or conversations that make you uncomfortable are often pointing to areas that you many not have considered or may not be as familiar with as your professional norm. Ask yourself ‘where is there value in further considering this point’; ‘how can I test to see if what’s being said makes business sense’; ‘how can I learn to listen more un-judgementally’. And then give it a day or two – everything softens. Just because a conversation had a difficult outcome last time doesn’t mean that’ll be the case next time you try. Ultimately everyone finds conflict stressful, so use time to allow all parties to find a peaceful way forward.

 

5. Take nothing personally

Most people don’t mean to offend or challenge. Communicating with tact and being good with change and difference are skill sets; they can take years to develop and even then they’re constantly in need of refinement because business, diversity and social acceptability are moving, changing entities. Developing a mindset of ‘allowing’ is part of the process of mastery in leadership and professionalism. It’s not reasonable to go through life or work expecting never to be offended. When the times do come (and they will)  this STOP method is often a good prompt:

  • Stop for a moment before you speak
  • Take 3 deep breaths and smile (if you can)
  • Observe what’s just been said; ask ‘why am I reacting to that’
  • Proceed with compassion

 

Mastery in handling conflict is not about doing it better than other people, it’s about doing it better than you did last time.

 

Jennifer Broadley is one of the UK's leading executive coaches. She works with corporate leaders, business directors and successful entrepreneurs. She specialises in continued high performance, intuitive leadership and personal & professional accomplishment. Jennifer is passionate about the ongoing self improvement of the world's future business leaders – the way-showers for our precious next generation. She coaches, speaks and writes on 'The 7 Steps to Personal & Professional Freedom'®. Her book of the same name is available on www.Amazon.co.uk . To talk further you can call, email or message Jennifer from www.JenniferBroadley.com .

How conflict affects the bottom line

Work conflict

Succeeding through conflict at work can be one of the most valuable skills any leader develops. A team whose differences are respected amongst each other – strengths, work patterns, communication styles, personalities and life choices – is a powerful team. A manager who encourages diversity and is equipped to manage difference skillfully is an asset to any company.

 

One of the most stressful things in any professional’s life is heading in to work every day knowing that there’s someone they have to interact with that will cause them stress. To do this day-in-day-out, for weeks and months on end is like slow torture and can lead to anxiety, sick days and physical and mental health issues. All too often this is not the result of 2 people in a team who can’t get on, it’s the result of a manager, not being equipped to spot relationship difficulties amongst their people, and if they do spot it, not having the skills to manange the process towards awareness, resolve and active professional development.

 

I have seen and heard of extraordinary examples of badly managed teams AND badly managed managers. These include:

  • public humiliations of jobs done badly around a table of 14 team leaders - with projects critically picked apart in front of peers ‘why did it happen?! what were you thinking?! this is worse than useless?!’;
  • an manager avoiding a growing conflict situation between 2 members of her team. This escalated into a violent outburst from one team member who was subsequently (understandably) signed off and hospitalised with acute stress. The future investigation focussed on the actions of the 2 employees, and not on the manager as requiring intensive further training and development;
  • a 22-years-in-the-business director whose team turnover was extensive. His managers were constantly fed with non-timely, incomplete information, given little direction, and were used as scapegoats when projects or tasks failed to hit timelines or budget. This director played a very political game within the board of the company (very old school), undermining (over time) his managers, who ultimately took their skills elsewhere. Important to note that the company in this case had invested £0 in the professional development of this director in over 2 decades.

As a corporate and executive coach I mainly deal with high performing, aware professionals who strive to be clear about their strengths and their ability to contribute to the maximum in the roles they’re in (like a formula 1 car receiving fortnightly tuning). However, in at least a third of cases I’m asked to consider, a director or manager want’s me to ‘fix’ a person who reports in to them to ‘make them see’ or ‘get them to understand’.

 

In these situations I have to explain (sometimes to the point of losing the contract) that if I ‘fix’ this person without having the ability to coach their director to increase his/her skills and awareness it’s a poor time and money investment for the company. It’s like teaching a child to speak clearly then leaving them in a home where the parents mumble - it just increases the child’s frustration that the culture they live in is not evolved enough for them to fully thrive.

