You know that executive coaching has gone mainstream when an executive is terminated, at least partly, for not hiring an executive coach.
University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro fired Beverly Davenport as Chancellor with a blunt letter of termination that outlined his reasons why. The primary reason included her lack of trust, collaboration, communication, and transparency in her relationships — something that is ironic given that she is a tenured communications professor.
In his second point of his termination letter he writes:
“2. You would have benefited from a professional coach, and your unwillingness to routinely engage one, despite my recommendation that you do so, has been frustrating.”
This letter, which you can read here, details what it looks like when someone at the top has gaps that can be addressed by working with an executive coach. Here we have an example of someone who could have benefited greatly from a coach, had someone advocating for her to get a coach, and instead of seeing executive coaching as a gift and a privilege was instead stubborn and uncoachable. It cost her salary, title, prestige, and also caused a major public embarrassment by having her termination letter go viral. Meanwhile, Mr. Davenport has also had to face the hassles of dealing with this issue among his board and other constituents.
Note: If the above link doesn’t work, you can copy paste the link that follows:
You should read his letter not only because it is a good read in and of itself but because it also shows you the issues that executives face at the top, and why executive coaching continues to be in strong and growing demand. Perhaps it will inspire you to take that final step and get Certified as an executive coach with our program.
Thanks to Cleve Folger, a successful graduate of the Center for Executive Coaching, for sharing this.
Let’s hope that the vast majority of leaders in the higher education space are more open to executive and leadership coaching than Ms. Davenport. Given the issues that this sector is facing, they certainly could use an objective sounding board and someone to help them handle issues with conflict, change leadership, influence, board development, stakeholder management, strategic leadership, leadership presence, and communicating with impact.
We have trained internal coaching groups at a number of different organizations in the past year. This has given us excellent insights into the pros and cons of different coaching models. Following are some thoughts on using external coaches, managers as coaches, and a dedicated internal coaching group within Human Resources.
First and foremost, and regardless of which model your company chooses, the question of coaching model is secondary to the larger question of how best to develop leaders within an organization. While we are an executive coach training company and therefore biased, we would still be negligent if we didn’t point out these observations:
1. People still develop best through experience, e.g., challenging assignments where they learn and find out what they can achieve. The more that organizations can expose their talent to assignments that test and strengthen them, without abandoning them to a sink or swim situation, the more they will develop future leaders. 2. People learn second best by being connected to other leaders in their organizations in ways that they can learn from them. 3. Interventions like training and coaching are valuable,and still a distant third. Sorry. This fact hurts us as much as it hurts you if you are also in the field of professional development.
Second, regardless of who does the coaching, the process needs leadership to oversee the process of selecting coachees, matching coach and coachees, setting goals, tracking and measuring results of the overall coaching program, integrating the coaching program with other professional development programs, connecting coaches to resolve challenges and sharpen coaching skills, and keep evolving the program.
With the above caveat out in the clear, here are some observations:
External coaches Pros: – Senior leadership often prefers them for confidentiality and safety. – They often have credentials, training, experience that internal coaches cannot match — even if these advantages are largely perceived and status-driven vs. substantive (e.g., the suit with the brief case from the airport is often perceived to be more valuable than the same suit with the brief case hired from within). – They bring an objective viewpoint.
Cons: – They are expensive. Usually only affordable to senior leadership unless the model shifts to group coaching for middle managers. – They often miss internal dynamics that are obvious to internal coaches (e.g., certain quirks about a senior leader known for being a real jerk). – Quality and approach can be quite variable.
Considerations: – If human resources drives the process, sometimes they do not scope the engagement in a way that is conducive to what gets maximum results/quality for the senior leader.
Internal coaches Pros: – Cost effective. – Understand the internal dynamics of the organization and key players involved. – Usually come from HR, and often have a real passion for coaching. – Can integrate coaching with other leadership and professional development activities.
Cons: – Not always credible within the organization. – Can have multiple roles, which can lead to capacity issues and the need to juggle priorities. – Employees might misread coaching as progressive discipline or fixing a problem vs. a privilege and leadership development opportunity. – Coaches might think they know more than they really do, and be too directive. – Different coaches might get training from different organizations, leading to very different approaches and confusion within the organization.
Considerations: – Must communicate the coaching as a privilege and honor; be selective. – Confidentiality must be strictly enforced, including for performance reviews and in selecting coaches from the same units in large organizations.
