Profile cover photo
Profile photo
Center for Executive Coaching
The Leading Education & Training Organization for Executive Coaches
The Leading Education & Training Organization for Executive Coaches

Center for Executive Coaching's posts

What makes a good and bad leader?

Here is a quick heads up on research that is helping us understand who makes a good leader and who doesn't....

The bottom line is well summarized by the Wall Street Journal article about the study: "Beware Big, Bossy Egos."

The study broke participants into 50 3-person groups and gave them an assignment.

The leaders of each group took a personality test that determines whether they are self-absorbed  nd narcissistic or not (example of a question: "I am going to be a great person").

The groups led by narcissists shared information less effectively than other groups, and did less well on the assignment.

Meanwhile, here is what is fascinating and scary: Participants who worked under the most narcissistic leaders gave them good reviews, calling them "authoritative" and "effective." In other words, they didn't even know they were part of a poorly performing team!

Among the authors' conclusion: Narcissists present themselves well and can make a great impression on job interviews. However, they may not live up to expectations.

This is based on the book "Reality at Odds with Perceptions: Narcissistic Leaders and Group Performance" by Nevicka et al.

I hope you found this useful. It seems that there is going to be a market for tools that assess self- absorption and narcissism, as this personality trait is one to watch out for. There are already tools that measure this personality trait, and coaches and consultants should consider adding them to their arsenal.


Exciting news! The Center for Executive Coaching is now fully accredited as an ACTP with the International Coach Federation (ICF). We have always been accredited with them, and now we have full ACTP status.


Post has attachment

Do you think coaching on intensity level and commitment can be a fruitful niche for coaches?

Three recent observations have gotten me thinking about the importance of coaching clients on their intensity and commitment levels.

First, the Pine View School is a public charter school in our town that consistently ranks in the top of all schools in the USA. Students win national competitions in all kinds of debating, science, math, and writing challenges, and there is a strong emphasis on excellence backed up with actual performance.

One of the core values of Pine View is what they call "212 degrees." The idea is that, up to 211 degrees F, water doesn't boil. However, with that one extra degree, from 211F to 212F, water boils. The teachers and administrators at Pine View constantly reinforce the idea that pushing one extra degree can make the difference. They give out 212 Degree awards to students who go that extra degree and make water boil.

Second, this week I got to meet and observe in action a fantastic coach. Her name is Ann Smith. She is a 10-time Grand Slam Winner in tennis, and now coaches athletes and executives on her MachIV System (Note that she has a branded and proprietary methodology, something all coaches should have!). Her four-part system looks at a player's intensity level. In the case of tennis she works with players on mental intensity, body language, self-talk, and physical intensity (footwork and swing, especially).

During this time with Ann, I saw a number of players literally transform their game with only a one-hour session, by focusing on their intensity and effort levels, as opposed to being focused on the score or on things outside their control (the wind, the other player's bad calls, their mind telling them they can't play, etc).

Third, this weekend I had a number of bad experiences as a customer, with both tiny and well-recognized brands, as well as with at least one government agency, that remind me (as if any of us need reminding) that many employees lack the kind of intensity, commitment, and focus required to produce outstanding results.

If the front-line employees don't have this kind of intensity and commitment, we can assume that their managers don't have this intensity either, and neither do their bosses, all the way up the chain.

Many executives focus on short-term indicators, on their personal status, on looking good, and on protecting their turf and personal careers -- all at the expense of long-term organizational success.

As coaches, we can help. We can get leaders and their teams focused on what really matters for long-term results. Once we identify these things, we can focus the whole organization on doing what it takes to deliver great products and services, delight customers, and continue to grow. We can find the tennis equivalent of the right swing speed, the right footwork, the right body language, and the right conversations for success. We can get people striving for that 212 degree culture, starting at the top.


Coaching Case Study: Setting Up an Engagement

The case: A coach is asked to coach a manager who
has some issues in her style. For instance, instead of
focusing on outcomes, she focuses more on politics and
looking good. She spends more time talking about her 
need for the team to speak positively about the project
and to be of one mind (hers!) in meetings and in 
public. She comes across as defensive, generally
negative, and not exactly a strong people developer.
She has a number of strengths, and has potential to
grow in the company, but also has some clear needs
for improvement.

The coach is scheduled to meet with this manager
in 24 hours, and has asked how she should best set up
this first meeting for a solid engagement. The coach 
was invited in by this manager's boss.

So, how would you answer the coach's question? What
additional information would you want to know?

Here are two additional facts before you decide:

- No one has told the manager in direct terms that
she has these behavioral issues or what it might be
costing her career. That is part of the coach's job...
to build that awareness.

- The manager's boss has some issues with conflict and
direct communication. That's partly why she is bringing 
the coach in. 

Now what advice would you offer to this new coach?

Here is my take, based on almost two decades of 
experience. Early on in my career, I would 
have walked right into this meeting with my best
personality and tried to get to know the manager and
build rapport. I'd ask what she wanted to achieve in
her career, where she saw opportunities to grow, and
how we could make this coaching relationship the 
most valuable experience of her career. I figured my
winning personality and charm would win the day and
eventually everything would work out.

