Article written by Robert U Craven CEO at MegaFood When I came to MegaFood in 2011, the company wasn’t thinking much about professional development. That’s not unusual in itself. The company had a great reputation but was small, and growth was the top...
How the Top CEO’s Leverage their Executive Coaches!
According to a research study conducted by Stanford University of 200 senior Executives/CEO’s, over 80% said that they were open to outside feedback and that they enjoyed the coaching process. Ironically, only 34% of those same CEO’s had a dedicated Coach. I found this gap a bit puzzling, given how vital a CEO’s role is to an organizations health and future. And so did the research team:
“It’s concerning that so many CEO’s are ‘going it alone,’” says Stephen Miles, CEO of The Miles Group. “Even the best-of-the-best CEOs have their blind spots and can dramatically improve their performance with an outside perspective weighing in.”
So what’s up? And why should this matter to You and your Organization?
· First and foremost, a leader’s reputation and track record are always at stake. The #1 reason CEO’s fail is their inability to manage change and key stakeholder expectations. A good Executive coach helps a leader face the brutal facts and form, communicate, align and deliver key expectations. In short, a Coach can identify your blind spots and has your back with the team and your Board!
· Leadership blindspots, almost always lead to team dysfunctions and a breakdown of team unity. A lack of team unity, leads to a lack of alignment and failures in execution and missing key results. A good Executive coach will support you in creating organizational clarity and focus with the team. The most experienced coaches bring best practices for not just creating org clarity and goals, but aligning everyone around an execution strategy. There’s nothing more powerful than a unified team, focused on 1-2 wildly important goals, that is totally aligned and in an execution rhythm.
Missing plan objectives, will always lead to higher employee turnover (Exec level) costing organizations up to 1.5x annual salary for every negative exit, plus threatens the culture. A pattern of unwanted turnover is a symptom of a systemic issue that is easily identified by a trained and experienced exec coach. However, it’s very difficult to self-diagnose and even harder to fix due to your level of emotional and psychological investment in the problem. Furthermore,
“The level of thinking that created the problem, is never sufficient to resolve the problem.” -Albert Einstein
So, for the sake of the Gap and possibly your companies future, let’s blow up any remnant of the social stigma with coaching, here and now! And if need be, let your ego take a sabbatical. If you had a systemic disease like cancer, you’d see a doctor with urgency and without hesitation. The truth is, our leadership blind spots cause systemic issues in our organizations. Get an outside partner that is trained and experienced to support your success.
“Today’s Executive Coaching is not remedial or some sort of crutch for weak leaders. It’s a powerful strategic alliance (unconditionally positive and supportive relationship) to help senior leaders see their blind spots, accelerate their growth and unify their teams around the most critical outcomes.”
Here Are 5-Tips to Help You Leverage Your Executive Coach!
1. Choose a qualified Coach you personally connect and resonate with. I don’t care how many certifications or PhD’s someone has, unless you share their core values and worldview you won’t trust their counsel in the tough decisions involving people…And how you handle the key People decisions will determine your ultimate success or failure! And ask for several references.
2. Get feedback from key team members (including your Board) and leverage it to grow and manage expectations around your performance and development. More important than where you are, is the direction and trajectory you are heading in. If you lack performance, you can’t afford not to be listening and growing from feedback. If you have performance, you must listen and embrace feedback to sustain it. Either way, get feedback! The trouble is, people won’t give you direct feedback without using a safe, outside, anonymous process. Exec coaches are trained in the art and science of turning feedback into personal development plans .
3. After your Coach has helped you grow, leverage your coach with your Executive Team. The investment in understanding your leadership and Vision, can now be leveraged to grow your team. Each Executive has their own issues and blind spots. And a few critical capabilities that must be developed for the future organization. A good exec coach will help each Executive develop a personal growth plan, aligned with the future strategy and vision.
4. Next leverage the Coach to do team building and team alignment. Again, since your coach knows you, the exec team members, they are perfectly positioned to facilitate your offsite and know what exercises will be most effective. The CEO is often so involved in strategy (laying the tracks for the future) and managing their Board, they become indebted to their team for running the business, making it next to impossible to facilitate these discussions. Plus, the CEO is likely so embedded in the problem, using an outside voice to start and sustain the conversation is best.
5. Now that your Coach knows You, your Team and your organizational needs they can design a customized/integrated leadership development program.
You might be thinking, what Coach can possibly do all this? Coaching and Training are 2-distinctly different skill sets and competencies. And you’d be right. However, a good executive coach has expertise in Org. Development and realizes the importance of cascading key leadership development and a common vernacular to all levels. Leverage your coach by asking them to help you develop a leadership development plan (addressing critical objectives > skill gaps > succession planning) for all employees.
I hope you found this article helpful and will share with your Board of Directors and Executive Team to start the conversation! Your mission and vision are too important, for you to do this alone. Let’s get started!
- Step 1: See the need/do I have an opportunity to leverage coaching?
- Step 2: Own it/Is this my decision to make?
- Step 3: Solve it/Define your requirements.
- Step 4: Do it/Start interviewing and hire the right coach!
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