 

The issues for companies with potential conflicts between employees are:

  • how to justify the investment of time, money and productivity once a conflict situation gains its full momentum (employees, leaders, human resources, knock on effect to team morale)
  • how to skill up staff to ask for help before a situation escalates
  • how to train managers to know the difference between normal creative friction and ongoing, stress-enhancing, detrimental behaviour
  • how to continue to invest in the development of teams and leaders regardless of there being issues and conflict situations (being proactive in keeping professinalism and awareness high)

I’ll lighten it up in the next post and look at the top 5 ways to succeed in managing conflict at work!

 

 

Jennifer Broadley is one of the UK's leading executive coaches. She works with corporate leaders, business directors and successful entrepreneurs. She specialises in continued high performance, intuitive leadership and personal & professional accomplishment. Jennifer is passionate about the ongoing self improvement of the world's future business leaders – the way-showers for our precious next generation. She coaches, speaks and writes on 'The 7 Steps to Personal & Professional Freedom'®. Her book of the same name is available on www.Amazon.co.uk . To talk further you can call, email or message Jennifer from www.JenniferBroadley.com .

How to talk to your CEO …

How easy is it to get to talk with your CEO or board directors? If you’re like most people in medium to large corporates you won’t have clear access to the majority of the senior leaders. And to some extent it has to be like that. Heirarchy’s are not there for the vanity of the directors, but to protect their time so they can think and deliver in ways only they can do.

 

We’ve all heard the water cooler chat about ‘they should stop spending money on the marketing and spend more on the product’ or ‘if I was running this show I’d never pay those contractors to be on call – save the money and hire some permanent staff’ – the expert opinion of those not in the know.

 

However, sometimes there can be priceless feedback from employees –  and that different business angle from a new view point can be insightful, simple and financially rewarding to a company. How does that employee get their idea from their head, up 4 levels of management and still have their concept be as authentically represented as when they thought it up? Plus, how do they ensure the acknowledgement of the idea comes back to them and doesn’t get allocated to a career-hungry senior manager somewhere up the line?

 

So there are a few things that probably need to be in place to get your ideas to your CEO. Your success with this might well be influenced by:
• the size and culture of your company
• the professionalism of your manager (and therefore his/her ability to influence)
• your capacity to grasp the big picture within which your idea sits (especially if your company owns many brands or has a number of different products or services)

 

Here are 5 ways to get your idea to the CEO:

  1. Write the concept down and email it to a colleague or a friend so that there’s written confirmation that the idea originated with you
  2. It’s always a right first steps to talk with your manager and ask him or her for their feedback and whether they think the idea has value enough to go to whatever height of leadership has the decision making power. This may be all that’s needed and once progress is made, or the idea adopted, the acknowledgement comes straight back to you
  3. You can email or phone the CEO’s assistant and ask what whether you can have some time in the diary. Be prepared to explain what it’s for as it’s a PA (or EA)’s job to gate-keep for their boss and to make a first judgement as to whether this will be a valuable use of their time. If that answer is to send something to the PA first so she/he can review it, by all means do that then follow up in a day or two to check what he next step might be.
  4. When you get time with your CEO, make sure you’re prepared. Your conversation may make a lot of sense to you and you may be very passionate about the area of the company in which you work. The Chief’s job though contains a responsibility for every employee within the organisation, plus the production and delivery of the product and service of your company, and the satisfaction of the clients who access those products and services. Her (or his) time is precious so you must know your information and how to answer reasonable questions around it.
  5. Relax. Remember that the CEO has work his or her way to where they are with victories and challenges along the way in the same way that you’ve had those. You’ve got the meeting because it sounded like it was worthwhile so be yourself and speak from the heart.

 

 

Jennifer Broadley is one of the UK's leading executive coaches. She works with corporate leaders, business directors and successful entrepreneurs. She specialises in continued high performance, intuitive leadership and personal & professional accomplishment. Jennifer is passionate about the ongoing self improvement of the world's future business leaders – the way-showers for our precious next generation. She coaches, speaks and writes on 'The 7 Steps to Personal & Professional Freedom'®. Her book of the same name is available on www.Amazon.co.uk . To talk further you can call, email or message Jennifer from www.JenniferBroadley.com .

An executive coach in London: mine your diamonds

There’s something very privileged about the job of an executive coach – especially an executive coach in London. Those coaches that are sought after by executive from around the world all have one thing in common … word’s got round that they get results. When the time comes a leader doesn’t care if an executive coach went to the best coaching school, is accountable to a professional federation, or if they themselves earned multiple-7-figures in banking, media or science before changing careers.

