“Coaching is estimated to be a $2 billion global industry that is rapidly growing, as evidenced by a dramatic increase in coaches, professional coaching organizations and coaching-related research,” says Connie Whittaker Dunlop in Forbes.
The positive benefits of coaching are widely accepted now as more and more leaders experience the results. Senior leaders in organizations recognize the value of high quality relationships, shared success and the strengthening of an organization’s ability to make good decisions that can result from group or individual coaching.
If you are considering this investment for your organization, here are a couple of stories that illustrate what other leaders have been able to achieve in coaching.
Facing tough choices: Every day senior leaders have to make decisions that affect not only their teams, but their families and themselves... Here’s an example: an executive in one of the top 5 banks in Canada hired me personally as she didn’t want anyone in her company, her family, or friends to know she had a coach. We talked for weeks about a difficult boss until one day she said that her boss had resigned. After we discussed what that meant for her future we moved to the second goal she had written on her list, her health.
When I asked for more detail on her high blood pressure and her lightheadedness, she told me she didn’t want to talk about this anymore. I asked why she had put it on her list of goals, in fact second on that list? It turned out that 2 years previous to our conversations her doctor had asked her to come back to check her blood pressure. She felt she didn’t have time for this appointment and had not followed up. In the middle of our conversation she asked, “Do you think I should make the appointment now?” Of course, I said yes. When she went to see her doctor, he wanted to hospitalize my client immediately. I’m happy to say that she decided to follow medical advice and to share her blood pressure issue with her husband who promptly started sharing the load at home. Why didn’t she do that earlier? The short answer is fear.
The Art of Leading- “Leadership is the art of accomplishing more than the science of management says is possible.” Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State. For almost 2 decades we have worked with impressive leaders in large businesses, small IT companies that grow rapidly, well respected firms and non-profit organizations. It has been rewarding and fulfilling on many levels. We have helped clarify goals and aspirations, asked questions to gain understanding and listened to clients as they make shifts to new levels of awareness and maturity.
One of the largest companies in Canada had a senior vice president who had been accused by a relatively new employee of bullying and intimidation. The accusation was taken seriously and yet, the senior human resources team felt that his contribution entitled him to coaching and a second chance. Over a two-year period, we worked together to resolve some of the complex people challenges he faced every week. I came to realize that he was very direct and a clear thinker who didn’t always consider the implications of his logical comments.
He was sent a copy of Judith E. Glaser’s book, Conversational intelligence. Here is a quote from Judith,” “To get to the next level of greatness depends on the quality of our culture, which depends on the quality of our relationships, which depends on the quality of our conversations. Everything happens through conversations.” As we talked about his busy, complicated life it was exciting to watch him make great decisions, to drop some of the things that were not serving him and take on more time to exercise with his family.
To see him mature into a leader who had “power with” others rather than “power over” others was truly inspiring. His approach allowed this senior executive the exquisite ability to get on the same page with his fellow humans. He was promoted to a new position about a year into our coaching engagement and he continues to learn and thrive. Having a coach requires a willingness to do what comes naturally to all of us, to learn and grow. It also requires courage.
Succession planning: One of my clients was a well respected senior advisor in the financial services industry. He was charming, hard working and clear that he needed “to stop being a type “A” personality” as he described himself. As a well respected and trusted advisor to his clients and investors he was reluctant to retire.
We had some very frank, sincere and sometimes funny, conversations on the topics of love, death and family. He loved his family deeply and was aware that they felt his actions were not lining up with his words. A lot of my role was to help him find a new way to live life that allowed him to have purpose and allowed his family more of his time. When we started our coaching conversations, he admitted that his wife didn’t believe he could relax and yet a year later he was calling me from his cottage on a regular basis.
Changing habits that give us a feeling of importance or meaning or any other positive psychological kick, is not easy. Having a lot at stake and making himself accountable, motivated this lovely man to enjoy more time with his family and friends. He passed the business on to his son-in-law who runs it very capably to this day.
The best coaching conversations happen when there is a good fit between the coach and the coachee, so take the time to look for the right coach for you. If you would like to discuss how to find a good coach for you, please read our article on the topic or call us.
Amazing results are being reported by leaders who engage with excellent coaches.