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5 EDITOR’S NOTE STAY CONNECTED! Follow us on: EDITOR’S NOTE UN I V E R S A L ME D I A www.ceotodaymagazine.com Katina Hristova Editor All of this and so much more - I hope you enjoy the content in CEO Today’s April 2022 issue! Make sure you check out the full list of features and exclusive interviews over the next pages. If you want to stay connected with us until our next edition, visit our website for more, join the conversation on our Twitter (@ CEOTodayMag) and follow our LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram pages. Best wishes, KATINA HRISTOVA Editor CEO TODAY Copyright 2022 Circulation details can be found at www.ceotodaymagazine.com The views expressed in the articles within CEO Today are the contributors’ own, nothing within the announcements or articles should be construed as a profit forecast. All rights reserved. Material contained within this publication is not to be reproduced in whole or part without the prior permission of CEO Today. Disclaimer: Images used in this edition have been done so under the creative commons licenses. For details, see links below. creativecommons.org/licenses/ by-sa/3.0/legalcode creativecommons.org/licenses/ by-sa/2.0/legalcode creativecommons.org/licenses/ by-sa/4.0/legalcode Hello and welcome to the April 2022 edition of CEO Today Magazine! As we step into spring, with new goals and aspirations for the coming months, I’m happy to present CEO Today’s April collection of inspiration from some of the world’s leading CEOs and entrepreneurs, as well as our monthly dose of travel and lifestyle content! Here are some of our favourite stories from CEO Today’s April 2022 edition: Top Unicorns toWatch Out for in 2022 5 Startups toWatch in Southeast Europe 12 62 16 74 The Best Vacation Destinations for CEOs This Year Is it Worth Investing in the Metaverse?
6 CONTENTS www.ceotodaymagazine.com Top Unicorns to Watch Out for in 2022 10 THE DISRUPTORS 12. Top Unicorns toWatch Out for in 2022 16. 5 Startups toWatch in Southeast Europe CONTENTS 8 Monthly-Round-Up 12 22 EXECUTIVE COACHING 24. How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome 28. How to Reach Your Full Potential 32. How to Become the Leader YouWere Meant to Be 36. Unleash Your Power 40. The Link Between Life and Business Coaching 44. Be the Leaders, Find the Leaders, Create the Leaders 24 How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome
7 32 How to Become the Leader You Were Meant to Be 60 70 VISION & STRATEGY TRAVEL & LIFESTYLE 62. Is it Worth Investing in The Metaverse? 66. How to Prepare for a Successful Exit 72. Bulgari Launches World’s Thinnest Mechanical Watch 74. The Best Vacation Destinations for CEOs This Year 48. Why You Need toWork with a Career Coach EvenWhen You’ve ‘Made it’ 52. The Connection Between Leadership and Psychological Well- Being 56. Would You Enter the Olympics Without a Coach? Probaly Not! 62 Is it Worth Investing in The Metaverse? www.ceotodaymagazine.com 72 Bulgari Launches World’s Thinnest Mechanical Watch How to Prepare for a Successful Exit 66
www.ceotodaymagazine.com 8 MONTHLY ROUND - UP N EWS The Stories Everyone’s been Talking about Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Shakes on $11.6 Billion Surprise Deal Berkshire Hathaway announced it had agreed to purchase insurance company Alleghany for $11.6 billion in cash. The company said the deal, expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year, represents “a multiple of 1.26 times Alleghany’s book value at December 31, 2021” in addition to a 16% premium to Alleghany’s average stock price across the past 30 days. In a statement, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett said, “Berkshire will be the perfect permanent home for Alleghany, a company that I have closely observed for 60 years.” Meanwhile, Alleghany CEO Joseph Brandon called the deal a “terrific transaction for Alleghany’s owners, businesses, customers, and employees.” Brandon also noted that “the value of this transaction reflects the quality of our franchises and is the product of the hard work, persistence, and determination of the Alleghany team over decades.” Nonetheless, Berkshire Hathaway’s $11.6 billion deal with Alleghany will come as a surprise to some Berkshire shareholders. Previously, Buffett and vice chairman Charlie Munger expressed their lack of interest in their search for a large acquisition. In a 2022 annual letter to shareholders, Buffett wrote that he had come across little that excited him. Photo: Wikicommons - USA International Trade Administration
China is Producing New Billionaires Faster Than Any Other Country According to Axios, China is producing new billionaires, particularly female billionaires, significantly faster than any other country in the world. Axios’ report states that China now has a total of 1,133 billionaires, afigure which is growing approximately three times faster than the US’ billionaire population. Presently, the US has 716 billionaires. The three cities with the largest billionaire populations are now all in China, with Shenzhen recently bumping New York City from third place. Nonetheless, Axios’ report shows that billionaires in the US are still wealthier than those in China. America’s billionaires control approximately 32% of the combined wealth of all the “known billionaires” 9 www.ceotodaymagazine.com MONTHLY ROUND - UP MacKenzie Scott Donates $3.8 Billion to 465 Charities Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, who was formerly married to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has donated $3.8 billion to 465 charities since June. She has chosen organisations that she believes “support the needs of underrepresented people from groups of all kinds.” In a Medium post, Scott said her donations are intended to support all types of people. She made a point of noting that “helping any of us can help us all.” “It’s easy to think of different groups struggling within the same systems as not only separate but also opposing. Yet when we help one group, we often help them all,” Scott wrote. She also highlighted that efforts such as investing in workplace and education opportunities for women and girls lead to stronger economic growth. Approximately 60% of the organisations Scott donated to are led by women. “We don’t advocate for particular policies or reforms. Instead, we seek a portfolio of organisations that supports the ability of all people to participate in solutions. This means a focus on the needs of those whose voices have been underrepresented,” Scott said. in the world. Meanwhile, China’s billionaires account for around 27% of this wealth. The report also highlights the difference between how Chinese and US billionaires made their fortunes. In China, real estate, industrial products, and healthcare are reportedly behind most of the country’s billionaire wealth. Meanwhile, in the US, top billionaires’ fortunes come primarily from global tech providers, financial services, and the entertainment industry. When it comes to producing the most female billionaires, China takes the top spot. Over the past 16 years, 60-70% of the most successful selfmade female billionaires in the world had been Chinese citizens.
