Can you imagine being a tech giant CEO who is ready to resign only days before the company’s billion-dollar IPO? Google’s Eric Schmidt faced management struggles that led him to that brink – until an executive coach changed his perspective. That decision helped drive Google’s transformation to global titan and demonstrates the value of a business coach.
While not all of us will lead a powerhouse like Google, we all face career struggles. Having a coach outside of your organization can make you a better leader. Here are four ways coaches can help you overcome challenges and strengthen your leadership performance.
Help you see the big picture
For most people, walking away from millions in stock might seem crazy. But Eric Schmidt was focused on all the daily conflicts of interest with his board and executive team leading up to the IPO. He was looking beyond money to other motivators that drive leaders such as purpose and pride.1 Schmidt’s coach was able to focus him beyond emotional drivers to rational considerations and compromise. It helped Schmidt envision what was ahead five years down the road - if he stayed.
Making time for big picture thinking is hard for many fast-moving leaders who don’t know how to ‘get out of the weeds’ of daily problems.2 Coaches offer fresh perspective to help you understand your motivations and think differently about your role and priorities.
Prepare you for crucial conversations
Leaders usually head into high stakes conversations with goals they need to accomplish and a firm grasp of how they are going to get there. When obstacles arise, many are ready to plow through, going into an offensive vs. collaboration mode. That was the case for Dr. Steve Waronker, chief of anesthesiology at Emory Specialty Associates in Marietta, Ga, who led team meetings and got results but left some team members feeling bruised in the process.
“I left some scorched earth on the way to the end zone,” he said.3 Coaching taught him to listen more, talk less and engage in more give and take with team members.
Tell you the emperor has no clothes
The higher up the leadership chain, the less likely you are to hear criticism about your performance, even if it’s constructive. Today, many CEOs don’t even feel like they can turn to their own senior leadership teams for honest feedback.4 But that feedback is a valuable gift that should be welcomed, says Warren Buffet, one of the world’s most successful businessmen and philanthropists. That’s where coaches come in. Like the small child who calls out the emperor for being naked in the Hans Christian Andersen tale The Emperor's New Clothes, a strong coach will tell leaders what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. That honest feedback needs to be met by leaders with reflection and action.
Executive Coaches can skillfully provide on-demand and detailed feedback that business leaders need and often don’t get from their peers and employees.
Coach to build confidence
Basing leadership on problem-solving and communication skills alone, without strong self-confidence, is like building a house on a foundation of sand.5 The exterior may look fine, but it will ultimately be shaky at best. Confident leaders can tackle issues more quickly to reduce disruption and they tend to increase inclusiveness and creativity.6
But confidence is lacking in many leaders, especially women. 67% of women say they need more support building confidence as the lack of it impacts their ability to ask for mentorship, ask for access to senior leaders and pursue career opportunities.7 Coaches can serve as an equalizer helping to close the gender gap in all levels of leadership. They do this by working with women to challenge negative self-perceptions that hinder their ability to advance in the workplace. Beyond gender, it is crucial for any leader to find the right coach; one who they can connect with and who can help them break through roadblocks to help move their career forward.8
When leaders exhibit and inspire confidence, they are easier to trust and that increases team commitment. Coaches can provide valuable insights that help executives move beyond second-guessing and defensiveness to confident leadership.
Looking for a way to boost your leadership game? RightCoach™ is a virtual on-demand coaching solution that helps individuals build leadership skills necessary to tackle any challenge and move your career forward.
For more insights on how RightCoach™ can benefit your business, visit Right.com.