An executive coach and an independent manager, two worlds seem far apart
Being an executive coach might seem counterproductive to a board member’s position, in two ways:
- The role of the coach is so exaggerated that it is often not taken seriously. Also, when a person announces that after a ten-day training, they become a trainer…another trainer, among many other things. On the other hand, the independent director with experience, a title that is difficult to obtain, and recognized only by his peers, appears
- The coach is the representative of the maieutics (the person who helps the patron to find his own solution), when the administrator is there to monitor the company’s interests.
Executive Coaches: When Too Much Criticism Makes Them A Performer
The many criticisms of trainers are sometimes very well documented, notably by Julia de Funes, but the majority of them revolve around their redundancy and legitimacy?
Specifically intended for independent managers, the Executive Coach Certification course provides tools to facilitate answers to the questions they often ask themselves:
- What is my place and role on the board of directors?
- Do I go too far with my questions to the management committee?
- What is the legitimacy of my intervention when I do not have access to as much information as the market leader, customers and workers?
- How to direct without being ready to work?
Training methods and tools needed even when you don’t want to make it your job
Attention #1: Be aware of the roles and positions of everyone on the boards
The board of directors is a group in which human relations are woven.
When we start a coaching training, we join a new group, which leads us to rethink our attitude towards others (far from any hierarchical link) and to analyze our reactions as those of others: Am I in hindsight, as a leader in the role of facilitator? How do others react to my situation?
Coaching and mentoring contribution
The testimony of the trainer leads to a role play: it is necessary to alternately take the positions of the trainer and the recipient in training, training with the group. An act of introspection and reflection about our deepest needs, and therefore our behavioral patterns, is essential.
These impromptu coaching sessions, even by beginners, allow in fact self-reflection: “A director of a company, of whom I am the director, has expressed his desire to replace the HR director with someone above him, because he considered him more competent. , given the growth of the company and its new issues (mergers and acquisitions) , shift, etc.).Why did I want to give my opinion to the principal first? I didn’t necessarily have all the information needed to formulate a relevant opinion, and yet I did.”
as an independent director, this divergence makes it possible, for example, to analyze the possible reaction of a leader who grumbles at the questions posed by his board of directors, judging them as intrusive, while certainly bearing in mind that his legitimacy is in question. It also helps to understand why the CEO would remain silent in the face of a seemingly contradictory injunction from the board of directors, such as: “We need a radical cost-cutting plan, but no layoffs or strategic project halt!” »
Attention #2: favoring questioning over knowledge
One of the most important criticisms of the coach is that he should not provide solutions to the beneficiary. What is her contribution if she is only asking questions?
The coach, through a set of modified questions, helps the director to become aware of his thought patterns, his mechanism of resistance or too spontaneous acquiescence, and thus to adapt his answers: the director’s crowd is strongest when he himself has found solutions, paying attention to other expressions.
Asking questions before giving an opinion can be difficult for an independent manager. After all, he was recruited on the basis of his experience and expertise! So he must know everything. mistake ! The Council does not have access to as much information as Codir. Above all, he was asked to challenge, direct, and structure the decision-making process, but not to give the solution. Gives opinion among others. Which can also be a relief for him! Not everything is on his shoulders.
Interrogation is inevitable. It makes it possible to detect weak signals, inconsistencies, and perhaps harbingers of changes, risks or opportunities for the company. Let’s complete the example of the change of the financial director: at the suggestion of the manager, it is better to start by questioning him, rephrasing his answer: “The company is in the process of external growth and will double its turnover. This dynamic will require new skills from the commercial director. Instead of acquiescing in, “Yeah, obviously his role will change, so let’s find someone more specific, who knows export”, it’s better to ask the manager: “Do you think M Commercial skills won’t be enough”? Did you talk to him about that? Do you think training is possible…? This makes it possible to challenge the principal while it is in construction.
Concern #3: Managing incompatibility
In contrast to open disputes, it often happens that poor consensus is reached in the council, or divergent views end up with the status quo.
In team coaching, the coach tries to understand barriers, areas where relational needs are not being met. Above all, it tries to draw on areas of convergence and common goals to bring back together.
Like a coach, an independent manager must be on guard against those who may take too obvious positions, such as: “There is no question of opening up capital,” or “AI is dangerous, we won’t do it!”. On the contrary, each member of the board of directors must listen carefully to the interventions of other directors and those of the director. Be sure to paraphrase what was said before making a new argument. He should also avoid making criticisms, showing that he has understood other points of view, but is likely to have another angle of understanding.
Interest No. 4: Managing tensions, people’s conflicts, scorn and humiliation among board members, which is detrimental to its efficiency.
The coaching experience makes it easier to understand the people who make up the board and the tensions associated with personality conflicts: ensuring the smooth running of a company cannot be done without empathic concern, or at least listening, towards the individuals gathered around the boardroom table.
Obviously, the jobs of coaches and administrators are different. However, board members can benefit from techniques resulting from the training: they must be attentive and modest enough to question any overly hasty statement and to direct the discussion.
Stephanie is a business leader, independent administrator, and certified trainer