I heard a great joke the other day (see inset) and it got me thinking, with all of the challenges we are facing and how lonely it can be at the top, now more than ever, who are you talking to?
If the recent world has never faced a Pandemic such as this, and leaders are now being challenged to lead, strategize, motivate and inspire, all remotely, how are they doing this? Who is their sounding board (outside of their dog)?
Executive coaching has long been known as a form of leadership development. A 2019 survey highlighted the fact that “a majority of coaching services are used to provide leadership development” (Sherpa Coaching 2019). This is certainly a critical element to executive coaching, but it is far from the only reason for an executive coach. Another key role for executive coaches is that of sounding board.
In a recent survey by Alexcel Group, two-thirds of coaches surveyed said their engagements involved being a trusted advisor who is able to provide much needed objectivity (Inc.com). In other words, a sounding board. Do you have a sounding board? Do you have that trusted advisor that can help you navigate these unchartered waters? Given the brave new world we are required to negotiate, having a sounding board has never been more critical.
I recently published a blog that spoke to the “Amplification Principle”, a principle that describes the notion that management skills are amplified in virtual space: a good manager looks excellent in virtual space and a poor manager looks worse (Gandhi, 2009). If, as a leader, you are not taking the time to share your thoughts, discuss concerns, and carve out the time to think through your actions and the consequences that result, you are at risk of falling victim to this amplification effect. If, on the other hand, you are working with a trusted advisor, an executive coach, and taking the time to breathe, think, plan then act, you can use this amplification to your advantage and be that great leader you know you can be.
My three pieces of advice:
- Take the time to invest in yourself now, find that sounding board and stop using your animal friends as your trusted advisors.
- Remember “Leaders are made, not born”, as Vince Lombardi so eloquently put it. A crisis is no reason to stop this process and may be the best time ever to forge your leadership path.
- Begin today. Tomorrow will be a new challenge. Begin today to positively amplify your leadership through the support of an executive coach.
For more tips and advice on leading through challenging times, please reach out.