Hi, my name is Manfred Barth. I am German, but I live in a few different countries right now. My professional background is in business; I was a partner at Accenture and CEO of a smaller company. For the last 15 years, I've been working as an executive coach all around the world in different business areas and cultures. From my experience, here are a few tips for being a successful executive.
Executive Leadership Coaching Tips for Success
Strike a Balance
By coaching in cultures across the world, one of the themes I see come up quite often is, "balance"; people all over the world are struggling to find harmony between their professional and personal lives. Often, we give our business life too much of a priority, and that creates an imbalance as we avoid rest and rejuvenation. In the end, this imbalance leads to less efficiency.
However, it's not about making sure that we work less. One of the goals and objectives of executive coaching is about making sure that we have a proper distribution of our energy with regards to our personal life and business life. So, what we need to do is make sure that we get energy in both areas of life, and that we effectively use this energy. If we get this combination right, we're going to be more successful in a holistic sense.
Additional Reading: Contrarian Leadership Style: 6 Ways Contrarians Think Differently
Don't Hide from Clarity
Another critical theme in coaching is finding clarity. Although it might sound simple, it's not; many of us are quite uncomfortable with strategic clarity because of the consequences to which it can lead. Discovering clarity inevitably leads us toward decisions that can sometimes have outcomes that aren't entirely comfortable. It is our fear of these consequences that lie behind our avoidance of clarity.
One of the benefits of executive coaching relationships is we try to distill what our intentions are and how we can be clear about their consequences. In this way, we find more direction regarding our goals and the steps needed to achieve them.
Additional Reading: Leadership Thinking: Cultivating mental discipline to solve problems
Reveal your Weaknesses
Many of us also tend to think that we always have to play on our strength and hide our weaknesses. Now, this looks like a good show, but if we're not aware of our shortcomings, then we're probably just trying to hide them. So, in a coaching situation, it's essential to be very clear about what we are good at and the areas where we can improve. One of the purposes of executive coaching is reveal and analyze blind spots.
Through the process of accepting and improving on our weaknesses, we not only gain more self-mastery but also learn to accept the shortcomings of others as well. It's important to take this as a part of who we are.
Sometimes it even makes sense to show our weaknesses to others because it demonstrates that we are just human beings. Especially as a leader, when we reveal our weaknesses in a controlled way, we encourage others to acknowledge their shortcomings as part of their personality as well. So, it's necessary to be aware of our faults, to deal with them properly, and, if necessary, to make them be part of the conversation.
Additional Reading: Dr. Carol Geffner's 4 Leadership Skills for Successful Executives