April 18, 2014

Why Should You Hire a Leadership Coach?

Coaching is Now a Standard Support Mechanism for Some of the World's Top Companies

I get this question about three times each week, and the business owner or CEO usually responds by saying “We have had to cut our budget, and leadership coaching and development were the first things to go.”

BAD IDEA!

Of course, I am going to say this…I am a leadership coach, but here is the reality:  With leadership coaching, training and development, your employees will be:

  • More productive at work (productive time equals greater revenues)
  • Happier at work (when people are happy at work, they show up earlier and call in less often for sick days)
  • More committed to your company (it costs thousands of dollars to replace and train new employees)
  • Promotable (it is so much more cost effective and easier to be able to promote from within…your employees who are moving up KNOW your company, so their learning curve will be much flatter than a newbie exec)
  • More aligned with your company (with leadership coaching, it is much easier to get people on board and aligned with your vision and mission)

Dave and Wendy Ulrich wrote and recently published a must-read book The Why of Work.  It is fabulous.  Their research found the following about companies who actually invested in the development of their people, including coaching and training:

  1. Over a 10-year period (1998-2008) “best companies to work for” have a 6.8 percent stock appreciation versus 1.0 percent for the average firm.
  2. Over a seven-year period, the most admired firms in Fortune’s list of admired companies had doubled the market returns of their competitors
  3. A one-standard-deviation increase in high performance work practices yields $27,044 increase in sales per employee and $3,814 increase in profit per employee.”
The Why of Work Can Teach Your Company How to Become a "Best Company to Work For"

The Why of Work Can Teach Your Company How to Become a "Best Company to Work For"

I am not going to tell you the full list of their findings, because this is in their book, and I truly believe that all leaders and leadership coaches should check out their findings.  (I am not getting one cent for endorsing this book or anything from the authors…I do not know them…I just respect their work).  Just click on the photo to the right and pick up a copy from Amazon.

On page 71, the authors spell out the competencies leaders need to get fully ingrained into their DNA to lead “abundant organizations” (as they call the great companies of the world) and they give examples of best companies who embody these competencies.  (Apple for Innovation and Nike for Strategic Clarity as two examples).  If you follow these companies on page 71, you will see quickly how much they value their employees and the time and effort they invest in their development.  They KNOW their employees are their biggest assets, and of course, if you are smart, you will invest in your top assets.

So, if you really want to know why you should hire a leadership coach, pick up a copy of this book, read it and then take a big step by hiring a leadership coach…I am not saying hire me necessarily…I am suggesting that you hire a leadership coach if you are not currently working with one.  When hiring a coach, make sure to interview at least three coaches to find the best fit.  Some will be great for you and some just won’t click with you or your company.

As a leadership coach, here are a few of the benefits my clients have received.  There are many others, but these are the benefits I usually notice very early on in the coaching sessions:

  1. Clarity on next steps
  2. Improvement in strategic thinking
  3. Coaching skills (to lead in today’s world, you need coaching skills under your belt.  When you work with a leadership coach, you will pick up the skills just by being coached)
  4. Improved ability to influence and inspire others
  5. Ability to listen more deeply
  6. Improved questioning skills (Asking the right questions with an appreciative approach is critical to being able to lead today)
  7. More time to attack critical projects
  8. Improved organization and productivity
  9. Stronger team relationships
  10. Better use of skills and talents of employees
  11. Greater flexibility to adapt to change

If you are someone who is interested in leadership coaching, please contact me today for more information.

If you are a leadership or executive coach, please leave comments below about the type of leadership coaching you offer and benefits your clients have received.  The more we can educate the public about leadership coaching, the greater chance a company will have of becoming a great/best company to work for.

Generation Y by the Numbers and Other Great Stuff from BNET

Profile of Gen Y job by Tamara J. Erickson

I want to continue the blog entry started by Scott on the Profile of Gen Y job article by Tamara J. Erickson.

