How Important is Chemistry When Choosing an Executive Coach?

It’s probably no surprise to anyone reading this post that the coach-client relationship plays a key role in the outcome of any executive coaching engagement. After all, the best definition of executive coaching I’ve come across – from Jonathan Passmore and Annette Fillery-Travis — defines coaching as “a Socratic based dialogue between a facilitator (coach) and a participant (client) where the majority of interventions used by the facilitator are open questions which are aimed at stimulating the self-awareness and personal responsibility of the participant.”

For such a dialog to be effective, there must be good chemistry between coach and client.

Executive Coaching Chemistry Graphic

And while that may seem obvious, we have several research studies that highlight the important role chemistry plays in the outcome of any coaching engagement. For example, in “A Critical Review of Executive Coaching Research: A Decade of Progress and What’s to Come,” Passmore and Fillery-Travis conclude:

  • “It is now recognized that the most consistently identified factor seen as contributing to the success of a coaching engagement is the quality of the relationship between the coach and client.”

Citing another study by Louis Baron and Lucie Morin, The Coach-Coachee Relationship in Executive Coaching: A Field Study, Passmore and Fillery point out:

  • “Results indicate that the coach‐coachee relationship plays a mediating role between the coaching received and development of the coachees’ self‐efficacy.”

Finally in another study, “A large-scale study of executive and workplace coaching: The relative contributions of relationship, personality match, and self-efficacy,” Erik de Haan, et al. conclude:

  • “The coachee–coach working alliance mediated the impact of self-efficacy on coaching effectiveness, suggesting that the strength of this working alliance — particularly as seen through the eyes of the coachee — is a key ingredient in coaching effectiveness.”

Of course, good chemistry is not enough. A coach also must help a client identify his or her Continue reading…

Exploring the Question of Character vs Competence

If there is any formula for sustainable, holistic (personal and professional) success, it is this:

Character + Competence = Success

As a coach who specializes in working with C-suite executives and their spouses, I focus primarily on character.

Why? Two reasons:

  • Reason One: Character is essential to sustainable, holistic growth and success. You can get by on competence alone for only so long. Without character, you begin to suffer from a lack of balance in your life. You become one-dimensional — all work and no play. Relationships both at work and outside work, which make you successful and make life enjoyable and fulfilling, begin to suffer. You expend more and more time and energy solving problems than taking advantage of opportunities and enjoying the fruits of your labor. As a result, you fall short of achieving success in all areas of your life, and you find life more frustrating and less satisfying. In addition, your level of professional success is likely to plateau and may even decline.
  • Reason Two: Competence among professionals is assumed, while character is often neglected. When I say, “competence is assumed,” I mean competence is expected and necessary to secure a given position. You won’t make the first cut if you don’t have the expertise to fill the position. When I say, “character is often neglected,” I am highlighting the fact that professionals often invest sufficiently in developing the knowledge and skills required for a certain position, but spend little, if any, time and other resources developing their character. They often do not even know how to go about doing so.

In this post, I explain why I spend far more time with my clients exploring and developing character than exploring and developing competence, but first, let’s agree on a definition of “character.” Continue reading…

Understanding the Townsend Leadership Program

Leadership requires both competence and character. Competence comprises the knowledge, skills, and expertise required to succeed in one’s chosen endeavors. Character encompasses the intellectual, emotional, and spiritual qualities that enable individuals to build positive relationships, lead others, and achieve fulfillment in all aspects of their lives.

The Townsend Leadership Program (TLP) — created by a leadership coach, organizational consultant, psychologist, and best-selling author — helps participants to grow in both competence and character to amplify their personal, professional, and organizational performance. Research-supported, and science-driven, and biblically referenced, TLP takes a holistic approach to boosting business and leadership performance by connecting the dots between an individual’s professional and personal life.

Townsend Signature Logo

Graduates of the program, which involves meeting in facilitated, small group format on a monthly basis, develop a balance between their personal and professional lives that is sustainable, hence delivering long-lasting results. After all, if any aspect of one’s personal life is unsettled, it distracts from one’s professional life and vice versa. Taking a relationship-focused approach both at home and work has proven to produce measurable, observable, and Continue reading…

Introducing the First Annual Retreat on Narcissistic Relationships

While there’s no shortage of “to-do’s” when you’re in a bad relationship or failed marriage, there’s similarly no commonly held belief about the path forward when that failed marriage or relationship involves a narcissist. That’s because being in a relationship with a narcissist comes with a rollercoaster of emotions — not the least of which are hurt feelings, frustration, disbelief, and even questioning your own sanity.

Unlike being married to a workaholic you can set your watch to, nothing the narcissist says or does is consistent. They are charming and caring one moment, spiteful and devaluing the next. They will express one thing, and then do another. When you confront the person with questions or observations about these discrepancies, they turn the tables on you, claiming you don’t know what you’re talking about. And at times, depending on any number of factors, we may actually Continue reading…

Why Learning Plus Action Equals Change

Think back to any major change in your life, and you can probably attribute that change to the following formula:

Learning + Action = Change

For example, you may have learned a subject or skill in college, applied your knowledge (action), and landed a job in your field of expertise (change). If you engage in a fitness program, you learn different exercises, perform those exercises on a consistent basis, and witness the positive changes in your body and health and fitness level. If you’ve ever had relationship counseling, you probably learned specific techniques for communicating and for solving problems; using those techniques (action), you should have experienced positive changes in your relationships.

Much of what we learn and what ultimately results in change has to do with our interaction with the outside world. We explore the external environment to learn more about the world around us and how to more effectively navigate and interact with that external reality. Unfortunately, few of us invest nearly as much time and effort exploring ourselves internally to learn more about who we really are. As a result, most of us have multiple blind spots — strengths, weaknesses, personality traits, talents, biases, and so on, that we know very little to nothing about.

Action Plus Learning Equals Change

These blind spots make us susceptible to thinking and behaving in ways that may not be the most effective in our personal or professional lives. In fact, they often prevent us from leading prosperous, fulfilling, and successful lives. We feel frustrated and have no idea that the cause of that frustration is something that can be addressed within us.

One of the key benefits to working with an executive coach is that your coach can lead you through the process of learning and taking action to effect positive changes in your life. By engaging in this process with coach knowledgeable and experienced in the process of change, you can start to eliminate your blind spots andContinue reading…