EXECUTIVE COACHING av dr. L. Michael Hall

Publisert onsdag 14. mai 2014, av CoachMagasinet, i Boktips

Executive Coaching is unique as a coaching speciality and niche in that it targets a specific form of leadership - the visionary and managerial leaders of business. The people who operate at the executive levels in organizations and corporations face very unique challenges - a politicalize environment where it is often difficult to get accurate facts about what's really happening.


Where it’s difficult to find someone to talk through
one’s own thoughts because everyone else in the organization have political agendas. It is into this arena that the Executive Coach enters.

What characterizes life in the C-Suite? Stress, lots of it. Demands from those above and below. Questions about meaningfulness.
Questions about work–life balance. Time-pressures. Here the Executive Coach enters to make a transformative difference. To do that
effectively, while an Executive Coach doesn’t have to have been an executive, he or she does need to know the challenges in the C-suite and how to have a ruthlessly compassionate conversation about the challenges there.

In this, the newest volume in the Meta-Coaching series, Executive Coaching examines the challenges of executives in detail in eight chapters:
Psychological Well-Being, Direction, Feedback, Change, Leadership, Politics, Culture, and Derailment. These primary challenges of modern organization are detailed by research as well as by the personal comments from Master Coach, Graham Richardson, who pioneered the idea in Meta-Coaching of the art of ruthless compassion.

The third section of the book presents Executive Coaching Conversations. These supplement the first twelve kinds of Coaching
Conversations for individuals and groups (as detailed in Group and Team Coaching) and add six more conversations: The Sounding Board Conversation, Outcome Conversation, Feedback Conversation, Systems Conversations, Paradox Conversation, and the Unleashing Potentials Conversation. An entire chapter is devoted to each kind of conversation supplemented by comments from Graham Richardson. Additionally there is a chapter on Collaborative Leadership Conversation, the Integration / Integrity Conversation, the Systems Conversation, and the Paradoxical Conversation.

An Executive Coach challenges. He or she does so from the perspective of a compassion based in accurate empathy. That’s because an
effective coach knows how to listen—to deeply, actively, and powerfully listen. That’s not easy. Yet out of that high quality listening the effective
coach knows how to hold a fierce conversation to hold an executive responsible. That’s even more difficult. Yet as effective Meta-Coaches learn this, then as an Executive Coach, he or she is then able to facilitate transformation in the inner game, one conversation at a time. The final chapter in Executive Coaching speaks to the subject of launching an Executive Coaching career and how to run an Executive Coaching Business.

The World of Executive Coaching

After a brief introduction to coaching and executive coaching (chs. 1-2), there’s a chapter on «Life in the C-Suite.» The design is to
provide a picture of the nature of what work-life is like for those at the senior management levels—what executives face on a daily basis, the stresses and pressures, the challenges and concerns. Today I’m enroute back from Moscow where I delivered the training on Executive Coaching, my translator asked «What is C-suite?» «Well, you know, CEO, CFO, COO, etc.» Oh yes, now she understood. Chapter 4 follows that up by connecting the value of living a self-actualizing life as an executive. Is that possible?
If so, how? How does an Executive Coach think about enabling the person to actualize his or her whole self and in that context still be a full and
caring human being.

Executive Challenges

This second section has eight chapters. Each of the eight chapters addresses the key and critical challenges of an executive’s life: emotional
well-being, vision, feedback, change, leadership, politics, creating culture, and derailment. Well-being is important because not only do others have to live in the organizational or corporate culture, so do the executives. Is it a healthy place to live? Does the stress and pressure in the
company overwhelm people? Or is there support there? Vision is a critical challenge because it is the job of those in the executive roles to
inspire people. If they do that, then people in the organization will find their work meaningful and significant. If not, then their work lacks
meaningfulness and therefore their engagement will be nil.

Feedback is key because of the tendency to avoid giving bad news to people over you. Not infrequently the bearer of bad news has been connected to the bad news and then shot! Whistle-blowers, who are so important in organizations, know that if the person over you can retaliate, then giving accurate sensory-based feedback can be dangerous to your career. So executives are oftentimes the last person to know what’s really going on. Then there are the challenges of change in an organization, how to lead that change; politics and how to deal with the political agendas in the office, and culture and how to create a culture where people can be open, transparent, honest, etc.

Then there is derailment— a person going off his or her career track and messing it all up. And given all of the critical factors just listed, there’s lots of ways that an executive can mess things up and wreck his or her career. Many do. In fact, lots do. And that’s one of the big values of having an Executive Coach. In all of these challenges, at the heart of executive coaching is relationship. After all, that’s what the top managers and executives do— they work with and through others to create a collaborative enterprise and to achieve together what an individual or a few individuals cannot do alone or apart.

Executive Coaching Conversations

In the third section there’s an introduction into a Coaching Conversation—»the conversation like none other» which describes the heart and
soul of Meta-Coaching. After all, coaching is a fierce conversation that enables an executive to face critical issues in a safe context. And as with
personal coaching and group and team coaching, there are a number of specialized coaching conversations that are unique to executive coaching.

The Sounding Board Conversation is a special gift to senior managers—because so often they have no one to talk out-loud to. Now they do. The Outcome Conversation is one for clarity and focused and once complete gives one a relevant direction for vision and inspiration. The Feedback Conversation distinguishes real feedback from judgment and evaluation. The Confrontation Conversation is another gift— given that others in the organization have political agendas and can’t afford to bring up hot or sensitive subjects. The Meta Conversation is one for gaining perspective as well as for exposing the kind of thinking by which we create our interpretations and conclusions.

The Unleashing Potentials Conversation returns to the subject of self-actualization and keeps an executive alive, vital, and curious. That’s because with the unleashing of one potential, other potentials begin to emerge as a person’s next level of development and challenge. The Integrating and Integrity Conversations address how to execute what one knows, how to implement new learnings in order to close the Knowing—Doing gap. This is a matter of integrity. There’s nothing than can derail an executive quicker than incongruency, talking but not walking the talk, promising but never coming through. Integrity, however, goes further and addresses the moral and ethical factors in organizations.

The Systems Conversation invites an executive to move beyond simple and linear cause–effect relationships to the dynamic complexity that
occurs in systems. And executives are leading and/or managing a system. That means there are never just one cause or factor, there are
multiple factors and often in cultural change is dealing with it at the systems level. The Paradoxical Conversation flushes out pseudo-problems, especially those that have been created by a false dichotomy that polarizes factors that are actually a part of the same system.

Launching your Executive Coaching Career is the final section and has a single chapter which focuses on the business part of Executive
Coaching, how to think about it as a business, how to get started, how to get in, how to frame and sell oneself, and much more.

EXECUTIVE COACHING av dr. L. Michael Hall

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