» A Financial Executive's Perspective on His Coaching – Part I

While I can tell you anything you’d like to know about coaching, sometimes it’s more fun and valuable to hear what the client has to say. I’ve decided to start a series of ‘Client Clips,’ where my clients can share some of their stories. Here’s the first, based on the experience of a financial executive I’ll call Tom:

I’m an executive in the financial industry. Initially, our business was doubling every 26 months, and we wanted to help executives at a level of Senior Vice President and above to evolve as the business grew. As a commitment to upper level management, the company hired an on-site coach. However, I had the opportunity to look outside, and my CEO referred me to Jim. What a partnership!

Jim is a student of his own profession. He’s always actively learning and growing. He gets the latest and greatest information — he doesn’t rely on some study that came out 20 years ago. That spirit of continuous updating of knowledge really gave me confidence in him, because he’s committed to his own excellence.

Lots of coaches can listen to you and tell you what to do. With Jim, the process is totally interactive. He listens, probes, and helps you to see for yourself where you want to change. He challenges me on my assumptions, and lets me vet my thoughts and find my fallacies.

One of my big challenges is my 16 years of experience with my company. Experience can be valuable; it can also be baggage. When you grow with the company, you can get pretty narrow in your thought processes. New staff comes on board with new ideas, and my response used to be something along the lines of, “We tried that six years ago and it wasn’t successful.”

Jim helped me to work through that mindset. I learned to balance my experience with a new openness — to consider how something that didn’t work in the past may have value now.

At a senior level, it’s not so much about being ‘right’ or being ‘wrong;’ it’s about getting better. Jim’s brilliant at helping me think through my behavior, and the opportunity costs to that behavior. It’s a chance to evolve my thinking!

Next week I’ll consider the question, “Is coaching worth the time it takes?”