Monday, May 4, 2009

Why the United States Recession is the Best Time for Using an Executive Coach

Is there a best time for using an executive coach?

Would it be in good times or bad? Would it be as the economy is going into recession or coming out? Is it now or is it sometime later?  Is there a right time?

I suppose the short answer is 'anytime'. Brilliant leaders recognize that they constantly need to be repositioning and realigning their thinking, attitudes, systems and actions. But there is something to be said about the very situation the United States, indeed, the world is going through at the moment.

We're told we have rounded a corner. The signs point to a slow recovery, but the economy has apparently turned for the better. The damage left in its wake however is all too glaring. There are still a lot of people running scared out there. This will no doubt be the prevailing sentiment for some time.

As I have coached leaders over the years, I find executives often adopt the prevailing messages and attitudes of their immediate times. In my minds eye I picture a bell curve. The executive I am coaching is either behind the curve or in the curve with the majority. Their great need is to be repositioned ahead of the curve with the small minority who anticipate what might be ahead, create a vision around it and move toward it with conviction.

Companies are in chaos, employees are in chaos. People feel snowed under with bad news and uncertainty. The great leader brings clarity and people rally around it. The great leader points them in a direction, refocuses their thinking and moves them forward. Like an elite athlete, that great leader, a corporate athlete, works with a seasoned and perceptive personal coach.

The market goes down and companies pull back. They curtail their efforts. The great leader captures market share during that period. They reposition or reemphasize their brand or whatever it takes because they are thinking ahead of the curve. They do it because they've thought  it through with me as their coach. They used a coach because they knew they could go farther faster with an objective partner to help them think better.

Major divisions of major companies that fell hard at the beginning of this downturn reel in chaos. The great leader sees reorganization as an opportunity to transform systems and come out stronger. They do it because they developed clarity around the leading edge of the curve with me as their coach.They used a coach because they understood they were in the middle of something where perspective could all too easily become distorted and decision making could follow. Coaching could bring clarity, better planning and more effective decision making.

Yes, this is a perfect time to work with an executive coach. If you think you might have adopted some stinkin' thinkin' over the course of all this bad news year, now is the time to reposition your own thinking, attitudes, systems and action. Begin to reach for the front of the curve. Take your company or organization there. Be the leader you have the potential to be.

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