Many executives rise through the ranks of their profession and the day arrives when their technical proficiency is only part of their workload.
Suddenly they can be managing a practice and dealing the responsibility of managing employees, running the financial aspects of the practice and all facets of the operation PLUS their professional work.
That's not always where their heart - or their interest is, and often there is no training for this adjustment.
Wearing every hat and managing every detail of the day-to-day running of the business requires a different array of skills, than does the professional training of the individual.
Industry Disruption In The New Marketplace
Add to this difficulty, the changing landscape of business. Clients are now well informed about their interests and marketing has turned into a free-for-all with nobody really certain what works any more and many traditional professions inclined to stick with the old, traditional (no risk!) ways, that frankly don't work any longer. Fees for service are no longer following a certain pattern as new methods of doing business develop with a few innovators leading the way.
Executive Coaching - What It Isn't
Coaches are no more alike than are executives. While some coaches are part of a franchise arrangement and follow a paint-by-numbers style approach, or dabble in areas that may be more correctly the domain of the accountant or financial advisor, my approach to coaching executives is to begin with identifying the current issues causing stress, work through the issues that the client is most affected by and often this means working through a process to ascertain the current situation, look at options for remediation of those areas that need work, while giving recognition to the areas that are working well and need to be maintained or improved.
Gaining clarity of purpose is a fundamental aspect of the work we do together, as it is from here that we can set objectives that move the executive and their responsibilities in the direction that matches their vision and intention for both the business responsibilities they hold, and their personal goals. These sets of priorities can end up competing and during the coaching process we can build in some structural integrity that maintains a set of outcomes that are ecologically sound and practical in delivering an evidenced based result.
To be clear - while working on these issues, some personal development issues will arise, but this should not be confused with therapy - which coaching is not, and with which, it should never be confused.
Big Picture - Strategy Vs Detail
One issue that often creates stress for executives is being mired in the low-level decisions that need to be made daily. This can create a situation where they are involved in issues that should and could be resolved by the use of good policies to direct the employees responsible for such issues. Good systems that support the policies means that most everyday situations can be handled effectively without the need for the executive to moderate.
While 'putting out fires' can consume the executive's time and energy, the real leadership comes from approaching the needs of the business from a more global vantage point. We can't see what the patterns are that are being created in the business, when we are in the middle of it. Distance gives us a better perspective from which we can see more easily, what needs doing, and what specific actions can be undertaken to deliver the best outcomes for the least effort, least disruption and least amount of double handling, whilst improving service standards and streamlining the process.
As an executive you have earned your place in the business and your expertise in your field is not in question. Businesses may be held back by routines that no longer work as effectively as they might and as a leader it is a part of your role to recognise when the business is not functioning at peak capacity, and develop the skills you need to not only carry out the duties that only you can do - those duties not practical to delegate - but also to notice and respond effectively to signs that the business needs assistance in some way.
Conflict management, communication and other soft skills are essential to the high functioning executive and are behaviours that others can model to in turn develop their own skills. Compassion, relationship and persuasion skills are often treated as though being soft-skills they have less value when in fact they are the essence of an harmonious workplace, high productivity and morale. These qualities also transmit through interactions with clients and other suppliers to a business, for positive engagement - and that reflects in the bottom line for any business. This is doubly so in the new marketplace where authentic relationships and high level expertise is in demand.
For information on coaching session, call me on 0403 365 855.
Coaching is available in modules of 10 sessions, casual sessions, as required or by retainer.