High-performing leaders who want to go from great to greater often believe that executive coaches will require them to do a lot of heavy lifting. Some worry that in trying to fix their weaknesses, they’ll sap some of their strengths.
Executive coaches don’t want you to do heavy lifting. They also don’t want you to change–at least not to a great degree. They want you to maximize your strengths and to learn how to best utilize and draw out the strengths of your coworkers.
Once you accept your own deficits and those of your coworkers, you’ll avoid lots of past errors and make great gains. Focus on what you and others do well. Build confidence and discourage judgment based upon deficits. A former client of mine told me recently of how liberated and more effective she feels now, as a result of taking this approach. She astutely pointed out that you can’t always control who you work with. Unlike the Jim Collins model of putting the right people on the bus and waiting until you can, you may have to make do with what you have. A leader’s freedom might be restricted by the owners, board, boss, other departments, or economics. In her case, she had sacred-cow employees that the owners would not let her make redundant.
Whether you’re a coach or a leader, if you focus on deficits you will make little improvement. If you focus on strengths, you will go a lot further faster.