As an executive coach we are often brought in to work with an executive or a whole executive team. Often it is the CEO who wants us to work with the executive(s) to develop them or improve them in a specific skill. What is not often taken into account in these arrangements is the role the CEO (or any supervising manager) in the development process.
Typically the coach will meet with the individual once or twice a month for a anywhere from 1 – 2 hours per session. During that time the coach will be able to uncover quite a lot of the underlying issues that is driving a particular behavior or blocking the development of a particular skill. The coach will be able to hold the executive accountable for achieving stated and agreed upon goals. And the coach will be able to provide an objectivity, insight and perspective to the executive in dealing with a myriad of issues. But what the coach can never provide is the natural relationship that exists between a CEO and their direct report.
This natural relationship is a dynamic that has a tremendous impact on the ultimate outcome of the executive’s development. It is a relationship that is ingrained in our DNA, so to speak, as it is founded on the basic parent/child relationship. What is little understood by most people, employees and executives alike, is that in the workplace the “Boss” carries all the same energy patterns of a parent. They are the one we look to for support, acknowledgement, guidance, etc. They are also the ones we fear may judge us or impart some form of retribution.
This natural human dynamic is so powerful that when it is harnessed with the role of the coach the improvement one will see in the executive is exponentially impacted. When the coach and the CEO enter into a partnership, the coach providing objectivity, insight and perspective and guiding the CEO on the most effective ways to apply the natural relationship to the development of the executive, the progress is significantly accelerated.