Today, up to two-thirds of senior execs now access the support of an executive coach.
CEOs, executives and senior managers are now under pressure to deliver more responsive strategic and tactical turnarounds as the environment and competitors shift around them, and more effective people management.
Coaching helps. People succeed in most high-performance fields of life - sport being just one example - using regular coaching.
Coaching for leaders makes such a huge difference, because the performance of a leader (whether great or not-so-great) is magnified through its impact on people around them. If a leader can improve their own performance in even small increments, that will translate into performance improvements for their team, and that means big results.
For executive teams, this impact is even greater. Exec teams are responsible for performance not only down their lines, but also ACROSS the organisation - which is often where things fail either systematically or under pressure. Think silos, lack of departmental cooperation and synergy - this is all driven by the work of the exec team.
When we commence an exec coaching program, we typically start by mapping strengths and challenges, and defining coaching goals. This will often include input from above, below or around the exec or team to ensure our approach links the program to organisational goals. We benchmark current versus desired performance to really nail the objectives, and be in a position to measure progress and outcomes.
This alignment and our approach is a key to success in sustainable development for executives - both individuals and teams.
The alternative to using coaching?
Why not just leave your senior people to ‘do it themselves’?
Coaching for leaders and managers helps them develops awareness, skills, and behaviours far more effectively and faster than if the individual is left to address these challenges on their own.
If a manager ongoingly fails to hit targets or reach their potential when a coaching program would have helped turn things around, there is a huge cost to the organisation. It's far more costly than a coaching program fee! Under-performance of team members, sub-optimal relationships with other managers and teams, possibly having to replace people in key roles ... all very impactful in a bad way, and not just financially!
Our coaching supports executives in achieving their objectives. It brings offering insight on issues, support and focus through the process, while facilitating the learning and consolidation of new skills. We monitor progress, with headway towards objectives being reviewed and evaluated, and our programs can be revised midstream if needed. This is another benefit of not just leaving managers and exec team members to 'go it alone' - but rather providing the support that helps them and the team win.
Coaching and high-performance organisations
It's likely these days that every high-performing organisation (see HPOs) will have coaching embedded into its development culture and systems. But if not, it's time to get started.
Coaching outcomes include personal fulfilment and increased confidence for the executive. We work to ensure this translates to a positive impact and a real return to the team they lead, the teams they're members of, and the organisation.
Group Coaching Programs
Leadership Development Seminars
Bringing your leadership or management team together in a development process can be a powerful way to improve organisational performance.
This is because of the massive leverage power that leaders and managers have. And it is important to note – if this power is not being used constructively it is probably doing untold damage! It’s well worth investing a relatively small amount in these programs – what’s the gain if they just help you win or retrieve one major customer, or avoid one significant service disaster? And they will.
Atwork provides leadership solutions that are well researched, industry leading and proven to increase your organisation's effectiveness.
While we can deliver standard leadership programs, you can really make a sustained and major boost to performance through a customised leadership development program. This would typically start with some benchmark assessment, leading into the delivery of an impactful program, and wrapping up after followup assessment to test the achievements of the program and progress of your team.
Leadership programs deliver long-term
An effective internal leadership development program should target not only current leaders, but also future leaders. Such a program complements your succession planning through building your organisation’s ability to seamlessly fill key executive vacancies with new leaders from your internal leadership group. If you are not developing your future leaders, you limit your options when vacancies arise, and seriously damage the motivation of people just waiting for an opportunity to grow and contribute.
How a program works
A leadership program usually includes both group and one-to-one coaching work. It's intense and transformational. We usually undertake team or individual performance assessments or, if needed, organisational surveys that can help target the approach. An effective program might be designed more around the team or individual level, depending on the issues and challenges identified as a result of this analysis and the input from the program sponsor, leaders and team members.
Programs are typically run over a period of between 3 and 6 months depending on factors such as urgency, staff availability, the available budget, and program goals.
Assessing Leadership - where Performance really matters
Leadership performance matters more than performance at other levels, as the impact of a leader cascades up & down, across and outside the business.
To improve leadership performance, we start with assessment or benchmarking.
When people are performing well as leaders it’s usually easy to identify that. But if it’s sub-par, it can be harder to pick up exactly where the shortfalls are occurring. Boards and Councils, for example, are often not close enough to daily operations to objectively and comprehensively assess the performance of a CEO. The same can apply to top leaders in assessing their key execs and managers.
More is needed than just anecdotal evidence or individual views.
In the case of a CEO or MD, this means making a full assessment of that leader’s performance as seen by board/council members as well as direct reports and peers or stakeholders. The same can apply for leaders at the next levels, and at the third or fourth levels in larger organisations.
One useful solution is a structured 360-degree approach. A 360 incorporates response information from “all around” the individual.
When you set out to implement a 360° processes for senior leaders, executives and managers, you want to be confident that you are using services that are objective, reliable and valid.
We can bring a range of great models to this process, including:
- The optimal 360 framework for assessing and developing leaders - the Leadership Circle Profile (LCP);
- A 360 tool based on assessing Emotional Intelligence – the EQi 2.0;
- A 360 tool based on assessing Transformational Leadership – the MLQ;
We also design custom 360s based on existing measures such as organisational values, KPIs and other agreed objectives.
