CEO Today - March 2022

21 EXECUTIVE COACHING Ironically, two opposing realities are often hidden from self-view: 1) what gets in our way and 2) the vast upside of possibility. Coaching uncovers both. A coach often supports the leader to think through the entire process of a challenge, not just the content. A typical benefit of coaching is a deeper understanding of what lies below the surface of issues. Leaders value having and strengthening this highlevel skill. To be successful as a leader, employee, or parent, seeing and responding to the humanity in others is key. With more awareness of themselves through coaching, a leader develops a nuanced appreciation for others. They are open to others’ perceptions of them. As a result, leaders often report that their internal shifts change relationships. Creative ways to collaborate arise from a fresh awareness and are unexpected. Leaders communicate better. A leader’s ability to be coach-like with others develops. They become more trustworthy. Their impact grows. When leaders change, the company culture transforms. When that happens, productivity increases and retention rates go up because people appreciate working in a collaborative environment and want to contribute. From all these ripe places, a leader engages a coach to get the desired results. The following experience recounts our client’s transition into the CEO role: Rhonda was eager to be at the helm of XYZ corporation, where she’d held a supporting role for years. Under waning and chaotic leadership, a belittling culture had developed. Rife with poor communication, little trust and looming DEI issues, barriers to success faced her on all sides. Rhonda’s coaching sessions focused on all the challenges she faced to prepare for the cultural turnaround she envisioned. We refined her understanding and clarified her vision. Fully committed, Rhonda knew she would be walking on the blade’s edge of a sword and had to be aware and awake during the entire process. With the help of coaching, Rhonda created a clear strategic plan. She bolstered her plan with additional insights, energy and fortitude. When the transition took place, she was ready. In the last 18 months, Rhonda has been able to effect a sea change, no small feat during the pandemic. She used coaching support to stay diligent and persevere, continually inviting alienated employees into the new company culture. She made curiosity and listening the hallmarks of her leadership. And, step by step, a seemingly miraculous turnaround occurred. What are the most important benefits of coaching? Leaders report feeling freer, happier and more resilient as key benefits of coaching. Life is more balanced. They experience being more relaxed and confident, even through challenges. At the heart of all profound personal change is increased self-awareness. Through the coaching process, clients frequently describe feeling more authentic. They like and enjoy themselves more. Their way of being evolves, as do essential leadership skills. It is a relief when selfmanagement, a new relationship with thoughts and emotions, replaces time management. A great coach always coaches the whole person. Not surprisingly, then, even when a coach is engaged in workplace issues, the perceptions and changes also affect the leader’s personal life. It is common for clients to report that their spouse and children find them more flexible, connected and fun. For these reasons, coaching is called the ultimate CEO advantage. “What grants life its beauty and magic is not the absence of terror and tumult but the grace and elegance with which we navigate the gauntlet” Maria Popova What characterises great coaching? Great coaching supports a client’s transformation and evolution. To facilitate such significant change, the coach enters a state of mind some call the learning edge, What grants life its beauty and magic is not the absence of terror and tumult but the grace and elegance with which we navigate the gauntlet. Maria Popova “ “

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