Coaching C-level executives is fascinating. You get to work with people who already have as much money as they are ever going to need, along with plenty of power. Yet they still have problems – problems with time, other people, and how to have their organizations perform better. Those who hire executive coaches are committed to ongoing professional development; they want to be even better than they already are.
You might think that the discussions we have are as complex and as filled with business jargon as a management consultant’s PowerPoint deck. That’s not the case.
Coaching usually ends up being quite straightforward. The most valuable insights that executives have during our coaching sessions seem simple and even obvious. Coaching allows them to step back from the daily fires and endless meetings and look at the bigger picture. A good executive coaching meeting is something totally different compared to how executives usually spend their time – intensive yet rejuvenating.
Following is a summary of 12 recent insights that some of my clients have had. The point of this list is to show that executive coaching can help clients come up with very valuable, yet simple, decisions. You have to know what you are doing, and once you do, the impact you can have is wonderful.
- Instead of worrying about this thorny $1 million acquisition, I need to focus on the couple of $100 – $300 million acquisitions that will get us to our $1 billion target.
- I am getting three hours of sleep because of all the work I have and yet everything I am doing is important. My executive team’s plates are full, and so if I want to work less I need to hire at least two more executives who can do some of the work I am doing now.
- My CFO is undermining me to the CEO. I need to stop the damage he is doing by speaking to the CEO and having a hard conversation with the CFO.
- The amount of travel I am doing is not sustainable. I need a new plan to stay in touch with our regional offices.
- I need to set higher standards and stop tolerating it when members of my team are doing work that doesn’t meet my standards.
- I have been delaying firing two of my employees for too long. I need to take action now and the right people on my team.
- We need to send more consistent messages about our change effort and I need to be more involved in making sure that my team is getting the message out to their teams, all the way to our front lines.
- I love technology, hate dealing with people, and don’t especially want to get better at dealing with people. It is time to get someone else to run my company while I continue to develop our technology.
- I am going to be more specific about what I expect from each of my team members, and give them more frequent feedback.
- My team and I have to get together and develop ideas for some next-generation products that we will either develop or acquire.
- I will acknowledge members of my team more often for their contributions.
- I need to spend more time building relationships with some of the members of the Board of Directors, including showing them that we are on top of the issues that concern them.
When executives have insight like the ones above, and they follow up, they see fast and positive results. Executive coaching is really quite amazing, because it enables executives to discover simple yet incredibly high-impact ways to be even better.