A very seasoned CEO once commented that when he achieved his first CEO position, two very strange things happened:
- suddenly, he was never wrong
- and his jokes got funnier!
We’ve all heard the statement “it’s lonely at the top” and for some executives this is their reality. Who do they share their passions with? Who do they share their frustrations with? Who do they share their fears with? Who do they share their dreams with?
We work with many HR professionals who are working hard to support the development of key leaders in the organization. A big issue we hear is the higher up the leader goes, the fewer people those leaders feel they can share with and they become more and more reluctant to ask for support.
And yet, we know that the higher up a leader goes, the more they need support to explore new perspectives and develop different leadership skills.
5 common reasons HR leaders seek coaching as a valued support
1. New Senior Leader in a Role
- You need this leader to quickly and skillfully ramp up, navigate their new role to drive results. There is a lot at stake, a lot to do and it’s generally overwhelming for them. They don’t want to share challenges with anyone internal in case it makes them look bad so they keep their challenges to themselves at a time when asking for help early is crucial.
2. Leader in a Key Role
- Never has there been a more important time to invest and support the key leaders in your business. Key leaders are big contributors to your business success. With economic instability, leading virtually, and constant change and transformation, leaders have a difficult job, at the same time that strong talent isn’t easy to replace.
3. Valued Leader with 1 or 2 Areas that Need Development
- Your strong and valued leader may be very effective overall; yet, you have identified 1 or 2 areas that would benefit or require development. For example, they may do a great job achieving goals but need to soften their edges with people; or they may be great people leaders but lack the influence, confidence or presence to drive stronger results.
4. Provide Current Leader with Growth Opportunity
- Your people value the opportunity to continue to grow and develop. In fact, it is a growing top consideration of employment. They want opportunities to build new skills, competencies and capabilities.
5. Need to Develop a Leader for Succession Planning
- As an HR leader, you have your eye on the people and skills you need today and into the future. As leaders move up and move on, it is important to have people who are “ready” for those open roles.
What’s the value of coaching to each of these types of leader
Strong leadership is a marriage of the heart and mind. It’s a combination of mindset, skills, competencies, and capabilities.
It requires a leader to be open and experiment with new approaches to achieve different results.
And let’s be honest, most of the leaders in the 5 categories above do not want to show any chinks in the armor to others in the organization.
They are trying to prove themselves, to show people they are the right choice and that they have what it takes to succeed in the role. They know they need support and yet they are very reluctant to seek it out internally.
The success rate of these leaders is exponentially increased when they have a safe space to:
- Be assured of 100% confidentiality
- Focus on challenges and obstacles without fear appearing weak or saying something that might seem career limiting
- Create clarity about long-term vision and translating that into short-term behavior changes
- Explore their relationship skills and identify what might be holding them back
- Reflect, refresh and renew their perspective in order to mitigate overwhelm and reduce stress
In a conversation with a client who had just been promoted to a VP role, she revealed that she was finding herself holding back in meetings that she used to feel very confident contributing to, before she had the VP title. “I am starting to get some comments from my boss about it,” she shared.
As we explored this further, she revealed her biggest fear was that they would find out she is not as competent and confident as she appears on the outside.
That she would say something that sounded stupid, or it would reveal that she didn’t know something she thought she should know.
This kind of thing happens all the time and it happens to very seasoned leaders. Luckily for her, she had the support of her HR partner who suggested she take advantage of getting a coach.
We were able to explore what was happening, shift her perspective and help her ramp up into role more rapidly than the pace she had been moving. She got almost immediate feedback from her boss which bolstered her confidence which translated into her having more influence and impact.
Coaching provides leaders focus, clarity, support and accountability so that leaders can be intentional, grow their self-awareness and experiment to new heights of success.
Coaching is an on-going partnership to support the leader over time as they navigate new situations and evolve their leadership.