THE DISRUPTORS 12 16 Top Unicorns to Watch Out for in 2022 5 Startups to Watch in Southeast Europe
Steven Barlow explores the top companies set to reach a $1-billion valuation this year. Steven Barlow CFO of BINJ Top Unicorns to Watch Out for in 2022
Unicorn Hunting with Cornelius in the Valuation Swamp “Keep the money together” was proud Staten Island native Cornelius Vanderbilt’s very last words to his family. Following that heart-warming goodbye, he took his final breath of cold air at the beginning of 1877’s lethal winter, which later became known as the “Big Die-Up.” Although no unicorns died that year, over 90% of corn-fed Midwestern cattle did—and America bid adieu to its most iconic industrialist and marked the end of the Open Range Era. As we lay out our top/to-be unicorns for 2022 below—while we will not be discussing fatty cows or the dramatic impact Dear Cornelius had on transportation and global commerce—we will lightly reflect on his masterful asset acquisition legacy and potential lessons it offers us in today’s pricey market. Cornelius Buffett While the “Commodore” sobriquet originated—and his lore cantered on transportation—Mr. V amassed a notable chunk of wealth from optimally deploying his assets and exploiting the emotional irrationality of other spineless investors. By putting fundamentals and strategy over sentiment—in an almost Buffettesque fashion—as stock values collapsed during the Great Panic of 1837, Vanderbilt scooped up loads of equity on the cheap. Years later, the Commodore bought his first railroad, as shares of New York Central were plummeting. Interestingly, ~150 years after that, Warren Edward Buffett similarly acquired his first railroad during a sluggish market with the $44b purchase of BNSF in 2009. Beyond just buying undervalued assets during downturns, both gentlemen strategically targeted underfunded poorly-run companies with unlocked potential. Sigh, if only Cornelius and Warren would buyandfix cattle/garbage transport company,Amtrak. Runaway Train RichMultiples With today’s valuation reality, sentiment couldn’t be more different than 1837 or 2009. With the Buffett Indicator (ratio of total USAMCAP to GDP) flashing Lucille Ball red at its highest level ever, we are staying as far away from publicly-traded equities as Ukraine. On the private side, the number of unicorns has grown from around a dozen fifteen years ago to more than 1k today. While we don’t have the capitalisation or swagger of Cornelius or Warren, we’re more conservatively biased in this Bentley rich multiple environment. So we remain focused on tangibles over sentiment and keep a quote from our favourite Little Rock President, “trendlines over headlines,” near and dear. For the four companies below, we’ve coupled those that possess unique proprietary tech within a defined long-term sector potential. In short, there will be no NFT, crypto or metaverse spewing. ARGOAI A Pittsburgh-based autonomous driving technology platform co-founded in 2016 by veterans of Google and Uber automated driving programs, Argo headlines Ford & Volkswagen as primary investors. These strategic partnerships provide a clear pathway to market and scale, and their impressive proprietary algorithms with advanced perception and decisionmaking capabilities, really get our investment engines roaring. For our business, BINJ, a discovery engine and community-driven platform to help users find and watch the most relevant streaming content, we have invested heavily in developing and cultivating a unique Binj AI aggregator and Binj AI emotional processor which not only harness the untapped potential of machine learning but also provide users a vital tool for navigating streaming content overload. Beyond our mountain of raw and processed data, the propriety tech also provides investors value tangibles. KONIKU Some of the greatest technologies have always existed courtesy ofMother Nature and some entrepreneurs are
well-positioned to harness, mimic and unleash that which has always been present. Silicon Valley-based Koniku blends the right ingredients of healthcare, technology, and biosecurity. A Shazaam for smells, the company’s central tech elegantly takes what already works amazingly well in the natural world (a dog’s sensory apparatus) and packages it into a small device that can seamlessly detect explosives, narcotics, and COVID in real-time. Beyondthesearenas,therevolutionaryunderlyingtech is broadly applicable, including for manufacturing, agriculture, defence, and others. Koniku partnered with early-investor Airbus for explosive detection and last month completed a successful deployment at SFO airport. Additionally, Koniku possesses the only platform to effectively and substantively detect fentanyl. COMMUNITY.COM SantaMonica-basedmessagingplatform, Community. com, provides a simple and effective way for brands, celebrities, and organisations to engage with customers, fans, and, yes, communities. The texting platform already includes 26 million consumers with over 3 billion messages sent over its platform in 2019. In short, direct texting yields very high conversion/engagement rates and provides an elevated communication channel as marketers seek ways to more genuinely and directly connect. Salesforce Ventures, Twilo, Live Nation & Sony Innovation Fund have all invested. Thematically, we feel curation tools will become increasing relevant for both businesses and customer sanity, in this age of content overload. PAYHAWK Sofia/London-based Payhawk offers an all-in-one financial management solution for businesses and has recently become the very first Bulgarian unicorn. By combining credit cards, payments, expenses, cash management, and pre-accounting into one integrated experience (and powered by premium Visa cards, dedicated IBANS, SEPA, and Faster Payments), Payhawk operationally takes small to mid-sized businesses to the next level. In November, the company raised $112m to grab share in the competitive corporate card space. About the Author Steven Barrow Barlow serves as the CFO of BINJ and co-runs Andon Okapi Holdings, an investment firm providing financial, operational and strategic support to founders with big ideas & unique tech. After a decade as an equity analyst on Wall Street covering the consumer and healthcare sectors, he co-founded Kallpod in 2014, a tech solutions provider for the hospitality & healthcare industries. Earlier Stage Ones toWatch While