CEOs like you often find themselves in a quandary when they need someone to confide in or share ideas with. No one else in the company faces equivalent problems and decisions, and your peers can often be competitors—hardly the people you want to entrust with that kind of information. This divide can be hard to navigate.
I look at my role as to help bridge that primary disconnect through individual coaching and by becoming a trusted confidante and sounding board. Beyond that, I often see another disconnect that individual coaching may not mend: between the CEO and the executive team.
While individual coaching has tremendous benefits to you personally, your executive team may still feel a need to hide their thoughts and motivations for their own unstated reasons. Perhaps this sounds familiar: Your methods of persuasion—however accurate in theory—flounder in practice, and the team loses direction whenever you leave. Despite your efforts, frustration, conflict, and miscommunication all increase instead of decreasing.
How can that second disconnect be bridged? The method that has been most successful for many companies that I’ve helped is by working with top leaders both individually and collaboratively. Through individual coaching, I remove private barriers; through collaborative coaching I remove group barriers.
Individual coaching for each C-level leader focuses on the individual leader’s concerns. According to a study commissioned by Stanford University, those concerns generally include conflict management (43% of those surveyed), team building, and mentoring. Through individual coaching, I provide the privacy to address not only those work issues but personal issues such as confidence, job satisfaction, stress, and home life which also affect workplace performance.
Collaborative coaching is where you and your team find a safe and welcoming environment in which to discuss issues and propose solutions. Together, we create a forum for honest discussion, revealing what you are all really thinking, what actually motivates and persuades—and what falls short. Everyone stops treading carefully around one other and no longer agree for the sake of agreement.
Communication becomes transparent in all directions: up, down, and sideways. We build a dynamic between individual and collaborative coaching that eventually leads to a cultural shift in the entire organization.
I’ve seen it happen: silos collapse, knowledge transfer increases, productivity soars, and more conflicts are resolved before they even reach the C-suite. The combination of individual and collaborative coaching changes the way talents are leveraged and innovation is encouraged. It benefits you and your team. It benefits everyone.