The Bailey Group got a call last week from an HR professional inquiring about our executive coaching services. He was interested in discussing coaching for an executive who currently reports directly to the CEO. This particular executive was described as being “brilliant,” but has left a trail of damaged relationships in his wake. The million-dollar question: will coaching be helpful?
There are two key considerations in situations like this:
- Is the CEO willing to terminate the employee if there is no significant change in his/her behavior? Since the CEO is aware of the direct report’s behavior, she has decided (up to this point) that the benefits of keeping the executive around outweigh the costs. At the end of the day, if the CEO is unwilling to demand that the behavior change, “or else,” it is unlikely that coaching will be helpful. The reason? The CEO’s implicit message has been that the employee’s “style” is ok, as long as he/she gets the job done. If that’s the case, where is the motivation to change?
- Does the executive in question have a clue? The best predictor of whether an executive can or will change his/her behavior is based on their own level of self-awareness. Leaders who are oblivious of how others perceive them, or worse yet, have a skewed self-perception, (particularly if a leader thinks they’re more effective than others find them to be), are unlikely to benefit much from coaching. Why? Because they see no reason to change. Individuals lacking in self-awareness will generally blame their professional struggles on other people rather than look within themselves. This lack of accountability often leaves an executive feeling angry and confused when they do receive negative feedback; the executive feels the feedback is completely unjustified; thus, they are powerless to change.
If the CEO is willing to hold the executive accountable, and the executive in question is at least open to considering that change is necessary, coaching can help. If you have questions about a potential coaching situation in your organization, call The Bailey Group, 763-545-5997; we can help you decide if coaching is a good investment for your particular issue .