Beef up your managerial muscles

| January 11, 2011
THE strategy used to get a teenager to clean their room might not be so persuasive in the boardroom. Yet executive mentor Kayley Liddle often sees managers fall short by failing to distinguish between worlds – just one area where a corporate coach can help sharpen a professional’s edge.  

“Executive coaching helps individuals stay focused on their goals a lot quicker, and a lot more effectively than if they were doing it on their own,” Ms Riddle from Carnegie Management Group says.

“People ask if I had a coach what would I get? It’s a very difficult question to answer, I ask what would you like to get, what would you like to achieve?”

She says the ability to engage staff is just as important as driving sales or balancing the books.

“It’s not just a soft skill, it’s not just a nice thing to have or a fluffy side to the business – it’s real. Because if you’ve got a robust engagement program in place and you are engaging your people, you will see the business results it delivers,” Riddle says.  

Lead the way

So what sort of issues do managers commonly need to brush-up on?

 “A lot of people are scared to speak in public so I do a lot of work on presentation and facilitation skills, also around assertiveness and saying what they want,” Riddle says.

Women often use coaching to develop influencing and decision-making skills.

“I work with a woman who is a very senior sales director, very able to deliver revenue and sales results. But she wasn’t able to influence effectively across the rest of the executive.”

“She was using the same strategies for clients and prospects as she was in the boardroom to influence her peers, and it wasn’t working. I worked with her on understanding her influencing strategies, and helping access other strategies.”

“It opened up a whole new world for her. Now she’s accessing 5 out of the 6 influencing strategies and getting results,” Riddle says.

Scared to commit

How to get more out of staff is another concern that draws many managers to executive coaching.

“Most of the leaders I work with are very good at strategic planning and the technical aspects. What they need more help with is getting the best out of people, being able to communicate with people at all levels,” Riddle says.

Riddle says the key is shifting mindsets.

“A lot of people focus so much on trying to motivate people. It’s turning that around and saying – all you can do is effect the way you communicate and engage with them. What are you doing to engage (your staff) and learn about them? How are you showing them your commitment to them?”

“If you commit to someone, then all of a sudden you find that they commit to you, and deliver for you. As soon as they start to look at it in a different way, the results start to happen,” Riddle says.

For more: Carnegie Management Group