Tag: business leaders

Executive coaching programmes can benefit business leaders of all kinds whether you run a small, medium or large company. An executive coach can offer a business owner or senior manager an objective view of their performance as team leaders as well as offering fresh perspectives on their vision for the business and where it is going. Executive coaches don’t tell business leaders how to run their companies but they do give them open and honest feedback that they can use to their advantage to improve both their individual performance and the overall performance of the business. Executive coach John Raftery outlines 3 reasons why you need executive coaching and the role it plays in effective leadership development that benefits the whole organisation.

1. Executive coach as a sounding board

The first reason it works is because to a large extent business leaders don’t get an opportunity to talk in a confidential and safe environment. The key thing is that they can use the executive coach as a sounding board. Just trying to articulate their own ideas can be a challenge for business leaders. To a large extent business leaders live inside their own heads. Then they try to communicate with their staff and it can be difficult for staff to interpret what’s in the leader’s head. Communicating ideas to staff can be challenging. They may be cautious about articulating certain issues or concerns that they might have. So the first thing executive coaching does is it gives people the ability to try and articulate what is going on inside their own heads.

2. Provide feedback

The second thing an executive coach does is provide feedback, and ask challenging questions of the leader as well. It’s important that the executive coach has experience, has some knowledge or background in business so they have credibility with the leader in terms of giving feedback and acting as a sounding board.

3. Inspire action

The third thing an executive coach can do is inspire people to take action or prevent procrastination. A lot of leaders have particular issues that they know they need to address. But as long as it stays in their head they will never get around to actually dealing with it. But an executive coach will listen to you and challenge you and encourage you to take action. To start implementing a plan of action and set deadlines to deal with issues, and be confident that once you deal with those issues you can give further feedback to the coach. You then use that feedback to see how things have gone and decide where to go next.

It’s important to point out that executive coaching is non-directional. It’s a process that allows the business leader to make up their minds and come to their own conclusions. You’re suggesting ways forward, you’re asking the leader ‘what if’ or what are the alternatives. Is there another way of looking at this or how do they feel about approaching a problem in another way? What do they think the outcome would be if they tried an alternative solution? You are not saying to the leader ‘this is what you should do.’ You can offer advice and guide people in a certain direction but ultimately the business decision rests with them, they must come to their own conclusions. So really executive coaching is about providing the space for business leaders to explore options they may not have otherwise considered and then letting them come to their own conclusions. That way they take ownership of their decisions rather than passing responsibility to someone else. They own the decision and if they own it they are far more likely to follow through and implement it.

John Raftery is Executive Coach at LEAP

John Raftery

 

 

 

 

 

LEAP’s Tricia Cunningham explains the advantages for small and mediumTricia Cunningham
enterprises (SME) participating in development programmes using the futureSME methodology. This business framework was the result of an €8 million EU research project that was successfully carried out by the University of Strathclyde and tried and tested on SMEs across Europe.

Tricia, how does futureSME come alive in a business?

One of the critical tools that we explore in the programme workshops is ‘thinking as one brain.’ We try to get the leaders and managers to understand what they need to put in place to ensure the team are in sync, and implement this in the workplace. So the teams work through how they can develop the team to think as one brain, and understand what the guidelines are for managing team meetings effectively.  That way they can work through information quickly, succinctly and cohesively.

Meetings become productive and employees walk away from the meetings with a clear understanding of what has been discussed, what has been decided, and they are clear about any actions that need to be taken.

We also explore any issues of dissent; when you are trying to implement the visual strategy there are times when the team will encounter road blocks i.e. challenges that have to be overcome. We explore what you can do to ensure that those obstacles can be overcome.

Implementation is Critical

Many times in the SME sector you are working with small teams because there aren’t that many layers in the organisation. You have the business owner and key employees as opposed to a team of managers. But it’s still vitally important that these key people make it happen.

So the leader and the key people have to decide how they are going to work effectively together, to ensure the visual strategy comes alive and achieves the desired results. Having the visual strategy alone will not ensure success. Having the visual strategy, and working together as one brain, will ensure that you make progress in achieving your business goals.

