High Level Executive Coaching
I coach experienced leaders (VP-level and upward) to improve their leadership skills – by enrolling them in a simple, yet challenging regimen. With thanks to Marshall Goldsmith who inspired me.
First, I solicit 360 degree feedback from their colleagues – as many as can provide valid information – for a comprehensive assessment of their strengths, challenges and opportunities.
I then let my clients know (in a way that protects the confidentiality of the interviewees) what everybody really thinks about them. Assuming that they accept this information, agree that they have something to improve and commit to changing behaviour – I go to work and try to help them get better – at what they have chosen – and as judged by whom they have chosen.
My clients often advertise their efforts to change. As opposed to keeping their change efforts a ‘dark secret’, they tell key people around them what they are trying to improve. If we don’t let people know that we are trying to change – and recruit them in our change process – they may never appreciate, or even notice, what we are doing.
As an integral part of the follow-up process, I teach people to listen without prejudice to what their colleagues, family members and friends are saying – that is, to listen without interrupting or arguing.
My coachees follow up with all of the people around them to get ongoing suggestions. Those who follow-up in a disciplined way get better, those that don’t follow-up are not seen as changing any more than random chance.
At the middle of the coaching program I often interview the coachee’s leader to get feedback on the changes that they have witnessed. At the end of the coaching program I do the same again, ask feedback from those I have interviewed at the start of the program.
It can sometimes be difficult for super-achievers to get over the hump and admit that they can benefit from changing behaviour. If behavioural change can help them become more effective in their role, and if they are willing to stick with the steps in my coaching process and if they are given a fair chance – they will get better – not only in their own minds but, more importantly, in the minds of everyone they impact.