When You Want to Make an Impact, Leadership Coaching is a Difference-Maker
Scott Burns has been an Executive Coach for 14 years. He works with strong leaders as a trusted adviser, thought partner, collaborator and confidant to help them achieve off-the-chart results. He provides leaders with the tools to discover and leverage their greatest strengths and passions. And helps them discover the most impactful solutions to their most important goals as they enhance their leadership capabilities.
He is also a Leadership Development Consultant. In various leadership roles in the past 30 years, he’s advised Senior Leaders and created impactful Leadership Development programs for Fortune 500 companies, elevating the skills of thousands of leaders.
And he is an author. He is currently working on sharing his essential lessons in leadership with a book called The Leader’s Legacy that he will publish later this year.
In addition to Scott’s coaching and consulting credentials, the added advantage he has is that he’s been working with Senior Leaders every day for the past 31 years. He has also worked in a Senior Leadership role himself for 22 years. He has a deep understanding of the expectations of leaders and a sense of what’s important and what’s not in a leadership role. This allows him to bring an important perspective to coaching and consulting engagements as he helps leaders drive results and enhance their leadership brand.
Scott, please tell us a little about your story.
I’ve had the good fortune to work as a Leadership Adviser to some of the strongest leaders in the business world with ADP, Hewitt Associates, US Robotics and Arthur Andersen. As a Certified Leadership Coach, I’ve helped leaders discover their common and not-so-common leadership advantages, elevate their leadership capabilities, and achieve critical goals.
I guide leaders to help them realise and leverage their strengths, clarify their values, and focus on what’s most important. I use powerful questioning, deep listening, intense curiosity and practical feedback to act as a sounding board, thinking partner, and collaborator. I draw on targeted leadership development resources to help leaders reflect, clarify, gain insight, and achieve extraordinary results when they come to me with their most important goals.
I help leaders to realise the strongest of their strengths, the greatest of their passions and help them to discover the best they have to offer as leaders.
As a Leadership Adviser, Leadership Coach and Human Resources Executive, I’ve had a front-row seat in three Fortune 500 organisations considered preeminent thought leaders in the Human Resources & Leadership Development field. I bring that Executive Leadership perspective and my formal executive coaching credentials to help leaders in our Coaching and Leadership Development Engagements.
I am passionate about leaders and Leadership Development. I find it motivating each day to work with innately talented leaders and help them to develop and enhance their leadership capabilities. It is immensely rewarding to give strong leaders the right tools and watch as they build their skills and their passion for becoming the very best leaders they can be.
I’m proud to help strong leaders, their teams, and organisations be more successful!
Who can benefit from coaching?
The leaders who can benefit most from coaching are those who truly want to make an impact and are eager to get started. These are leaders who are committed. They know themselves and are eager to find all the ways they can to leverage their strengths and tap into their passions. They know their blind spots and their opportunities. They identify the barriers that can keep them from achieving their goals. And they partner with a coach to dig in and devise strategies to overcome them. They look forward to coaching, where the focus is always on moving forward and finding the most impactful solutions to their most important goals.
Leaders who can benefit from coaching like a good challenge. In my leadership book, I offer a lesson I learned from the most successful high school cross-country coach the state of Michigan has ever seen. His teams were successful for a variety of reasons, but one that stood out for me was the mantra and mindset he established for
I played football in high school, so I was not able to join the cross-country team. But I happened to attend one of this coach’s famous practice sessions. What I heard him say to his team at the start of that practice had a profound effect on me. And I often offer the lesson I learned from this coach as I empower the leaders I coach in my own practice. What he said to his team that day was: “Gentlemen, what are we going to do today?” And the response from his team was: “Look forward to the hills, coach!” To which he responded: “And why is that, gentlemen?” And they came back in unison with: “Because the hills are ours, coach!” He then cemented the lesson with: “That’s our edge, boys. While all the other runners out there are dreading the hills. We can’t wait for the hardest part of the course. That’s our edge! We never complain about the hills. The hills are ours; we look forward to taking on the hardest hills we can find. We can’t wait for the hard stuff. That’s what makes us champions!”
If you partner with a coach, they will invariably challenge you to look forward to the hills. They will encourage you to look forward to the most challenging things that come your way. As a coach, I would challenge you to seek out those things that can make you stronger and allow you to sharpen your talents as you work through the toughest situations. Look forward to the hard stuff! And look forward to leveraging the best in yourself as you discover the very best solutions to your most challenging goals!
Can you share a coaching success story from your career with us?
Years ago, I worked with a leader in a Fortune 200 company. She came to when she was asked to lead a huge
strategic initiative. We quickly established that her Coaching Objective would be to leverage the best of her leadership skills as she worked with her team, business partners and all her stakeholders. We established the Success Measures to identify what it would look like when the strategic initiative goals were achieved and exceeded. And we got to work with our biweekly coaching sessions.
Along the way, she also asked me to help her establish the Leadership Brand she felt was important in order to achieve the ultimate goal she was focused on – to put herself in a position to take on a more Senior Leadership role in the next 2-3 years.