 

A leader knows this: ‘you got results for my friend/colleague/associate – and I’d like you to do the same for me please’.  Simple. It’s an executive coach’s skill-set that counts. Can that coach make a speedy difference in your personal and professional life, with your mindset, your communication skills, your clarity about what you want in your future, your overall physical, mental and emotional success? Yes? So, hire them … now.

 

I helped a friend get her CV up to date recently – it was impressive. My only comment was ‘take your school results off your resume; experience has superseded the need for them’. It’s the same with an experienced executive coach – 15 year and 1000s of clients down the line, they have an intuition, a knowing and a set of unique tools that are so deeply entrenched in them getting results with their talented leaders in diverse industries they probably can’t even tell you what some of those tools are … they just ‘be’ coaching all day every day.

 

I see this in my leadership clients sometimes too. They can be so busy proving to others that they’re worthy – reading the latest leadership books, putting their teams/organisations up for awards, getting the next letters after their names (MA, PHD, MBA) – that they’ve missed the uncut diamonds just waiting to be mined inside of themselves. This is no touchy-feely kind of treasure but a profound, extraordinary sense of what a leader (CEO, MD, board member, senior director – whoever) can contribute to this time and space that no one else on the planet can.

 

When you actively mine those diamonds, no approval or qualifications will have prepared you for what the future can look like. You’ll live on purpose. You’ll progress though life living out of that purpose, speaking from that place, contributing from it and inspiring others. You’ll respect that although your paths are crossing with tens or hundreds of others at this very moment, their destiny isn’t yours and and some point they’ll likely uncover their own diamonds and move on into their own inspired space.

 

Why am I highlighting London as an executive coaching hub amongst every other international city? Mainly I suppose because that’s where I personally have had the honour of working with the most diverse range of clients I could imagine: young, old, men, women, limited (until I worked with them!), empowered, upscalers, downsizers, solopreneurs, leaders of startups and generations-old corporations.  Each extraordinary. Every one of them with diamonds now well-and-truly mined, designed, polished and sparkling with light.

 

 

Jennifer Broadley is one of the UK's leading executive coaches. She works with corporate leaders, business directors and successful entrepreneurs. She specialises in continued high performance, intuitive leadership and personal & professional accomplishment. Jennifer is passionate about the ongoing self improvement of the world's future business leaders – the way-showers for our precious next generation. She coaches, speaks and writes on 'The 7 Steps to Personal & Professional Freedom'®. Her book of the same name is available on www.Amazon.co.uk . To talk further you can call, email or message Jennifer from www.JenniferBroadley.com .

Business leadership – getting easier

It’s a question I’ve been pondering for the past few years – is business leadership getting easier? I read articles and work in businesses that say change is occurring faster and markets are ever more complex, my experience however just doesn’t bear that out (and I appreciate it may be because I’m privileged to work with the most focussed and motivated leaders).

 

Last week I was working with a long-standing client whose progress within her company has been off-the-chart over the past 12 months. The expectations she set herself 18 months ago were a stretch for her to imagine (I had a hunch she could raise them even further but even successful business leaders can’t see from the outset how breathtakingly talented and inspiring they are).

 

We worked on thoughts and she held clear intentions. For 3 months we refined her intuitive thinking habits and everywhere possible she held intentions for the outcome of meetings, the agreement of teams and the impromptu opportunities that would spotlight her experience and contribution to the national company decision makers. Moment by moment she was prepared.

 

We worked on thoughts and she held clear intentions. Within 6 months the opportunity to shift from regional to national occurred. This had been her expectation and one of the reasons she’d committed to working with me as her executive coach. With a set of new processes, communication tools and thought habits she was actually more than equipped than she’d expected for the national position – it wasn’t so much of a stretch.

 

We worked on thoughts and she held clear intentions. It didn’t take long for her to get up to speed with the national picture, the leadership team and a plan for where the brands could be expanded and refined to make a meaningful difference for the company.

 

Then … we worked on thoughts and she held clear intentions. Unexpectedly and in within 6 more months an international position was offered to my cleint. This was the expectation I’d been holding for her (quietly) – I could see she had a healthy relationships with risk, I could  hear how well connected she was, I could feel how passionately she wanted to contribute and how committed she was to put the hours in for a fast-tracking career push (I suspect she’s no where near finished either).

 

The speed of change was somewhat to do with her thoughts and her intentions and perfecting something simple; the real breakthrough however, came when her habit of conscious thinking and intending turned into genuine belief. When she saw time after time that refined thinking and clear intention holding got results (underpinned by a philosophy of ‘more for all, no exceptions’), she honed that tool until she became unconsciously competent with it. Once that occurred she was destined to rise and rise.