not yet unicorns, two earlier stage companieswe have our eye on, INO& Pallo, are well-positioned with both unique proprietary tech and sector relevance. Pallo is an all-in-one platform designed specifically for freelancers that helps users manage all personal and business finances, from money management to taxes. INO has innovated a patented, all-natural, and impact resistant material composite that can be used as an alternative to synthetic foam in a range of products such as helmets or to protect valuable products during shipment. INO’s founder suffered a life-threatening head trauma injury and wound up partnering with the neurosurgeon who saved his life, along with a renowned Oxford materials scientist, to develop an all-natural, next-generation solution. Smoke or Hot Air? As we left the office recently, with railroads, the Commodore & unicorns on the brain, we noticed large columns of smoke sadly lingering above. We drifted to thoughts of a locomotive’s smokestack and what that signified—output, a tangible thing that indicated progress, interconnectivity, commerce, evidence of a new country and economy being built. As we moved onto the sidewalk and gained a full view of the sky, the letters NFT were revealed as a worn-out crop-duster sputtered above. We stopped and pondered what that faux marketing smoke signified, if anything. Alas, as the three letters faded to nothing, Def Leppard’s Hysteria blared from a shiny Tesla cruising by.
The startup scene has seen a couple of interesting years, to say the least. The global market is still growing at breakneck speeds, and according to Crunchbase data, the total VC funding has grown from $335 billion in 2020 to $643 billion in 2021. That’s a staggering growth rate of 92% in a year. Although it’s great to see that the market is expanding and more innovative companies are getting funding and have a shot at making it, we also see some drawbacks in the super high-growth environment. First, valuations are getting a bit crazy in some spaces,making even the greediest investors abit skittish. Second, VC investments have always been hardly accessible to the retail investor, and the higher the valuations are — the more difficult it would be to bridge that gap. That’s why we consider a new approach for investors who want to have some VC exposure in their portfolio but not pay a monstrous premium. The solution might be simply to look towards the “emerging markets”, not necessarily Silicon Valley, since they can still find high-growth innovative companies at a more reasonable multiple. Kaloyan Stoycheff Startups to Watch in Southeast Europe 5
That’s why we consider the SEE region to be one of the most attractive markets in Europe. There’s already a developed ecosystem of local VCs, and the market is growing at a record speed as well, with $2.5+ billion raised in 2021. It’s also easily accessible and well-connected. However, the region remains one of the most overlooked destinations for foreign investors. Of course, the reason we think it’s an attractive destination is derived not only from the effort of seeking lower valuations; instead, we honestly believe that there’s a lot of growth potential, and the reason for that is that the companies founded there indeed have some of the most innovative ideas, successfully coupled with good execution. To preface that with a success story, look no further thanUiPath, the first Romanian unicorn with a $1 billion IPO on the NYSE last year. Naturally, investors won’t learn everything they need to know by just following mainstream media, so here is our selection of some of the more exciting startup stories of the SEE region (Romania, Bulgaria, Greece); the ones more people need to hear about. Payhawk Payhawk was founded relatively recently — in 2018 - by co-founders Hristo Borisov and Boyko Karadzhov and has just become Bulgaria’s first unicorn. The startup, already backed by Stripe investor Greenoaks Capital, successfully raised an additional $100 million flashround at a $1 billion valuation with Lightspeed Venture Partners. That’s a surprisingly short journey. From founding the company to $1 billion in 4 years is an extraordinary feat. According to one of the founders, the reason they’ve succeeded so quickly is simply because they have addressed a significant problem in a large market. But what do they do, exactly? Payhawk has designed a solution to make corporate spending and expense management way easier. Indeed, Payhawk bridges the gap between banks and Source: Crunchbase news $100B $200B $300B $400B $500B $600B $700B Global Venture Dollar Volume 2012 To 2021 ANGEL-SEED Early Stage Late Stage Technology Growth Overall Dollar Volume Yoy Chance 92%
accounting systems. The FinTech startup provides company credit cards that help avoid manual processing of expenses, control budgets in real-time, and fully automate payment and expense approvals regardless of the payment method. The plans for future development are to use machine learning to create smart workflows and reduce the need for manual review and approval. The goal behindall of this is not simply tomake budgeting more manageable, but it actually solves the problem that when employees are returning to the office from business travel, they have to deal with the bureaucracy of writing an expense report for 2 hours and then waiting for a week to get their money back from the company. Payhawk experienced a crazy high transaction volume growth (triple-digit) last year. And if we’re monitoring the corporate card and spendmanagement startups in the US with Brex and Ramp, with valuations of $12 billion and $8 billion respectively, you’d know that this is a startup you should follow closely. Frisbo Founded back in 2014 by co-founders Bogdan Colceriu and Laura Frincu, this Romanian startup has one simple goal — to make cross-border shipping in the EU easier and quicker. This is still a relatively earlystage startup since they recently raised another round backed by Bulgarian VC fund Eleven Ventures to reach a valuation of $14 million. Nonetheless, the company has a rich network of warehouses already and is active in 15 European countries, offering next-day shipping to more than 200 online retailers. The company initially started purely as a fulfilment business, but when they realised the issues of scaling such a business, they pivoted to a product that connects retailers with other warehouses in their network, almost