Category : 2018
Ask ten CEOs if their organizations promote a high-performance culture and you will get ten positive responses. In a highly-competitive global market, no top executive would admit to anything less.
Characteristically, a performance-driven culture provides a plentitude of feedback and coaching that is shared up, down, and across the organization. If companies are so committed to coaching for performance, why do surveys continue to validate the lack of bench strength and talent being readied for senior roles?
Could the onus for the talent gap fall as much to the people given coaching as to the need for better coaching? Candidly, why do many leaders in executive development programs complete those programs thinking and acting much like they did when the program began?
Coaching changes results when the person receiving coaching desires to change and wants the process to impact his or her behavior. Executive coach Martin Goldsmith says, “Coaching works best with high potential people who are willing to make a concerted effort to change.”
We should never underestimate the ability of a human being to quietly and effectively resist a desperately-needed change. Every January, health clubs are crowded with people who, for a variety of reasons, join a gym to “get in shape.” Let a few weeks pass and the crowd generally returns to normal, with only a few permanent additions. Those that stick around are the few that decided to change more than behavior-they made a fundamental shift in how they thought about their health and exercise.
Changing what you do will give you better results. Changing how you think will create sustainably better results that continue over time.
Perhaps corporate development would have a greater impact on building that needed bench of talent if high-potentials, succession candidates, or super-achievers weren’t allowed to begin a coaching program before they were assessed for—
- Self-awareness (the “known to others, unknown to self” box in the Johari window should be very small)
- Candor (about him/herself, not about other people)
- Openness to critical (perhaps disapproving) feedback about his/her actions, style of engagement, leadership, etc.
- A desire (a strong feeling of wanting) to change more than a willingness (being prepared to do something) to change
It is hard to build a strong leader in a weak or broken system. Change requires risk and often, failure. Successful coaching programs also demand the full and accepting support of senior leadership. Top executives need to model what they want to see and hold people accountable for the changes they need to make. People wanting to change how they work and engage with others need the freedom to mess it up on the way to dramatic improvement.
Rare are the people who have lost weight or gotten healthy for another person. If organizations want to see greater impact from their investments in coaching talent, they would do well to look as much at the mind-set of the candidate as the quality of the coaching.