Leadership and Managerial

Coaching for Business

Professionals

Leadership and Management

Coaching for Business

Professionals

What can coaching do for me and improving my skills as a manager and leader?

Managers often struggle when they are first promoted.  This specialist-to-leadership move includes explicit new responsibilities, and the abandoning of others.  But its greatest challenge lies in the nature of the work; leading and managing well is a very different thing than doing. 

Many think that a promotion is a time for rejoicing, yet often the transition to leadership can feel a lot more like jumping off a cliff than reaching a mountain peak! 

 

Consider some of these challenges:

  • The new job description contains only 30% of specialist skills.  So, 70% of the skills and experience that the specialist had relied upon to get to this promotion have become less appropriate.
  • The “new” goals are truly new – requiring skills in which the specialist has had little or no training.  Even an MBA program doesn’t really teach relationship-management, one of the top skills needed at this stage of development.
  • Often the new goals are soft or not easily measured.  When new leaders are asked to provide a frank assessment of how strong their skill set is relative to these new goals, their answers are sobering.  They reveal yet another reason why so many choose to take the promotion and role but still cling to their old responsibilities.
  • Becoming a leader requires a shift in mindset, from judger and doer – a problem-solver orientation – to observer and learner. It is more about problem-finding and discovering how to help others.  These skills, for the untrained, can seem soft and vague, and the best leadership often looks effortless, because its technique has an inward focus.

 

That situation may feel familiar to you…. And it is a situation that really benefits from great coaching.  Here are a few others that you may recognize:

  • A manager or leader who now struggles with working relationships.
  • A leader trying to learn where to focus as the organization has grown and added other management.
  • A hands-on CEO needing to become the hands-off CEO and potentially answer, “So now what?”  
  • A CEO or other leader seeking to discover their “natural and powerful” leadership style with which to help their organization perform and grow. One that they, too, can enjoy.

 

We will help you become a “Vibrant” leader…

There is no simple formula or method for leadership, as it is a very individualized skill, but we know great leadership when we see it.  Probably one of the best examples, though not without its flaws, is demonstrated by Ben Zander in his popular YouTube video on the Art of Possibility.  You’ll see why I chose the word “Vibrant.” 

 

If you’ve had AgencyAgile trainings, you’ll notice that many things he does are analogs to our teachings, such as techniques of leading from behind, and direct team-client interaction.

 

But the “how do I get there?” question is trickier.  There are practices that can be taught,… and then there is the Self.  It is within the Self of the leader that the foundations of a leadership mind and behavior-set are built.  We believe there are six key inner-self characteristics that foster this sort of “vibrant leadership”:

  • Being a Fan of Humanity. Understanding and admiring the power to grow and achieve that all of us possess; if you don’t believe in your people’s ability to grow, neither will they.
  • Adopting the posture of the Humble Gardener. Gardeners don’t grow plants, they garden them; the plants grow on their own.  The role of leadership is to maximize the Team’s growth.  Teams that are growing are highly productive.
  • Engaging as a Zealous Missionary. It is leadership’s role to ensure that the mission is in the forefront.  The Zealous Missionary also is engaged and fascinated by what the team is accomplishing and their growth.
  • Harnessing the Power of Connection. Teams can be powerful, but that requires ensuring that teams (and leaders) stay connected with each other.  Great leaders have a mastery of how to deal with conflict and style differences, and an advanced ability to connect with others.
  • Development of a Self-Authoring Style. This is the ability to see one’s self outside the typical social contexts, and take ownership of one’s actions a reactions with a sense of connected purpose.
  • Possessing a World System View. Emergent behaviors often have far better outcomes than directed behaviors.  Powerful leaders possess a broad view of how people and the world operate, more centered on the value of not knowing and taking a “systems perspective” on how people best work together.

 

The best way (and pretty much only way, unless you were gifted with them from birth) to develop these fundamental skills is individualized coaching and training. 

 

What coaching is and isn’t, and where it works best.

 
There is often confusion around the differences between several practices that sound similar: coaching, counseling, mentoring and consulting.  In addition, coaching itself has some limitations in terms of what it can accomplish, as I note below.
  • Counseling.  This is a one-on-one series of sessions typically aimed at underlying psychological issues, where the counselor acts in a therapeutic fashion, prescribing and guiding the person through gaining insights and understandings that can enable a shift in behavior and self-concept.  This is often done without specific objectives or a time-limit.
  • Mentoring.  This is a one-to-one relationship between people within the same industry or role specialization, where the mentor is more experienced and/or better-networked than the mentee, and often they are in the same company.  Typical topics will be oriented around best practices within the specialization and how to handle the shifts in skill sets, role and politics during the growth of the mentee’s career.  Often this is done as an unstructured relationship, used when needed or infrequently, like once every 3-6 months.
  • Consulting.  This is an advisory role where the consultant advises the client, often a company or a part of an organization, on one or more aspects of their operation and/or strategy.  The consultant usually possesses specific knowledge about the industry or class of problem, and the relationship is usually structured around specific questions or challenges that upon which the organization wants insight.  The client expects the consultant to provide the solution.
  • Coaching.  This is a one-to-one relationship (can be done in groups as well) aimed at helping the coachee build skills and understanding that helps in addressing one or more specific career or job-based challenges that the coachee faces.  The coach possesses skills in guiding the coachee through self-reflection and development of a path forward using their existing skills, personality, and situation.  It is more of a partnership than any of the other practices listed above.  Coaching relationships are typically structured with a fixed-focus and term.
 
Coaching is problem-solution oriented, but is focused on helping you discover, build and deploy skills and understanding around a specific problem.  In that way, coaching combines small parts of all of the different practices above. But at its best, great coaching will help you build your own path to solution through discussion, exercises and insights.

How does the program work?

Our coaching program typically takes 2-3 months to complete, but also will help you make tangible gains in your insights and skills very early on. We focus on one or more of the key topics that challenge agency and small business executives and leaders, (people with 10+ years of experience):
  • Leadership skills and transition to leadership roles
  • Managing teams and personal interactions
  • Effective communication
  • Personal productivity and effectiveness
  • Role transition and career transition (within the same business, and NOT including job search.)

You’ll work one-on-one with your coach to first craft a coaching objective and then develop new skills and insights that will help you achieve that objective. You should expect to have 10-15 hours of sessions with your coach, 60-90 minutes in duration, weekly or occasionally bi-weekly, using a mix of phone, in-person and/or video/Skype sessions. You’ll have small homework or thinking assignments from many of these sessions. As you might guess, having at least some in-person time between coach and coachee can be quite valuable, so that should be a consideration in your budgetary planning.

We are in located in Los Angeles, but travel frequently around the world and within the US, and can work with clients in any geography.  We only offer coaching to those fluent in English.

Who will be my coach?

Jack Skeels is the CEO of AgencyAgile, a serial award-winning entrepreneur, and the creator of the AgencyAgile organizational empowerment trainings that have been implemented in almost 100 agencies and marketing organizations. He has an MBA in entrepreneurship and finance from USC’s Marshall School of Business, has trained at the Hudson Institute of Coaching, and has advised executives and leadership groups on strategy and organization for the last 20+ years. Jack lives in Topanga, California, and travels frequently to train, coach, consult and speak at industry events.

Want to know more or get started?


If you would like to learn more, we do provide a complementary 45-minute introductory session so that you can better understand what you can accomplish working with an executive coach. Please fill out the contact form below for more information or to schedule an introductory session.  We hope to speak with you soon!