What keeps people from LEADING successfully?

| February 7, 2012

How do you to motivate your teams to sell more, be more and stay with you, executive coach Franziska Goyo, shares her tips.  

The CEO of a fast growing recruitment company asked me to train their teams to become more effective in selling, coordinating and motivating their clients. The first analysis clearly showed that the teams were stressed. A lot of complaining behind other people’s backs was going on amongst them and trust levels were low. A number of the staff had left not long after they had started.

I found that the newly appointed executive managers were working hard to build and motivate their freshly forming teams, but they were exhausted and their confidence levels were low. The image of building a sand castle came to my mind; as you add sand to the top, the bottom gets washed away.

I suggested to the CEO instead of training the teams only, to put greater emphasis on process oriented coaching with the executive managers and with the CEO separately himself as this would improve sales performance as well as leadership skills much more effectively.

Process oriented coaching goes to the root of the problem, by examining not only people’s actions, but also by examining what emotions, beliefs and self-beliefs are hidden in the mind. These drive their performances and contribute to the corporate atmosphere (also known as culture).

Even though coaches and trainers are starting to acknowledge the power of the unconscious mind, few know how to really work with it. This makes it difficult to market, despite its effectiveness, and therefore means that it takes a brave client to commit to such a process.

The executive managers saw the challenge as well as the benefits and signed up for this journey. They were willing to investigate the unconscious driving forces of their minds – their beliefs, self-beliefs, and their negative emotions. All these caused them to get ‘stuck’ and created difficulties in their leadership and ultimately in their teams. They were ready to gain deeper insight into themselves, including how they dealt with people, how they communicated, how they distributed tasks, how they coordinated their teams and how they came across as leaders. They had the confidence that this task would not only help them develop greater leadership skills, but also enhance their own and their team’s self-esteem and self-respect.

Here is an example of one of the member’s progress and how she changed during the coaching process.

Karen (not her real name) led her team by telling them what to do and how to be. A big no-no in good leadership! When I asked her how she felt, while being with her team, she admitted that she often felt isolated and sometimes ‘strict like her mother’, but feared that if she was ‘too soft’, she would loose control over them. Karen was operating from what we call the PARENT ego-state in psychological language. There are three states of mind we can operate from, the CHILD, the ADULT and the PARENT.

When executives lead from the PARENT mindset the team usually responds by slipping into their CHILD state. The team members become more immature than they would normally be, they stop thinking for themselves or they disconnect from their leader and go into silent rebellion and become ineffective.

They can also fantasize of leaving the work place; this is more common than we think. The leader then becomes frustrated with them, and feels the need to control and change them even harder, being even more in PARENT! So the vicious circle of misunderstanding, confusion, ineffectiveness and frustration on both sides continues.

As Karen was going through her process of learning and discovery she was able to let go of her fear of losing control of her team. She learned to operate from her ADULT. She became able to laugh with her team and feel connected with them without losing their respect. At the same time she was able to hold the boundaries of her role as the executive manager and lead with respect and self respect.

This resulted in clearer communication and greater support of each other. The team became happier and people stopped leaving.

Process oriented coaching addresses the unconscious states of mind that operate in us, not only in us as individuals but also addresses the collective states of minds of groups and teams. The coaching process helps us become clearer, more focused and more in control of ourselves.

It helps achieving our goals more easily. We develop better connections with our teams and develop greater and more meaningful relationships. Our teams in return become more effective, happier, trusting and autonomous and the costly likelihood of staff leaving diminishes.


Franziska Goyo, executive director of Goyo International, is an organisational consultant and author of the book “Push My Buttons, Baby!” – Black Belt of the Emotional Arts. – Unleash Your Charisma and Create the Best Relationships Ever. Goyo provides organisational development, professional supervision and executive coaching. She helps teams and individuals develop clarity, congruence, cohesion and the strength to follow through and achieve growth and success.