It took one or two experiences with this approach
to learn that this is not a smart way to go,
for two reasons:

Reason One: You can't coach someone who isn't coachable.
This manager is not yet coachable. She doesn't know there
is a problem that she has to solve, and has no sense
of need or urgency. No one has even told her she has a 
performance gap that she needs to address. She does not
value coaching or my expertise. 

Reason Two: You can't coach someone in an organization
unless you are set up for success. Right now the coach
is going in blind, about to step on a landmine. 

Here is what I would advise the coach to do:

1. Postpone the meeting with the manager.

2. Set up an immediate meeting with the manager's boss.

3. At the meeting, clearly understand how the manager's 
boss wants the manager to change and improve performance. 
Ideally the manager's boss will agree to give some tough 
feedback to the manager and encourage her to accept
coaching as a way to continue to grow. Never do a boss's
dirty work! Get the boss to take responsibility and 

4. Insist that the manager's boss set you up for
success. This means that the manager's boss has to 
have a conversation with the manager about her
performance, expectations for improvement, and how
coaching might be beneficial. You might have to 
coach the manager's boss to do this, because in 
this case she seems to lack these skills. (In fact, you
might end up with an engagement to coach the manager's
boss, either now or as the engagement progresses. That
happens a lot in my practice. First the boss points the
finger at others, and then realizes the benefits of 
coaching and the fact that they might be part of the 
issue, too.).  

5. Next, I suggest that a first meeting with both the 
manager's boss and the manager. That way, you can be 
sure that everyone is on the same page, answer questions, 
and discuss what everyone wants to get out of a 
coaching relationship. You can also observe the dynamic 
between the boss and manager, and facilitate if needed. 
Again, if needed, coach the manager's boss to make 
sure she is prepared for this meeting. 

6. Set clear groundrules about scope and confidentiality. 
The manager needs to know that what is said during 
coaching will not get back to the boss or anyone else. 
The results will show up in how she performs on the job.
(Before I was a coach, I had an executive coach who violated
confidentiality. It stung me and I will never, ever 
violate confidentiality with a client, even if it means
losing the engagement).

7. Assuming everyone is on board, now the coach can meet
one-on-one with the client. Suddenly this first meeting
is easy, because the hard work has been done. Coachability
is in place, and the coach is set up to succeed.

This is a long discussion about a rookie coaching situation.
Regardless, it shows how tricky it can be to establish
a solid client relationship and set up coaching for 
success. Coaches face all sorts of traps, especially in
complex and politically charged organizations. 

Post has attachment
What being a leadership-level coach can make possible for you

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, did you give thanks for how much you love your career? Studies show that 75% - 85% of people did not, and in fact do not like their jobs at all.

There was a time, before I became an executive coach, that I would have given thanks for everything in my life -- except my job. Back then I made great money but I worked too many hours, with too much travel, in a culture and with people that I didn't especially like. I was burning out and needed a big change.

That change came when I started a coaching practice.

Here is what coaching made possible, and can make happen for you, too -- if you get into it the right way:

- I work from home with extremely flexible hours.

- I choose my clients, and they are all phenomenal and fascinating people making great things happen in the world.

- I spend lots of time with my kids and haven't missed one of their swim meets or piano recitals in a decade.

- I play tennis any time I want.

- I only travel when I want to, usually to really cool places around the world to work with great clients.

- This year I will make 4.5 times more than what I ever made as an employed executive!

- I get to speak at great venues, and I've written 3 books with one of my heroes, Guerrilla Marketing founder Jay Conrad Levinson.

You can do something similar, or achieve whatever you want as an executive-level coach. Coaching is an incredibly flexible career and you can use it to achieve your goals for a fulfilling and satisfying life, according to your own personal aspirations and vision.

The only catch is that it takes a special person to coach at the leadership level. You have to be able to engage leaders, managers, and up-and-coming talent. Not everyone can do this. But if you can, the sky is the limit and the opportunities are incredible!

Don't be afraid to make BIG requests!

I work with so many clients who are sedate and have no idea of what they can achieve if they just take some risks and try to influence people -- authentically and without gimmicks -- to help them achieve some big goals.

Too many of us hold back, perhaps because we are afraid of how others will see us. Or maybe we fear getting rejected. The fact is that we will get rejected when we make big requests, but not all the time.

There are three types of people out there:

- Those who are influencing.
- Those who are being influenced.
- Those who are not even in the game.

Which type are you?


Post has attachment
Downloadable Open House: The 5 Keys to Getting into the Top 5% of Coaches

#executivecoachingtools   #executivecoaching  

Post has attachment
What are the top signs of an excellent coach?

I am delighted to share with you my article in this month's issue of ASTD's Training & Development Magazine, "10 Signs You Might Be an Excellent Coach."



Post has attachment
Terry Hobbs is part of a leading healthcare consulting, recruiting, and employee survey/assessment firm. He joined the Center for Executive Coaching to add coaching as part of what he does.

He works at the CEO level, and in this interview shares his advice to aspiring coaches about becoming a trusted advisor through a variety of solutions for executives. He also explains why coaching is such a fulfilling profession for him.

Enjoy, and I hope you are seeing the caliber of people we attract at the Center for Executive Coaching! We are all about practical applications for real results, and we understand what it really takes to succeed in the market.
Wait while more posts are being loaded