When navigating uncertainty or change management, we rely heavily on our leaders to guide us through with minimal negative impact. It is important to remember that it is during such challenging times that we must also ensure that support is given to them as well. A great number of unprecedented challenges have been overcome in the past year as many industries were forced to revolutionise their operational practices. Leadership development and executive coaching has been no exception. As a result, several once emerging trends have proven their longevity. These are some of the most prevalent factors that clients are now looking for in a coach.
The added stress that individuals feel during times of crisis, means that their tolerance for platitudes and ‘corporate speak’ decreases significantly. The use of such jargon increases the level of distrust they have in management or the organisation. Leaders undergoing executive coaching while managing a crisis, want the same thing their staff want from them – clarity. The best way to provide clarity is by being authentic in your approach and delivery. How you speak matters just as much, if not more than what you are saying. Throughout her book, Dare to Lead™, Brene Brown explores how vulnerability is often a key component of brave leadership. The Dare to Lead™ program delves deeply into this idea of how vulnerability contributes to authenticity in leadership and how it is linked to bravery.
Not Just for C-level
As the name suggests, executive coaching has long been considered a luxury only available to senior leaders. This perception is changing as companies are recognising the need to support and develop both existing and high potential leaders across all levels. The impact of including leaders at even the directorial or managerial level in executive coaching programs is that it creates the opportunity for those who may otherwise be overlooked for promotion to stand out. It also allows for lower ranking leaders to develop the skills that will be necessary for them to have once they reach a more senior position.
Circumstances being what they were in 2020 meant that we saw increased creation and interaction via social media than almost ever before. Many people turn to social media in search of inspiration and tips for finding solutions to their problems. The perceived authenticity of social media over more traditional marketing campaigns is what makes platforms like Facebook and Instagram so appealing to clients. Engaging with potential clients on these platforms provides them with insight into who you are as a person and as a coach before they even speak with you.
With the prevalent practice of working remotely, the demand for similarly delivered executive coaching services is rising. Potential clients are becoming less interested in general or group programs and more concerned with finding a coach who can help them with their specific personal and professional goals. By choosing to work with a specialised coach, they are prioritising the needs specific to them, rather than spending time they may not have, participating in a full course that will not benefit them. For coaches, this means they will have a greater chance of working with new clients if they are able to provide services that are personalised and have a narrower focus. With so much white noise in our personal and professional lives, and the ongoing pressures of leading through change and times of uncertainty, having a coach by your side that understands you is one of the most valuable gifts we can give ourselves and others in our organisation. At The Leadership Sphere, we see organisations without coaching to support leadership development achieve a 3 x return on investment, whereas those who blend leadership development training with ongoing coaching and leadership development and support, receive 10 x return on investment. Greater spend in terms of money and time, however, the impact on the return is a continued topic of much interest!
Driven to Learn
With the rapid changes that are brought about by a crisis, leaders often find themselves underprepared for the new challenges they face. They can feel as though they are losing confidence in their own skills and effectiveness. Fortunately, this does allow the opportunity for leaders to reflect on their recent performance and assess where their development might be stalled. Uncertainty creates a drive to learn new skills to prepare ourselves as much as we can for any number of possible circumstances. Executive coaching programs offer this opportunity in a way that addresses the specific concerns of the individual.
When faced with new and unpredictable circumstances, we expose both our strengths and our weaknesses. It is important for leaders that they can recognise each of them in order to continue in their ongoing development. We must expand our view of what executive coaching looks like, in terms of its delivery, content, and presence. As the world continues to shift further into digital spaces, the world of coaching must follow to provide value and support for those that need it. In fact, one might say that executive coaching is a critical part of uncovering where our risks and opportunities are when it comes to leadership development, and from that we can ensure learning is being directed at those areas that will maximise our results!
For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.