The World is Spinning at a Different Pace
76% of the FTSE 100 companies have disappeared in the last 30 years. Just take a moment to consider that. This rate is accelerating, so what does that mean for the leaders of large organisations?
Executive leadership has changed significantly over the last 10 years. The pace of change through digitisation, globalisation, existing ‘go to market’ strategies being challenged from all angles, the inability to predict market forces, and the challenge of cost reductions to compensate for overly cost heavy structures that once served organisations just a handful of years ago. Pressures from markets have never been higher. CEOs and senior teams are being scrutinised under increasing levels of transparency.
Changing Core Business Models
The ‘disruptive nervousness’ that is required to enable senior teams to tap into; organisations connected organically to external insight that helps them to reimagine their business in different ways. Amongst the organisations I am currently working with, two of them will no longer be around if the Executive Team do not make a significant change in their core business that has served these significant organisations for decades.
The need for Quality Thinking and Quality Engagement
So how does executive and team coaching add value to larger organisations at a senior level? My experience is that this comes down to two significant aspects: the quality of the thinking; (the internal game) and the quality of engaging; (the outer game). The historic view of a senior team of seasoned professionals steeped in industry knowledge no longer holds ground. The world is spinning at a different pace. Leaders are being selected for their ability to think and get others to think and on their ability to influence and engage in an emotionally sophisticated way. Not just when needed, but at all times. This was not the case ten years ago. They need an ability to get things done that just haven’t been done before. Many CFOs are now equal partners with their CEO as drivers of strategy, and increasingly CEOs of large capitalisation organisations are from a technology background.
Coaching presses the ‘pause button’ to re-think how you ‘show up’
Coaching is an essential part of the different road that is needed for executive success. As leaders progress from leading large vertical structures with an explicit remit, they move to a place at the big table with a more collaborative voice. A voice that will be heard, but not necessarily be acted upon. Being able to balance the internal momentum across an organisation with the needs of external stakeholders, and collaborative working with a team of strong individuals is a tough ask. Psychologically, leaders are stretched; pulled in all directions, with no safety net. Often there is little opportunity to connect at what might be considered a truly human level. Coaching provides an outlet, or a witness, for these thoughts, these concerns. Good coaching presses the pause button on the ‘gyroscope’ of leadership challenges. As the gyroscope stops spinning, it allows a leader to strip back how they are, who they are, and to focus on how they bring themselves fully to the world around them. It can help them to see with significant clarity. It can help them to see the blindspots that have been hidden. It can empower, it can enable. It provides a confidential outlet into the route of the thinking, and, dare we say it, feeling, that is all too often sidelined as an unhelpful friend, in favour of the false friends of objectivity and detached analysis. If we are to create thriving organisations with soul and creativity where people want to strive and create a strong future then leaders need to rethink how they show up.
The Benefits of Coaching to the Organisation
Coaching not only gives power to senior leaders, but it gives power to organisations. It gives the power to engage in a deeper and more sustainable way; across executive teams and across organisations. It gives a sense of deeper humanity that enables organisations to thrive. It supports and challenges personal and organisational purpose, aligning thinking, feeling and longer-term needs in a way that builds cohesiveness.
Don’t be Alone
Senior leadership can be one of the loneliest places on the planet, but with good coaching, senior teams, and senior leaders can find a place to explore how they can bring their absolute very best to their people, to their stakeholders, to investors and to the planet.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Hewitt is an Aziz executive coach working with C-level executives and senior leaders in more than 20% of the FTSE 100, and in over 60 organisations in 16 countries across the world.