 

So to the original question, ‘is business leadership getting easier?’, my conclusion is ‘yes, if you’re willing upskill body, head and heart together’. When business leadership gets committed to perpetual change and equips themselves with advanced tools that connect them with ‘more for all’, they can’t help but make business simpler.  Simplicity, as we see again and again (Apple, Innocent, Blinkbox), is the hallmark of all successful brands, products and services.

 

Jennifer Broadley is one of the UK's leading executive coaches. She works with corporate leaders, business directors and successful entrepreneurs. She specialises in continued high performance, intuitive leadership and personal & professional accomplishment. Jennifer is passionate about the ongoing self improvement of the world's future business leaders – the way-showers for our precious next generation. She coaches, speaks and writes on 'The 7 Steps to Personal & Professional Freedom'®. Her book of the same name is available on www.Amazon.co.uk . To talk further you can call, email or message Jennifer from www.JenniferBroadley.com .

Successful leadership – genuinely be yourself

‘What does it take to be successful in top leadership?’, I’m asked by a client about to step up to an MD-on-the-board role. And I found my usual coach approach of ‘empower the client to discover’ went right out the window. ‘If you really want to lead with style’, I said, ‘then genuinely be yourself’.

 

My experience has often been that by the time you, as a senior executive, are invited to be part of the elite leadership team that make up the board of a large corporate, it’s your character, experience and intuitive creativity that are really being called on.

 

You’ve done the journeying; the one that starts in the first years learning the formulas for acceptance which allow you to integrate into the company structure. As a team member you had to learn how to get on with colleagues, how to keep time, meet deadlines, produce results and communicate clearly, respectfully and using the language of the organisation.

 

Then you moved up to management; you learned the skills that allowed you to communicate clear goals, to motivate, to listen well, to spot your team member’s strengths and to influence their thinking as well as that of peers, directors and clients. You met deadlines and achieved results.

 

As a director, you felt the pressure and responded. You developed to know how to champion your business sector within the overall company vision. You inspired those around you to think more creatively, you knew which were the quick wins and which opportunities were best played out over a longer, more strategic time period. You worked out that to consciously invest in your own development at this point meant you could work less (yet smarter) and earn more. You hired teams knowledgeably and inspired with wisdom.

 

So now you’ve done your time, you’re ready for board level and your role from here is to oversee the business of a whole country or the negotiating of billion-pound contracts.

 

You’re part of a leadership team that together steers a healthy course of growth for products, services, customers and employees alike. What’s different from here is that there’s less instead of more structure because the market isn’t defined by past results it’s created by honoring the future. It’s time to downplay some of the rigidity that got you there and up-play some of the true you.

 

Successful leaders, over time, learn how to trust their  intellect, their emotional intelligence and their intuition. The investment of time and personal & professional development has been focussed for the boardroom for a decade or more. From here your ability to create and to influence from a place of integrity and uniquely you-ness is massively leveraged. Competitors, customers and the rest of the company are watching and learning from your style. You may not know it yet, but in your part of the corporate world … you’re already a super-star!

 

 

Jennifer Broadley is one of the UK's leading executive coaches. She works with corporate leaders, business directors and successful entrepreneurs. She specialises in continued high performance, intuitive leadership and personal & professional accomplishment. Jennifer is passionate about the ongoing self improvement of the world's future business leaders – the way-showers for our precious next generation. She coaches, speaks and writes on 'The 7 Steps to Personal & Professional Freedom'®. Her book of the same name is available on www.Amazon.co.uk . To talk further you can call, email or message Jennifer from www.JenniferBroadley.com .

Leadership Development and Usain Bolt

 

I’ve been gripped with Olympic fever for the past 10 days. What an honour to watch the world’s elite athletes pitting their decades-honed talents against each other. And the physiques on show? … oh my! For me too, as far as getting athletes’ victory-against-all-odds stories to parallel into my leadership development coaching … there’s been gift after gift!

 

There are obviously the ‘she’s the girl next door but super-disciplined’ stories – like 800m swimmer Rebecca Adlington. Or the ‘parents as part of your success team’ tales – as with Tom Daley (and his late father). However, it was a BBC interview with Usain Bolt about 10 minutes after his 100m final, 9.63-second victory that something gold really stood out for me.