like an AirBnB for international shipping. Now Frisbo offers an end-to-end solution that takes over storage, processing, warehousing, and most importantly, next-day delivery at the cost of local shipment. The problem they are trying to solve is enormous. In short, the e-commerce industry in the EU is not where it should be and is way behind when compared with the US. In theUS, nearly 50%of all retailers offer same dayor next day shipping. In contrast, out of the top 50 retailers in the EU, only 13%offer same-day delivery, and 38%offer nextday delivery. Again, those are the biggest retailers. When we look at the broad picture, 90% of all online retailers operate only within the borders of their respective countries. And the issue is clearly not one of demand, with multiple consumers studies showing that same-day delivery is the most wanted feature in e-commerce. If Frisbomanages to change the shipping landscape in the EU, this would be a huge breakthrough not only for the company but for the EU economy as awhole.Who doesn’t gain from increased cross-border trade? Dronamics Dronamics was founded in 2014 by two brothers—Svilen Rangelov andKonstantinRangelov, an economist and an aerospace engineer. The story starts when they embarked on a quest not to shave their beards until they’ve built an autonomous cargo drone. Well in 2017, they had the first test flight of their drone called The Black Swan, which was successful, though — plot twist, the brothers still didn’t shave their beards. Perhaps they’re aspiring towards a higher goal. That being said, no goal seems to be too far out of reach for this startup. They recently had an IPO on the Sofia stock exchange, which was oversubscribed nearly five times. It was an absolute success that raised 3 million euros, which will be used to fund the company’s daily operations. One might ask, however, what’s so special about that company? At the end of the day, many companies are making drones… That’s right. In order to understand if the brothers will shave their beards eventually, we need to look at the longterm goal of Dronamics. After they successfully built a small, unmanned, and extremely fuel-efficient airplane. The company is now aspiring to be a lot more than just a drone manufacturer. They’re in the business of operating Droneports. These Droneports are especially suitable for delivering highpriority goods, such as machinery spare parts, vaccines,
20 plasma, and other pharmaceuticals. Dronamics have something to show for their aspirations already. They’ve recently signed two huge deals: a partnership with Hellmann Worldwide Logistics and a partnership with DHL. The first commercial flights are expected to start in 2022. The whole solution that the company is planning to provide is something that has the potential to change the shipping industry as a whole. We have a lot to look forward to with the company that can save thousands of man-hours spent on medium-range deliveries and the considerable amount of CO2 emissions that come with them. Biopix-T This is the newest company we’re covering, but nonetheless, they have plenty to show. George Papadakis and Nikolaos Fikas founded Biopix-T in 2019 when they created a spin-off company to work on a prototype for a Point-of-Care (POC) testing device for the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the Foundation for Research and Technology — Hellas. Point-of-Care devices are mainly used in lieu of a lab, for example, in a doctor’s office, an ambulance, a hotel, or in limitedresource areas. The company initially succeeded with the first version of the IRIS product, but since it was quite difficult for mass production, they pivoted to a second version. Now the startup has developed the Pebble device, a micro POC testing centre, which produces highly accurate results quickly, then automatically transfers the data to a database, and is managed from an easy-to-use Android device. The advantages to this are numerous, but for example, when compared to a standard PCR testing method, the Pebble device delivers results quicker, while it is also cheaper and easier to use. Naturally, testing device startups have been all the talk in the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and of course, the Pebble device also has COVID testing capabilities. Still, the functions of the platform go way beyond that. Currently, Pebble also has the capabilities for BRAF V600E and CYP2C19*2 testing, as well as food & plant pathogens. In early 2021, the Greek startup closed a 1.45 million euro seed round, with the goal to expand the testing capabilities of Pebble to other indications and pathogens. The reason we’re closely monitoring Biopix-T, is that they are way ahead of the competition from a technical perspective, and there’s a massive trend for personalised medicine, which will increase the need for POC tests. Not to mention the potential for such a device in a remote location or even in space. NitroPack NitroPack is a very intriguing startup. The company was founded exactly 10 years ago as a caching solution for the e-commerce platform OpenCart. Though, since then, the world of site speed optimisation has changed a lot, and so hasNitroPack. Today the startup is led byDeyanGeorgiev and Ivailo Hristov and is backed by Eleven Ventures. The company offers a fully-fledged website speed optimisation tool that takes care of caching, image optimisation, lazy loading images, CDN, critical CSS, etc. Integrated with the Google PSI tool, it continuously runs tests and optimises website resources. Why is the company a more interesting case though? Well, it serves to show that resilience is what usually leads to success. Not every startup story can be about a company that went from start to $1 billion in 3 years. NitroPack went through many changes, but the team endured until they landed on a product-market fit, that allowed them to grow their customer base 5 times in the past year. The second question would be, why do we see such potential in this company? The truth is, they are in the right industry at the right time. Google puts more emphasis on website load speeds every year, and they even made speed a ranking factor for mobile searches. Of course, this industry also has plenty of competition, but the overall SEO services market is projected to grow 17% a year and reach more than $100 billion by 2025. That’s why we believe that this company is poised for success.