Accelerated Leadership Curve
For Managers and Executives – an intense challenging new program with a mix of group sessions and one-to-one coaching.
A typical structure consists of:
- 3 group sessions – Introduction, Intensive, Optimise. Share your leadership development path with other committed people from a range of organisations, or form a group from your own organisation. Guest speakers. Typical group size 6-10.
- 3 customised personal coaching sessions over a 2 month term.
- Personal profiling, typically using Team Management Profile and EQi2 to benchmark your management style and all-important ‘soft skills’.
- Option of team performance profiling for an intact team from one organisation (additional fee).
- Coaching goals set; goals that inspire, motivate and activate; Projects and implementation actions; Access to online forms and resources.
- A high impact program that is demanding, confrontational where needed, and highly enjoyable – it stimulates a giant leap in terms of leadership performance.
New understanding of leadership style. Learning what it takes to be a leader in this environment of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. Highly enhanced self-awareness. Improving the capacity to manage self. Improving the ability to influence others. Focus on goals and outcomes for success. Dedication to achieving results.
Stepping up to leading a team
For new Team Leaders and Managers, taking on the role effectively can require ‘upgrades’ in key areas of how they manage themselves and others.
We, probably like you, have seen it all - including the challenge for new managers after a shuffle when the team they step in to manage includes their own former manager.
For some new Team Leaders and Managers, taking on the role can require a real makeover in areas including identity, capability, beliefs and behaviours .... while for others the need may be a good introduction to some of the fundamentals of management.
The step up from being a team member
For the first time that new manager is no longer just one of the team. It means leaving behind past ways of connecting and relating, while building a new style - as manager.
With management comes a whole new level of responsibility. It’s not enough any longer just to be a skilled technical practitioner; the new manager is charged with the setting directions and supporting the performance of others.
Again, perhaps for the first time, the new manager has to establish objectives, allocate work, delegate, and lead the team. It’s a big step, involving many revisions to style, and more difficult without the knowledge and support of a mentor and/or coach. And why would anyone want to make things more difficult for the new manager?
The Coaching supplement
Coaching does not replace mentoring from more senior managers inside the organisation. Ideally, the new manager has access to both.
How a coaching program works with Managers
A customised coaching program might include profiling, using tools such as the Team Management Profile (TMP) and EQi2 to benchmark management style and soft skills. Goals are established related to the development areas we identify, and tied in to the unique challenges of the role and the team. Many new managers need basic introductions to a management skillset included in their coaching program. We include practical development applications that make an immediate difference for them at work.
The outcome is a fast-track to management capability. The gain is multiplied - the new manager and their team are quickly up to speed and ‘kicking goals’. The team is settled, comfortable in the knowledge that their new manager does know their stuff. Performance is what it’s all about, and satisfaction with the new manager from above, below and around is critical in getting them through to that level.
No matter what stage in our career, personal coaching can be beneficial for most of us at one time or another.
Why personal performance coaching?
People take on a personal coaching program when there's a perceived gap between their present and desired styles, behaviours, performance results or satisfaction in their work.
Aside from specific purpose coaching such as leadership or management development, the driver may be that a person’s patterned ways of working have reached their limits, and they're buried in unfinished projects, not achieving their goals, or unhappy in their role.
It could be a matter of specific personal skills needed to address current performance issues.
Sometimes it's a need to develop new strategies to deal more effectively with changes at work.
Customised and standard content
So people come into a personal coaching program for many reasons. As a result personal performance coaching is more customised, and leadership / management coaching follows a more standard program format.
In either case we find some themes are pretty consistent, and these allow us to be efficient in our work, while ensuring we meet individual coaching needs effectively.
How an objective third party helps
Having the services of a trusted, skilled, objective third party can help us achieve a new perspective on life – within the workplace and possibly also outside.
This support can be also vital when staff are considering or experiencing transitions in location, career, role or other aspects of life.
The benefits are more than personal
An organisation’s success is based on the performance of its employees. In a personal coaching program we focus on the links between individual performance and the organisation’s strategy – helping the individual meet whatever performance challenges they are facing.
Personalised coaching is sometimes the key in enabling individuals to either deliver in their current role, or take the steps to their next position.
In either case, the joint goals of a personal coaching program involve working towards positive outcomes for both the organisation and the individual.
Individual performance coaching
Sometimes good people get stuck. This is where an individual coaching program can help. Again it’s that great formula for success, diagnose, build recognition of the issues and challenges, and get to work addressing them. Personal growth is the key to improving performance. A good coaching process will also quickly identify when a person doesn’t have either the capacity or the willingness to do the job. We can assist this with tools such as EI, personality profiling and delving beneath the surface to identify where the key leverage points are.
Naturally, Atwork also brings you an extensive range of other leadership products and programs, management advice, performance coaching, and introductory management development workshops. So when you've made the decision that it's time to build high performance leadership across your organisation... get in touch. To read more, check out our article on High Performance Organisations.
What our clients say...
“The results to date have not only met our expectations of the program, but also exceeded them. In the early stages following, we’ve already improved individual management performance, and we have a significantly improved leadership team ... it’s already become a team that works more effectively together, focused around a vision and our key common goals”. CEO