Managers as coaches (Note: Here we are discussing managers playing the role of coaches to people beyond their own employees vs. knowing how to coach their employees as a management skill when appropriate; we view coaching as a skill that EVERY manager should know how to do as a part of being a good manager and leader!)
Pros: – They are often seen as more credible and respected than internal coaches from HR. – They know the ins and outs of the organization and can switch hats from coach to mentor (although this can have its downside in role confusion).
Cons: – They might get too attached to their coachee and advocate too much for their advancement/too politically involved. – It might be hard to separate the role of coach vs. mentor vs. manager and wear multiple hats, even if the coachee is not a direct report. – Sometimes managers have difficulty with the purely non-directive coaching model and feel like they know the answer; some think there is just one answer to challenges and the only way to do it is their way.
What might you add to the above analysis based on your experiences? Email us at email@example.com and we are happy to revise the article.
I just returned from an invigorating week with senior leaders at a global corporation. They are implementing a leadership institute and brought some of their country general managers together to learn how to be coaches and mentors. The experience showed the power of learning to coach, coaching at the senior level, and being coached all at the same time. Let me share with you a scrubbed version of the results, which is representative of what usually transpires events like this, so that you can see what happens when you get into the field of executive and leadership coaching. It is an important case study, because it shows what coaching can accomplish in complex organizations.
As always, at this training session, we structured the program — as we also do at our public seminars — so that participants practiced coaching on key topics relevant to their work. That way, as they practiced coaching, they also had insights about pressing challenges in their own work. During the program, they discovered:
– Key ways that they could be better as leaders. Even at the senior level, they identified simple but powerful ways they could improve their impact. We make sure that examples are simple and behavioral, like: listen better, give more positive feedback, be more concise, let your team say what they have to say before you talk.
– How to improve performance and engagement on their own teams. While coaching each other, they challenged each other to look at relationships on their own teams and how they could raise standards and better engage their own team members. We take a deep dive here, so that participants focus on their key team members and specific conversations to have with each one to improve performance.
– Opportunities to reduce conflict and collaborate better with other units in the company. In most complex global corporations, leaders often have to collaborate with other units, from administrative to manufacturing, sales, and marketing. It is common for participants to coach each other about how to influence the heads of these divisions to change some of their behaviors, about how to resolve some festering conflicts with these other units, and about how to strengthen relationships that are already strong and productive.
– New skills to coach and mentor their high-potential employees. While initially the participants were skeptical about this coach training program initially, they quickly realized that they either didn’t know how to coach and mentor effectively, or that they at least needed a reminder. For instance, many didn’t know how to have the foundational coaching conversations; set up a coaching relationship; and distinguish among coaching, management, and mentoring. They were very happy to learn, or get a refresher on, these skills and know when to apply them and, as managers/leaders, when to use other types of conversations as appropriate.
– Discussion of cultural differences. We had leaders representing countries from all over the world. It was therefore important to discuss cultural differences. While 80 percent of what we covered applies to every culture, the 20 percent variance was fascinating and crucial to discuss. The bottom line is that it is not especially difficult to adapt coaching to different cultures, as long as the leader/coach has a good understanding of the local culture, knows the foundational coaching skills, and has a forum like this one to compare notes and have a dialogue.
– How to roll out the coaching program. What’s really exciting about this particular opportunity is that the senior leaders are rolling out the coaching program, they are also serving as coaches within it, and they are taking a comprehensive approach that includes not just coaching but a full-on leadership institute. There are many ways to roll out coaching programs within organizations, and I like this particular model the best, because leadership has skin in the game and they are being comprehensive. These leaders are still general managers, and are also becoming coaches who will work directly with the high-potential employees. In addition, they are incorporating coaching into a larger plan that includes fully challenging and developing future leaders in the organization. Part of our agenda in these types of trainings with internal groups is to lay out a clear action plan, starting with how to select candidates; communicate and promote the program; track and measure results throughout; and — where desired, as in this case — take a comprehensive approach that includes coaching, mentoring, training, career paths, performance management, and a year-long leadership academy experience.
I felt privileged to be able to work with this group of leaders. To win this engagement, the Center for Executive Coaching competed against and beat some high-profile companies. We won partly because of our toolkit of methodologies, and also because of our ability to be agile and flexible on the spot, which is what is required when working with highly-demanding, super-smart, intense senior leaders in dynamic companies.
Of course, we also work with companies when internal coaches are being trained and they work within the Human Resources function, and when a hybrid approach includes senior leaders, HR, and external coaches.
