According to the 2013 Stanford Business Executive Coaching Survey there is a “Shortage of advice at the top”.
Nearly 66% of CEOs do not receive coaching or leadership advice from outside consultants or coaches, while 100% of them stated that they are receptive to making changes based on feedback.
The Stanford Executive Coaching Survey suggests that there is clearly a demand for, and recognition of the value of, coaching. So what gets in the way of 2/3rds of people getting coaching?
There are reasons why successful leaders have got to where they have…usually because they are talented, intelligent, determined and focussed. It can be hard to believe that an external input can add value. So surely they don’t need a coach? It would be a sign of weakness if they were to be seen to be unable to do things on their own?
Antidote – humility (my favourite leadership quality; Read Leadership Quality No1).
‘If you always do what you’ve always done you’ll always get what you’ve always got’ – right? Actually, if you always do what you’ve always done you’ll fall behind – because the context is constantly moving, evolving, changing. I think it’s called progress. What you did last year to be successful may now be routine and common practice at best or at worst outdated. With humility – the quality that recognises that there may be a better way – one can start to be curious about different approaches and begin to explore ways of doing things better.
Successful people have coaches because they recognise that they may be able to do better.
Sport often helps us to polarise principles…I am always impressed at how someone like Andy Murray – the tennis player consistently ranked in the top 4 in the world – always acknowledges that there is room for improvement (even after he’s won majors). The most progressive organisations seem to have a healthy approach to learning – especially from mistakes. This often starts with a safe space for key leaders where they can confide in a trusted business partner.
There are so many people out there calling themselves coaches…what are their credentials? How do you know they’re any good? What’s to say they haven’t just completed a 2-day course, got a certificate and now call themselves ‘a coach’. Besides, isn’t it all just soft skill nonsense for people who need therapy or counselling? It’s easier not to be coached.
Antidote – Confidence (in the coach).
Many professional coaches have undergone significant amounts of stringent training and assessment. They belong to governing bodies such as the ICF (International Coaching Federation) or EMCC (European Mentoring & Coaching Council) who work progressively and proactively on ensuring ethical standards and sound practices. Coaching is not therapy and is not counselling…if those are required then a good coach will direct the client to seek that support. When choosing a coach, it is possible to ensure that they are qualified, accredited, experienced and can give you references; then you can be confident that they will work with you to address the goals you are working towards.
I include here capacity as well as committing budget – sometimes considerable amounts – on what can be seen as nothing more than a conversation may be hard to reconcile. Why would you give money to a stranger who is not going to do the ’heavy lifting’ to change your circumstances? And you don’t have time to put aside for you…do you?
Antidote – ROI (Return on Investment).
If you’ve come this far in exploring coaching as a development solution, then you intuitively recognise that an area of your work or life needs to move forward. You may not know exactly what the specifics are yet…but that is where the coaching acts. Exploring, clarifying and specifying what needs to change is a significant task and is often easily dismissed or procrastinated.
Committing to a third party – who is objective, supportive and who you are paying – will drive accountability and progress. Can you afford not to invest in you? And can you quantify (and qualify) the value of the progress you need to make? Additionally, the first step to addressing your capacity issues is often to prescribe the commitment in your diary so that you will do it. “If everything is important then nothing is.” (Patrick Lencioni) – and you moving forward is, actually, important.
PSC exists to enable insight and clarity of direction in complex situations where the stakes are high. We focus on your key performance requirements and design and deliver the solutions that will facilitate and equip your organisation to think and act strategically, unlock potential and empower leadership.
Utilising the ‘navigator’ method we identify the mission, bring clarity to the context, devise a plan, support the execution and hold to account over results.