Business leaders and senior executives can greatly benefit form executive coaching services as they meet ever changing business environment and challenging business demands.
Although ‘executive coaching’ service is well-established in developed countries, it is still at its infancy in the Middle East. Some cultural and social boundaries, particularly with family owned-business, may impede the development of such a professional services, these challenges include (a) Self-pride – ‘we know best’ attitude, (b) Lack of trust – we trust no one as we care about our business most and (c) Cost – may be perceived as unnecessary cost they could do with out.
Coaching in general has been recognized as a necessity in the Sport field to maximize the performance of talented individuals, and teams who compete for top ranking. In recent years this service has been extended to the corporate place to coach individuals and groups of employees to improve personal skills, develop entrepreneurial approach to employment, enhance teamwork, increase productivity and profitability and shifting mind set from maintenance to innovation.
Leading in today’s turbulent business world requires two vital leadership skills that are essential for guiding your organization through accelerated, fast-moving, change-creative adaptation and leveraging human potential. Creative adaptation is the process of anticipating, embracing, and proactively creating the management principles and employee practices for exceptional performance in the future business environment. Leveraging human potential is the process of harnessing the knowledge, creativity and innovation, and high-performance skills necessary to operate as a future-oriented organization.
The demands on regional senior executives’ times have never been greater; higher profit, increased revenue growth, ever changing environment, process improvement, financial crises, etc. In such a demanding environment, very few senior executives have the luxury of participating in carefully selected management training, and some may have the occasional chats with other executive colleagues.
With demanding business owners and Board Members and changing priorities, even the experienced CEO’s often feel very lonely at the top of the organization pyramid structure with no one to turn to for guidance or reassurances. Many executives feel restrained and isolated and are rightly concerned about sharing their issues in-house for fear they will not remain private. There is no doubt that for these individuals the stakes are high. At the same time, there is an increasing need to stop thinking about their concerns and start doing something.
This is exacerbated by the need to balance between personal and family needs and business obligations which often result in increased stress that may impact the health of the executives as well as his performance and could filter through across the organization with knock on effect on employees’ moral and organization performance.
This could arguably explain the realities of recent years that more CEOs have been sacked or moved on prematurely than ever before. Under such circumstances, the Board should tackle poorly performing CEO’s more sympathetically as changing the leadership at the top is not the only solution and could not resolve the problem, instead they should provide moral and management support to the executives by direct intervention or by appointing an executive coaching.
External supports, in the form of executive coaching, could be beneficial to all executives. Whilst some emerging CEO’s lack the management and leadership experience, and in certain circumstances totally unqualified, veteran CEOs may be stuck in the past. The world has changed dramatically and lots of CEOs still manage using a style better suited to the Industrial Age.
Executive coaching can fill such a gap; Executives are like champs who need someone to give them feedback, provide advice in specific areas and constructive criticism. Whilst the executive coach may not play better than them, he knows how to play well. Coaches also must know how to coach. Many well-known executives who managed multi-billion dollars enterprises such as Jack Welsh have his own coach.
CEOs who have the time and are aware of the need for continued professional training may participate in senior executive development programs at leading institutes worldwide. But the reality is that the majority of CEO’s, as emphasized above, do not have the time, at best they may spend some of their free time reading management books or professional magazines. The need for a fellow professional who can provide feedback, discuss ideas and suggest behavioural changes, improvements and most importantly give unbiased and sincere opinion can be underestimated.
A good executive coach is typically an experienced business man with track record, who had spent years in similar industries to that of his prospective clients, such wealth of experiences would undoubtedly enable well-balanced, informed and frank professional advice. The executive coach is expected to posses varied skill including communication, particularly listening, observation patience and gets satisfaction from what he does even when his client take all the glory of his hard work.
The need for executive coaching in the Middle East for owners, board members and senior executives has never been greater, yet somewhat unrecognized by the regional leadership. It provides leaders with access to a wealth of experience, immediate honest and professional feedback on business performance, avenues for personal and professional development.