I’m not quite sure how it all started. I mean, at some point in my career I realized I was an executive leadership coach. I know I had gone through several evolutions to get there, but wasn’t certain why I have ended up doing what I do. So, I thought it made sense to reflect on my journey forward helping other managers and owners become more successful.
At An Early Age…Executive Leadership Coaching Begins
Let’s bypass early childhood and all those cute stories about my first job as a paperboy and get right to when I started to understand the benefit of managing without managing. See, I really enjoyed talking to others I worked with to understand why they enjoyed their work. It helped me to appreciate how individuals from different walks of life could come together in a business to share a common cause or set of goals.
I was working with others performing research into the impact of information technology on work processes. Mind you we’re talking about a time before PC’s or Mac’s became ubiquitous in the workplace. There were no PC’s or Mac’s, unless you wanted an inexpensive hamburger. Everything, I mean everything, if it was going to be input to a large mainframe computer, had to be entered on little punch cards. But, this is not a story about computers.
In order to appreciate the importance of the information that these employees were collecting I needed to understand why they gathered the information – what motivated them to want to collect the data, analyze it, and speak to customers about it. So, I spent time with each employee learning about their discrete motivations. It gave me a profound appreciation of their work.
Some People Just Didn’t Care
That’s right. Some people I worked for, especially managers, just didn’t care what their employees thought – as long as those employees did their job. It was an interesting situation for me. I was a mid-level manager who was trying to understand what the entry level employees did for work and cared about while also trying to understand how to develop a plan of action for the whole business that other mid-level managers and senior managers would be able to implement and measure.
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And when some managers expressed how much they didn’t care, it was apparent – very quickly, that the rank and file employees noticed – and then the work product and service was impacted – quite negatively. So, rather than fret, I sought to work with the rank and file to understand and empathize with their frustrations so that they could become motivated to resume their product work. But I would also work with senior and other mid-level managers to understand why they were non-caring and negative towards rank and file employees.
A Coaching Practice Is Borne
Not consciously of course. But I did learn that I was able to help a variety of employees and managers in a variety of different industry environments to become more focused on defining their goals and achieving very positive outcomes. The method was quite simple. I asked a lot of questions. I guess I remember an exercise in school some years back that focused on who, what, when, where, why, how, and for what purpose questions. Asked in the right sequence and with meaning, I learned a lot about my fellow employees, and I gather they learned a lot about how enjoyable work could be.
The Formal Training…
To be honest, it was not until years later that I received formal coaching training. It was at the same time that I learned about psychometric assessments. And it was at that time I learned that a lot of what I had done as a manager and a leader was reinforced in coaching practice.
As an executive leadership coach I have daily opportunity to help managers, owners, and employees reach a higher level of success. I’ve shared a little of my journey in my professional development. Now I’d like you to share some of yours. I welcome your thoughts and comments about your own journey
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