 

Bolt was asked about his preparation since the last Olympics and also whether his ‘slow start’ off the blocks was a worry. Bolt said ‘Too many people have been talking about the importance of a good start. Races aren’t won at the start – they’re won at the end. I know my business. I know what’s required. I know how to execute. I was never in doubt that I would win tonight. I remain number 1!’

 

This stood out miles for me – the confidence, the clarity, the ‘I know my business.’ And it got me thinking that as a world-number-one athlete Bolt has a skill set that even his coaches and advisers can’t teach him. As much as they know their science, statistics and disciplined training programs they’re not the race runners. There’s only one world’s fastest man and by definition he knows his business to a height, breadth, depth and detail that only he can –  and some of it comes straight from his soul and can’t be taught.

 

There are huge commonalities in what it takes to be a ‘world’s greatest’ at a sport – vision, discipline, success team (coaches, therapists, nutritionists, physios, sponsors), supportive family, pain tolerance, persistence and patience. There are also huge differences between the crafts of swimming, gymnastics and athletics, not to mention the differences between individual athletes themselves.

 

In leadership development, the parallels between sporting triumphs and professional excellence are many. The commonalities to drive a company, brand or team to victory also include vision, discipline, a success team, share-holder support, risk taking, persistence and patience. However, success in retail has it’s own refinements when compared to success in media. Likewise, the elite in corporate banking  have a knowledge base entirely different to a multi-billion pound, started-from-scratch entrepreneur.

 

The 5 rings of olympian-success for leadership, in my opinion, are:

  • learn from those who’ve gone before and those with specialist expertise. Read, train, be mentored, listen and apply. Knowledge sharing is fast-tracking.
  • keep a clear vision in your mind in every meeting, every conversation , every choice you make – when you’re convinced your convincing and we all need a fan base. If you’re not 100% clear, hire a coach and get clear.
  • determinedly invest the hours. Success is about building experience, refining skill sets and showing up for the next challenge. There’s no short cut, no magic want, no quick fix – so, no excuses, get on with it.
  • be kind to yourself. Every ‘failure’ is an opportunity to learn – and when we’re transparent about our oversights we realise that everyone’s been there, everyone’s got scars and stories … and that’s a good thing.
  • be patient and trust for the reward. I know you want to be CEO, or have your multiple-7-figure business right now. It’s coming. You’re closer today than yesterday. Relax about it and enjoy the journey.

Take a lesson in confidence and clarity from Bolt and remind yourself: ‘I know my business!’

 

 

Jennifer Broadley is one of the UK's leading executive coaches. She works with corporate leaders, business directors and successful entrepreneurs. She specialises in continued high performance, intuitive leadership and personal & professional accomplishment. Jennifer is passionate about the ongoing self improvement of the world's future business leaders – the way-showers for our precious next generation. She coaches, speaks and writes on 'The 7 Steps to Personal & Professional Freedom'®. Her book of the same name is available on www.Amazon.co.uk . To talk further you can call, email or message Jennifer from www.JenniferBroadley.com .

Executive Leadership – It’s Different Now …

When I took my first job in the corporate publishing industry over twenty years ago the culture was very different to what I know from the various corporates I deliver executive leadership coaching to now. In the 90s there was still a sense of having to do your time. You most likely had to have a university degree before you worked your way up from assistant to manager and from there to director and onward (if you hadn’t keeled over) to the board of the company. Normal was for that process to take decades! Super-dullsville!!

 

Move forward to 2012 and there’s a different type of leadership developing. It give less weight to who you know and what’s your background and more to meritocracy, personal passion, drive and accountability. With the right education – and that doesn’t have to  mean university –  relevant experience and, most importantly, strong personal and professional skills, leaders in corporates can achieve recognition and directorships in their late 20s and early 30s.

 

A few (but an increasing number) are going out on their own and leading multi-million (and billion) pound operations before their thirtieth birthday. Here’s an important question though: is it more impressive to be a CEO at 35 than it is at 55 years old?

 

My answer … ‘no’.

 

Heres’ what’s truly impressive: any person – young, middle aged, pensioner, male, female, any culture, any socio-economic background – investing in themselves to a point where they recognise the keys of a true leader: vision, integrity, collaboration, transparency, enablement, compassion and gratitude.

 

The most frequent challenge I see in delivering executive leadership coaching is when a leader has forgotten that their role is to serve. A product or service will only thrive when customers, clients, readers, listeners, viewers have a happy experience of it. And the company itself can only deliver that when their designers, writers, developers, marketeers, sales agents and operations directors are bought into a vision and empowered to deliver.