She was able to realise a few quick-hit successes. But the real success came as I challenged her to find those collaboration, influence and talent development strengths in herself that she hadn’t previously known were there. When she did, she used those strengths to work with her business partners and deliver an off-the-chart strategy that had an immediate impact and laid the foundation for a huge success in the years to come.
She also used her leadership intelligence and her newfound executive presence to create relationships and earn the respect of the most influential leaders in her organisation. This helped her achieve her second goal when she was selected for a position on the Sr. Leadership Team soon after she helped deliver on the critical strategic initiative.
I’ve coached several highly successful leaders over the years. They rely on me to act as their thinking partner, sounding board, their confidant and Leadership Development Coach. We work together to help them be their most effective and impactful, as they are asked to take on greater and more complex leadership challenges.
It is immensely rewarding to work with strong leaders to help them discover their greatest strengths and passions. And to help them create their own leadership legacy.
How do you make an impact with the leaders you work with?
Firstly, we ask our clients to challenge themselves about how they see their world. We offer a view of the possibilities they may not yet see for themselves. And empower them to create a path to achieve impactful results. We help create off-the-chart leaders.
We are constantly looking for the extraordinary that our clients have in themselves – their greatest leadership attributes, their underutilised passions, the unlit fire that has the potential of making an impact so powerfully that it changes the course of their organisations; and sometimes themselves. Our job as a coach is to empower our leaders to discover these extraordinary leadership abilities in themselves. And then leverage the living daylights out of them. When they do, they enhance their leadership brand. And help make their part of the world a little better place for having them lead it.
We also challenge our clients to lead powerfully and passionately – to care deeply about the people, the customers and the organisation they lead. And to care enough about their own leadership to invest in becoming the best leader they are fully capable of.
Pretty great line of work, right?
I’ve also seen the impact that Coaching and Leadership Development have on the companies I work with. For an organisation, Coaching and Leadership Development is an investment in their strongest leaders. As a coach, I work with leaders who are challenged with various opportunities. Leaders who’ve been identified as a high potential. Leaders who have been asked to take the lead on a critical strategic initiative; and leaders who have recently moved into a new leadership role.
I work a great deal with leaders who are new to a Senior Leadership role. New Senior Leaders are especially prime to benefit from working with a coach who has a deep understanding of leadership. A coach can help them quickly learn to navigate the leadership attributes that are more pronounced at the Senior Leader level. These critical Senior Leadership attributes include:
- The executive presence they need to quickly learn and maintain as Senior Leaders
- Their ability to influence at all levels
- The executive communication skills they need
- The broader knowledge of the business & the organisation
- And the understanding of how to navigate their organisation
- The followership they need to earn
- And the broader scope of talent development they need to focus on
New Senior Leadership turnover rates can be staggeringly high and alarmingly expensive. When Senior Leaders are thrown into their new roles with little support, they often struggle or fail at rates that are painful. Recognising this several years ago, I started working with these new Senior Leaders in their 1st 90 days and 1st 6 months to help them understand what they needed to learn. I help them create a plan to be an effective Senior Leader much more quickly than if they were simply swimming upstream by themselves.
Leadership Coaching is a Difference Maker. And when it’s paired with focused Leadership Development resources, it can provide the leader with the tools & the confidence they can count on to be wildly successful and make a difference for their organisation.
Can you tell us about your upcoming book, The Leaderʼs Legacy?
I look forward to sharing important lessons in leadership in my book The Leader’s Legacy, which I’ll publish later this year.
For me, the leadership journey started with lessons I learned from my grandfather. He was our town mayor, our town grocer, and the best leader I’ve ever known.
Throughout my career, the leadership attributes my grandfather lived by have been confirmed over and again, as I’ve watched the most successful leaders practice these same leadership traits. It’s amazing to see the common and not-so-common leadership attributes that run through the most successful leaders.
The best leaders are certainly the smartest and hardest working leaders around. They also care deeply about their people, their customers, and their business. The very best leaders make every person and every organisation better for having had the chance to work with them. And they care about becoming the best leaders they can be and remaining a great leader for as long as it takes to make their own part of the world a better place. Not a bad leadership goal. And pretty good leadership legacy to leave.
The Leaderʼs Legacy captures much of what I’ve learned from my grandfather and in the 30 years I’ve spent working with and coaching some of the world’s most influential leaders. I’ve captured stories about leaders who create their own legacy as they search for meaningful leadership opportunities. And when they find them, they lead in extraordinary ways.
- The most impactful leaders act with integrity
- They lead with loyalty and inspire a followership
- They claim their leadership brand to leave their distinct impression
- They cultivate a distinct leadership intelligence
- They make a difference every day
And extraordinary leaders do a whole lot more. Read my book to learn about leadership done right. The kind that would make my grandfather proud. And enjoy a story or two along the way.
If you’re interested in learning more about Coaching and Leadership Development, reach out to Scott at The Leader’s Legacy LLC. You can find him here: