We’ve found that 40 percent of executives hired at the senior level are pushed out, fail or quit within 18 months.
Kevin Kelly, Heidrick & Struggles CEO, discussing his executive search firm’s internal study of 20,000 searches in the Financial Times, March 20, 2009.
Today, it is tough to keep up. Organizations are changing—finding new directions—and expect management to get on board quickly. Those who don’t are often left behind or pushed out. A trusted advisor (business coach) can help you or someone on your staff to increase productivity and performance.
More executives are asking for business coaching. You may want to ask your organization to provide you with a personal business coach, or you may want to hire a coach for yourself or for one or two of your employees. In fact, there has been a boom in business coaching. According to a recent AMA survey, companies that use business coaching report performing well on such measures as revenue growth, market share, profitability and customer satisfaction. Individuals who had received coaching were more likely to (1) set work-related goals and (2) find that subordinates trust their leadership abilities.
In today’s demanding work environment, leaders must effectively manage their organizations, adapt to continuous change and meet challenging objectives. As a leader, you know that the best way to manage is to use all of the resources available to you; however, you may be overlooking a critical resource…a business coach.
How could a business coach help you? Let’s look at some situations where working with a business coach could be of benefit to you:
- You are in a new leadership position in your company or in a new company.
- You have a new manger with a different leadership style and new expectations for your organization.
- You are managing a significant change initiative while striving to meet performance expectations.
- You’re passed over for a promotion that you felt you deserved or your work is not appreciated by the organization.
A business coach is a resource you can use to manage these situations so that you can:
- Assesses the realities of your situation.
- Define the core challenges to be addressed.
- Develop alternatives and actions to address these challenges.
- Receive support and guidance as you implement the actions.
Four Situations in which an Executive Coach Could Be
of Benefit to You:
- When You Are Starting a New Leadership Position
When leaders move to any new leadership position, leadership expectations change. What you do during the first 90 days in a new leadership position will determine how you are perceived by your boss, peers and staff. A new leadership position can be:
- A new management position within your company.
- A promotion from managing individual contributors to managing managers.
- A management position in a new company.
Regardless of what type of leadership move it is, you have approximately 90 days to establish your credibility, since you are working with people who do not know you.
Case Study: Sondra
Managing the First 90 Days
Sondra was promoted to a new leadership position as Senior Marketing Director for a new product. Her previous leadership transition had not gone smoothly, so she decided to work with a coach as she transitioned into her new position.
As we began working together, we talked about her new boss and his expectations. She scheduled a meeting with him to clarify what was expected and how he preferred to communicate with people on his staff. We used the Circles of Influence chart (pp. 6-7) to identify and prioritize the key stakeholders she needed to build relationships with to be successful in her new position. Some of these stakeholders were people she supported, so learning their perspective of her organization helped to identify what was working well and the issues that needed to be addressed. When meeting with her direct reports, as a group and then individually, she again gained a perspective of what was working well, and what needed to be improved in her organization. Armed with this information, Sondra began developing her 90-day plan regarding the key areas she would focus on to gain “early wins” and creditability with her manager and key stakeholders. She then reviewed the plan with her manager. At the end of her first 90 days, Sondra had addressed a major organizational issue, was meeting project commitments, and was forming strong relationships with her key stakeholders.
Ask your organization to provide you with a personal business coach, or hire a coach for yourself or for one or two of your employees.
- When You Have a New Boss
As a leader, positioning your organization to meet changing expectations can be challenging, particularly when you aren’t sure what is expected. When you have a new boss, you will need to determine again what is expected of you and your organization. When you’re reporting to a new boss:
- Expectations for you and your organization may change.
- You may need to adapt your management style to that of your new boss.
- You may need to refocus how work gets done in your organization.
To be successful, you will be expected to adapt to the new expectations and style of your new boss. A coach can help you to assess the situation and alternatives, and determine how you can best adapt to be successful.
Case Study: Sam
Managing the Transition with a New Boss
Sam, a VP in Medical Affairs at a pharmaceutical company, enjoyed working with his boss, who was a strategic thinker. When his boss moved to a new position, Sam was a bit anxious about what was in store for him and his organization. He had been through several changes with bosses in other positions and knew they could be tricky.
