For a Leader in a hurry (what leader isn’t?)
Our executive coaching series picks up the pace for those already moving very fast to cover a lot of territory.
They barely have time to ask themselves three critical questions…
- Why have an executive coach?
- What is the value to me?
- How do I select the right coach for me?
Why have an executive coach? Consider these possibilities:
- You have a challenging issue you are dealing with, and you’re looking for a resolution, such as:
- You are overwhelmed with your workload
- You are having difficulty dealing with someone, such as a partner/report/boss
- You have a team that is not functioning at the level needed
- You have an intractable problem
- You are seeking to develop yourself as a leader—your skill, ability, effectiveness, productivity. You aim to be a great leader.
- You want to surpass your own performance beyond anything you’ve ever done before.
- You would value someone to think and plan with, someone outside your company, outside the culture, who will listen—and who can provide objective, intelligent insight and thought-provoking dialogue for new perspectives and new thinking. A strategic confidante.
- You are in transition from one job to another or one company to another. You’d like to discuss and gain clarity on your next career move. You want to clarify your career path and make it happen.
- You’ve been stuck in some way about something and you want to get into effective action and deal with it.
How do you select the right coach for you?
Here is a quick guide to selecting an executive coach:
- Interview at least 2 candidates.
- If you have a referral from someone you know you can trust, that’s great! If not:
- Check your gut—do you like the person?
- Do they “get” you?
- Do you like their approach/method. Does it make sense?
- Is there a lack of B.S.: do they seem straightforward and honest, do they listen, do they stay on point?
- What is their track record? Do they talk about results or anecdotes and stories. You want results.
- What do they promise you? What can you count on them for? Ask them.
Like any great performer: an athlete, a dancer, a musician— and for a leader in a hurry— powerful coaching can immeasurably increase your performance.
If you’d like to interview me as one of your candidates, it would be my honor. And… remember to ask me about my approach called “Transformational Coaching” which is specifically designed to produce breakthroughs in your performance.
Ready to use this guide? Call me at (310) 730-6355 to find out more about Executive Coaching for yourself. (Or, you can Opt-IN for an appointment in the box at right.)
Welcome to our series: Executive Coaching . The Inside View with Barry Pogorel
Promoting from within has its own pitfalls for all concerned, especially so for senior management, charged with leading a company full of uniquely gifted and challenged people.
Must those pitfalls trap you? This case study may echo one you’ve seen up close… or lived yourself.
A CEO’s Dilemma
The Chairman of a global company contacted me. He said that he was looking for the company’s next President.
His top performing executive had asked for the job. This man was his most effective EVP, however, at the same time was a significant liability. The executive produced outstanding results in developing new business. When developing a project, however, he would do whatever it took to make it happen internally.
Although many people appreciated him, and were even in awe of him, they also feared him. He would threaten, cajole, pressure, force whomever and however across the company to get what he wanted. He moved quickly, decisively, and was frustrated and impatient when others didn’t do the same or had objections or issues with what he wanted. Finally, and this was the last straw, he told the Chairman that if he wasn’t made President in short order, he would leave the company and go to a competitor.
The Chairman told me that if he promoted this man, many people in the company would call and say, “Are you out of your mind?!” The Chairman asked me if I could “make him into a president.” I said that that depended on whether he was coachable and willing to deal with the issues the Chairman and others saw and wanted resolved. I proposed to meet with the man and find out.
In our first meeting, I instantly liked him. I could see that his commitment and brilliance was dimmed by his forcefulness and impatience. He told me he was interested in executive coaching and was open to discovering how he could function differently. He expressed genuine excitement to have the opportunity to develop himself as a leader. Although he didn’t entirely agree with the Chairman’s assessment of him, he saw there were some points that were valid. We began to work together.
Can You Tame a Talent from Rough to Ready?
In the course of our coaching sessions he discovered something profound in looking at his past. Oftentimes the biggest barrier to achieving what we most care about is our own past and the life-altering decisions we’ve made (and now are unaware of).
In looking at the origins of his impatience and forcefulness, he remembered a morning when he was a child. His mother sat him, his brother and sister down and cried for a few moments, and then said that she and their father were going to divorce, that their dad had a new job in England and would be living there. He recalled being shocked, scared, and confused. He also remembered thinking to himself: “I don’t have a dad anymore. No one’s going to protect us. I have to do things all by myself.” He became a solo force in the world. To others, this manifested as a one-man, independent power with great impatience to get things done.