What we are seeing is that Gen Y has a different definition of “work ethic”.  Baby Boomers seem to define work ethic as giving 60-70 hours per week, rushing from here to there in order to have the world see how much they are doing.  I am a Baby Boomer, and I know this mentality (I live this mentality).

Gen Y, however, is different (remember…they have different world views from any previous generation).  They not only have the knowledge and the tech skills to get the job done more efficiently and effectively, they have the network to pull off a task in a matter of 30 minutes as opposed to two hours by a solo worker working as a “lone ranger”.

I have had people ask me if Baby Boomers are upset with Gen Y’s view of work, because they also really crave less work hours and  more free time.  There might be something to this notion, but let me just put this into perspective on how I see the different generations and how they view work:

1) Traditionalists:  Traditionalists were affected by the Great Depression.  Work meant work…you worked to earn a living, save and invest.  If you left a job, there was a stigma attached to it (Oh…Henry must have been fired).  They were highly respectful of authority, and created a hierarchical structure to the leadership in organizations (so…everyone worked hard to climb to the top).

2) Baby Boomers:  Baby Boomers fall in that category of working 60 hours a week at a corporate job so that they can “keep up with the Joneses”.  To change jobs is a waste of time, and in order to do a great job, it means that you must hold a LOT of meetings and work week-ends if necessary.  Boomers love Mondays…because it means they get the chance to get back in there and work, work, work really hard (and many ended up being affected by the downsizing of corporate America in exchange for that hard work).

3) Generation X:  Gen X grew up being fiercely independent.  As latch-key kids, they began to depend on themselves and their friends for support, and many began dabbling with tech start ups during the Dot Com boom.  The Dot Com bust happened, and many went back into full time work, yet they had a few new demands, including flex hours, telecommuting and being able to move to different divisions in the company and spend time with their friends. Gen X really worked in order “to live”, and they don’t like close supervision.  So, meetings which made no sense and managers telling them how to work and what to do were met with quite a bit of resistance.

4) Then came Gen Y.  Okay…think about this…Gen Y has watched all of the above.  They watched their grandparents (traditionalists) in coat and tie, watched their Baby Boomer parents work 60 hours a week just to get laid off or fired and watched their older siblings (Gen X) start to ask for things like flex hours and movement.  So…this is an evolution of generations and how they view work.   Gen Y’s mantra is “Live First, Work Second”,  and they know how to use technology, online social networking, and the massive amounts of knowledge they have to multi-task and do it well!  They see work as something they do between the times they live or see their friends or do something fun.   So, they are changing the way we work and live…living first, working second…isn’t this what we all want?

I want to close by saying that I really believe that Gen Y is going to change the way we all work, and again…I think this is an evolutionary process in our world.  Sure…there will always be Generation Y adults who work hard, but they are putting their foot down and saying “We want to live in a different way!”.  If we can get the job done (and done well without the quality of the end product or service suffering), then why not do it in half the time?  What’s the purpose in the 60 hour work week?  If you enjoy working 60 hours…great!  I congratulate you.  However, be very careful about speaking about Gen Y as if they don’t have a strong work ethic.  They just have a much different way of moving about work, and their priorities are  in a bit of a different order right now, and this is all subject to change.

Studies: Arrogance not rampant among young in USA Today

Great article today in USA Today:  Studies:  Arrogance not rampant among young in USA Today.

As I have said before:  Every generation thinks the next generation is more arrogant and narcissistic than the generation before them.  The Gen Y leaders I have met over the last 18 months (and I have met and interviewed about 200) are coming across as generous, hard working, and very dedicated to social causes.  They are also very thoughtful.  Just three weeks ago, Arel Moodie and Bert Gervais called to wish me a Happy New Year and to thank me for supporting them…that meant a lot to me, and I don’t hear my boomer colleagues calling me to say that.   And…if you listen in to the interview below this post with Margaret Regan, she brings up a great point…that Gen Y is saying that they don’t want to live the way their boomer parents did…working 60+ hours per week and being stressed to the max.  So, in my opinion, what some boomers are calling narcissistic and “it’s all about me” may just be  Gen Y’s way of saying “I want to live life first and work second.  I want balance, flexiblity and freedom.  I’m not going to do things your way, working my fingers to the bone, because it will kill me…or at least put me in the sick ward”.  (Don’t we all want that?  Why are we so afraid to ask for that, and why do we then call a generation that is asking for what we all want in life things like lazy, narcissistic and arrogant?)