24 How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome 28 How to Reach Your Full Potential 32 How to Become the Leader YouWere Meant to Be 36 Unleash Your Power 40 The Link Between Life and Business Coaching 44 Be the Leaders, Find the Leaders, Create the Leaders 48 Why You Need to Work with a Career Coach EvenWhen You’ve ‘Made it’ 52 The Connection Between Leadership and Psychological Well-Being 56 Would You Enter the Olympics Without a Coach? Probaly Not! EXECUTIVE COACHING
EXECUTIVE COACHING www.ceotodaymagazine.com 24
EXECUTIVE COACHING www.ceotodaymagazine.com 25 How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome Susan M Barber Susan M Barber, Author, Former Fortune 500 IT Director, turned Professional Certified (PCC) Executive Coach helps business leaders who want to play bigger, increase their visibility and finally, shine a light on their leadership strengths so they can elevate their position in the workplace. She brings strong business knowledge to her coaching from 25+ years of experience at KraftHeinz where she successfully held multiple leadership roles in Sales, Supply Chain and Information Technology. She started her own coaching and consulting company shortly after leaving Kraft Heinz in 2015 so that she could marry her love of people development and her passion for helping companies solve business challenges. In her book, The Visibility Factor, she shares stories, actionable advice, and an easyto-follow process for readers to create authentic visibility for themselves. Publishers Weekly calls The Visibility Factor: “A clear-eyed persuasive, and encouraging guide to standing out for the better as a leader within a company.” The book is helping her create a visibility movement for leaders to show their value and be seen for their true talent. Susan lives in the northern suburbs of Chicago with her husband and their three children.
EXECUTIVE COACHING www.ceotodaymagazine.com 26 partner to help them improve their leadership challenges quickly. As a coach, it is important for me to build trust quickly and meet them wherever they are. Much like a detective looks for clues, a coach actively listens, observes behaviour and creates a strong partnership to support the client in the best way. My role is to help the leader look at their beliefs, assumptions, patterns and thoughts to ascertain if they are helping them or hurting them. James Allen, a British philosophical writer and the author of a book titled As a Man Thinketh, said, “All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts.” Following that logic, if you believe you will be a success, you will have success—or, if you believe you will fail, you will fail. Leaders who function on automatic pilot have no awareness that they are operating in the world based on their limiting beliefs. I never questioned my thoughts either until I became a coach. I had no idea that I saw everything through the lens of fear, and I let those limiting thoughts take over. That approach kept me safe, but it wasn’t going to help me get promoted. This fear shows up for many business leaders under the guise of impostor syndrome. I wrote a chapter on this topic in my book The Visibility Factor, because this is what deters leaders from being visible and reaching their potential. Impostor syndrome was first identified back in 1978 by Dr Pauline R. Clance and Dr Suzanne A. Imes. They found that this challenge impacts overachieving women who try to fit in and be perfect. High achieving women attributed their success to mistakes, luck, or that someone hadn’t yet figured out that they didn’t belong in their role. Although this initial work focused on women, it happens to men as well. “Why are you playing small? You aren’t adding value in the meetings that you attend, so why do you show up?” This is a portion of the feedback that I received about 12 years ago. I walked into that meeting as a confident, top talent and left as someone who wondered if she had a career anymore. It was painful to hear but deep down inside I knew it was true. I worked hard, but I felt like an impostor, and it kept me from being the leader that I knew I could be. This conversation was my “hit the wall” moment. I had to accept the feedback, admit to myself that I was playing small, and do something about it. I didn’t know where to start, so I hired a coach to help me. That coaching helped me regain my confidence, learn how to show my value and advocate for myself and my team. Now as an executive coach myself, leaders come to me for coaching, and many are frustrated that they aren’t advancing fast enough. Each of them has their own “hit the wall” moment, which may look different than mine, but it is no less devastating. High achievers are used to success. They do so many things well, so it is hard for them to believe their own behaviours, and self-beliefs could be what is hurting their success and holding them back. The reality is that their perception in other people’s eyes has shifted, and they don’t know how to fix it. This may be the first time where they feel like a failure and that realisation can destroy their confidence. It leads to feelings of shame, anger and frustration. For senior leaders, this is especially difficult. There is no one to share their struggle with at work, as it could be seen as a weakness by others and used against them. This has led many leaders to go outside the company to seek out a coach to help them. Hiring a coach accelerates a leader to grow, gain a new perspective on their situation and provides a trusted Here are some ways that feeling like an impostor can show up for leaders: • They start a new role and have doubts about their ability to succeed • They compare themselves to other leaders and don’t feel they are good enough • They use language that diminishes their work and their value • They don’t say what they really think for fear of not being liked • They play it safe and stay in their comfort zone to avoid failure They feel like impostors, and as a result, operate with fear, a lack of confidence and don’t see their own value. Brené Brown, best-selling author, shame and vulnerability researcher and professor says, “Leaders must either invest a reasonable amount of time attending to fears and feelings or squander an unreasonable amount of time trying to manage ineffective and unproductive behaviour.” These fears will continue to show up unless they are dealt with and resolved. It isn’t easy to tell a leader that what they are doing is causing issues for them and their team, but a coach is there to tell a leader the truth. It is important that they see how their current behaviour is impacting them, their team and their perception. My belief of any leader that I coach is that they are doing the best that they can with what they know. The way that they lead their team may be the only way they have ever been led by others and they don’t know any better. Through coaching, we uncover the negative beliefs and fears that they have and then help them to shift to a more positive view
