Official Blog of Center10 Consulting

The Impact Of Coaching

on Thursday, January 30, 2014
In a conversation with a prospective coachee, I landed up looking for a short article I'd written a couple of years ago in trying to introduce executive coaching into a company I had a senior talent role in. Thought I'd share.
In my decades of experience in corporate settings globally, I have found that executives appreciate and buy strategic and functional advice, but often are in deep need of interpersonal, behavioral and executive coaching. I have provided executive and career coaching in formal and informal relationships with my clients, and believe my strong ability to help clients in their planning and goal-setting, raising their awareness through powerful and skillful questioning and building trust by engaging with integrity and candor have helped my clients get to their goals.

Some data points on the Impact of Coaching

The multiplicity of goals that coaching aims to deliver on, in its broadest sense, makes a simple statement of impact difficult to capture. As Alan Levenson of The Center for Organizational Effectiveness pinpoints, statistically valid impact data is complicated. For example, Smither, London, Flautt, Vargas and Kucine (2003) examined the impact of coaching on multi-source feedback ratings (direct reports and supervisors) for 404 senior managers, compared to 957 senior managers who received the same multi-source feedback but no executive coaching. They found that working with an executive coach improved direct report and supervisor ratings, but that the measured change in ratings was small.

If I were Chris Christie's Executive Coach...OR Being The Best Self One Can Be

on Monday, January 13, 2014
On the walk back home from the kids' drop-off, I landed up chatting with an old friend who happens be transitioning to a big new job. He's looking to take over the role vacated by a well-loved leader...who also leaves a slightly less than well-performing team. Our conversation naturally turned to all things leaderly.

As good New Yorkers, our minds veered immediately to the Christie Traffic Incident. You couldn't switch on or pick up any news source last week without an onslaught of New Jersey governor, Chris Christie's team and their seeming interference with the traffic from Fort Lee - apparently as retribution for the Ft.Lee mayor's lack of support of the their boss. The Governor of New Jersey sought to distance himself from the petty, corrupt maneuverings of his underlings, only to come off as unapologetic and unempathetic. Christie prides himself on who he is, and often talks about how what he is, is what you'll get.

On a parallel course, I ran into article as I was clicking through on a yoga website, and saw a quote about a woman who prided herself on reducing her weight by 40 pounds - "I wanted to be the best self I could possibly be."

What is it about the times we live in, that efforts to change how we look are lauded, but efforts to change the one thinks or acts is considered flip-flopping?

We have painted ourselves into a strange little corner, where evolution is a concept that can polarize. But the core of the human condition is the constant learning and growing that's possible, if we are open to it.

My experience working with leaders for the past decade and a half suggests that the best leaders:

  • Recognize that the skills, mindset and capabilities that brought them success and recognition yesterday, won't fully propel them forward tomorrow
  • They are brave enough to listen to insights from colleagues and direct reports without dismissing them, but trying to get to the kernel of truth hidden in those insights
  • They recognize the impact they have on their people and their organizations - their attitudes and foibles provide excuses and encouragement to those around them to behave in ways that can sometimes be appalling (see an analysis of Christie's case here)
  • They respect the friends, partners and collaborators who got them to success, but understand they will need to get to a higher level of capability - new teams, better talent that gets embedded in the existing networks, etc.
  • They work on their own evolution, often with a strong mentor, a sponsor, an executive coach or a trained facilitator (and, not infrequently, all of them!)
    • A mentor...based on Mentor, the character from Greek mythology, who advised and goaded Odysseus and his son to action, a mentor is someone who imparts wisdom and shares knowledge with a less experienced colleague
    • A sponsor, on the other hand, is much more active - they are "dream-enablers" says Sylvia Ann Hewlett, who connect you to people in and beyond your company
    • An executive coach, can perform many services in partnership with an executive. It is often a truly strategic partnership in which a coach empowers the client to clarify goals, develop action plans, get to real self-awareness, move past obstacles and build on strengths. See more here.
    • A facilitator who can help with team issues, including team chartering, strategy and vision-setting.
I'm going to assume Christie has some form of coach - I'd urge that person to help Christie to flex and test new leadership behaviors, and general capabilities that include being respectful of "the other." Time to upgrade, and to bring in folks who will hold the mirror up to him - often.