I believe this to be true…if you look for the negative, you will find it.  If you look for the positive, you will find it.  If you are reading this blog today, I encourage you to get out there and start talking to Gen Y, because I think you might just be surprised at the positives they are bringing to the world.  And…I’m going to say it again “It’s time for us to start working with them…not resisting their efforts!”

Y-Talk Radio Interview with Margaret Regan, Found of the FutureWork Institute

Would you like to know how our business and corporate landscape will be shifting in the next 5-10 years as young talent (Gen X and Gen Y) moves into the workforce and into key leadership positions? If so, you don’t want to miss this call with Margaret Regan, Founder of the FutureWork Institute , shares her insights from a gobal study her company is conducting on workforce trends, diversity, talent shortages and generational values. Led by Y-Talk host, Bea Fields  and Guest Co-Hosts Beth Bloomfield and Carol Graser of Next Gen Leaders.

Y-Talk Interview with Penelope Trunk, Author of Brazen Careerist

Penelope Trunk, author of the irreplaceable career handbook, Brazen Careerist and YAHOO Finance columnist gives anything but standard advice to the next generation of workers. Trunk, an expert career advice columnist, has been providing indispensable guidance to 20 and 30-somethings for the last five years.  During this special Y-Talk interview, Trunk will outline the best strategies for next generation workers to get to the top in the business world without necessarily climbing the corporate ladder that their parents  generation clung to.

Visit the Brazen Careerist Blog: http://blog.penelopetrunk.com

Buy BRAZEN CAREERIST from Amazon.com:

Managing and Leading Generation Y

As an Executive Coach, it is not uncommon for me to hear from Baby Boomers and even Generation Xers the ever-pressing question: “How do I lead and manage Generation Y? These young kids are driving me crazy, and I have no idea what to do with them!”

The answer to this question is actually pretty simple…you let Generation Y know that you care about them…that you are listening and you respect them as human beings.

Isn’t that what we all want?

As I was leaving the ICF Conference on Saturday, a man approached me and said “I enjoyed your presentation yesterday. But, you did not really get into how entitled and spoiled Generation Y really is.” I then responded “Ah yes…the entitlement question.” He looked at me and laughed, and I said…”You know…these young leaders are great kids and are going to be great adults. They were raised by parents who have hovered over them, challenged them to be super competitive, telling them they can be anything, do anything or have anything…and they can have it now! So, given that…what do you think the answer is to your question? How do you think we should all handle this attitude of entitlement?”

The man looked at me and said “I’ll have to think about it. Have a good day.”

So, the question on leading and managing Generation Y honestly lies in managing Gen Y’s expectations…having a very frank conversation with them about their reality while offering them enough of a stretch to keep life interesting. As older leaders, we also have to start taking responsibility for leading and parenting Generation Y and helping to create this sense of entitlement. As a Baby Boomer who is a parent of 3 Generation Y adults, I am here to say…the answer to managing and leading Generation Y rests in our ability to listen to them, respect them, honor their tremendous talent and then teaching them how to lead others…while admitting that we played a huge role in helping to sculpt the way Gen Y thinks and lives in the world. To throw in the towel and speak to them as if they are irreverent will never work. This generation is going to change our culture, so we need to all be prepared to be role models…to learn how to lead them and honor them and bring out the best in them

For more information on this topic, please visit our Millennial Leaders Website: http://MillennialLeaders.com.