Category Archives: Executive coaching

Elements of Leadership – Part 3: The First Step Every Great Leader Must Take

Are great leaders born or made?

Take a minute to consider the leaders who have touched your life. Perhaps at a former or current workplace, a non-profit you care about, or a community organization?

Think of people you trust and respect.

Who are they? What do you know about them? Do you know their story, how they came to be the leaders they are today? How they came to earn your respect?

If you do know their story, chances are they’ve had their share of adversity and have had to make important choices along the way. They have persevered and become successful—in the broadest sense of the word—because of a strong belief in what they were doing. And despite of what others may have seen as personal obstacles or shortcomings.

Great leaders have the ability to see what is possible, often when others don’t. They acknowledge and are able to utilize their individual traits, abilities, skills and interests to make progress toward a vision of what they believe can and should be.

Then they make one first simple step. They do something, small. They choose to act, to set things in motion. Not out of ease or convenience, but out of a sense of purpose. Or need.

Whether clearly defined or subtly innate, there is a direct connection between this urge to act and their personal and deeply held values and convictions. They are aware that there are some things in life that give them energy, and others that consume it. They are aware that it costs them more energy to hold back than to be deliberate and to act.

They choose to spend this energy wisely, in a way that is purposeful and beneficial to themselves and others, that provides life and joy instead of having to be contained and carefully managed. Blaming others for injustice, problems and obstacles and contributing to maintaining a status quo is simply not an option. It costs too much.

Great leadership is rarely based solely on a rational decision. It starts with a simple step and builds momentum and strength. It results in meaningful change. Not because of the results in and by themselves, but because the achievements are inherently linked to their origins and rationale.

Great leadership can only be as long as there is self-awareness and self-development.

It begins with acquiring an understanding of your values, convictions and sense of purpose. It includes an understanding of where you have been, in order for you to be deliberate about the direction you are heading. It requires courage and determination that can only be derived from the realization that you can lead and achieve because of who you are, here and now, and an appreciation and acknowledgement of the qualities and strengths that you already inhabit. Not what you aspire to be based on the perception of others.

Embrace who you are, your strengths and values. Comparing yourself to others may be an interesting exercise, but will ultimately only be a distraction. Be proud of who you are, your background, your story and qualities. Yet be deliberate in how you use, develop and direct them.

You already have everything you need to be a great leader. Yet you have to understand and appreciate what is important to you. And decide to make the first step.

Because great leaders are born, every day. And then they are made, again and again.

 

Elements of Leadership – Part 2: It’s what you know and how you use it

I have had the opportunity to work with leaders from very different backgrounds, cultures and professions. Whether I work with a client one-on-one or facilitating a workshop, I have learned to take the time to ask simple questions. Before charging ahead into the unknown territory of “what can be,” it is critical to understand “what is.”  

I have come to appreciate the value of establishing a shared foundation of knowledge, understanding and terminology.  “What do you do?” “What does a normal work day look like for you?” “Who do you talk to on a regular basis, and who comes to talk to you?” “What do they ask for?” And, perhaps the most effective question – “and then?”

These are questions that ask for specific and objective information, meant to allow for minimum bias or judgment. Slowly but surely we arrive at a shared understanding of what leadership is, what it represents, how it functions, how it is effective and where the potential may lay.

This type of informal assessment can be supplemented with information from a formal leadership assessment, which provides additional insight on leadership strengths, preferences and development areas.

This assessment phase of any coaching or development process is critical. We are sketching a map of the surrounding landscape, and building rapport and understanding along the way. The resulting map is used to plot a destination we agree upon and the road we’ll have to travel to get there.

Why is this so important?

Imagine yourself left in a forest, without a map or compass. Which direction would you travel? Without a map of the terrain, does it matter which direction you go? How will you know if you are making headway, without knowing where you are in relation to your destination? How would you determine what your goal or destination should be?

And, if you were responsible for a group of people who trusted and depended on you, how would you make the right decisions and be able to convey them with credibility and confidence?

Peter Drucker famously stated that “management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Doing the right thing, traveling in the right direction, requires a good map. It requires knowing “what is” so that you can determine the proper “to be.”

Strong leaders are often celebrated for their accomplishments, for what they are or were able to accomplish or achieve. It’s therefore natural for  leaders to focus significant time and energy on determining how to reach organizational goals related to budget, growth, development, and sustainability. In the absence of a good map, this journey can be arduous and a heavy burden to carry.

