Executive Coaching, Listening, and Whiteboards
Above is a true, first sketch at organizing a client's whiteboard... the brainstorming process.
For many leaders, “Executive Coaching” seems like some vaguely helpful practice. And, the fact that so many people refer to themselves as Coaches, I can understand why leaders are unclear of the purpose of a great Coach. Each client I engage does require something different, and so the art of Coaching is having enough tools in your tool belt to provide what they need. Having these years of varied experiences allows a Coach to avoid the trap of becoming “a hammer in search of a nail.”
In light of that general confusion around Coaching, I thought I might provide one example of Executive Coaching that has been popular with my clients… “Listening and White-Boarding.”
I’ve found many of my clients have so many strategies and goals in their head, and what they need is a way to advance these strategies in a clear, practical manner. In those cases, I start simply…and I listen…and I listen more…
Once the leader has talked through, in a brainstorm fashion, so many of their ideas, the two of us literally stand in front of a whiteboard and we begin to organize and structure their thoughts.
It doesn’t much matter how we structure the whiteboard ideas. Often, it’s simple sections such as: Marketing/Sales Projects, Operations Projects, Long-Term Business Goals, Immediate Tasks, etc… What does matter is that we’re structuring the numerous great ideas residing in that leader’s head. Once we’ve completed our first whiteboard, most of my clients wind up stating something like, “Just having those ideas sketched out allows me to move forward on them!”
With a segmented whiteboard, our follow-up Coaching meetings often start with a review of the status of current whiteboard items, and then we move to creating new project ideas, or to breaking projects down into smaller, accomplishable steps. It's really much like a personal trainer at a gym.
I know…it’s simple.
But then, simplicity is a fantastic way to generate and maintain business momentum!
Jim Glantz, Phd, is the Managing Partner of The Academy For Leadership And Training.