Coaching Executives (article by Craig McKenzie)

Coaching executives is a large part of the Transcend business (CCMI’s China Partner). Coaching (done well) is one way that has proven to be exceptionally useful. And as it turns out, coaching is a very effective catalyst for the kinds of change executives and leaders need.

This blog explores 2 key insights I’ve learned about coaching executives. They and many others form part of the learning in the upcoming Executive Coaching and Mentoring Programme

I𝗻𝘀𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁:  In nearly every executive coaching engagement we are involved in there is usually some desire to change unskilful behavioural, on behalf of the leader or their stakeholders .

In reality, the behaviour to be changed is rarely correctly identified. The undesired consequences and outcomes are much more clear and are often the starting point. Whether they originate from the executive or their stakeholders these situations as either:

• foggy – with vague references, carefully chosen words, and an aroma of fear
• fuzzy – shapes are evident, it’s still pretty blurry and everyone seems to have an idea but no one can/will put their finger on “it”
• fiery – ablaze, erupted and in need of attention
• fantasies – everyone pretty much knows that this person will not change (including them) and yet there is still some hope

The type of things that come up are best described as behavioural issues that can no longer be tolerated by the executive or the organisation.  They have either escalated, are no longer desired (sometimes leaders were successful because of behaviour that is now intolerable or were promoted because of success built on that behaviour) or are simply unsustainable or nonadaptive.

In our approach to working with executives we work with them and their stakeholders to gain clarity on what they want instead of what they are getting – the desired outcomes. And then, we focus on creating actionable self awareness supporting the experimentation, learning and practices that lead to sustainable behavioural change.

Insight: Executives are humans with all of their associated magnificence, potential and wonderful messiness.

This may seem obvious and yet many are not treated that way, by themselves or by others.  They, like all of us, are coloured by the assumptions, expectations, and judgements of others (and ourselves).  Most of these are not real. It’s all made up.

The executive scale and scope of leadership is complex, expansive and challenging in ways that most cannot comprehend.  And, as real people, in the midst of it executives are living, coping and adapting.

I learned this very early in my own journey as a leader.  I held a very influential and public role and part of that included developing our own leaders and working with leaders within our area of influence.

A prominent leader had made an appointment with me and after a few minutes of small talk and rapport building I simply asked as I always did, “How can I be of service to you?” He paused as emotion passed through him and when he had regained himself he said, “Thank you!” And he related his frustration with others he had sought out who were happy to speak with him but never even considered that he may actually have some needs of his own. He said, “you are the first person who has even bothered to ask why I was meeting with you.” He was not being selective or prideful in who he shared with. He wanted someone who was interested and aware.

©️Craig McKenzie, 2024











Our free content is available to everyone. It includes a limited range of Blogs, Videos and Briefing Papers on key topics and the latest trends. If you want to expand your knowledge even further, or support your development or business with up-to-date information and research, sign up for a FREE TRIAL to gain access to the full content of over 500 blogs, briefing papers and videos within our resource library.

Membership with CCMI offer you will access to all the content within this resource of over 200 blogs, video briefings and more.