EXECUTIVE COACHING www.ceotodaymagazine.com 27 of themselves. Learning to lead with a neutral style and leveraging a positive approach allows the leader to deal with challenges more effectively. Coaching can help them transform their behaviour and become a leader who is respected vs. feared. When I coach a client who works for a leader who is struggling, I want them to think about what could be happening for this leader and why they are showing up in a negative way. For example, Covid created many ambiguous situations with no playbook to follow. Leaders who couldn’t operate in this environment reacted in negative ways. Having compassion for their manager can help the leader look at the situation differently and move out of frustration. I coach clients in this situation on ways to bring back their own confidence, how to advocate for themselves, and show their value so they can succeed without relying on their manager. Leaders will always face challenges, but it’s how they react to them that makes the difference in their success or failure. To remain competitive in business, transformations are necessary. Viewing these situations from a neutral perspective allows leaders to see options, make better decisions and be more present with their team. There is no need to feel like an impostor anymore. Ask for the help you need to move past any resistance. Breakthrough your fears, stand in your own power and become the authentic leader you were meant to be. The world needs leaders who can influence change and make an impact. Step out of your comfort zone and be that leader. www.susanmbarber.com www.linkedin.com/in/susanbarbercoaching www.thevisibilityfactor.podbean.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
FULL POTENTIAL How to Reach Your EXECUTIVE COACHING www.ceotodaymagazine.com 28 Warner Brown, Jr. Founder & CEO of Impactful Teams, LLC Warner Brown, Jr. is an Executive and Team Leadership Coach, who supports senior leaders and leadership teams to confidently lead organisations and develop emerging leaders so they can co-create to achieve their mission and be fulfilled in their life and work. Because he has received guidance in his leadership development from many coaches and mentors over the years, I am passionate about “paying it forward” as a coach to others. As a member of the ICF and EMCC Global, Warner stays informed with the latest insights in the profession and continues to develop his expertise in line with the highest coaching standards.
EXECUTIVE COACHING www.ceotodaymagazine.com 29 “As a youth, I felt a call to build bridges between people across our differences and to cultivate a culture of serving the common good,” says Warner. “That sense of calling drew me to work through the church which eventually led to ordained ministry. Over the years, I have served the church as a Pastor, District Superintendent, Director of Connectional Ministries and Bishop. From 2014-2016, Bishop Brown served as President of the Council of Bishops for the 12 million members, worldwide, of the United Methodist Church.” He has also been recruited to serve as Interim Lead Pastor for two large multistaff congregations with challenging leadership transitions. Currently, he is the Interim Bishop for the United Methodist Church in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Warner’s focus for the next decade is to work with Senior Leaders and Teams of spiritually rooted organisations to confidently develop their current and emerging leaders so that they can achieve their mission and be fulfilled in their life and work. What are the most common barriers limiting leaders from reaching their full potential? At the heart of leadership is two dynamics – impact and responsibility. The most common barriers to full potential are failure to recognise the impact of behaviour and take responsibility for the actions we take or fail to take. Impact is the effect that we have on others – our families, communities, the environment and the world. We are constantly impacting others whether we realise it or not, just as when a pebble is dropped into a peaceful pool of water. When people are striving toward empowering others and creating winwin scenarios that still accomplish the desired goal, they are engaging in positive leadership. When people are only trying to achieve their own objectives, they are engaging in negative or destructive leadership. Responsibility is a leader’s willingness to notice the impact they have and to respond in a way that is conscientious and appropriate. Even though everyone is responsible for their impact, not everyone takes responsibility for it. People commonly deny responsibility by blaming others. It is much easier to deny or blame than it is to take responsibility. But in the long run, blaming others is more difficult than taking responsibility. Because when you blame others, you give up your control. A good leader makes conscientious and appropriate responses to the world around them; they do not deny mistakes – or blame others. Tell us about the value of team leadership coaching. Team leadership coaching is an incredibly powerful process that can unlock a team’s aspirations and release energy for activating higher levels of performance. Many years of working as a leader and experiencing traditional coaching set my expectations towards a model of coaching that was focused on the leader. I saw the work of a leadership coach or team coach as helping the designated leader lead the team. While working with individual leaders to develop their skills andmindset continues to be a valuable coaching focus, I have come to see the greater impact and longterm benefits of a systematic approach to coaching a team to determine if they are a team or merely a group and then develop their shared capacity to lead as a team. A systemic team coach sees the team through six lenses and focuses on the view that provided the greatest value to the team and the context in which it lives. Peter Hawkins’ Five Disciplines of Successful Teams outlines essential practices for an effective and wellperforming team. The role of the systemic team coach is to help a team to be aware of its performance in each discipline, understand the impact of each discipline on team performance, and enhance the team’s effectiveness in each discipline. Each of these disciplines give insight into the relationships between the people and the tasks done inside a team and that which is done outside the team. What are the main benefits organisations can expect from it? The first benefit is keeping the team aware At the heart of leadership is two dynamics – impact and responsibility. The most common barriers to full potential are failure to recognise the impact of behaviour and take responsibility for the actions we take or fail to take. “ “
