February 8, 2012

CEO coaching … leaders who lifelong learn

open book

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard it asked by corporate leaders from directors, to board members to CEOs  “but why would I need coaching … I’m doing everything right”. To which I reply “you wouldn’t be at your level of success if you weren’t doing everything right. And I work with achievers not because there are issues, but because there’s always unreleased potential”.

A founding father of the US, Benjamin Franklin said, “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”

A noted polymath was old Franklin which means he had a great deal of knowledge about a wide range of topics. He was known for his considered opinion, his wisdom, his diplomacy and his natural ability to lead and to inspire others. I’m guessing he meant it then, when he also said, “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.”

In metaphysics there’s a law called ‘the law of perpetual transmutation’. It means that all things physical and non-physical exist in a constantly state of change – expanding, reducing, evolving. There’s never nothing happening. Nothing stays the same. The universe’s default is transformation.

The most successful leaders, managing directors, CEOs on the planet know all about this law. You’d never hear them say ‘I’m complete; all the things on my list are ticked; we’ve reached every goal I ever had for myself, the company, the customers, the systems, the employees and the products & services… so, yeah. We’re done’.

Because, too right they’d be ‘done’! Done gathering new ideas; done sensing what’s next for the marketplace; done navigating the company’s best talent towards unearthing new opportunities.

There IS no ‘done’ in the life-cycle of successful leaders within progressive organisations. Personal growth & progress = greater team achievements = product & service improvements  = ongoing business success; just like Franklin said it would.

Every individual leader is called to be creative and to lead and expand themselves and their business in a way that’s unique to them. There are no co-incidences in any man or woman’s rise to the helm of a notable corporate company to pioneer a new chapter for its tribe. Directors who actively develop integrity, respect, wisdom, a sense of themselves, and a healthy relationship with risk will thrive.

Lifelong learning is a commitment. There are no right or wrong ways to go about it – study a formal course, hire an executive coach, read, listen, watch, blog, join a mastermind – your style, your choice. But it is a conscious decision to walk this path – you cannot inherit leadership success. The results show in each of us to a depth and effectiveness equal to the hours invested in developing the craft.

I leave you with an Irish saying which is up there, in my opinion, with the wisdom of Mr Franklin: “You’ve got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was.”

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