To discuss your internal coaching initiative, please contact us at anytime. You can reach Andrew Neitlich, Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 941-539-9623.
Are you an introvert or low on the sociability scale? You don’t like small talk? Can’t stand networking events?
Don’t worry. You can still be very successful building an executive and leadership coaching practice. In fact, you can even beat extroverts at there own game. I know, because I am an extreme introvert and I’ve done it.
Here are eight ways that have worked for me:
1. Outsource your networking to a few extroverts who know lots of people. This has been one of my top strategies to get clients. I have built up trust with a few non-competing extroverts who know lots of people and refer me the majority of my clients. They know my strengths, and send me work when they meet people who have problems that I can solve. If you can find just five to ten well-placed extroverts, they can do your networking for you! Why network at all when you can outsource the work to others?
2. Use the talents and interests you do have to get clients and don’t worry about the talents and interests you don’t have. People are never going to meet me on an airplane and out of the blue say, “Wow! You have natural charisma. I want to hire me.” So I don’t try to develop that talent, nor do I waste time lamenting over the fact that I don’t have that talent. One talent I do have is the ability to analyze. I ask solid questions. I get to the root cause of problems. I synthesize. I write. I lead webinars and seminars (and take a nap after). These talents can take longer to build credibility with prospective clients, but over time they get the job done and show people that I can add value. So I rely on those.
3. Avoid the Human Resources beauty contest. I avoid getting involved in selling cycles involving Human Resources, and doing a beauty content in which coaches are paraded before prospective clients for them to choose. I rarely win those. Instead, I don’t even position myself as a coach, but rather as a leadership advisor. I target the owners and general managers of growing organizations in the smaller to mid-sized range, offering solutions to problems. These solutions can include coaching, training, facilitation, and consulting. The format is less important than deliver enormous value. While pure coaches struggle to not be commodities as they work with a smaller coaching budget via Human Resources, I get to dip into the much larger consulting budget while working with people who usually have more decision making authority than HR. And often my engagements are sold sole source — no competition. Necessity is the mother of invention. By being an introvert I have learned how to market myself in ways that are more lucrative, and teach this same method in the Center for Executive Coaching. That way you can choose to be a pure coach or use a hybrid model; you have much more freedom and flexibility.
4. Develop a persona. I can still speak in front of hundreds of people and lead three-day retreats in front of dozens of executives. I do this by adopting a persona. Afterwards, I take a long nap. However, when I am in front of the room, I’ve learned that this is very different experience than being social in a networking group. It is possible to be an extreme introvert and still facilitate or lead workshops. Now, I’m not talking about multiple personality disorder or Sybil or anything like that. It’s subtle and not that hard to do. Once you learn how to do it, you will find that even as an introvert you can get in front of large crowds. The context is what matters.
5. Focus on the many tactics to attract clients that can work for introverts. There are many tactics that are introvert friendly. They include: webinars, blogging and writing to establish yourself as an expert, speaking in small groups or on panels, getting interviewed and interviewing on podcasts, one-on-one referral conversations with people you know and trust, outsourcing your networking to extroverts (as described before), posting videos and infographics on your blog or website, forming alliances with complementary professionals you know and trust, getting involved at the leadership level in associations, teaching a course at your local college, and using linkedin to connect with other professionals online and then meeting them via phone or skype. Not all of these might appeal to you, but some can work for your style.
6. Instead of selling, coach people through the buying process. Most introverts are good at listening and asking questions in one-on-one conversations. As it turns out, research shows that this is what the top consultative salespeople do, too! You actually have a great advantage over extroverts here. Extroverts tend to want to talk and talk and talk, which can really turn off they buyer. As an introvert, do what you do naturally. Let the client talk, listen, and ask them about their problem, budget, and how they want to work with you. You might find that you end up closing deals without doing much, and also end up discovering when they aren’t serious in the first place.
7. Remember that you only need one or two clients to get going. The first client is the hardest. Once you have one or two clients under your belt, you usually start getting referrals within the client’s own organization and to other people the client knows. It is just the initial momentum that can take time. You still have to keep doing business development. However, it gets easier over time. Don’t give up. Keep up that slow, quiet, continuous calm that we introverts are known for and things usually turn out fine.