EXECUTIVE COACHING www.ceotodaymagazine.com 30 Environmental context. The team coach’s role will be important to helping the team put its intentions into action. Also, challenging the team to sit in the chair of each key stakeholder and not overlook potential stakeholders or the future generation of stakeholders. Finally, reviewing CORE LEARNING is where the team pays attention to what they are doing in each of the other four disciplines and reflect on what is working well and what requires better results. Honest feedback within the team and from stakeholders must be invited and welcomed. The team coach has the important role of holding up a mirror to the team so they can review their own core learnings, achievements, and developmental goals. Then, hopefully, they will celebrate that they exist. As Patrick Lencioni observed in his book The Advantage, “An organisation’s core purpose-why it exists-has to be completely idealistic. Employees in every organisation, and at every level, need to know that at the heart of what they do lies something grand and aspirational. In order to successfully identify their organisation’s purpose, leaders must accept the notion that all organisations exist to make people’s lives better.” of current and future stakeholder demands and what will keep them invested. The systemic team coach has the role of coaching the relationship between the team and external stakeholders. Secondly, the coach works with the team to clarify and agree on how it will meet expectations. To be effective the team must create an action plan that is rewarding and compelling to the entire team and requires all members working together to be achieved. The team coach has the role of helping the team reach a shared commitment that is inspiringwhile keeping inmind the outside-in perspective of external stakeholders and the future-back perspective of future stakeholders. Third team coach focuses on the many dimensions of team relationships so that the team works together in ways that create results greater than the sum of each contribution. The team coach may be asked to facilitate team building activities to enhance communications and cooperation. The fourth discipline requires the team to share the responsibility for developing and managing relationships that will fuel improvements in the organisation’s performance. This will include alignment with the organisation’s culture and awareness of the wider Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and How quickly can they expect to see results? Feeling a sense of urgency is understandable when you know that continuing the way things are is not going to meet your needs. The good news is that some change can begin with awareness, but it will take as long as it takes. Learning to be different by being and expressing your authentic self is both effective and can become effortless. Building a culture of trust, healthy communications and mutual respect will contribute to the speed of change. Plan on investing six months or more in the process. The most effective way to experience transformation - deep lasting change - is from the inside out. When you gain access to the core of who you are and you experience a sense of freedom, you learn to make empowering choices rather than feel restricted as a prisoner of circumstances. Why should more leaders consider it? If you want to reach or surpass your goals, create the impact you want and find the freedom to enjoy your life, you must develop a dynamic highperforming team. Your business and your impact will only go as far as your team allows it to go. In the best organisations, success is fueled by a shared vision, values,
EXECUTIVE COACHING www.ceotodaymagazine.com 31 to embrace and co-create with the wisdom of others. Leaders will bring the value of their strengths, but they must also learn to be present in ways that demonstrate competence and create a safe space where teams can experiment, fail, learn, and discover how to coach themselves toward achieving their shared purpose. Coaching and leading in this way requires paying attention to suspending reliance on old ways of thinking and being open to new thinking. Leaders will have to stoke their courage to be vulnerable and unattached to their own feelings and ideas so that they can stand in the shoes of others and look through their eyes. Then, most important of all, practice letting go of control. Recovering from any addiction to being “right”; will help others discover their own answers and do their own work. purpose and goals; a strong culture supported by honest communication; mutual respect and understanding of the organisation’s limited resources; and across-the-board acceptance of the direction and urgency required to achieve excellence. But some organisations can’t seem to get out of their own way. Teams work at cross-purposes, waste valuable resources and become bogged down with bureaucracy and red tape. In these organisations, form becomes more important than substance, and the blame game and mistrust is rampant. I’ve been there and it is not fun. I learned first-hand that understanding my strengths and blind spots helped me work more collegially with my team. Shifting from a top-down leadership style to a team leadership style helped me and the team develop the leadership agility in adapting to our context. Recognising my need for development and getting the coaching I needed gave me clarity and confidence in this process. As I learned to recognise the ways I was overusing some of my strengths and underusing others, was able to shiftmy behaviour to be amore effective leader. As I developed my