Pressure at work: caffeinate or meditate?

Executive coaches are hired for senior directors to ensure they continue to be as clear thinking as possible. Ideally they’ll lead a business onwards and upwards and inspire and motivate (all going well) their colleagues and teams. Realistically though, not every company offers the exec coach benefit to every principal in their leadership line-up. And even in businesses that do – there’s no guarantee that those executives will be noticebly calmer and more strategic.

Most professionals at some time or another will have to manage pressure at work leading to increased stress. The most common factors for this are:

  • the content of work – do other people or departments depend on your work being accurate and timely
  • workload – the amount or the speed of a product or service being delivered is just too much for a contracted 40-hour per week team
  • clashing personalities – it’s great when everyone gets on and puts in equal effort. It’s super-tough when personalities clash and still have to work together week after month
  • a difficult boss – people rarely leave companies, they leave bad managers
  • no clear route to progress
  • expectations not met – by not being clearly defined and well managed
  • limited financial reward for the effort invested or the results produced

So when stress occurs what are some ways of dealing with it?

Lots of workers at all levels of seniority manage stress on a regular basis. It might be work related (as in the list above) or it might be that we’re bringing personal stress (family, finances, fitness, relationships, health) in to work with us – which is pretty normal.

Communication is a decent first step and in an ideal world we’d all be collaborators with clear shared visions, putting maximum effort in to get there as quickly as possible with the most benefit for the most people – customers & company. In reality though … that’s rare!

My question about caffeinating or mediating is based around whether speeding up our brains(caffeinating) or slowing down our minds (meditating) is a more effective way of increasing productivity.

Coffee has become an increasingly acceptable stimulant over the past 50 years. It used to be that instant blends were the norm however now more and more of us are choosing the strength of that stimulant (1 – 5 from weak to super-strong). Coffee can help to integrate a home life with a work life. A late night watching tv or a few glasses of wine with friends don’t leave such obvious footprints on our work day once the 2nd cafetierre’s been gulped down.

And then there’s the late nights of emergency meetings or perfecting pitch presentations. Coffee’s a normal part of squeezing more awakeness out of a flagging work force. Sounds like – in moderation – it’s all good.

Mediation on the other hand works by slowing the mind down. When a person invests 10-15 minute a couple of times a day focussing on their breathing, paying attention to their physical body and the life-force that flows through it, the results they produce stand out over time. Meditation delivers clarity (on many levels – personal & professional) and that clarity makes decisions simpler and solutions more creative.

Looking at these 2 choices, caffeination or mediation, I’m reminded of a very wise executive coach in London I worked with for 2 years. When stuck with a decision of which of 2 excellent virtual assistants to hire she asked, ‘do you have to choose between them?’ – the answer turned out to be ‘no’ and so I hired them both. This I’m sensing is the answer to the caffienation or meditation question: if they both get result in different ways ‘do you have to choose’?

Top 5 ways to manage conflict at work

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.

How conflict affects the bottom line

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!

Leadership development – can I do it myself

Numerous times in my 12 years of coaching and leadership development I've been asked by clients whether I think they'd have got to the conclusion they reach by themselves. I almost alway say 'yes'. When an answer needs to be found and layers of assumptions need to be let go to find it, that process will inevitably happen. Conversations will set you thinking, choices will present themselves, learning opportunities will occur, people will leave your team, others will join and gradually the vision you were holding will get closer and closer.

So what's the point in investing time and money with an executive coach if you're going to get there anyway? The answer is clarity and speed! Everyone learns a methodology of thinking and of working that comes to them with the education they've had and the experiences they've accumulated. Successful corporate leaders recognise that the process of acquiring more knowledge and refining what they know is ongoing (sometimes on a daily basis because change can happen so fast). A committment to lifelong learning inevitably sets the super-achievers apart from the pack.

Along with the specific wisdom you acquire you also collect specific assumptions and habits. They may have served you well last year or in your previous role, however today those tools might be the exact thing that's going to slow you down on your journey to achieving the big goal.

