- When Individual Executive Coaching Should Be Considered
- While onboarding a new executive hire into a new organization
- When existing high performance executives are looking to move to the next level of learning & performance
- When existing executives are require new skills as the company moves from one stage of growth to another
- Individual executive coaching has 4 popular common coaching focuses. Coaching executives in relation to:
- Their superior(s)
- Some great self-help management coaching publications for managers and leaders. All below address how a manager or leader can improve their effectiveness and supercharge positive impact on co-workers, regardless of direction of focus:
- Radical Candor (https://www.radicalcandor.com/)
- Crucial Accountability, https://www.vitalsmarts.com/resource/crucial-accountability-book/
- Tribal Leadership https://www.triballeadership.net/
- The “Hard Things About Hard Things” (by Ben Horowitz, co-founder of esteemed Silicon Valley venture firm Andreeson Horowitz), https://www.theceolibrary.com/the-hard-thing-about-hard-things-building-a-business-when-there-are-no-easy-answers-155.html
- Executive team coaching is different—there are unique requirements vis-a-vis individual executive coaching
- Team coaching carries with it the intrinsic goal of making the “whole greater than the sum of its parts.”
- Team coaching fuses together collective objectives instead of individual ones, with the primary focus on business unit or company goals.
- Research such as “5 Dysfunctions of a Team” are the basis for this sort of team coaching (links in bibliography below)
- Key considerations for individual executive coaching prospects include:
- Most importantly, willingness to accept coaching—often referred to as the “attitude” variable.
- If a candidate has very low EI/EQ (emotional intelligence), it is probably they’ll hit a ceiling before intended performance goals are achieved.
- Ability to commit time. Coaching time requires prioritization rather than risking subordination to other urgent business priorities, otherwise progress is unlikely to be made.
- What kind of time commitment is required?
- For individuals, there is often a minimum monthly or weekly commitment depending upon goals.
- For teams this can evolve differently, with an intense kick-off or multi-day retreat for the parties involved and then with a recurring cadence of team and individual meetings over many months.
- There are coaching “tools” that can help map areas of existing strength and future growth. From personality profiling at the lightest level (think DISC or Myers-Briggs MBTI), to more expansive profiling tools such as Gallup’s StrengthsFinder or Hogan psychometric instruments.
- There are coaching certifications, such as the ICF (International Coaching Federation), which is the recognized standards body and certification entity. More at https://coachfederation.org/. However, many coaches, both team coaches and individual executive coaches, may have a PhD in clinical psychology in addition to or instead of an ICF certification.
- Selecting a coach who is most likely to be a strong fit takes many things into consideration. Like hiring any other professional advisor, it is important to explore several candidates to get a better understanding of what feels like a good fit. Key indicators include:
- Trust—Can you establish a nonjudgmental, trust-driven relationship with the coach?
- Vulnerability—Can you be vulnerable with the coach, or will you feel like you always have to put forth your “best side”?
- Location—If it is important to the executive to have in person/face to face meetings, establish whether coaching sessions will all be in person, hybrid of in person and phone/video, or via virtual means only. Keep in mind that many platforms have switched their standard course given the pandemic, but there really is no “right answer” to this question. However, keep in mind that coaches will typically travel to “players.” Therefore, it is not necessary or advisable to prioritize those who are local. Find the best coach first, and then figure out the logistics of meeting cadence and virtual/in-person later.
- Some content & reading resources may be valuable to you while you’re exploring coaching. Consider reviewing the following:
- Measure What Matters. https://www.whatmatters.com/
- Rockefeller Habits, https://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Rockefeller-Habits-Increase-Growing/dp/0978774957
- Traction, https://www.amazon.com/Traction-Get-Grip-Your-Business/dp/1936661837
- 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, https://www.tablegroup.com/hub/post/the-five-dysfunctions-of-a-team, explainer video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=509V7Z9OUQA, and Lencioni Trust Pyramid https://www.toolshero.com/leadership/lencioni-trust-pyramid/
- Lessons taught by and learned from Bill Campbell, https://www.trilliondollarcoach.com/
Coaching. A phrase oft wrought with the distinction of self-improvement and positive enhancement. Considered “mission critical” across the realms of sports, entertainment and the like, it is understood to be a key piece of strategy when discussing performance potential and capability.