skills, I expanded my influence and stature among my peers. Then, when I modelled and encourage this kind of personal transformation in my team, it set us up for future success. In the process, I learned I must first let myself be empty and make space What are your top tips on achieving true success? My top four tips to achieving true success are embodied in what I call the LEADERSHIP CATALYST STRATEGY. Its four elements invite us to discover our unique strengths for leadership and then lead authentically as the best version of ourselves. When you lead as your best self you can influence others to be their best selves. • LEAD YOURSELF - Get clear about your natural strengths and values so you can lead with confidence and be clear about what you don’t know and intentionally seek to learn. • ENGAGE - Engage with your team to understand and embrace their unique strengths and passions so you create an empowered workplace where people feel heard, valued, and free to contribute. • ALIGN - Align your team’s strengths and values to inspire creativity, mutual accountability, and innovation so everyone is working together to fulfil the organisation’s mission. • DEVELOP - Empower your team members to be their best. Identify the emerging leaders, changing needs and future opportunities so that your team develops the strengths and skills to co-create purpose-driven transformation. Warner can be reached here www.bookme.name/impactfulteams A good leader makes conscientious and appropriate responses to the world around them; they do not deny mistakes – or blame others. “ “
EXECUTIVE COACHING www.ceotodaymagazine.com 33 How to Become the Leader YouWere Meant to Be Dr Robert Turner, PCC, BCC Executive Coach, Specialising in Conflict Transformation
EXECUTIVE COACHING www.ceotodaymagazine.com 34 What is leadership coaching? Business leaders of all levels may benefit from leadership coaching, a powerful management training tool that helps them use their leadership abilities to their fullest potential. It helps you become more conscious by allowing you to practice and get clear feedback (Herminia et al.). You will improve your natural leadership skills so that you may better motivate teams and accomplish specific personal, professional, and organisational goals. IMD, one of the world’s leading business schools, places a high value on leadership mentoring as part of several of its programs (IMD). Examples of this kind of integrated leadership coaching include the HighPerformance Leadership (HPL) program, which is designed to help senior managers better understand the essence of leadership and how to guide their teams toward key company goals. Coaching produces leaders who are more self-aware and who can make lasting behavioral changes. This is in contrast to the usual methods of leadership education. It involves having the leader obtain feedback, examine his or her activities, as well as practice new actions or behaviors linked to development objectives via a series of one-on-one focused coaching interactions (Douglas). Coaching helps executives identify their intended business outcomes and the obstacles preventing them from achieving them. In addition to strengthening the leader’s ability to learn, coaching helps the leader build methods for achieving the business goals they have defined. Throughout the course, you will be working one-on-one and in small groups with highly trained coaches. You’ll receive extensive personalised feedback as you engage people. As a qualified professional, an executive coach works with executives and high-potential employees to help them enhance their self-awareness, create objectives, reach development targets, and unleash their potential. They also serve as a sounding board for those in need of advice and support. Coaching that transforms a business into a true learning organisation is provided by the company’s workers. It is something that every manager should do regularly with their whole workforce to contribute to the overall culture and mission of the company. To be an effective manager coach, a person must ask questions rather than provide answers, encourage rather than criticise their employees, and facilitate rather than dictate what has to be done. What are the benefits of working with a leadership coach? For leaders, there are seven reasons executive coaching may be beneficial (Ryan Bonnici): • The ability to recognise one has improved. • The ability to maintain self-control has improved. • The amount of empathy has increased. • The quality of cognition during work improves. • The degree of motivation has increased. • Social talents have been enhanced. • The development of leadership abilities has occurred. Why should I hire a leadership coach? For several reasons, a company’s top executives could consider working with practice leading and experiment with your role as a leader. Getting help from a leadership coach may help you become more self-aware, understand the various facets of your leadership, and work toward being the leader you want to be. Allowing the leader in you to emerge, youmay impact change in your team and organisation by reinvigorating yourself to become a better leader, you don’t need to be a copycat of someone else’s style. A professional coach’s unbiased and honest assessment of your leadership style, skills, and weaknesses may be beneficial (Phillips and Ball). After that, they will help you develop your strengths and correct your weaknesses by putting you through a variety of group and individual exercises. Over time, you become the leader you were always meant to be. To put it another way: HPL is only a minor piece in the puzzle of life. Because of this, you will get daily, intensive group coaching as part of the program to help you develop your leadership talents. The possibility of more coaching sessions is always open (IMD). You will notice a long-term impact on your leadership performance thanks to this continuous coaching help. Who is leadership and executive coaching for? Both working with an organisation’s leaders to help them maximise their talents and manage their teams successfully and using a leadership style while interacting with their teams are examples of what is meant by the term “leadership coaching.” People, relationships, businesses, and behavioral change are all areas of expertise for executive coaches (Douglas McKenna). For executive coaching, you’ve found the golden spot when an executive is looking for advice on how to better manage and