The Organization and The Individual
Executive coaching creates two beneficiaries: the organisation and the individual. As the client optimises personal potential so the company derives enhanced benefit from its investment in its leader and leadership group.
The perfect CEO has yet to be invented. Most have impressive strengths, but many potentially valuable traits go undeveloped. To progress from good to great, the neglected areas require attention. The need can be highlighted by stereotypes such as …
The doyen of the industry, renowned for building shareholder value and creating a market leader. The deference of other executives creates a danger that strategic debate will be stifled. Future success could be elusive unless Caesar is exposed to new stimuli. For ideas to be discussed and tested, a respected peer is needed to act as sounding board or source of alternative ‘wisdom’.
The King in Waiting
The executive next in line for leadership. Preparation for the final step frequently includes coaching to hone key skills, address any perceived weaknesses and polish those leadership attributes the chairman and directors regard as essential in the company’s pre-eminent representative.
The Trusted Guardian
The logical choice for a senior position in view of past service and successes. However, performance levels seem to plateau rather than move to new peaks. The Trusted Guardian needs to ask new questions and acquire new perspectives. The catalyst for reinvigoration is often a challenging but supportive coach.
The Headhunted Hero
A top performer at a new company faced with new challenges. It is essential the newcomer appreciates the expectations of the organisation, what agendas have to be addressed and what ‘easy wins’ can or cannot be delivered. Coaching often facilitates personal alignment with organisational goals.
A dynamic character with great technical expertise. He or she has rocketed to the top thanks to proven ability, a hands-on style and single-minded focus. To progress further and deliver even more organisational value, the Do-er must communicate better, delegate more and create greater team momentum. Hands-on involvement is becoming a comfort zone. This executive needs to take more risks and push personal boundaries.
The High Flyer
Perhaps the beneficiary of fast-tracking who has collapsed 15 years of experience into five. He (or she) has to acquire the positioning skills necessary for the new role. There is a distinction between what you have to do to succeed and what you have to be to succeed even further. Coaching helps The High Flyer appreciate the difference and come to grips with new expectations.
The Hard Driver
An executive with a challenging management style who gets results, but finds that what worked at a lower level now provokes resistance, even conflict. The hammer is not the only tool in the management toolkit. An effective coach can encourage experimentation with other tools and management styles, enabling the executive to grow as an individual and contribute in new ways to corporate success.
Corporate Teams are made up of individuals with different backgrounds, expectations, aims, desires, management styles, strengths and weaknesses who are brought together in a work environment. This does not mean they are able to work as a cohesive group. External coaches can play a key role in facilitating alignment, removing ‘disconnects’ and improving cohesion.
There is no place lonelier than the top of an organisation. The higher you go, the more people around you believe you have all the answers. The more difficult it can be to ask for help. The more you have to cope with increasing pressure or the need to implement far-reaching change. Development needs do not evaporate, but grow, even at the very peak of a company.
In addition, South Africa is a society in transition. It has its own special set of challenges that flow from the need to right the wrongs of the past. Fast-tracking. Affirmative action. Employment equity. All add to the pressure on executives.
There are many good athletes, musicians and dancers but those few who make the tough transition to greatness invariably have a world-class coach working with them. Around the world, leaders of blue chip companies have recognised that they are no different. To unlock their true potential, to stand with them in times of crisis, to act as both reflector and mentor, requires a coach.
Great leaders acknowledge that their success flows as much from the men and women who surround them as it does from themselves. This, teamwork is critical. No dysfunctional team can expect to produce inspiring results. A coach can help weld a team together or iron out unspoken conflicts that might be blocking progress.