8. Finally, let those extroverts mess up based on their own Achilles’ heel of talking too much. They have their own issues. Extroverts can turn off clients quite easily. During the selling process, as already noted, they can turn clients off by not listening to their needs or by pushing too hard. During the coaching engagement, they can get too directive and talk too much. We introverts have great strengths to celebrate. We make natural coaches. There is nothing stopping us from getting, and retaining, clients and building up very successful coaching practices!
When I decided to become an executive and leadership coach, it took six months before I started to get any traction. I still remember the key moment when everything changed.
I was sitting in front of a coffee shop, meeting with someone whose name I have long forgotten, but I wish I knew so that I could send her a long thank you note. After I told her about my practice, she looked at me with disappointment and disgust, like I had a piece of spinach in my teeth, and said, “Based on what you just told me, there is no way I could introduce you to anyone in my network. I have no idea who you help or what you do. I don’t mean to be blunt, but I just don’t see how you can help anyone in my network. You just aren’t coming across in a way that tells me anything unique about how you bring value to people.”
I thought it was obvious that I could help any leader in any organization be better, that I had an MBA from a great school and experience with a major consulting firm, was super brilliant at solving complex business problems, and that anyone would be delighted to have me on their team.
Normally I would have been too arrogant to have listened to her, but it had been six months, and I wasn’t getting anywhere. At this moment, her words sunk in to this arrogant skull. In fact, they hit me like a ton of bricks, like I was suddenly reliving every rejection I had experienced since that sixth grade dance that you don’t need to know about right now.
That conversation changed everything, and I resolved to start doing things differently from that point on. Fortunately, I took action.
Six months later, I had enough clients to quite my full-time job and never look back. A year later I was making more money than I ever did as a management consultant. Five years later, I was making more money than I ever would have as a managing director – while working half the hours with a fraction of the travel.
To get to that point, I had to overcome three challenges. When you register for the Center for Executive Coaching’s Certified Executive Coach training programs, you will learn to overcome these challenges. If you come to one of our in-person seminars, you will learn in three and a half days what it took me six months to start to learn and a year to fully realize. If you join the distance learning program, you can learn this as quickly as you want.
Here they are:
Challenge #1: Marketing Challenge — Executive Coaching alone is not a niche.
Some coach training programs call Executive Coaching a niche. It’s not and if you are in one of those programs reading this, you should ask for your money back. Executive coaching is a field unto itself. If you want to attract clients, you need to be able to tell people about the value you bring to them, in specific language that resonates with them. You can’t say that you help leaders to perform better. That’s too vague, unless you are already a best-selling author, on the national speaking circuit, or have a syndicated radio show with millions of listeners.
After I met that wonderful woman whose words stung me with the force of each and every rejection I had ever experienced in my life, I got serious about choosing a niche.
I decided that I knew a bit about non-profits, especially about non-profit strategic planning and helping executive directors of non-profits balance management of their boards and staff. I formed a relationship with the head of a non-profit chamber of commerce in the area. She let me lead a seminar about strategic planning for non-profits, and marketed that to her membership. Twenty-five people attended, and two of those participants came up to me after to discuss the content of the workshop in more depth. The invited me to work with them.
At the same time, I went after a second niche, which was helping technology leaders get better at engaging their teams. You know that many clinical and technical people are brilliant in their field of study, but not always so great on the critical soft skills. It’s a great niche and, 20 years later, is only growing even more. I found an opportunity to speak to a group of leaders in Silicon Valley about this issue. Out of 18 participants, one CEO of a $10 million technology company came up to me after and hired me as his coach.
A year later, I could trace half of my clients to a full practice to these first three clients. Only by focusing was I able to fill my practice.
Challenge #2: Selling fears and panic — You CAN sell without any gimmicks or formulas.
Selling scared the crap out of me. I thought there was some magic formula to it, as if we could magically sell anything to anyone if we just had the right script. I remember choking during a college interview when the interviewer handed me a pencil and said, “Sell me this pencil.” I had no idea what to say, and concluded I would never be able to sell anyone anything.
This fear of selling delayed me from jumping into my own business. That’s too bad, because I could have started much sooner if I knew the truth: When it comes to “selling” coaching, you don’t have to sell anything. You simply coach the client through the buying process. We know how to coach by asking great questions. That’s all we have to do. Just coach the client to find out if they have a need or not, if they have the money or not, how they want to work with you, and whether or not they want to move forward.
Of course, being me, I had to mess up first. I assumed I had to make brilliant pitches. So my first six months I tried to do what I saw some of my consulting colleagues do. I created PowerPoint presentations detailing the benefits of my services, my unique value, and solutions to problems my prospects never told me they had. Of course, I left feeling brilliant, but didn’t sell a thing.
