Executive coaching for leadership and self-leadership
High-quality leadership is the exception
Leadership: the subject of thousands and thousands of books, articles, training programmes and development initiatives. And yet high-quality leadership seems to be the exception rather than the rule: the kind of leadership which enables others to flourish, which creates engagement, which inspires and stimulates discretionary effort, which influences and motivates those within the leader’s organisation and beyond it, and which sustainably takes results to a higher level attracts attention because it is still relatively unusual.
Executive coaching for the leadership essentials: self-awareness and self-understanding
Part of the reason, I suggest, is that only the developmental and transformational approach of the best executive coaching can equip the leader (potential or actual) to search within themselves and to courageously examine their own practice in order to deliver their leadership in a style which creates a better organisation – and, some would say, a better world. High-quality leadership isn’t a check-list: it’s a question of how the leader brings the essence of themselves to their role. It demands self-awareness and self-understanding, awareness of how others tick and a capacity for the leader to put themselves in those others’ shoes, an awareness of how the systems of relationships and influences around them work (no matter how distant those relationships), a curiosity to keep learning (especially when things go wrong) and a discipline to keep applying the learning – and learning again and again from that application.
Executive coaching can equip the leader to lead – and self-lead – sustainably
Leaders can effectively lead others only with the self-awareness and self-understanding to lead themselves, and it’s executive coaching that can uniquely, amongst all learning interventions, equip leaders to lead and self-lead sustainably, with integrity, authenticity and humility. Executive coaching is an approach to learning, via a confidential relationship, in which the learner – a senior person within an organisation – is responsible for the learning agenda and for creating the outcomes of that learning.
The executive coach is responsible for creating conditions in which the leader can achieve a level of self-awareness and self-understanding that will better equip them to clarify and assess their situation, draw lessons from it, work out their options, create opportunities, make positive and sustainable changes, and make decisions that are congruent with the person they are, and what they want to achieve. The coaching journey enables the leader to create and discover insights which they can experiment with in the conduct of their own working lives (‘self-leading’) and then apply to leading others.
Benefits and outcomes: authentic leadership and self-coaching
Executive coaching can fundamentally challenge an individual’s style of leadership and typically improves their impact on both people and results. Leaders I coach achieve development and transformation: they make profound and sustained changes in themselves, in their teams, in the philosophy and practices in their organisations, and in the quality of outcomes they create. They learn to self-coach, applying the principles they have created for themselves during their coaching programmes, becoming better able to question assumptions and old beliefs they might subconsciously have been carrying with them for years, understanding how to integrate new knowledge into their own practice, and knowing at a profound level who they really are.
Their self-coaching engenders a capacity for self-leadership – for being consistently open to examining and questioning their own principles and practice, to adapting and adjusting their behaviour, to leading themselves effectively as a pre-condition for leading others.
Their coaching enables their authenticity to express itself in their concept and delivery of leadership. They tap in more fully to their capabilities – so they become more effective at achieving the outcomes they want. They think freshly, from new perspectives, and feel safe enough to think creatively – so they create new solutions. They discover what helps them and what hinders them in achieving the outcomes they want – so they’re better able to make decisions and judgments which are well-grounded, and which make their results sustainable. They create and sustain productive working relationships and get the best out of their people. They propel their careers and their organisations forward.
The coaching relationship creates the basis for results: purpose, confidence and engagement
My executive coaching is based on a relationship of trust, openness and impartiality that creates a safe space in which the leader can do the risky thinking that will take them to the next level. The coaching gets behind what presents on the surface so that the leader gains an understanding of what drives and motivates them, what guides and influences their behaviour, and what enables them to do their best work. They become equipped to keep creating positive results that stick, and to challenge and change the repeating patterns that can get in the way of the results they’re aiming for. Leaders I’ve worked with say they walk a more purposeful path, experience growing confidence, run efficient, motivated, engaged teams whose members step up to take responsibility, inspire confidence, and improve their organisations’ impact and results.
They create results that make a significant difference.