by Frank Neale (MC08)
I suspect we all find summer holidays to be a good time for a spot of quiet reflection away from the office. Whilst I was away a friend asked me, “What are the common themes of your coaching?” This set me thinking and I thought I would share the results, just in case they strike a chord with you.
- Inner confidence: Whilst most people in our industry show outer confidence they do not always feel it inside and this can hold them back. Whatever the specific coaching goals most of our clients feed back to us that they feel more confident in themselves after the coaching mainly, we suspect, because of their greater self awareness and understanding of others and as a result of reframing situations. They also feel more energised.
- Presence/gravitas: This comes up a lot, particularly with mid level professionals as well as newly appointed portfolio company directors. Using a simple model of leadership presence most of our clients get feedback from their sponsors that their presence has significantly improved.
- Listening skills: The most common shortfall almost all of our clients, and probably the world in general, is relatively underdeveloped listening skills. Using Nancy Kline’s “Time to Think” we find that improved listening is often a significant factor in our clients achieving their goals.
- Interpersonal relationships: During the coaching conversations it often emerges that our clients have a difficult relationship with someone on their team; often their boss, of course! Through the use of instruments such as Myers Briggs, reframing situations and uncovering self limiting beliefs the client is usually able to see the relationship in a new more workable light.
- Moving on up: Clients often come to realise that what got them to where they are today may not serve them well in their future path. Within the private equity profession this is often about becoming more of a team player rather than a dedicated pursuit of their own brand. Similarly newly appointed chief executives learn that humility and vulnerability can be very useful in their new role whereas up until now they have generally masked such traits thinking them to be potential weaknesses.
- Importance of good feedback: People who are willing to engage in coaching are keen to receive feedback as this is how they learn. Throughout the coaching process we encourage sponsors to give positive feedback when they notice changes in behaviour that the client is seeking to attain. Even more valuable is the feedback clients give themselves by keeping a self reflective learning journal.