When Sam met with his new boss, the SVP of Research, he provided a status report about the organization’s projects. Within the next couple of weeks, Sam’s boss called regularly to ask for minute details about the various projects. Sam was frustrated by all the detailed questions from his boss; however, he began to realize that this would be the new reality. Since his style and his boss’ style were very different, Sam called his Five O’Clock Club Coach whom he had previously worked with for help. When Sam met with his coach, they agreed that Sam would need to work differently to meet his new boss’ expectations. Since extensive detail was important to his boss, Sam would have to provide much more detail about each project. As they discussed alternatives, they agreed that Sam would need to gain a better understanding of the project detail that his boss required. Based on that information, they then developed plans about how Sam would work with his staff to ensure that the requested detail was obtained and included in all reports to avoid last minute fire drills. In addition, they developed strategies for how Sam would prepare for project meetings with his boss, since he would be expected to know much more about the details of each project then he had before. Sam and his organization were now working differently as they adapted to meeting their new boss’ expectations.
- When You Are Managing a Major Change in Your Organization
Change is the constant in today’s businesses. Managing change is an expected part of a leader’s job. The greater the change, the more leadership time and focus it will take…and…you will still be accountable for achieving results. Change can include:
- Technology and major process changes in your organization.
- Organizational restructuring due to increased functions in your organization, or a reduction in headcount.
- New company initiatives that need to be incorporated into your organization.
Managing change can seem like having two competing priorities. A coach can help you to balance both priorities and avoid the pitfalls when managing the change.
Case Study: Vince
Managing a Technology Change
Vince, a Customer Service Director, managed a group of 30 people with three managers reporting to him. He had worked for his boss for several years, so he felt he knew what was expected.
The organization was transitioning to a new customer service system. Vince’s boss made it clear that he expected the levels of service to be maintained during the transition process. Vince quickly realized that managing a major system change and maintaining the high service levels his organization provided would be extremely difficult, and he was not sure how to mange it. His boss suggested working with a Five O’Clock Club Business Coach.
When Vince met with his coach, he identified the internal strategies needed to seamlessly implement the new system in his organization. In addition, his coach also encouraged him to develop a strategy to engage the customers he supported so that they would understand the impact that the new system would have on their organization. As the implementation occurred, Vince used his coach as a sounding board to be sure he was managing the unexpected glitches in the best possible way. What once seemed like an impossible situation, turned into a model of how to implement a new-technology system in the company.
- When You’re “Stuck” in Your Career
You are the manager of your career. Your career can become stuck through no fault of your own, such as when:
- The organization does not value the work you are doing.
- You find that the job is not what you thought it would be and it’s time to move on.
- You are passed over for a promotion.
- You don’t fit into the organization’s culture.
Candidly assessing where you are in your career and where you want to be is a way to ensure that you are managing your career.
Case Study: Judy
Judy was a Program Director in a prestigious niche consulting firm. When she joined the firm five years ago, she was excited to be a part of the organization. The firm was expanding and had added her area of expertise to their consulting services. She enjoyed the work she was doing and was well received by her clients and colleagues. As time progressed, Judy felt she was ready to lead the more complex projects coming into the firm. However, there was always a reason why she was not chosen, even though the performance feedback from her manger and clients was extremely positive, and she was often a major player in these projects, as well as in the projects she led.
Judy called me to discuss where she was in her career, and to assess what her next steps should be. She felt stuck and unappreciated, even though she was receiving very positive feedback about her performance. In discussing the background of the people who were receiving the leadership positions for the more complex projects, she identified that all of the selected leaders had a background in the firm’s core competencies and had begun their careers with the company. It became clear to Judy that, although her expertise was important to the firm, it was not a part of their core business competencies and, therefore, she probably was not a strong candidate for promotion. She decided to initiate a job search for a position in an organization that valued her expertise, and is now a Senior Director in a major non-profit.
Managing your career is about accepting the realities of what is happening to you in your current position, and then deciding what is best for you and your career. A coach can help you focus on the realities of where you are and what are your options.
Should You Engage a Five O’Clock Club Business Coach?
Business coaching is becoming a part of leadership development in many organizations.
Many are working with The Five O’Clock Club to provide business coaching for leaders in their organization. It could be a part of your development plan.
If you are dealing with a business situation in which you would like expert, confidential business coaching, call The Five O’Clock Club and ask to talk with a Business Coach.
We’ll want you to define the business situation and any expectations you have about a coach.
Our coaches have a variety of backgrounds and expertise, and you will be matched with one who meets your requirements.
It’s then time to interview the coach to find the one you would feel most comfortable working with. Questions you might want to ask the coaches you interview are:
- How would we work together?
- Tell me about your coaching background.
- How will I be able to measure the results from our work together?
- What is your availability?
- What is your fee?
- How will we determine how long our coaching engagement will last?
Ask any other questions that would help you to determine if this person is the best business coach for you.
If you want to work with a trusted advisor and partner as you manage the various complexities of your leadership role, consider the question…..
Should I get a business coach?