This was the origin of his bull-in-a-china-shop behavior.
Some insights are merely theoretical. Other insights gained through self-reflection are deep and life-altering. This insight produced a breakthrough and he felt released. His effectiveness in producing results was undiminished, while at the same time he began collaborating with people, listening to others, inspiring and moving people into action rather than threatening/forcing them.
A Revolutionary Result:
Within 6 months, the Chairman appointed him President.
Out of our work together, my clients gain the key insights required to liberate them from whatever is constraining or limiting, and they achieve what they aspire to.
Your comments and questions are invited. about this post or any issues you’d like to see in the series.
You may also want to visit “How to Choose the Right Executive Coach” for a winning approach to selecting the right coach for yourself.
The more clearly a leader can see objective reality, the more effective that leader will be in dealing with it.
To separate out “the facts” from interpretations, opinions, prejudices, assumptions, points of view, “what everybody knows,” as well as separate the facts from one’s hopes, fantasies, wishes, and
“what should be.”
This kind of rigor in dealing with external objective reality begins with a rigor in dealing with one’s own internal reality. That is, to be honest with and about oneself in all one’s affairs.
From dictionary.com – Genuine (Adjective)
- not fake or counterfeit; original; real; authentic
- not pretending; frank; sincere
- being of authentic or original stock
How does one develop being genuine?
We must start with the already-existing state of being human: it is often not one of being real, genuine, honest. I suggest that if we give a straightforward look at ourselves, we often feel less than honest or genuine. We strive to be liked, to win, to avoid looking foolish. We want to be well thought of. And in those pursuits, we often sacrifice being real. Honesty can seem so much less important that these other pursuits. And in not taking seriously our own realness, we miss the enormous power, clarity, and peace available.
Being genuine feels vulnerable. It can include feeling embarrassed at times. Being honest can mean admitting we were wrong, or that we failed at something, or that we made a mistake. And in telling the truth about these things, it at first seems threatening, dangerous, counterproductive. And for sure, counter-intuitive.
Vulnerability like this takes courage.
It takes an actual commitment to take on being genuine with self and others.
Being well-intended, reading inspiring quotes, feeling strongly about it….make little or no difference. Just as it takes commitment to develop stamina or learn a new skill, it takes commitment to master being honest and real. It is not a momentary decision that transforms one, but rather an ongoing commitment—more like taking on a project—to be genuine and when you are not, catching yourself and then being genuine in that moment.
This kind of honesty builds trust with others, lets you see clearly what is, and gives a sense of peace since there is nothing to hide. You discover yourself.
To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
– e.e. cummings
Your comments and questions about Leadership Transformation #4 above, and our earlier posts about Leadership Transformation are very welcome.
You’ll also want the “The Six Leadership Keys” for executives.
In a Harvard Business Review article, Michael Beer and Nitin Nohria wrote: “Despite some individual successes, however, change remains difficult to pull off, and few companies manage the process as well as they would like. Most of their initiatives—installing new technology, downsizing, restructuring or trying to change corporate culture—have had low success rates. The brutal fact is that about 70% of all change initiatives fail.”
Although written in 2000, asking executives today, the statistics seem to be about the same. The costs of this are staggering. What is at the root of this failure rate? What is missing?
It is the third transformation needed to be a powerful leader: becoming someone whose word is their bond.
In business and life, there are always situations, changing conditions, problems large and small. This is part of the fabric of business and life. There are a multitude of difficult circumstances and good reasons why something can’t/didn’t happen. And leaders are in the business of making happen what was not going to happen.
Here’s what George Bernard Shaw had to say about this:
The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him.
The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself.
All progress depends on the unreasonable man.
-from Maximums for Revolutionists
How do you become an “unreasonable” leader?
Quoting Michael Jensen, Professor Emeritus of the Harvard Business School:
Doing what you said you would do when you said you would do it.
The essence of being “unreasonable” and making happen what otherwise would not happen, what is often inconvenient, uncomfortable, and uncertain, and what sometimes may even seem impossible, is being someone whose word is their bond—in particular in the face of one’s own self-doubts, considerations, and one’s own “reasons why not.”
And such a leader asks the same of those they lead.
This is the lever that moves the mountain.
Want the “The Six Leadership Keys” for executives?
Leadership in the Heat of Battle | Transformation #2: Going Beyond Who You Are Now
Leaders must often make impossibilities happen. How do you do that?
We all have a view of what is possible. Additionally, we have ways of functioning that we know produce results and achieve objectives.
