Thursday, November 5, 2009

Who Uses a Personal Coach as a Sounding Board?

Leaders and executives probably make use of a personal coach as a sounding board more often than others.

There are perfectly good reasons for this.

  • Top position really is a quite isolated place to be.

  • Decisions involve issues that cannot be made public yet.

  • Millions or billions of dollars may ride on a single decision.

  • Whole careers, projects, programs or divisions may disappear.

  • The opportunity is so exciting you don't want to get it wrong.

With my own clients I am most often engaged as a sounding board for tough decisions. It's not that the leaders and executives I work with can't make the decisions. These are savvy, smart men and women who didn't get to where they are by shying back from making the tough calls.

It is however, that they realize the benefit of having their thinking challenged by penetrating questions and alternate perspectives. In a completely confidential environment they welcome the opportunity to think through and review their line of thinking. They relish going down the rabbit trails to see where it will lead them ... without anyone making a big deal about it.

They invite the time to think about right positioning the correct people without being bound to their words. Thinking it through is good.

I fear we are being conditioned to rush into decisions without our best thinking being put into it. We are being groomed to solve complex problems in 30 minutes (minus the commercials). But too much rides on those decisions to leave them to the fickleness of copying a fictional world.

Sober second thought and thinking it through are still in vogue for our best leaders. They don't rush into final conclusions on major issues. And that's why so many of them use a personal coach, a behind-the-scenes partner who draws the best out in them and helps them make decisions that can stand the test of time.

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