All executives want to be successful. Furthermore, nearly 100% believe they would benefit from coaching. Why is it, then, that only one-third of CEOs receive coaching or leadership development? Douglas LaBier, PhD, director for the Center of Progressive Development, explains this paradox in Why CEOs Don't Want Executive Coaching. LaBier explains that there is a difference in what executives need to be successful and what most coaching programs offer. This core competency? Self-awareness. This is key to managing the psychological and relational issues experienced in the higher levels of any organization.
LaBier lists three steps for increasing self-awareness that he has found useful for C-level and other senior executives:
- Learn from your personal timeline
- The capacities-gap exercise
- Identify your personal vulnerabilities.
The first step -- "learning from your personal timeline" -- involves identifying key turning points in your life and their consequences, both positive and negative. It also involves exploring how those events shaped your values, attitudes and behaviors. This knowledge points you in the direction of how to grow dormant and neglected parts of life.
The second -- "the capacities-gap exercise" -- entails listing positive qualities and strengths you possess and examining how they become stunted or blocked in everyday life. Then, it calls for describing steps on how you can grow your capacities, while limiting the gaps.
The third -- "identifying your personal vulnerabilities" -- requires looking at what makes you vulnerable, including emotional blind spots, fears and dysfunctional behaviors that can affect your life. It then proceeds to an explanation of how you can address and work through them.
In addition to self-awareness, there are many other elements needed to be a successful leader. However, it is important to note that self-awareness should be at the heart of executive coaching and leadership programs. In our next issue, we will discuss the best way to choose a coach!