I had the priviledge very recently of talking with on of the UKs top masters squash players. He has national and international events coming up over the next 6 months and was talking about his training program. It included daily gym work for stamina, court work for accuracy, and sparring with other equally-levelled opponents for reactions and maintaining match fitness.

'Who's your coach?' I asked. 'I don't have one right now' he replied. (What?!!). We then had the discussion about all the training he was investing in right now and how it was great for sustaining fitness and perhaps even slightly improving his game over the next 4 months. However, alone he'd quickly reach a plateau and cease to be stretched by his sparring partners. When the World Masters arrive he'd absolutely want to bring his 'A' game and he'd be more likely to do that by working now with a coach. A trained, experienced eye to observe his game from the outside, making small (or perhaps significant) changes and partnering him in defining and achieving some stretch goals delivering the best competitive advantage when the tournament season comes round.

As much as this makes sense in sport, it makes the same sense in business. Directors, CEOs and team leaders can fast-track their growth and their 'business muscle' by partnering with a great executive coach. This coach isn't going to run your business day-to-day, nor will they put in the hours that are required to reach your ulimate vision. What they will do is to ask you some excellent questions, challenge some subtle assumptions, push you to stretch your comfort zone. 

The knock-on effect of working with an experienced executive coach is that your clarity will grow, you'll have key conversations more suscinctly and confidently, you'll know who to draw closer to you and who to distance yourself from and instead of achieving your goals in a year or two's time, you'll notice them taking form in just a few short months. Leadership development is an ongoing investment in keeping key directors clear, motivated and action-orientated. If one of those leaders is you, the ultimate result is that your productivity soars and you achieve twice the success in half the time.

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.

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.

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!

Keeping it simple

As an executive coach, I’m sometimes called on when a leader, manager or company has too much going on – people, projects, development, deadlines, decisions – and they’ve passed the tipping point of working to full effectiveness. It’s not a weakness to have said ‘yes’ to so many things (or, more likely, for additional responsibilities to have been given to you because there was no one else to take them on) but too much complexity never delivers effective business results.

A call for your executive coach is a call to streamline and to simplify.

Earlier this week I had a conversation with a writer and film director. There were about 8 projects he could easily invest time in – networking, event organising, putting together his next creative team – there’s always so much going on. I asked him – why do you do what you do? He said ‘I love to write. And I love to create.’ I asked him – knowing that, what are your priorities today? He said ‘To finish this script. To get the movie made.’ And even simpler than that? … ‘To finish this script’.

Sometimes there’s a really obvious right next move; often it’s one that only you can do. That’s why it’s on your list and no-one else’s.Everything else you’re investing time in is a distraction, or a subconscious procrastination because it knows that the things only you can do will create the biggest ripple effects – and that in turn will change your world.

There’s a classic story (which is worth repeating …) about a professor who held up to his students an empty glass jar. Into it he placed some large rocks up to the rim. He then help up the jar and said ‘is it full?’. The students nodded ‘yes’. Next the professor took out a bag of pebbles and poured them into the jar. The pebbles found their way in around the spaces of the large rocks. ‘Is it full now?’ he asked. The students nodded ‘yes’. The professor then took out a bag of sand. He poured the sand into the jar and it filled in the spaces around the pebbles. He held up the jar, ‘Is it full now?’. The students nodded ‘yes’. The professor took out a beaker of water, he slowly poured it into the glass jar. The water meandered its way around the spaces of the rocks, the pebbles and the sand until it reached the rim of the jar. ‘Ok, so now it’s full’, said the professor, ‘So, what’s the lesson’?

One student raised her hand and said ‘Is it that we can achieve more than we think – but sometimes have to find new ways to do so?’. ‘A good answer, anyone else?’ said the professor. Another student put up his hand, ‘Could it be that if we assume a question means ‘more of the same’ we’re missing an opportunity?’. ‘Another good answer’ said the professor, ‘And here’s the lesson I want you to take away from today: I could only put as much into this glass jar if I started with the big stuff. In any other order, this quantity of rocks, pebbles, sand and water could not be contained. Prioritise the big things into your life – health, fitness, a vision, connection – and all the rest will fall into place around it’.

As an executive coach, I couldn’t have put it better myself!

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo da Vinci

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!’

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.