I only became successful when I learned to shut up and listen. When my first client came to me, he said, “I need to get strategy done, but don’t know where to start, and my Board can’t even agree on what strategy is.” Instead of launching into a speech about strategic planning, I asked him a question about how he wanted me to help him. I listened to his answer and asked a question about what we should do next. And I kept asking questions until we agreed on a price and an engagement. I got my first client by coaching him through the process! I had learned to sell by doing what I did well — coaching and being natural — instead of by trying to be a salesman.
Challenge two solved!
Challenge #3: Coaching instead of being the smartest person in the room
Finally, and this one came a bit later, I had to learn how to really coach.
As a management consultant, I knew there was demand for coaching. Clients already knew how to describe their problem and its causes intellectually, and didn’t really need those huge PowerPoint decks with our analyses. What they seemed to really value was the one-on-one time with us to discuss the difficult decisions they had to make and how to move forward. They wanted an objective sounding board that they could trust. They wanted someone to be there with them as they navigated very hard changes.
However, I soon realized that the more I talked and directed, the smarter I felt, but the less likely the client was to actually implement anything or get results. They nodded politely and I (once again) felt like a genius, but nothing got done. That’s a fatal flaw at many consulting firms: Consultant are long gone, patting each other on the back and calling each other “Thought Leaders,” while their clients have nothing but a bunch of PowerPoint decks in exchange for hefty fees.
Now, twenty years later, I notice that former consultants, leaders, business owners, and executives who get into coaching all suffer from the same issue that I did. They often direct their clients, whether by telling or by hiding suggestions in their questions, rather than letting clients come up with their own ideas and ways to execute them. It feels natural to them initially to do it this way, but they don’t see that clients don’t get maximum value from this approach.
It takes longer for clients to come up with their own ideas and insights, but it works better that way. As coaches, we have to get great at listening, letting the client guide the process, and asking questions that let them come up with their own way. Of course, we can and should offer our ideas and observations when appropriate. Otherwise, the client will get frustrated — and this is another issue that many coaches, often from more of a psychological or clinical background have. We have to find the right balance.
Once I did, the process was almost sublime. I did less, and the client got amazing results. They loved the process and our time together. Referrals started flowing, and I didn’t even have to worry much about marketing or selling. It takes a while to make this approach a habit, and it is worth getting the training to learn how to do this.
Over time, I streamlined a lot of the coaching conversations by developing specific processes and methodologies for the most common problems that came up for leaders. These became the Coaching Toolkits that professionals come to the Center for Executive Coaching to use. They make a huge difference in accelerating your learning as a coach, because you can use them when you need them to help the client move forward efficiently, and still let the client come up with their own ideas and go where they want to go. Clients get great value from this streamlining.
By the way, by getting good at this , you also get better at closing engagements, but this same type of approach works great in business development/selling conversations.
There you have it. Once you overcome these three challenges, you can have a successful executive coaching practice — most likely in much less time than it took me to do it. The Center for Executive Coaching gives you the tools and support to make it happen, whether you are an internal or external coach. Join us for our next in-person seminar, or join our distance learning program anytime!
Generally each week or two there is a single theme that emerges as we work with our members and fellow coaches: a specific coaching topic, coaching skill, or challenge in working with clients. Over the past couple of weeks, coaches and clients are contacting us about so many topics that the only unifying theme seems to be:
THERE ARE SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES IN EXECUTIVE AND LEADERSHIP COACHING!
If you are not already an executive and leadership coach, read the list below. They capture the opportunities we have come across in the past couple of weeks, and see for yourself whether getting into the coaching field is exciting to you. If you are already a coach, and you are not getting these types of opportunities, you might consider our Business Development Intensive to get more of the opportunities you want.
Here you go….
– A leader in a private equity firm uses executive coaching to coach leaders in his portfolio companies to improve performance.
– A senior leader and in a major technology company coaches some brilliant but challenging technology experts to develop some of the softer people skills to balance out their rough edges.
– We heard from a past graduate from a few years ago. He has written a book and used it as a platform for coaching, training, and speaking. His practice has grown exponentially and he works with a number of senior leaders, especially in the technology space. In fact, a number of our members and graduates either already have written books or want to write books and use them as a platform for their practices. We have great support to do this, because we have done it and we have a cohort of members who have done it. We even have modules in our program that show you how, step by step.
