It is interesting how topics or concepts show up in your life in a cluster. Whether it be types of clients, types of issues, or multiple clients from a similar industry. Currently, I am hearing a desire for personal development from executives in various industries.
The current trend – personal development for the executive
Right now, the trend seems to be executives calling to say they really need personal development. In the last week and a bit, I’ve interviewed at least five new prospective clients for our roster. In each case, the potential coachee has shared a story about a significant issue on their horizon that will require more of them. These individuals are self aware enough of their personal leadership limitations as executives. One said, “I keep falling into the same trap.” Another said, “I’ll be moving from being responsible for only $30 M as CFO to $150 M in the next year. I don’t know how I’ll do it.” Yet another offered, “I’m just tired of doing things the same way and I don’t want to end my career like this.” Keep in mind, all of these individuals are very successful executives. Notwithstanding, they long for greater effectiveness and even better outcomes and achievement.
Enhancing your book smarts with executive coaching
One of the richest conversations I had was with a gent who was initially hired to turn a massive company around. He did so in just over a year. Yet, he is saying he doesn’t want to read more books or take more courses. He is already so book smart. What he wants is to figure out how to take all of that book smarts and be able to live it all out. And do so consistently. He is tired of looking back on situations and knowing he could have led better. Despite the hindsight he still doesn’t change in that area. This executive is longing for transformation.
Executive coaching is an experience, and not something that is intended to increase knowledge. It is all about transformation. As a coach, my job is to hold the space for my clients and to use a range of coaching skills and techniques that give them a new experience. I often call the space we create in coaching, our laboratory. Whether in person, over the phone, or by Skype, we enter a laboratory together where we test new things. Clients get to have new experiences that lay down new neuropathways in their brains. This is how transformation happens!
It was rewarding last night to go out for dinner with a client and his wife who was in town from back east. Over dinner we talked a little business and at least two or three times his wife told stories and offered a, “thank you Cam” to me as she reflected on how her husband has transformed as the CEO of his Ontario-based entity. It wasn’t anything about what he learned but was all about personal development and transformation.
Executive coaching for the executive coach
I think back to early in my consulting career. Someone in my network connected me to a very successful consultant. We connected and she gave me one piece of advice; hitch your wagon to the best coach you can possibly afford. I did exactly that. I hired a world class consultant, who most would say is in the top 5 coaches in the world. Marshall Goldsmith was recently quoted as saying my coach is, “The finest entrepreneurial coach in the world.” His coaching was not affordable and I travelled a long way to establish my first connection with him before we could coach by phone. The time, effort and finances were all worth it. Yes, I learned some new knowledge, but, more importantly, I fully transformed as an entrepreneur.
Let’s be frank…. Nobody, and I mean nobody, makes it to the top of their game in anything (not any industry, not any sport, etc.) without excellent coaching. After a successful coaching engagement, very few people thank me for what I taught them. Rather, they thank me for supporting their transformation. I guess that is why one of Kaleidoscope’s core values is, “Hold space to act, achieve, and transform.”
Cameron’s Call to Action
- Ask yourself how much personal development and transformation you’ve experienced as an executive this past year.
- Review how much time, money and effort you are investing in learning new things versus having transformative experiences.
- Make a thoughtful list of the top 3 or 4 areas you know you need to transform in. Steps to take your executive leadership to the next level.
- Make a plan on how you’ll achieve these 3 or 4 transformations in personal development.
- Don’t make excuses. If you are a senior executive, then neither time nor money are resources as you have adequate of both. Time and money are simply priorities. I repeat, you time you’re your money are NOT resources they are priorities – period. Don’t make excuses, rather invest in yourself. You’ll get a great return. I know I did.