Yet, when included in the business context, the idealization surrounding coaching swiftly takes on a darker and more pejorative tone. Insofar as coaching business executives, it is often only seen in a remedial light, as a last ditch effort to course correct problems.
Stigma aside, the executive coaching experts at Talent Sequencing have gone to great lengths to reframe the cornerstone concepts underpinning executive coaching—because rather than “fixing” a presupposed “problem”, our approach towards coaching utilizes it in the same framework that top athletes, entertainers, and others assemble teams of specialized coaches to develop into optimal, high performance versions of themselves.
Through Talent Sequencing’s experience, our perspective is that coaching as a remedial approach is entirely shortsighted. Why should the default setting in the corporate context be “coaching is only for the damaged or broken”? Why shouldn’t it be along the lines of, “Hey, let’s follow the proven paths with what works in the high performance world of professional sports and entertainment, and bring in coaches to improve upon those who already demonstrate the highest ability, talent, and skills, and—in doing so—perhaps we can help them improve even further.” This is akin to the Marcus Buckingham mantra, “focus on improving your strengths,” vs. remediating your weaknesses (https://www.marcusbuckingham.com/rwtb/business-case-for-strengths/).
A typical professional sports team averages more coaches than players on the field. There are head coaches, strength coaches, psychological coaches, conditioning coaches, and strategy coaches. Often there is a ratio of 3 or 4 coaches to every 1 athlete when you take into consideration all the experts brought in to work on performance. An Olympic athlete has an arsenal of coaches on which they can draw.
In our approach at Talent Sequencing, we believe “let’s breed more Olympic corporate athletes & teams” is the right way to handle executive coaching. Can you imagine what would happen to business growth and productivity if we focused on energy on making the top performers and top potential—even better? Eric Schmidt, the vaunted former Google CEO and now Chair, confessed the value of coaching for him and his Google mandate with great candor in this video interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVfeezxmYcA.
In our next post, we will discuss the key arguments for executive coaching at this level. We encourage you to share your thoughts with us as well.
FACT #5: Interviewing & assessing executive candidates in 2020 got a whole lot more difficult when forced to do so remotely
For many, it felt like 2 out of 3 legs of the interviewing stool got cut off, leaving the interviewer precariously teetering on one spindle, off balance and unable to trust what they were seeing through a video camera on the other side of the now virtual interview table. How is the interviewer to get beyond “first date best behavior” and more clearly see how a candidate might behave a week, month or even a year into their new role? As if it isn’t hard enough to assess for this in the physical , companies and hiring authorities in 2020 were forced to do virtually all of their interviewing by video, replacing physical with digital, replacing 3 dimensions with 1. And—since our 5 senses were now reduced to 2— the question arose around how to bridge over that loss, and if/what tools could be used to replace
Resolution #5: Find, test & deploy a psychometric assessment instrument to help identify personality “derailers” that may exist within a candidate’s behavioral profile.
What is a psychometric assessment?
Based on the “5 Factor Model” and accompanying body of more than 50 years of data & research, Talent Sequencing’s Team Fit Analysis— http://talentsequencing.com/talent-sequencing-toolbox/team-fit-analysis/ — is the best tool we’ve been able to create, and is also administered & interpreted by a credentialed PhD psychologist to ensure executive candidates aren’t trying to “game the system.” For more on the history and development of the Big 5, see (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Five_personality_traits).
For our latest, we’re letting the experts at Vistage handle the 4th resolution as presented by their Chief Research Officer Joe Galvin and simply recommending that you “follow the research”.
FACT #4: Hiring and Recruiting will be the #1 decision the C-Suite will have to face in 2021
According to the Vistage Organization and its Chief Research Officer Joe Galvin, hiring, recruitment and sourcing is the most important challenge facing executives in 2021.
Resolution #4: Prioritize your talent strategy for 2021. A well-crafted strategy will tackle the challenges of virtual recruiting, selection and onboarding, incorporate a comprehensive assessment for skills as well as culture fit, and a keen understanding of which are the right people for the right seats. Finally quantitative and qualitative data points will help keep your hiring success on track if you acknowledge the critical importance recruitment will have on 2021.