– Leaders in an academic medical center are rolling out a program to create a culture of coaching in order to retain top faculty members and keep them from going to other academic medical centers located in more desirable geographic locations.
– An internal coach in a medical system is working with physicians on peer-to-peer coaching to help them collaborate more effectively.
– Another past graduate touched base with us because, in addition to her thriving practice with advertising and creative agencies, she just started speaking on the Tedx circuit. We have a couple of alumni who do this, including one who is an organizer for TED.
– A former HR executive is launching a practice emphasizing HR consulting and executive & leadership coaching. This seems to be a strong area for us, because we have a cluster of members who come from HR and incorporate coaching with HR consulting.
– One of our graduates contacted us for support coaching a top-tier golfer. This golfer has everything he needs to break into the top echelon of the game, but has some limiting beliefs holding him back. He wanted to plan out some coaching strategies to help him break through his limits. We also received an inquiry looking for a few coaches with some background coaching sports coaches.
– A coach working with a Fortune 50 company is coaching an up-and-coming leader who is frustrated that his ideas aren’t being accepted by the C-suite, and wanted advice about how best to coach this individual to have more influence and communication impact (we have a number of toolkits to help).
– A number of coaches are working with non-profit boards on strategic planning and board development and wanted to review our toolkits with us.
– Some coaches are developing ways to work with family businesses on legacy and succession planning. One is exploring ways to incorporate behavioral coaching with family business leaders.
– At least one female coaches contacted us to discuss opportunities to help female executives who are frustrated with the barriers they face in their organizations, or who want to take new steps in their careers. This area continues to be of high interest.
– A couple of mental health professionals are working to transition their practices to either move 100% to executive and leadership coaching, or to include that as part of their practices.
– One coach has developed a virtual/online app that coaches executives and clients, and is very excited about how this type of technology can augment in-person coaching.
– A global financial firm growing at a rate of 25% per year is working with coaches to develop their middle managers to grow as leaders and continue their impressive growth rate without too much turbulence.
– A national real estate investment firm has hired coaches to bring together their senior leadership team by building more trust and commitment.
– A coach is needed to work with a leader who is a top performer in almost all respects — except that he erupts in anger from time to time. The coach is needed to shadow him, figure out what is going on, and work with him to find more productive ways to express himself when he is angry and/or frustrated.
That’s a pretty amazing and diverse list of opportunities for just a couple of weeks. I hope that it shows you the huge variety of opportunities available to you in the executive and leadership coaching field, and gets you excited about what you can achieve and do here!
Even though we are called the Center for Executive Coaching and offer the Certified Executive Coach certification, we show you how to coach all levels of organizations, and all types of professionals: C-Suite, executives, managers, up-and-coming talent, mid-career professionals, solopreneurs, and entrepreneurs.
In this video, we discuss how to coach a critical group in any organization, high potentials.
If you like what you see, visit our website to find the program that is right for you, and contact us to discuss fit with your goals and aspirations. You can contact Director Andrew Neitlich anytime at email@example.com.
How to Coach High Potential Managers and Leaders - YouTube
One of the wonderful things about being a certified executive coach is the breadth of opportunities it opens up to you. Following is a very short list of some of the engagements that our alumni, my coaching colleagues, and I have participated in with clients. The text is framed to reflect the way that the client expressed the initial problem to us. When you join the Center for Executive Coaching, you get the tools, methods, and processes you need to deliver solutions to these leadership challenges — whether as an internal or external coach.
I personally guarantee that we provide you with more practical, results-driven content than other programs in the market — by far — when it comes to what it really takes to succeed and delight clients and their organizations. Unlike other training programs, we don’t merely show you how to ask a never-ending list of open ended questions to frustrate your clients. We give you approaches so that your clients get results using the most efficient and effective path possible, which is what they want and expect. We also provide you with deeper, more personalized, ongoing support — at no additional cost to you.
Take a look at the list below. It is only a small sliver of the number of opportunities that become available for you; it doesn’t even begin to discuss opportunities in training, facilitation, and group coaching (which we also show you how to offer). If you would like to get involved in this type of work, review our website in more depth and let’s schedule time to speak. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve taken on a new role and want to be sure to succeed.
I’m frustrated with the pace of change in my organization.
I am great at technology but not great at engaging people.
We have an ad hoc team coming together to achieve a huge goal, but we all have different styles and interests; we want the support of a coach to keep us on track.