How many workshops are on the programme?

There are 6 workshops on the programme; the first 4 are focused on developing the visual strategy, and also examining the leader’s role to ensure he/she is functioning properly as a leader in their business. Then we look at the roles of the rest of the team in terms of implementation. So the first half of the programme develops the visual strategy; the second half looks at getting the team on board and moving them along that strategy.

Is there any support system on the programme for participating companies?

Mentoring is an important element on the programme, so at the start of the programme we do a capability diagnostic to assess where the business is today, and that’s completed with the mentor. There are 6 mentoring sessions in total.

On the Business Leadership Programme  they are 6 mentoring sessions for each business owner, and on the Management Team Development Programme there are team mentoring sessions.  So you might have three people from one business and they will have one mentoring session after each workshop.

Why would you recommend this programme over others Tricia?

It’s based on intensive research on large successful corporations by the EU Framework 7 project . These programmes have been proven to work, they’ve been validated. They have been used by large organisations to succeed, and they have been translated in a way that is workable and practical in an SME environment.

It’s also different from other programmes because it comes with qualified mentors. They fully understand the futureSME process, they understand small and medium businesses, and they know what it’s like for a leader trying to transform their business.

They work closely with the participating companies. So you have that individual element in the workshops where people can exchange ideas, share their understanding, and then the individual can apply what they learn to their own company. That’s what makes the difference, and that’s what makes it so successful.

 

 

Mike Gaffney managing director at LEAPA key aspect of great business leadership is recognising and negotiating new business opportunities, and that requires high levels of self-awareness. I asked LEAP’s managing director Mike Gaffney to recommend some reading material with a focus on personal development. His recommendation is one that the entrepreneur can use to increase both self-awareness and business profits.

‘Mike, any recommended reading for busy business leaders and entrepreneurs over the Christmas break?’
The Chimp Paradox by Dr Steve Peters. It is an entertaining, engaging and hugely insightful book. It’s an incredibly powerful mind management model that can help you become a happier, confident, healthier and more successful person.  The Chimp Paradox explains the struggle that takes place within your mind and then shows how to apply this understanding to every area of your life.

We talk a lot about business and leadership and improving your ability to deal with various situations. The Chimp Paradox explains how the human brain works in three basic parts. In each of us there is the reptilian brain of the chimp (emotional), the human brain (logical) and the computer brain (sub-conscious).  Understanding this enables you to recognise how the mind works, understand and manage emotions and thoughts, and manage yourself more effectively in stressful situations.

For example, it explains why when we are in traffic and a car cuts in front of us, the chimp within us jumps furiously up and down and beats its chest. Later on the human brain wonders why we got so excited about it. However, to avoid this, if the computer part of the brain has a pre-programmed calm response to the rude driver, the chimp can be directed by this pre-programmed response to relax and not get excited over a minor event.  Try it.

The book is about understanding this dynamic struggle inside each of us, and how to manage your own chimp, and how to use the chimp to protect you in dangerous situations. It’s an engaging read, both enlightening and humorous, and it does shed light on why we behave in certain ways, particularly when we’re under pressure and feel threatened.”

“You develop practical approaches to being more aware of the situations you are in…which is a much more mature form of leadership.”

Why do you recommend this book to business owners?keep calm and control the chimp
“Business owners are aware that how well they manage themselves is critical to getting the right outcome in their day to day activities. It is not always about being right themselves, it is about ensuring the right outcome is achieved. That can often mean allowing a member of the team to be the hero, as opposed to the leader always having the answers.  We know this intuitively, however it is difficult to change existing behaviours.  The Chimp Paradox helps you address this.

It teaches you how to set up warning signs for yourself; how to get over yourself and your sense of self- importance, and how to avoid always beating your chest like that inner chimp. You develop practical approaches to being more aware of the situations you are in, and how you can better manage those situations to secure the right outcome, which is a much more mature form of leadership.”

New dynamic programme for business leaders & entrepreneurs futureSME  – learn more here