FACT #3: Onboarding new talent in 2021 just got a whole lot harder.
In May of 2020, Harvard Business Review felt it important enough to feature this important issue in that month’s issue, https://hbr.org/2020/05/onboarding-a-new-leader-remotely.
Not far behind, Forbes picked up the thread in August, https://www.forbes.com/sites/tracybrower/2020/07/12/onboarding-during-the-pandemic-how-to-give-new-employees-a-running-start/
Resolution #3: Deploy a digital onboarding monitoring progress tool like the Executive Integration Assessment to gather monthly input from key stakeholders around the executive new-hire. The goal? To facilitate discussion and direct any course corrections to improve speed and success of executive transplant. For more, go to http://talentsequencing.com/talent-sequencing-toolbox/executive-integration-assessment/
Company cultures during Covid-19 in 2020 was a “tale of 2 cities”—some companies actually IMPROVED their cultures across the pandemic. Yet others saw massive deterioration (see article and analytics of 1.4 million employees and their sentiments around their company’s cultures by MIT Sloan Review published in October 2020, https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/how-companies-are-winning-on-culture-during-covid-19/ ). The difference between companies who were perceived to have improved their cultures vs. those who didn’t?
During times of crisis the quality of communication is central to how employees evaluate corporate culture. The other big factor behind company cultural erosion during Covid?
“Employees Give Companies Low Marks for Agility During COVID-19” as defined by 12 depressions from down 7% to down almost 40% in areas including slowness of speed in responding to changes, lack of strategic consistency & level of bureaucracy.
Resolution #2: As the management adage goes, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” Start MEASURING your own company’s culture. Light, quick, and frequent culture health monitoring pulses can make the difference between being in the “good city,” or the “bad”. For more on Talent Sequencing’s tool for culture pulsing, learn about the Distributed Culture Heatmap, http://talentsequencing.com/talent-sequencing-toolbox/distributed-culture-heatmap/
Going into the 2018 season, the average number of coaches on an NFL team staff is 22.3. Five years ago, the average was 21.5 – a subtle difference, but the trend is clear: In 2013, two teams had as many as 24 coaches on staff. In 2018, 11 teams had at least 24 coaches, including five that have more than 24. If coaching is proactive in athletics, consider its role in other industries.
So why do most companies treat coaching as a “last resort” for the troubled executive who is underperforming and is on the path to perdition and ultimate termination? Meanwhile, relatively few engage coaches to propel top talent further in their expertise and performance.
Resolution #1: Engage executive performance coaching for high potential talent to fuel company performance.
The annual ACG Intergrowth conference is a “must attend” for our Principals every year. As is the case still sweeping the world, this year’s late spring event was cancelled due to COVID-19. The Association for Corporate Growth (www.acg.org) quickly pivoted and introduced the ACG Member Summit, a virtual 3-day event, held during the week of June 23rd. This event leveraged innovative new technology which allowed for presentations, one-on-one meetings, as well as networking. Overall, given the first time effort and the venture into the unknown, sincere kudos all around to the ACG organizers for pulling off a great event… from the comfort, convenience, and safety of our own living rooms, studies, dens, and home offices.(more…)
Our Wartime Leadership Series cultivates the most relevant and helpful information to bring to you as videocasts, webinars and more.
- Thanks to the more than 180 who registered for our first webinar in our Wartime Leadership Series. The first topic was about mental toughness, and had as panelist noted psychometrics expert, Dr. Ryne Sherman from Hogan Assessments. The recording is available here.
- A key takeaway from Mental Toughness is that there is science that can reliability assess an individual’s “mental toughness” quotient.
- Talent Sequencing’s Dr. Dan Squires has built this into a diagnostic and prescriptive application that can be easily administered to an individual employee, team or broader sample set of company staff.
- Mental toughness can be coached up.
- If an employee was lower than optimal target range for mental toughness, Fahrenheit Advisors’ Jeff Ertel has built a coaching protocol to take the prescription and help drive adherence to a coaching plan that is tailored to each individual’s specific growth areas.
The BSG, Talent Sequencing and Farhenheit Advisors joint team presents the next in our webinar series,
“Wartime Leadership Series:
How to assess, maintain, and strengthen company culture in times of increased virtual workplace” – Register Here