To make an impossibility happen, you must expand the scope of what is possible, and you must go beyond your habitual ways of getting things done.
Take a moment and answer the following question:
What characteristics, abilities, traits do you rely on in yourself to accomplish things? Make a list. I’ll be silent while you write. Take a couple of minutes…
What is something you want to make happen or achieve—something big, something beyond what you’ve accomplished before—perhaps an impossibility? Take a moment and write that down…
If you compare the two lists, and you’ve picked something big enough, you can see that list 1 is insufficient to accomplish list 2.
You must go beyond who you are now, your “comfort zone”. But even more than this, the very strengths you rely on are at the same time your limitations.
If you look at this from a neuroscience perspective, what’s stored in your brain, among everything else, are sets of patterns of behaviors that worked in the past to give you what you wanted. These patterns, or from neuroscience, these sets of neuronal patterns, get “activated”. Like calling up a particular program in a computer. The brain, which is designed for our survival, is a repository, a library of such winning patterns for us to get by, succeed, win, even to survive.
Although we may think you are acting freely, when closely examined, you can start to see the repetitive nature of these behaviors. And they worked! In the past. Here’s the problem: when you are presented with situations that are not the same as the past, that have elements in them, complexities, that you’ve never encountered before—OR if you want to make something happen, produce a result, beyond anything you’ve ever accomplished before—an impossibility—then these patterns from the past may not serve you. Starting when you are a child, through your teen years, and through your early adulthood, you and I formulate these strategies. Then we get stuck with them.
A CEO of a growing technology company who was very hands on, getting involved in everything, as the company expanded, became unable to control it all.
He had to begin trusting, managing/delegating to, and empowering others.
He had to go beyond the strengths, abilities, approaches that had worked in the past, and discover new ways to think, relate, plan, communicate, act to be appropriate to the scale of opportunity now in front of him.
So, the second transformation of a leader is this…
to recognize these habitual formulas, begin to see how they limit, and be willing to go beyond them to achieve something big, something extraordinary, perhaps something currently impossible!
Your comments and questions about Leadership Transformation #2 above, and our earlier post for Leadership Transformation #1 (here) are very welcome.
You’ll also want the “The Six Leadership Keys” for executives.
Leadership in the Heat of Battle: Transformation #1: Powerful Listening
Watch this short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubNF9QNEQLA
What does this video (and listening) have to do with leading effectively?
Leaders need to be vividly present to what is happening around them, and most importantly hear exactly what others are communicating. That includes hearing what others are not saying that they are saying. This allows a leader to get critical information needed to make appropriate decisions and take effective actions. It also allows those they lead to experience that they’ve been heard. What is more frustrating than attempting to say something to someone and not experience you’ve been heard?
When a leader listens, they strengthen relationships and build trust.
The video illustrates how much we miss that is going on right in front of us, and by extension, how much is being communicated that we’re missing.
How do you know you’re not listening powerfully?
- Is there someone around you who says the same thing over and over as though they’re not being heard?
- Is there something someone else is telling you that you don’t want to hear it? that you disagree with? that you think is wrong? and you listen to them with that going on with you as they speak?
- While they’re speaking, are you evaluating, judging, diagnosing, solving?
- While someone is speaking to you, are you finishing their sentences? interrupting them with what you have to say? attempting to correct what they’re expressing? preparing to defend yourself against what they’re saying?
- Do you get impatient when others speak? do you want them to “get to the point”?
- Are you in a hurry to get somewhere or do something, and find that you don’t have time for what people are saying to you?
- Are you not hearing the people who are closest to you? that you care most for? family?
- While someone is speaking, are you predicting what they’ll say next or thinking that you already know what they’re saying?
These are some of the pitfalls leaders fall into regarding communication. So the first transformation a leader must go through is to realize how much they do not hear. The pathway to actually listen deeply is to first notice how much you habitually do not. This fact may be something you may not want to confront. However, true transformation always begins with great honesty and telling the truth about what is happening now.
Also, are there things you want to communicate to others, and you don’t have a sense they’re really hearing you? You cannot put water into a cup that is already full. Begin by hearing others completely—let them empty their cup. Then there is room for them to hear you. You have experienced wanting to say something to someone, and as they are speaking, you can’t wait to tell them what you have to say. And this makes it difficult for you to hear them.
Take on really listening to people and watch the miracles that will occur around you!
Want the “The Six Leadership Keys” for executives?