Executive Coaching – 1
This is another piece under Challenge 44 – which is a project to improve my writing in 90 days. This is the first phase and the purpose of this phase is meeting a deadline rather than making remarkable content.
Executive coaching can be a useful personal and career development tool for a professional as they get ready to navigate a newly secured position or someone who is interested to supercharge their career growth and advancement in a position they currently hold by becoming a highly valued strategic contributor. In either of those cases the focus is as much on now as it is in the future as it is what we do today that forms the future we are aiming for. Many of our clients have found focusing and improving on the following areas can have immediate positive impact on their day to day work as well as their life in general.
Potential Areas of Focus
While some of these areas are interrelated are very much interrelated I felt splitting them in these categories can give you a feel on the possibilities on where a client will see results.
There is no worse enemy of an executive worse than being so busy that they can not accomplish much. Your immediate reaction or question might be if someone is not accomplishing while they are so busy, what are you suggesting, that they be less busy? And my answer is a loud hell yes. Whether you are an executive, professional, or a staff at an organization, you have little control on your time. What you can control is you. And what you can allow to go into that time. In my experience and as confirmed by numerous studies by Harvard and other management schools executives utilize only a fraction of their time effectively. It is true that you can not avoid certain meetings (maybe) and you have other commitments that can not be avoided, but one of the first areas that will have an immediate impact on productivity is the examination of personal habits at work, before we start the work for the day and after we stop the work for the day. Sometime these milestones become blared and that by itself is a good sign that certain habits are impacting our productivity. As we will discuss later in this article you can not fix or improve anything if you have correctly diagnosed the true nature of the issues and that is one of the areas that we will enable and executive to use tools that can help them discover the true nature of their self-management so they can start making changes.
Another area that many executive and professionals are interested to improve is what I call influence and contributing to the outcome of not only what you are personally missioned to do but also how your input and actions, well influences the outcome for others. This starts by how well are you heard, how do you go about presenting your ideas and input in a way that it invites openness and digestion by others by creating the right state of mind and emotions in others. Ironically, influence does not start by your ability to express yourself but rather by your ability to hear and understand others. I loved the word Syntony so much that I named my company Syntony. For electronic devices it means being on the same frequency so they can receive and transmit. For human beings it means being in harmony with self and others. We will address being in harmony with self in a later section, but influence requires being on heartistic harmony with others. So the focus of expanding your influence starts by developing skills that enables you to see and hear others as they perceive the world and for you to be able to communicate your ideas and proposal in a frequency that they can receive. To paraphrase Dr. Covey win-win does not start with splitting the difference, it starts with opening up to realities out of our own mind and formulating outcomes not as dictates but rather the dynamic product of our communications with others.
In my mind effectiveness can be the child of productivity and influence. Effectiveness should start by visualizing the outcome and realizing that in almost everything we and others do, the law of 80-20 applies, that 20% of our actions results in 80% of the outcomes. So, is it possible for us to somehow minimize, delegate, eliminate the 80% of our actions that produces only 20% of our outcome? Well not unless we are a) clear about our outcome, and b) start to develop clarity about the 20% that is critical to that, and the 80% that is not. Now in an organization of any size larger than 1 person, result are influence by contributions of more that just one person. So to be effective it is critical to be able to influence not only our own mind, habits and behaviors but to be able to influence those of others. Again in all of these areas we will work with our clients to get a snap shot of the current state, in many occasions, not only form their perspective but also perspective of others, so that we can formulate the strategies and actions that would narrow and eliminate the gap between the current state and what your are aiming for.
Having covered the last three sections I believe it is by now clear that unless we are able to communicate well with others, unless we get a clear idea of their needs, their needs in what they are trying to accomplish, their needs in how they can hear you, etc. we would not be able to effective in our workplace, especially in the workplace. I love this quote by Dr. Alessandra; treat others not as you would like to be treated but how they want to be treated! He calls this the Platinum rule as opposed to the golden rule. That is why it becomes so critical for the executive, for the leader to truly understand the personality of their team, their leadership and others they work with. We help our clients to develop this skill, practice them, learn from their practice until they will master the ability to effectively communicate and lead a highly diverse team.
Some people define leadership as accomplishing goals and affecting outcome through others who come to see those goals as their own. Ideally to make your life much easier you want to start this journey by hiring the right people. That is an area that we work with our clients to define their organizational needs, taking into consideration the culture and use these as input in formulating their staffing requirements. It is true that hiring highly motivated professionals is a significant contributor to success. But what is success? That goes to vision of the organization and how a leader can drive from it the vision for its team. Effective communication of this vision is critical to your ability to lead a highly effective team. As mentioned earlier highly motivated individuals can catapult an organization to success but only if they are supported through coaching and mentoring to ensure they are on track and in sync with your vision. The worst thing that can happen is to have highly motivated individuals whose pursuit is falling out of alignment with mission and vision. That would be a shame and applying everything we covered earlier will ensure that your highly motivated team that we can help identify, hire and support with coaching will server your ultimate success.
We have talked a lot about success at your work but there are multiple dimensions to one’s life and it is critical to maintain balance between these areas in order to live a happy life. So our approach to executive coaching is a holistic approach that keeps mental, emotional, spiritual, physical, and financial dimensions of life in an integrated approach. Becoming off balance in any of these areas will eventually impact the others in a negative way. So our work with our clients while focused at what you are affecting at work can not be separated from these other dimensions of your being. We will be their to work with in a holistic way.
So where do we start? The following sections describe the components of an executive coaching program.
The first step in the process is to get a high-level perspective of why you are considering executive coaching and what you would like to accomplish. While the questions are comprehensive the nature of this step is fluid to ensure a full understanding without filters that will negatively impact the direction you will be setting.
The assessments are intended to get a better understand of who you are, how you are operating, not only from your perspective but in many occasions from the perspective of others. Many of our behavior are dictated by intrinsic parameters we form from early age, others are those we have devised in order to effectively (in our own mind) cope and operate in our environment. Knowing thyself will be the launching pad to expanding your future horizon.
Clarifying and Setting Goals
Along with completing the assessment, we will engage you in addition process of inquiring to clearly understand your goals and objective. This is an in depth process of probing and brainstorming and in many occasions results in realignment or at least refining of those goals
Developing a Plan
Once we are clear as to where would like to head for, it is time to develop a fun game plan to get their. Long term objective will be broken down to more shorter term goals and eventually to 12-weeks sprints that in our experience has worked well for our clients. Now we are getting to where rubber meets the road. We have defined goals for habit forming actions, habits we are changing, as well as actions specific to business objectives in the areas we discussed earlier.
Implementing You Plan
Now you get to work and execute your plans. Be prepared for hiccups and failures and adjustments, and celebration of successful accomplishment.
But plan is nothing without measuring the intermediate outcomes, and that is where our regular weekly, monthly or quarterly meetings, depending on your objectives, will come in to picture. This is when we evaluate your planned action vs actual outcome and make corrective adjustment to keep moving forward while having fun along the way.