Part I of III

Over the years, we have seen organizations look to executive coaching as something of a perk for those who have made it to the “C” suite arena.   Often, leadership coaching might be lacking due to this common myth that frequent promotions and years of experience have made a great leader of someone.   There is the expectation that someone just shows up in a senior role with all the leadership competencies one could possibly need or people just magically become effective leaders as they reach the corporate kingdom.

We now know nothing could be further from the truth.   Our discoveries have shown up in different ways:  poor leadership, toxic cultures, high turnover, lack of motivation, poor performance and sub-par results…all leading to high dollar output.  Unfortunately, we learn this “after the fact” through an executive’s colleagues, peers, 360 feedbacks, customers, lost revenue or sales, etc.  We become painfully aware that education and experience (while a value), are not always predictors of great leadership.

Think this isn’t true?  Sit in the Human Resources chair for 20 years and hear…Cartooncomplaining

“Is my boss ever going to get leadership training?” 

“Why is she so difficult to talk with?”

 “He hasn’t a clue what is really going on.”

“She doesn’t care about us and generally takes all the credit.” 

“Never really listens.  I have to tell him the same thing over and over again.” 

“Can’t trust my boss – says one thing and does another.” 

“How the  %&&##@!!*  did she get this far?” 


Yes, these are real comments made by real employees and some I can’t even repeat in this writing.  Hence, the damage has been done and damage control is in warp speed.

So what do organizations do?  Hire a coach to “fix” the problem or send the executive to one of those business schools for a one-week crash course on “how to become a strategic leader” or “leadership influencing”, etc.   While many of these schools offer in-depth content, a week to self-discovery or developing new behaviors is simply unrealistic.

Professionally trained coaches clearly get that we aren’t in this business to “fix” people.   Leadership transformation is a journey not an event, so there is no putting a band aid on something requiring surgery, if you will.

Sticking with the journey piece for a moment, let’s look at a different approach to leadership development by:

  • Stepping back to discover and reflect on missed learning opportunities along the way, and
  • Embracing the idea and practice that leadership happens anywhere and everywhere.

Let’s get out of this old school mindset that promotions and titles make for great leadership.

The leadership journey begins way before hitting the “C” suite.   It begins the moment you hire an employee (no matter the role).   Not sure about that?  Different than what you’ve been told?  Stay tuned for our next blog in this three-part series.