The coaching process helps the individual executive realise their full professional potential and more and more their managers are recognising the benefits.
Today even the best managers need a coach. Business is like playing golf - you can't see yourself doing it. Sometimes we can be too close to ourselves to see the situation clearly, my role is to provide space and perspective, forcing you to stand back and look forward. Tiger Woods has a coach. So should you!
The modern day executive is faced with a multitude of challenges that no one else has to face. Organisations are now much flatter with fewer levels of reporting resulting in greater pressures to perform. Today's executive needs to be an effective analyser and solver of problems, a forward and strategic thinker, a very good communicator and listener and a team player.
In many organisations, the executive is expected to somehow have acquired all of these skills all in a relatively short time. Attendance at training programmes, which will help the individual's personal development, is often spasmodic and not always given priority, so it is very much a question of learning on the job and becoming stressed in the process.
Also, often we know what we need to do, we just don't do it. We do our planning, we make or commitments, we know what we have to do, but we get sidetracked. Other urgent but less important things take priority. My role is to keep you focused and help you find ways over barriers to your new ways which may not be as easy as you expected.
The Executive Coach will work alongside the executive on a confidential, one-on-one basis, helping the client to identify the development needs and together working out a programme which will improve specific competencies. The executive will open up to the coach and discuss the fears and aspirations which he or she may not wish to share with superiors, peers and direct reports.
"Life's tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late."
Benjamin Franklin. Mentoring overcomes this tragedy by bringing together the drive and enthusiasm of youth with the experience and wisdom of the mentor.
Bruce Holland's approach to mentoring
- I don't see the mentoring process as "changing" you or "fixing" you; it is more about reminding you of who you are, and drawing out the greatness that already exists inside. With the possible exception of a few "trace-elements" we expect to find all the knowledge, skills and experience needed within.
- We are all strong at some things and weak at others. If you spend time growing your strengths you will progress more, and more quickly. If you spend the same amount of time improving your weaknesses you may become slightly less weak in them. This is why, my approach is to help you grow your strengths and find ways to cover your weaknesses through developing partnerships, technological fixes or changing your tasks.
- As an adult learner, you are capable of self-direction; therefore, I work like a facilitator, questioning and challenging but never imposing ideas.
- You have a lifetime of wisdom and relevant life experiences, my role is to draw these out.
- Adults only learn that which they see as helpful in real life; therefore, I work hard to structure a realistic program with clear linkages to the work place.
- Like anyone who wants to influence people, I know the importance of keeping my thoughts about you positive and to have high expectations. These thoughts include: acceptance, growth, "you can do it," "you are special," "together we can do anything."
- My approach will be to build you, focusing on what's working, helping you identify your genius factor and understand your strengths, dreams and goals (the technical name is Appreciative Inquiry). This takes us to a totally different (and better) space than starting with your issues.
- My aim will be to design a personalised program that will make you feel stronger about yourself and more confident.
- Only after you feel really strong will I help you see any problems/issues/barriers that you have that may be holding you back from achieving what you want.
Here's what I found out from working with CEOs
- No one else in the organisation is so starved for unbiased information
- No one else so needs to hear hard truths
- No one else is supposed to have all the answers
- No one else is the final arbiter in so many vital business decisions
- No one else is so isolated, alone and lonely
- No one else is so open to criticism from such a wide range of sources
- No one else has such a wide responsibility including shareholders, customers, staff and board members
- No one else has to put such a big bet on the strategies
- No one else has to put such a big bet on a key people.
- It is difficult to estimate the time and costs involved until we have made a start. As an indicator, it usually takes about 6, two hour sessions to achieve lasting growth.
- Sessions are usually about 2 or 3 weeks apart. This gives you time to do the reading for the next session and practice the learnings from the previous sessions in their workplace. After about 3 months we have a Review and Accountability session to review progress.
- I expect you to read material I supply in between the sessions and practice the ideas we discover together.
- Diagrammatically it looks like:
A Typical program
Bruce has developed expertise and supporting material in 50 areas therefore each program is different and tailored to your specific needs after a careful diagnostic process.
A typical program would help you:
- Understand your thinking preferences. People think differently, it's as though they come in four colours (Herrmann quadrants). About 25% are in each colour. Unfortunately many managers think everyone thinks like they do. If you want to communicate with them and influence them effectively, each colour needs to be handled in a totally different way. If you don't know how to recognize this you can never communicate persuasively nor get the best out of other people.
- Access the power of your subconscious mind. Many managers believe their power comes from the top of their head (their conscious mind); actually, most of it comes from a much deeper place (our subconscious). Successful managers learn how to access and influence their subconscious through the pictures they have of themselves, the words and stories they tell themselves every day. Unfortunately most other managers use their pictures, words and stories to sabotage themselves rather than make themselves stronger.
- Discover and use your genius factor. We all have a genius factor. Most of us have no idea what it is. Occasionally we stumble across it and succeed way beyond our expectations. When you discover yours and use it more often you will be far more successful. Also you will start looking for genius in others and then they will also start becoming more successful.
- Increase your energy levels. Energy is what gives you power. Few people know how to increase their energy levels let alone those of the people they manage.
- Become better at asking questions. Questions, not answers will be the seeds of your success. People grow when you ask questions. Many managers are poor at asking questions.
- Become more confident, influential and personally more powerful. Confidence is important because when you are confident, people are drawn to you like iron to a magnet. Confidence is not something you are born with, it's a set of behaviours. Do them and you will be seen as confident.
- Build your personal brand. Many people understand themselves only superficially. Power comes from self-knowledge. If they don't know who they are no one else can know.
- Extend your networks and connectivity. Your success largely depends on who you know and how well you keep in touch. In the last 10 years a whole new science of networks has been developed, many people have never heard of it.
- Understand your manager and become more proactive in the relationship. Many people think their manager should make them strong, I think you should make your manager strong.
- Understand your vision and priorities. Having no vision is like having no direction. Having 15 priorities is like having no priorities.
For examples of people Bruce has mentored along with their comments
This is an example of the agreement we use:
- I will work exclusively for you
- We will work in a totally confidential mode
- We will do what we have said we will do
- We will be totally honest with each other, even if this is sometimes uncomfortable
- The focus will be on your strengths and finding ways to cover any weaknesses
- I will ask questions more than find answers and reflect back what I see, hear and feel
- I will supply you with written, audio and video material when I think it will add value
- You will be open-minded to suggestions, read material I supply in between the sessions and practice the ideas we discover together
- Each of us reserves the right to withdraw at any time if we feel the process is not adding value.
All work undertaken by Bruce Holland is guaranteed. If at the end of the program the client doesn't feel that they have received value for money, they may adjust the bill and pay an amount equal to the value they feel they received.
For more information about how you can use our Process Improvement Program give the Virtual Manager a call or ring Bruce Holland direct.
Phone +644 570 0727
Freephone 0800 4 virtual
Key words: Leadership, leadership development, leadership management, leadership training, leadership program, leadership skills