I need to improve my leadership presence so that I can move to the C-suite.
I need to improve my ability to communicate with investors so that my company attracts more funds.
I want to become a leader of leaders so that I can move up and run a region/division within my company.
I’ve been told I have only one way that I communicate and I need to be more flexible in different situations.
I need help resolving conflicts that I have in my organization.
I want to develop our board to be more effective.
I need support setting and communicating strategy.
We have a strategy but some of our major initiatives are not getting done.
Our customer satisfaction scores are low and we need coaching to hold us accountable for improving them.
I need to learn how to influence others with more impact, especially with some high stakes conversations that I have coming up.
We have significant quality issues, and our team is not fixing them quickly enough.
We need a kick in the pants because we are stuck in analysis paralysis and not taking action or getting results.
Customers love the products and services I offer but I can’t scale my company quickly enough. I need a coach to help me clone myself and some members of my team so that we can grow faster.
I’m worried that some company like Amazon is going to come in and destroy us.
I need to get the right team in place to help us get where we need to go.
We need a coaching program for our high potentials to move to the next level, and to build a pipeline of leaders.
We need to coach our sales leaders to get past a specific milestone in their sales performance.
We need to coach some of our unit leaders/branch managers to match the performance levels of our better achievers.
I’ve been told that I have a behavior that could derail my career if I don’t change it.
I need some coaching to learn about the nuances of the culture so I can fit in better.
I need to be more politically astute when I try to get buy in for my ideas.
I just want to be a better leader and would like some coaching to find at least one thing I can do better that will get me to the next level.
I want a sounding board to confidentially discuss new opportunities and internal challenges.
I want coaching for a career transition [within the organization, mid-career, encore career, to leave a legacy now that my career is over, to shift industries, to change functional roles, to start an entrepreneurial venture….]
I have a very different style from my manager and am worried that our relationship is not great.
I am taking on a role in a new country and want coaching to succeed with the transition.
I want to exit my business and need coaching to prepare the organization for succession.
I keep being passed over for the best opportunities in this company.
We do succession planning reactively and I need a coach to help me make succession planning part of our culture.
We have grown too quickly and need coaching to develop a pool of leaders who can help us strengthen the company and keep us growing without falling into chaos.
We need coaches for our internal coaches, to serve as a sounding board for them.
We have hired an employee engagement assessment firm to measure engagement and now need coaching and training to help improve the results.
We have a number of technical experts moving into leadership roles and need coaching to help them develop the softer skills required.
I need coaching on a specific skill [negotiation, asserting, public speaking, selling…]
I was a great salesperson and now they’ve promoted me to sales management and I realize I am outside my depth.
Our team is not working well together and we need an objective coach to get us back on track.
I need someone who can role play high stakes conversation with me before I go into the actual meeting.
We are in the midst of a merger and it isn’t working out because our cultures are too different. I need some coaching on how to bring our two organizations together.
I am not comfortable delegating.
I have trouble giving tough feedback to my people.
I have trouble asserting and want a coach to help me learn how to assert without burning bridges or giving in too quickly.
I don’t like conflict.
I am missing deadlines and driving myself and others crazy because I need everything to be perfect.
I feel like I might be burning out and don’t want this to happen to me.
I need to shift from a command-and-control style to being more collaborative.
I am a micro-manager and want coaching to change this behavior.
I’m spending way too much time at work and not enough time with family or on taking care of my personal needs.
I need to get better at giving and receiving feedback.
We have a number of managers who tend to be abrasive, and need to soften their edges.
I want support as I try to change the culture [to more entrepreneurial, more customer focused, more proactive, better quality, a safety mindset….]
I run a family-owned business and we have a number of issues that go beyond simply running a business.
I am overwhelmed with too many priorities and too little time.
I make bad hiring decisions again and again and want to stop.
My executive team is not aligned.
We have four different generations here who do not seem to understand each other.
We do not have enough representation from women or specific ethnicities and need to provide additional leadership development programs specific to the needs of these populations
Again, there are many more. To discuss your goals and whether our Certified Executive Coach training programs might be a fit for you, email me at email@example.com or call me on my cell (Eastern USA time zone) at 941-539-9623.
It is no secret that many coaches — executive and otherwise — struggle. Following are seven critical mistakes we see coaches from other training programs making, some of them fatal.
