Why personal development is critical to professional success

Why am I saying personal development is so important? We all know people who look like they are destined for amazing things, but never quite get there. They might have great commercial skills, intelligence, vision and all the other qualities that should lead to business success, yet they either lurch from one failed endeavour to […]

How can executive coaching help in changing times?

we’re in changing times and the modern business environment is more complex, diverse and competitive than it has ever been. Thanks largely to technological advances over the past couple of decades, it is also changing at a more rapid rate than anything we have ever seen before. Little wonder that many commentators, from Forbes Magazine […]

Executive coaching – think horticulture not sport (Part Three)

Organisations are collections of human beings. And the best organisations have leaders capable of facilitating the most effective ways for them to work together collaboratively toward a common goal. Freek Vermeulen, Assistant Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the London Business School, cites numerous studies that have sought to determine what characteristics lead, over time, […]

Executive coaching – think horticulture not sport (Part Two)

There are plenty of examples in business history of firms that expanded at phenomenal rates, frequently aided and abetted by acquisitions, becoming the darlings of the stock market, only to crash into the dust shortly afterwards. It’s all too easy to blame such colossal downfalls (just think of Enron or WorldCom) on arrogance, mismanagement or […]

Executive coaching – think horticulture, not sport (Part One)

Why is cultivating a beautiful lawn a more productive metaphor to draw on during executive coaching than sporting analogies? Answer: great business leadership doesn’t lose sight of the long game for the sake of immediate competitive expediencies. Let me borrow an imaginary dialogue proffered by Professors Ingemar Diermickx and Karel Cool, from their classic study […]

How to prevent conversational meltdowns: Part two

In the first part of this series, I described the cooling effects on an overheating conversation of taking responsibility for one’s role in verbal escalations. Here are some other powerful methods of preventing conversational fires to add to your repertoire. Social scientist Joseph Grenny perceptively notes that people lose control when they feel threatened. If […]

Relational coaching: it’s about you in your environment

In an interview on the Ashridge Executive Education blog, the relational coaching expert Professor Ernesto Spinelli describes how relational coaching means understanding that neither the coach nor the coached exists in isolation. According to Professor Spinelli, they are always subject to the relational conditions around them, and their experience of these conditions shapes their attitude, […]

Slow down; you have nothing to lose but your stress (Part 2)

I’d like to proceed with itemising Adrian Lock’s remedies for the stress-saturated work-life that today’s business leaders so often find themselves drowning in. If you rarely take the opportunity to slow down, maybe one of these is driving you! If quarterly reports function as an accelerator pedal, then addiction to emails is an insomnia-inducing, stress-exacerbating […]

Slow down; you have nothing to lose but your stress

Late last year, a survey from global executive recruitment firm Odgers-Berndtson brought into public focus the disturbingly relentless and intense levels of stress to which C-suite managers working for FTSE 350 companies were routinely subjected. Tellingly, the report was titled Lonely at the Top, and sadly, for those of us involved in executive coaching, it […]

Emotion – the ‘elephant in the room’ in team conflict (Part 2)

Last time, we summarised the three major sources of team conflict identified by leadership expert Annie McKee (insecurity, desire for power and habitual victimhood). I’d like to explore what can be done to prevent these patterns from undermining and sabotaging the healthy team conflict of debate. Firstly, conflict should be seen as pervasive and inevitable – […]