Leadership and Coaching

I wish I had understood what coaching was when I ran my company. I would have been a better leader.

I even had an incredibly valuable CEO coach during that time. When I left the company, he suggested I become a CEO coach, which I have done for 20 years.

Yet after all these years, I still struggled describing what I do, really understanding what a coach does. That changed last week after spending time with many others in the same profession. Here is what I concluded after lots of pondering.

I dialogue with individual CEOs and groups of CEOs. We have conversations, back and forth in the individual setting and roundtable in the group setting.

My job is to listen very carefully, to listen with an open and focused mind, not just getting ready to talk, but really listening. I have always understood the listening part of my job.

What I did not understand was the talking part of my job, but now I have some clarity. To be a great CEO coach, you need to ask questions when the time is right, answer questions when the time is right, make comments when the time is right and tell stories when the time is right.

Knowing when to speak and what to say is the hard part.

Simple in concept. Difficult in practice, but practice I will. I hope you do the same.


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