Do you have a map? How do you define your leadership?

The truth is that no one can define your leadership. Nobody but you.

2013 is here. Now. It’s your turn to lead.

2013 is upon us. A new year with new promise. How did you do with New Year’s resolutions in the past? Were you able to make real changes? Or did things return to normal too quickly?

Some among us spent a lot of time talking about how the world would end. It didn’t. We’re still here. Congratulations!

Now it’s time for action. No more excuses.

It’s time to fulfil your promise. It’s time to reignite your passion and your purpose.

It’s your turn to lead.

You have it in you to make extraordinary things happen. In your life, in your family, in your work.

It starts with clarifying your core values.

Align those values with your actions and the values of those around you. Small steps, every day.

We call this to Model the Way.

Next step: When are you at your best, both as a leader and as a person?

Most people describe their personal-best experiences as times when they imagined an exciting, highly attractive future for themselves, their families or organizations. They believe in their dreams and visions of what could be. They are able to live what they believe.

Do you remember the feeling? It’s like a drug. And still it’s real. And powerful.

Some people are able to maintain this optimism and state of mind on a continuous basis. Like the people who walk in the door and instantly make an impression of credibility and respect.

That is you.

You can Inspire a Shared Vision.

This is just the beginning of The Leadership Challenge. Small, deliberate steps with big real-world consequences.

2013 is upon us. A new year with new promise. It’s you turn to lead. The Future is Ours.

Thank you, Kayla, for inspiring this post.

Are you feeling stuck?

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu.

Are you stuck in a situation that you are unable to get out of? Are you faced with a problem that you are unable to solve?

A problem, barrier or situation can sometimes seem incredibly complex. But complexity implies it consists of different elements, smaller things.

Break it down into its individual pieces.

Tiny changes lead to real and sustained transformation. Are you ready to take that first step?

Senior Leadership and the Catalyst Effect

Your effectiveness as a leader and executive is inextricably tied to your ability to lead and motivate your team. You know it, and your organization knows it. The responsibility for growing and developing the organization ultimately rests with one person – you.

Are you proactive in developing your own interpersonal and leadership skills?  Do you have a strategy for managing your own professional focus and development?

An executive coach can provide the catalyst you need to sharpen your skills, maintain a healthy life balance and good boundaries, and stay focused and on top of your game. Retaining and executive coach represent an investment in yourself, your team, and the sustainability of your organization.

The virtues of executive leadership are different than those of supervision and management. In the words of Jack Welch:

Being a leader changes everything. Before you are a leader, success is all about you. It’s about your performance, your contributions. It’s about getting called upon and having the right answers. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. Your success as a leader comes not from what you do but from the reflected glory of the people you lead.

Those who ascend to the level of senior manager or executive do so on the basis of work they have conducted beforehand. Yet, the moment you set foot in your new office, that in itself is no longer sufficient.

As an executive you have to be skilled and knowledgeable on the operational aspects of running an organization. You also have to be visionary and provide the strategic leadership the organization needs to grow and develop. And you have to be able to maintain healthy relations with board members, members of the leadership team, and externally to shareholders and other important stakeholders. This takes significant time, skill, and energy.

As you advance to the senior or executive level, developmental feedback becomes increasingly important. Yet, in most cases, effective and objective feedback also becomes more infrequent and more unreliable. As a result, you run the risk  of slowing down or regressing in critical interpersonal and leadership skills. This can lead to serious difficulties and risk, for you and the organization as a whole.

Executive and leadership coaching is an effective tool to manage this risk. An experienced coach can provide the perspective and support you need to further develop your skills, balance priorities and achieve fast and measurable improvements.

Most leaders and executives benefit greatly from receiving direct and relevant feedback in a confidential and professional setting. By providing feedback and guidance in real time, executive coaching develops leaders in the context of their current jobs, without removing them from their day-to-day responsibilities.

Great leaders know that their personal and professional effectiveness and satisfaction help them to maintain their “edge” and be more successful. And great leaders know that they must continually develop themselves if they wish to effectively lead, develop their teams and grow their business.

Independent studies, including those done by the renowned International Coaching Federation, have consistently shown the average return on investment for coaching to exceed 500%. Coaching is an investment – not only in yourself, but also in your employees and the future of your organization.

