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Videos | Self-awareness

Are You Living Up To Your Potential?

If you’re ambitious, I’m sure you’ve spent a decent amount of time thinking about strategies that will help you achieve greater levels of success – whether it’s a more impressive job title, higher compensation, or responsibility for larger revenues, profits, or numbers of employees. The interesting thing to reflect on is whether this definition of success is yours’s or is it heavily influenced by family, friends, and colleagues.

Do you sometimes feel that despite all your efforts and accomplishments, you lack a true sense of professional satisfaction and fulfilment? Do others see you as successful but you still don’t feel you are successful enough?

For someone like me who transitioned from client-facing investment banking to a non-profit and then to set up my own personal development company, I know what I’m talking about.

Do you have fleeting thoughts that your career is not really turning out the way you’d like? Do you feel trapped sometimes by your own success?  Are you afraid of losing your stature and don’t want to let anyone down, but at the same time you don’t want to keep doing what you are doing?

A possible reason for this could be that you’ve been so busy trying to reach specific milestones and impress other people that you’ve lost sight of what you really enjoy doing. It’s never too late to re-examine your career and focus on achieving success as defined by you and not by others.

The question you need to ask yourself is “Am I reaching my potential?” and not “How do I rise to the top?” or “How can I be successful in my career?”

It’s about taking a very personal look at what success means for you in your heart of hearts and then finding your path to get there. Needless to say, talking to a coach like me, who’s experienced it personally, can help you find your answers quickly. So reach out and let’s talk! Click on the Request Consultation button above.

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Articles | Leadership

Leadership Credibility – Why It Matters & How To Develop It

What is credibility? Credibility is simply the quality of being believed or accepted as true, real, or honest. Personal credibility is about trust, respect, and being believable. A leader’s credibility is typically defined in terms of the degree of employee confidence, belief, and acceptance towards the leader.

Why is leadership credibility important?

While personal credibility applies to everyone in the workplace, it is especially important for leaders. Why is that? Because, if your employees do not believe in you as their leader, you just cannot be effective as a leader. Under these circumstances, employees will simply comply with rules but will not work towards the common goal and will not put in their best efforts. Their morale will be low and customer service will be poor.

Lack of leadership credibility creates employee distrust and disengagement thus impacting the reputation of the organisation and also its profitability. Studies have shown that the credibility of the leader influences employee engagement which in turn impacts the organization's productivity and performance. 

While credibility has many facets, in most cases it is judged simply by comparing what you say with what you do in your day-to-day behaviour. Leaders that say one thing but do another won’t have the authenticity and credibility that’s essential to be an effective leader in today’s VUCA environment.

But being trustworthy is not the only contributor to your credibility as a leader. The other very important component of credibility is the perceived competence of the leader – i.e., people’s faith in your knowledge, skills, and ability to do your job and get the job done as a leader.

Employees form such opinions or perceptions not just through direct interaction with you but also through indirect observation of your actions and performance. And these perceptions are extremely important in this hyperconnected age, when vast amounts of information about you is easily accessible in the public domain.

So basically, your credibility as a leader is important because employees want to have the assurance that when you are managing them and assessing their performance, you are yourself competent and trustworthy.

To assess the level of your leadership credibility in your organization, you need to ask yourself these questions and honestly reflect on your answers:

  • Do your employees view you as being believable?
  • Do your employees have confidence that you will do the right thing?
  • Do your employees believe that you have the overall organization’s interest and employees’ interest in mind while taking strategic decisions?
  • Do your peers or partners or shareholders or board members view you as being trustworthy?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” then you have a leadership credibility gap that you need to work on.

What takes away from your credibility as a leader?

While there are many factors, let’s talk about the six key behaviours that undermine your credibility as a leader.

Inaction

Research shows that employees seriously question the competency of leaders who fail to take action or ignore problems. This is especially true when it comes to problems that impact the sustainability of the organization.

Indecisiveness

One of the key roles of a leader is to make sense of the operating environment and take strategic decisions about the future of the organization. When you are seen as not fully clued in to the operating environment and lack vision and clarity about the future direction of the organization, you quickly lose the respect of your employees.

Inconsistency

Leaders who make promises without making any effort to fulfil them, really erode their credibility. For example, if you keep saying “I’ll get back to you,” but never do so, it impacts your credibility. Many leaders tend to over-promise even if it is with good intentions, but when it comes to the crunch they can’t deliver what they promise. Your employees will believe your promise and expect you to fulfil them. If you can’t offer what you promise then you will quickly lose credibility as a leader. Another behaviour that undermines your competence is giving contradictory information. The contradictions might come from different people on the leadership team or even from the same person- but it confuses employees and makes them suspicious.

