Improvement in Underperforming Companies
Monday, December 20th, 2010
The Role of Leadership Coaching
In our work as leadership team coaches we are sometimes called in to work with teams that are leading underperforming organisations. Where a company is underperforming, the thinking, attitudes, emotions and relationships of the leadership team is particularly important to enable achievement of critical business outcomes essential for survival and (later) rejuvenation.
Yet in many ways it is harder for the team to achieve in isolation. Consider for a moment the forces that are at work. Members of the team are concerned about their positions in the company and the impact on their career generally. They feel a responsibility to their shareholders, the board, their employees and their clients and customers. It is possible that the leadership team as a whole can feel threatened and vulnerable.
There is significant evidence that where humans feel stressed and scared their ability to think clearly and rationally is impaired. Their focus becomes one of “flight or fight”. Relationships within the team, with key stakeholders and with customers and clients suffer as a result. The critical business outcomes are frequently not achieved as the team diverts its attention from important outcomes to personalities and patch protection.
An external leadership coach can bring a different perspective to the leadership team. By identifying and dealing with the personal and interpersonal challenges presented by a turn around situation, the executive coach enables the team to refocus on the most important issues. An effective, committed and energetic leadership team is much more likely to succeed in turning around an underperforming company.