 

It’s always about people, it’s always about evolving (an idea, a brand, a way of distributing), it’s always about a mindset of adventuring and seeing new opportunities. If courage and clarity are modeled in a CEO that spirit will filter out to the directors and their management teams as will honesty, respect and ego-lessness.

 

My 20 years ago experience was so much based around a fear & lack model too (what’s in it for me) – you had to do as instructed by your manager because she was following a mandate from her director. It was like an extension of school.

 

Today though, the most dynamic companies out there use a model of respect and abundance – CEOs acknowledging that they don’t hold all the solutions but they do know how to hire creative thinkers and dynamic communicators and invest in their expansion over a given term.

 

My greatest satisfaction in executive leadership coaching is to have a corporate decision maker remember his or her own talents, creativity and courage. To get clear once again about changes and choices; because when they’re inspired they’re inspiring.

 

Jennifer Broadley is one of the UK's leading executive coaches. She works with corporate leaders, business directors and successful entrepreneurs. She specialises in continued high performance, intuitive leadership and personal & professional accomplishment. Jennifer is passionate about the ongoing self improvement of the world's future business leaders – the way-showers for our precious next generation. She coaches, speaks and writes on 'The 7 Steps to Personal & Professional Freedom'®. Her book of the same name is available on www.Amazon.co.uk . To talk further you can call, email or message Jennifer from www.JenniferBroadley.com .

Your Ceiling of Success

You know how sometimes it takes an intensity of the same thing to occur multiple times before the penny drops? Like 5 super-valuable executives leave the company within a 3 month period before a CEO recognises that they’ve all been reporting to the same undeveloped senior director. Or targets go unmet over 6 terms in a sales department although the training’s great, before the issue is pinpointed that the client relationship management software has glitches and requires an investment and update.

 

Recently I had an influx of  senior executives, from a range of companies and backgrounds but who had all excelled in their roles early in their careers. It took me a while to recognise the pattern –   each of them was in his or her early 40s; they were directing their business sectors, if not MDing the entire company; they were effective in their role and respected within the company; each was happy personally, in a committed partnership with children; and crucially … each had come to a point where their apparent personal & professional success was no longer fully satisfying.

 

There’s a program that I work on with senior executives called The 7 Steps to Personal & Professional Freedom (you can get the simple version in my book of the same title – available on Amazon.co.uk), and the first step is always Clear & Courageous Thinking. It’s what we do, consciously or otherwise, when we imagine the outcome we want for our lives. Many people picture a version of what they’ve seen their parents achieve (so doctor’s children become doctors, teacher’s children go into teaching)  and expand on it a little. Others have dreams as children with no model present in their family or social groups (the daughter of a miner becomes a entrepreneur, or the son of a plumber becomes a lawyer).

 

Wherever I see high achievement in executives in their late 30s and early 40s, there’s been a clear thinking process since childhood, which has often involved bigger-than-average risk and action taking to get there – that’s the courageous part –  (so they might have moved country with small children whilst in their 30s in order to say ‘yes’ to the next corporate step up; or they might have taken a temporary salary cut at a key point in their career in order to shift from an creative path to a commercial path because it looked as though there might be more longevity and opportunity there in the long run).

 

Here’s the challenge though – those who have held a clear and courageous vision since childhood often achieve the outcome within 10-15 years of their post-university career. And that doesn’t fit with the historic story of ‘work until your 60, then retire rich and happy’. They’re already rich and happy and they’re only 42 years old! These executive are managing a ceiling of success because they had no clue to imaging bigger, brighter or more purposeful.

 

Breaking through the ceiling is where a successful director will ask ‘so what does ‘more’ look like?’, or ‘how do I add meaning to my ambition?’, or ‘what if I took all my transferable skills and knowledge and started again from ground up?’. It’s a beautiful piece of new, clear and courageous thinking; the next step of expansion. And, similar to when they were children, the adventure’s just beginning and the sky’s no limit!

 

 

Jennifer Broadley is one of the UK's leading executive coaches. She works with corporate leaders, business directors and successful entrepreneurs. She specialises in continued high performance, intuitive leadership and personal & professional accomplishment. Jennifer is passionate about the ongoing self improvement of the world's future business leaders – the way-showers for our precious next generation. She coaches, speaks and writes on 'The 7 Steps to Personal & Professional Freedom'®. Her book of the same name is available on www.Amazon.co.uk . To talk further you can call, email or message Jennifer from www.JenniferBroadley.com .