One: They shouldn’t be executive coaches in the first place. It is a privilege to be an executive coach. You earn the right, based on substance, achievements, and experience. This substance can come from many places — academic achievement, organizational leadership, entrepreneurial success — but it has to come from somewhere. Recently the owner of another coach training school called me because a big company wanted to engage him to bring his graduates in to coach some of their leaders. He confessed to me, “My graduates aren’t ready to do this. They are mostly into life coaching and many of them don’t know anything about coaching in the corporate world.” He wanted to partner with me to bring his coaches the substance they need to be on equal footing with executive-level clients. I’m not sure if I, or anyone, can do this, at least not in a short time frame. How can a training program replace the years of experience that successful executive coaches require? Center for Executive Coaching members have great backgrounds, whether as functional or organizational leaders, returning military leaders, scholars who have studied leadership or human performance issues in depth, elite athletes, clinicians, consultants, speakers, non-profit leaders, and public servants. To try to be a serious executive coach without substance is hubris.
Alternative: Become an executive coach if you have the achievements and experience to bring value to executive-level clients, whether C-suite, executives, middle managers, front line managers, or high potentials. If you have to ask whether you have what it takes, that’s a red flag.
Two: They don’t start by thinking about the client first. One of our members reminded me of famed football coach Vincent Lombardi’s opening line to his players, “Gentlemen, this is a football….” When we teach executive coaching, we start with the obvious: The client is the reason we are here. Everything we do is about bringing value to the client. As basic and obvious as this seems, you don’t hear this a lot in most coach training. You don’t see it screamed out loud and clear in most coaching competency models. I have sat through coach association meetings for hours and not heard the client referred to or mentioned once. Instead, many coaches focus on the latest fad or model being promoted about how the brain works, or human performance, or the newest intelligence quotient to measure. Those are interesting topics, but too often coaches neglect to tie these things to what clients want and value, and to results. It is a lot like the dot com days when technology companies would say: “We have this really neat technology; now, what is your problem that we can solve with it?” Of course, like many coaches, they went broke.
Alternative: Start with how the client defines results and values. If you can’t work with the client to come up with a solution that can deliver those results and that value in spades, you shouldn’t coach them.
Three: They get stuck marketing only to Human Resource departments of huge companies, offering a few sessions to clients at an hourly rate. If you want to guarantee that you feel like you are on a treadmill for the rest of your working days, target your coaching practice to work exclusive through the HR department of large companies. You will drive yourself crazy with long sales cycles, lots of competitors, difficulty setting yourself apart from the pack, and low fees. Unfortunately, this is where many coaches end up. A simple rule of thumb: It should not take you longer to sell an engagement than it does to deliver it!
Alternative: At the Center for Executive Coaching, we teach you where the larger, more lucrative market is. Without giving away all of our secrets, it involves: Charging by the engagement and not by the hour, targeting true decisions makers/end users, positioning yourself as more than a coach so that you can get budget dollars from larger buckets than coaching (e.g., consulting, training, facilitation), and targeting companies where you can more easily reach decision makers and not go through HR first. You still have to make HR your ally, but you don’t have to follow their rules.
Dr. Glen Earl is a Certified Executive Coach with the Center for Executive Coaching. He has been both an internal and external coach. In this video, he talks about the differences, and also how he ramped up to having 14 internal coaching clients within one year at his organization. You will also appreciate his two pieces of advice for both new and seasoned coaches.
Here is what Dr. Earl wrote recently to us:
“It has taken me some two years to become the confident, competent executive coach I had envisioned myself being. What really accelerated that development was Parkland Hospital’s decision to include coaching in our new leadership development program. I am currently coaching 12 leaders and finished coaching 5 emerging leaders for a total of 17 people, in 8 months. The engagement period are 6 or 12 months. In addition to the 5 emerging leaders, I am currently coaching, 1 manager, 7 directors and 4 VPs. Their positions are ‘all over’ the hospital, e.g.; jail health, nursing administration, compliance, talent management, nursing research, pharmacy, radiology, surgery, emergency, community clinics, health information, women/infants, Parkland Foundation, and supply chain. And some really good news. I have my first external coaching engagement, for 6 months. He is an IT director at Ericsson. I want to thank you for your initial and ongoing support, education and involvement. It means a lot to me.”
Dr. Earl attached two wonderful recommendations/testimonials based on his coaching work. We are so proud and delighted to be able to include him as one of our alumni!
Enjoy his video below….
Dr. Glen Earl shows how to ramp up to 14 internal coaching clients within one year - YouTube