It's tough to be aware of your blind spots without help. You know your hard work has paid off, and you feel like you're doing well in your field. But there is something you can't put your finger on that's standing in the way of you and that next level of achievement.
Whether you're a CEO, Business Owner or a Senior Manager with organizational responsibility, positions of leadership are lonely at the top. There is a level of vulnerability that comes with the position that affects who you really can talk to and how much you can share. No matter how close you think a person is to you, there is no way to know what their competing influences are. That is the personal filter they'll use to interpret sensitive information that may involve them or someone they're close to. Unfortunately, when assumptions and misperceptions result, they often cause irreparable damage to individuals, organizations and the credibility of leadership. The executive coaching relationship provides a safe environment to work through these issues while producing measurable results.
Inspired people want to work with a coach because they recognize the return on investment for them personally and for the organizations they lead. According to a survey conducted by CareerPartners International, 40% of 400 U.S. and Canadian business leaders interviewed chose coaching as their preferred method for leadership development.
In her book, "Your Executive Coaching Solution" Joan Kofodimos outlines five key hurdles to developing executives and convincing them to change their behaviors:
- Lack of authentic feedback: The more authority you have, the less likely you are to seek and receive authentic feedback. You may present an air of confidence and dominance that discourages meaningful interactions. In addition, you think others are judging you, prompting you to become cautious about what you say and do. This increases distance in relationships, which minimizes opportunities for useful feedback. Finally, you may have isolated yourself from others by relying on a select group of trusted advisors who protect you from distractions and annoyances.
- Lack of time or value placed on reflection: Most executives face enormous and continuous demands on their time. The likelihood of having time to reflect on behavior is minimal. Furthermore, it's not in the nature of most hard-driving, results-oriented personalities to be introspective.
- Reluctance to reveal weaknesses to others: This is a major barrier to getting leaders to change. They strive to continually project an aura of confidence and competence. Complicating matters, the organization and your peers may discourage you from appearing vulnerable. Demonstrating your weaknesses to outsiders, they reason, can have a detrimental effect on investors' confidence.
- Reluctance to acknowledge weaknesses to oneself: Not only will executives avoid letting others see their vulnerabilities, but they will also steer clear of acknowledging them internally. It can be scary to think you may be wrong. When your behaviors lead to positive business results, you may rationalize weaknesses in interpersonal style. If it's not broken, you may think, why fix it? But what works for you today may not carry you through tomorrow. Denial works for only so long before complexity, stress and challenges take their toll.
- Fear of letting go of a previously successful style: If your leadership style has been working just fine for a few years, you may fear that modifying it puts your effectiveness at risk.
If you are someone who has considered engaging an executive coach but have been holding back, perhaps talking about it would be helpful. Contact Norman Gauthier today at 508-923-0918 for a free consultation .