A new study is out according to a Harvard blog. A firm in NY called WJM Associates did a survey of seventy executive coaches to determine the top five priorities which are specifically requested by client and their employers. They were looking to see if the current economic crisis was impacting organizational objectives regarding their use of executive coaches.
The survey states, “the change [in coaching priorities] seems to reflect the trend of executive coaching being used by organizations to address specific business issues, rather than for individual, general ‘self-improvement’.”
As blog author John Baldoni states, “Top five coaching objectives of 1999 were for “self-awareness, personal goal setting, work/life balance, stress management [and] improve quality of life.” 2009 is a very different.
Here are the top five coaching objectives of organizations during the current climate, according to Baldoni:
Build/Align/Motivate Team. Organizations need executives who know how to get people to follow their lead, especially in challenging times. It takes a leader who knows how to assemble the right people and put them in the right places so they can do the right work. Motivating them comes from providing them with the right resources and right opportunities. This is not always easy when resources are scarce so the leader needs to be seen as doing what she can to help her team succeed.
Executive presence. Leaders need to demonstrate their earned authority. Presence is the manifestation of earned authority that comes from knowing how to do things as well as having earned the respect of others. Another critical aspect of presence is composure. Leaders need to keep it together when everything else around them is falling apart. Leaders demonstrate their mettle during crisis.
Effective communications. If you want to lead others, connect with them. Yes, it is imperative to articulate the message, the goal, and the outcome. But you also need to invest yourself. That comes from listening to others as well as allowing others to give you honest feedback. Learning from what you listen is critical to moving the organization forward. Use the down time to learn more about the capabilities of your people.
Interpersonal savvy. As Harvard author and psychologist, Daniel Goleman, has taught us, leaders must be able to get along with others. The ability to relate to others as a fellow human being is essential to gaining buy in for a leadership objective. Sure you can tell people what to do, but if you do not earn their trust you will get compliance, not commitment. Being everyone’s pal is not necessary, but treating others with respect is essential gaining trust, an attribute that is essential to holding teams together in trying times.
Strategic thinking. So often we coaches hear the need for managers to think and act more strategically. A reason more managers do not do so is because their bosses keep them occupied with tactics so they do not have time to think let alone act strategically. Therefore, senior leaders must give their direct reports room to breathe, reflect and consider alternatives that will affect not just a department but also the enterprise. Now is a great time to map out new strategies that may help your company find ways to make the best of bad times.
Of these five, only “executive presence” is focused on the individual; the other four are focus on relationships with others or in the case of “strategic thinking” what executives can do for the business.