Reaching the Top with Dean Williams
Dean Williams is an accomplished executive coach, with over two decades of experience in the field of senior leadership development and performance improvement. He is widely recognised as a thought leader in his field, having worked with numerous organisations across various industries to help their executives and teams achieve greater success. CEO Today caught up with Dean for an exclusive Q&A.
Inducted to the prestigious Forbes Coaches Council, voted by CEO Today Magazine as one of the ‘Top 100 Globally’, in consecutive years Dean has been practicing high-end executive coaching for 20 years. As a specialist in Director and C-suite development, he works with individuals and teams (including Boards) to improve performance alongside their ambitions. His clients recognise his proven ability to effect transformational change with a CEO noting benefits of ‘record breaking performance across all metrics, and significant gains in staff engagement’, following a recent 12-month engagement.
Dean Williams is an accomplished executive coach, with over two decades of experience in the field of senior leadership development and performance improvement. He is widely recognised as a thought leader in his field, having worked with numerous organisations across various industries to help their executives and teams achieve greater success.
Dean has helped thousands of executives and organisations to reach their full potential through his innovative coaching methodologies. Recently asked to calculate, it is considered that Dean has held around 4,500 individual coaching sessions with C-suite execs to date.
In addition to his coaching work, Dean is an active member of the sports industry, serving on boards in both gymnastics and football. Dean is also a prolific author and speaker, having written several books/articles on leadership, coaching and team performance. His work has been featured in numerous publications, and he has conducted keynote talks at conferences and events around the world.
Dean Williams has become a respected figure in both the business and sports worlds, inspiring countless senior individuals and teams to achieve their goals and reach their potential.
What is your personal philosophy when it comes to coaching high-performing executives?
It is all about creating a productive partnership with my client – understanding why they are looking to partner with me and, importantly, why now. I work hard to understand and respect the executive’s brilliance and experience, and where they see their own limitations and developmental areas.
One of the questions I always ask is: “What do you need from me that you cannot do for yourself?” I am looking for coachability within my clients, executives that I know I can partner with and add value to. There is a DNA to a successful exec which for me includes the ability to accurately analyse their own performance, along with a relentless thirst to be even better. I never cut corners with this initial understanding and contracting. Getting agreement and alignment from the off enables focussed, pragmatic and challenging conversations of real value to the exec.
An experienced executive coach knows when to inject their experience, advice and wisdom and when to persist with acute and challenging questions to work the execs’ cognitive muscles. The balance between sharing and questioning is of paramount importance – no executive pays me to just ask questions and switch off my experience! I am paid to improve thinking, full stop.
How do you ensure that your coaching is tailored to each unique client?
It is the contracting that sets the pattern and the approach. Some executives will connect with me every six weeks, while others will call more ad-hoc… sort of an emergency service! Ten executives every year are offered an annual contract with me, benefitting from the regularity of connection. I see them every month throughout the year and they also have the option of calling on me throughout the month.
Dean is also a co-Founder of The Business Coaching Academy, which he set up to educate, enlighten and accredit managers and leaders on the art of coaching, and Leading Energy Profile Limited – a practical profiling tool based on leading research in the field of individual differences, cognitive behavioural therapy and biological psychology. Dean is regularly sought after for speaking engagements (particularly around resilience) and hosts Company-Wide Annual Conferences from time to time.
Boasting a client list that includes Samsung, Bupa, Allianz, Avis, HSBC, Barclays, Boston Consulting Group and Mastercard (in fact 24 of the top 500 on Forbes most recent ‘World’s Best Employers’ list), Dean is experienced in working within the private, public and third sector, across many different industries and many different cultures. His assignments take him overseas and he has extensive experience of working across Europe, Africa, the Middle-East and Asia.
Aside from coaching Boards, Dean has served on the Board of a leading international children’s charity and a non-league football club, and is currently a non-executive director at Welsh Gymnastics.