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Is it Time to Call in for Reinforcements?

Today’s business environment is fast paced and the need to have top performers in your organization is critical. We often talk about the importance of a good functioning team; a team that works well together, understand the company’s objectives and how their own performance and deliverables affect those objectives. As leaders we know that we need to set clear goals and work with our teams so that they have the skillset and any additional support they need from us to get the job done well.

But what about us? What about the executive leader? When do we get to call in for help and support?

In the life of an Executive Search Consultant, I meet some pretty accomplished individuals. I have always had a natural interest in reading biographies to learn about the nuances of successful and interesting people. Now, on a regular basis, I have the opportunity to read many resumes that tell fabulous stories of accomplishments, challenges, reward and impact. They truly are a remarkable read! I then meet with these individuals and the story on paper carries through to the face to face meeting.

We approach our candidates with the same respect as our clients – we are honoured that they have allowed us into their lives and that they are willing to participate in the process of possibly making a career change. The candidates that we then present to our clients are not a list of individuals ranked 1 –6. We are fortunate to uncover and seek out a list of 6 individuals who we can rank as Number 1’s – across the board. That being said, ultimately one individual will eventually be offered the role and finds himself/ herself the new Director, Vice President or C- level executive at a new organization. Let’s say that successful individual is you – congratulations!

You are motivated, excited, and looking forward to the challenges and opportunities that this new role brings and you are keen on getting started. Your first day on the job and you are ready to jump in and make a difference!

Now let’s fast forward! Three months later, and you are feeling pretty comfortable. You are starting to get to know the company and your direct reports. You also have a very good idea of what your key priorities REALLY entail. You continue on. Let’s fast forward to 6 months!  As a leader in a new role, we always talk about “the first 90 days” – whether at the interview stage or as you enter your new role. As a leader in a new role we also talk about “by the end of the first year….” Now, what about the 6 month mark?

At this point, the year-end objectives are obviously within your reach and you have a plan. You are on track, and you would like to show impact right away. So, you choose to your effective management style by, introducing a new program – A Leadership Program. Introducing a leadership development program for your immediate team that can then be carried through to their individual teams, demonstrates that you have cultivated understanding of how things are today and now you want everyone to start thinking about continued success for tomorrow! Introducing a Leadership Program, is a great reflection of your leadership style that you care about your team’s success. A program like our Manager as a Coach allows for the team of managers to all start from the same script and expectations; progresses to individual one on one sessions with our coach that allows each manager to then tailor a performance program to each specific manager’s needs. The final group session with all the managers shows them how to keep the momentum going and keep each other accountable and coaching each other to success, on their own as a team.

So don’t stop there! This is the perfect time to include yourself in the mix! I’m not implying the same program, however, it is a great time to seek out Executive Coaching for yourself. Executive Coaching is not a sign of weakness nor should it be introduced as a solution to a situation that is past its date of survival, and you are in desperate measures. It should be a proactive approach to your own leadership abilities that will only further propel yourself and the organization into the current successful course you are taking.

Are you convinced, yet? With the competitive landscape of business today are such that even as a leader – getting help is not a bad thing!  Ask yourself the following questions, and then if you can relate to the scenarios suggested, then the use of an Executive Coach can only be a positive outcome for you!

  1. Do you feel the pressure to succeed? You know what is expected of you and you know you need to show true impact sooner than later. Having an extra ear to what you are going through can alleviate the pressure that may be based on simply a change in culture or your newness to the organization.
  2. Is it lonely at the top? Yes, your spouse loves hearing about your day as you do about his/ her day, but would you not want to share ideas, concerns, gain some objectivity and insight from someone who has been there before you and whose sole purpose is to listen, offer support with an intent to make people and organization stronger? You know going to your board or to your president, isn’t really an option – they hired you to lead and too much candor, questions and requests for a sounding board could send the wrong message.
  3. Do you have an established network? Most of us have a personal support network to bounce ideas off of, however, creating a similar network within your business network is not always possible. Seeking out an Executive Coach allows you to start a practice that you can keep building and strengthening as you move through your career and eventually will assist you with the more difficult decisions into the future – your next career change sideways, your next promotion and eventually your transition into ‘retirement. After all, we all now understand that the term retirement (or should I say 1stretirement) takes on a very different meaning for the Executive Leader today than it did decades ago.

In our personal lives we all seek out other professionals to assist us with many aspects of our lives. Whether it is the day to day errands that allow us some form of ‘work -life balance,’ whether it is the assistance of hiring a professional to complete the “Big Jobs” –– a new roof, installing an addition to the house, or repairing the car after the recent damage it sustained on the way to work, on the first snowfall. We also know that there are professionals that we go to assist us when we need help (doctors, hairstylists, dentists) or when we need that extra push to really excel (personal trainers.)

So why not accept the assistance of an Executive Coach? An individual who has had true leadership experience, who has lived some of your own career challenges and is there to ride alongside you as you lead.

Engaging an Executive Coach should not be seen as a luxury nor as a crutch. You owe it your organization and to those who hired you, that you have the executive insight to know that such a coach can not only help but can provide the added certainty that you will achieve the success that is expected. You have set out a plan and the budget dollars for your team’s Leadership Program - don’t forget about yourself! I’ll await your call and I’ll set you up with a coach – “I know a guy!” 

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