Corporate Elements is a leading provider of executive coaching, leadership development and talent management solutions. We use our experience from working with organizations, leaders and executives in Scandinavia, Northern- and Central Europe, and the USA to act as a catalyst and deliver effective and practical business solutions that work for you and your organization. We offer confidential, convenient and cost-effective ways to accelerate success, giving you and your organization a major competitive edge.

For more information on our coaching services, or to schedule a free initial consultation, please contact us!

What DO you want?

What does the word “success” represent to you? What are your goals, hopes and aspirations? What do you want, as a leader and as a person?

These are big questions that can be very hard to answer. There is an answer out there. You know it, you can feel it, almost taste it. But there is rarely a short and simple answer.

What DO you want?

In the words of Michael Bungai Stanier of The Possibility Virus:

What DO you want?

It’s one of the most powerful questions I know. 

And it’s a tough one to answer.

Pretty much just as soon as you get old enough to think… you have people telling you what THEY want.

Parents, partners, spouses, children, friends, bosses, colleagues, customers and clients… they’ve all got opinions about what’s best for you.

And sometimes their requests and demands can feel like a swarm of mosquitoes buzzing around you demanding attention.

And if you’re not clear on what you want, you have little protection against the blighters – what others want becomes very hard to resist.

You get caught up in it. In the flow of everything that goes on around you. In the hopes and expectations that surround you. In the things and projects you work on and are rewarded for doing and accomplishing.

This is not a new situation. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing. We simply have to be aware of it and, if possible, manage and take control of it so that we don’t lose ourselves on the journey.

Others have been there before us. And the Gen Y and Millennial generations, by some touted as a different “breed” of people and leaders, are finding themselves in a similar situation. As eloquently written by the blogger Gen Y Girl:

I was taught, growing up, that in order to be a successful woman I’d have to work really hard so that I could one day break through these ceilings that were said to be made of glass. And if I did manage to achieve this, well,  I’d become the much-respected senior executive of some company where I would spend 40+ hours every week.

That’s what I was supposed to want.

That’s what I’ve always been capable of doing.

To not reach that goal, I was told, would be a waste of my potential. It would be a waste of my intellect. I would be a failure.

So all my life, this is the goal that I’ve worked towards.

In doing so, however, I’ve allowed others to determine what success looks like in my life.

A few years later, having been in the workforce, I look at the senior executives of many great organizations and I think to myself…really? This is what I want? This is what I’ve worked so hard for all these years?

Today, success is no longer directly linked to objective goals such as wealth and status. You don’t have to be a senior executive to be able to enjoy success. Financial and demographic changes have made success a realistic and natural goal for all of us. Today, we are all seeking success, and anything other than success is seen as transitional and temporary.

But what is success? Is success a state of mind, a journey, or an end destination?

What do YOU want?

For many, success is connected to a sense of fulfillment, joy and satisfaction. But sometimes we forget why we started on a journey. We are not always in control of events that shape our lives. And what helps us reach a higher or different level is often not what gets us to the next. So the journey takes on its own life, and us with it.

Success is about knowing. It is knowing what gives you energy. It is knowing that you are on the right path. It is knowing you are connected to that and those you care about. For some, it’s doing. For others, it’s thinking. For you, it may be different.

Think about it – What does “success” represent to you? What are your goals, hopes and aspirations? What do you want, as a leader and as a person?

Corporate Elements has been providing professional assessment and coaching services for more than a decade. We have the experience and expertise you need to overcome obstacles and reach your potential. We are certified by the most renowned assessment providers in the world and are authorized to provide you with cutting-edge tools and resources. Contact us today for a confidential conversation about where you are today, where you would like to go, and how we can help you get there!

 

COACHING RELATED PRODUCTS AND SERVICES:

  • Executive coaching
  • Management coaching
  • Performance coaching
  • Career coaching
  • Leadership development programs
  • Training
  • Conflict resolution
  • Succession management
  • Personality assessment
  • Management assessment
  • Executive assessment
  • Career assessment

CORPORATE ELEMENTS WILL:

  1. ASSESS the current situation, the impact it has on you and the organization, and the desired outcome.
  2. DEVELOP a proposal for further action and work with you to determine reasonable and specific outcome measures.
  3. IMPLEMENT the course of action that was agreed upon
  4. SUCCEED in meeting or exceeding the outcome measures that were agreed upon.

OUR GUARANTEE:

The mission of Corporate Elements is to deliver quality products and services that optimize the performance, productivity and profitability of your organization. We guarantee that we will consistently meet or exceed your expectations and the outcomes we have developed together.