Monday, July 30, 2012

Should You Hire an Executive Coach?

While not everyone is interested in becoming CEO, career growth is important. In fact, many large organizations have their own training and development curriculums. These programs enable people to become better problem solvers, managers, and project managers.

Oftentimes however, company training lacks crucial
insight in understanding how to balance strengths with self-imposed impediments. Whether you’re cultivating strengths or changing inimical behavior, you will need tools to manage yourself to new heights. In short, you need help.

There are many reasons to engage an executive coach. Two of them include:
  1. Wanting to move from a manager to a leadership position – SVP, EVP, President or C-Level
  2. Completing a seemingly impossible project you have been assigned or you strive to take on (if executed well, will create career advancement)

I once had a client who worked as a branch manager for a global services company. For years, he wanted to advance to the C-Suite. Yet at age 50, he seemed farther from the top than ever. He attended a top university and had the advantage of being smart. Nevertheless, his biggest self-imposed limitation was his intelligence. 

I invited him to hire me as his executive coach. Through 90 minutes of lunch, it became apparent why he was never going to be CEO: he was so smart that others felt stupid around him. For those under him, his invalidating remarks intimidated and hurt while others above him were impervious. Regardless, both sides assumed he would never be able to lead a team.

While working together, I helped him recognize how he affected those around him. Concurrently, he received tools to more effectively manage himself and others as well as developed new skills and competencies which appropriate for the C-Suite.

Five months after engaging my services he was hired as President of a competing firm. He is now the successor to the Founder and CEO of the company who will retire in 2-3 years.

Another client of mine rose to the C-Level executive in a services firm, and felt that her authority was reduced. She had gradually lost power, being overlooked for projects and given less people to lead.

Her issue lay in a pattern of invalidating everyone around her. Her biggest shock though was the equal amount of time she spent invalidating herself.

Once she and I identified a beneficial project for her firm, we developed the tools to more effectively manage up and down as well as the skills to for gaining alignment. While the CEO had a hard time believing that she had changed, he slowly acquiesced to her need for resources. As she rolled out the project to the various business units, it became apparent that it could generate revenue.  By significantly reducing her derogatory remarks about herself and others, she became more capable of engaging aid from the CEO and peers.

In both cases, these professionals had used their employers’ resources for management training. Yet, they were still in their own way.

If you are considering hiring a coach, be willing to be open about what you want to accomplish. The more honest you are, the more effective the coaching, and the more you will gain.    

While an executive coach is not for everyone, those who hire one are greatly rewarded with career advancement or company wide recognition with commensurate financial rewards. 

What do you think? I’m open to ideas. Or if you want to write me about a specific topic, I am open to your suggestions. 


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