January 22, 2013

Executive Leadership Coaching – Busting the Myths

glasses on an open book

Over the last fortnight, in the process of building an ‘extension’ onto my present business activities, I’ve met an extraordinary range of diverse leaders – some corporate, some entrepreneurial, most a bit of both. Here’s what’s been interesting to me – they have each been successful in their own way, achieving well (from my limited exposure to their work & home lives) and motivated – but not a single one of them had considered engaging an executive coach, a mentor, or an independent  leadership partner to speed up the process of living their vision?

Here’s what I also noticed, when given the opportunity to talk one-to-one, every single one of them – after 30 minutes of me listening, asking some key questions and feeding back to them what I’d heard – said they felt clearer, more motivated and more confident in their ability to achieve the vision they’d been holding in their minds. They all said that they’d invest in regular coaching conversations if they were sure to achieve ‘twice the success in half the time’. That means that the expectations they might been holding for 4 years are achieved in one. Imagine the reality of what that means for work life, home life, family, fitness, finances … it’s got to be worth exploring.

Here’re the 5 questions I get asked most when a new executive leader is working out the value of coaching:

1. What if I don’t have any issues to talk to you about?

Great, because I don’t work with clients who have issues, I work with clients who have unreleased potential. They’re already successful at what they do. What they want from me is perspective, clarity and someone to hold them accountable as they stretch their abilities beyond what they’d do alone.

2. How can you teach me if you haven’t done what I’m doing?

I’m not a teacher or a consultant – I don’t have your answers. I’m a coach, I have the questions – you’ve got your answers. It’s a huge myth – perpetuated by trainers, consultants and mentors (none of whom are coach trained) – that executive coaches will offer up solutions. We won’t. I equip you to explore, get clear and expand. Your executive coach should be executive coach trained and preferably have 1000s of hours worth of relevant experience and quality client testimonials.

3. How can you help me get ahead in medicine (or construction, media, IT, retail, oil & gas) if you’re not a medic?

Great leadership is about developing the courage and skill set to know yourself deeply. You can only engage, inspire and stretch your teams and collaborators to the point at which you’ve experienced that engagement, inspiration and stretching yourself.

4. Most of the directors and CEOs I know don’t use a coach

Don’t be too sure about that. And ask yourself, of the leaders I have access to, are most of them true innovators, creatives and ground breakers? Because if they are, you can be sure they’re smart enough to be investing in all the development available to them to be clear of their motives, to multiply their skill set and to drive their business forward at speed. You’d be surprised at how many stand-out leaders are quietly partnering with a great executive coach.

5. How do I know it’s going to be worth the investment?

You don’t. But here’s the thing – if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’re going to get the results you’ve always had. Expanding your thinking and your skill set is the quickest way possible to start to play a bigger game. To stretch your vision, your action taking, your confidence, your influence and your overall results. Do what you do with a new restaurant, a new sport, a new relationship – book in a date and have the experience.

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