Incoherent communication

When leaders create confusion among employees and other stakeholders by distributing incorrect or misleading information or they misrepresent the facts, it can really undermine their credibility. Sometimes leaders do this without even realizing and sometimes they may do it intentionally to paint a rosier picture, in the hope that it will motivate employees – either way, it results in people getting totally confused at best — and suspicious at worst.

Self-serving actions

Research shows that self-serving behaviours can undermine employees’ trust in their leaders. These include bending the rules to privilege yourself or your close associates, making decisions based on your self-interest rather than what’s best for the organization, urging employees to make sacrifices while wasting the organization’s resources on perks for yourself, and taking credit for the achievements of others. Even if you don’t act unethically yourself, you can suffer a serious loss of trust if you permit colleagues to act unethically. You must uphold high ethical values to protect your organization and your people, or your followers and key stakeholders will lose faith in you.

Treating employees poorly

Leaders who treat their employees as expendable or tend to openly ignore the opinions of employees and key stakeholders are perceived as untrustworthy and hence not credible. Leaders can damage their credibility when they ask for information and reports that don’t seem worthwhile or that they don’t review and act on. Such requests can cause confusion as to what the organization’s priorities are, and the employees may feel resentful about what they see as a waste of their time.

So, these are some specific behaviours that erode your credibility as a leader. What is interesting is that even though leaders lose credibility when they display incompetence or untrustworthiness, employees are much more tolerant and forgiving of an incompetent leader than they are of an untrustworthy leader. They believe that incompetent leaders can at least try to become more competent, whereas untrustworthy leaders can’t easily become more trustworthy.

How can you as a leader build credibility?

What positive actions can you take to strengthen your credibility over time?

Credibility isn’t something that you just gain as you step into a leadership role. There is a process to gaining trust and dedication from your employees, which then leads to credibility.

Here are five specific things that you can do to build your credibility over time:

Focus on long term success

This is very different from simply stating a strategic vision or setting performance targets and then just going about business as usual. It involves mapping out, in detail, how the organization will achieve its goals in the medium to long term.

Develop Foresight

Having a sophisticated knowledge of industry trends and clear ideas about how the organization should respond to them can really build your credibility as a leader. You can also actively predict and prepare for upcoming changes. For example, by making strategic investments in new technologies or markets. These will really enhance your perceived competence.

Streamline Operations

When you work consistently to improve organizational structures and processes and maintain financially sound operations, your credibility as a leader soars. Eliminating unnecessary reporting structures and careless spending, establishing new strategic roles, or investing in technology that improves operational efficiency or business effectiveness are some actions you can take to build your credibility as an action-oriented and competent leader. Don’t shy away from taking tough decisions.

Be Consistent

Leaders are perceived as trustworthy and credible when they communicate and behave in a consistent manner. To begin with, this means making decisions that aren’t contradictory. But it also means behaving in a way that aligns with the promises (both explicit and unspoken) that the company makes to employees and other stakeholders. By pre-emptively looking out for stakeholders’ needs, you can prevent stakeholder conflicts and organizational crises, as well as gain the trust of your employees and other key stakeholders.

Model the Way

Be clear about your values and the organization’s values so that employees and other stakeholders can see why you do what you do. The culture of the organization flows from the top. If you want your employees to trust you, you need to start by showing that you trust them. If you want your employees to be open to change, be change-ready yourself. Basically, know that your employees are observing you minutely all the time and if you want them to behave in a certain way, they need to see you doing the same. Demonstrate your values in how you talk and act to establish credibility and authenticity as a leader.

So, there you have it. Why credibility is important for leaders – because your success as a leader and the success of your organisation depends on it. Credibility stems from your perceived competence and your trustworthiness.

Credibility takes time to build, but it can be torn down in seconds. You don’t need a big scandal or mess up to destroy your credibility – it’s often the little things that you do over time that can add up to destroy your credibility. So, keep your promises, do what you say you will, give credit where it is due, acknowledge mistakes, don’t talk about others behind their back, don’t withhold information, don’t belittle others, be consistent and be accountable.

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Articles | Leadership

CARES Model of Leadership for the VUCA World

As a business leader in the 21st century, you face persistent changes in the business environments in which you operate. The diversity, intensity, and rapidity of these changes create volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, which challenge you on ways to lead effectively as what methods worked in the past seem inadequate to deal with this environment. VUCA refers to this operating environment that is constantly changing in conflicting, dramatic, and relentless ways to produce leadership and organizational challenges.

Each letter of the acronym VUCA represents a type of change that we need to identify to cope fully with the environmental unpredictability. Our world is volatile — things change, change quickly, and for reasons beyond our control and cause instability. It is uncertain — we lack full and confirmed information and hence gaining conviction about future outcomes becomes ever more challenging. It is complex — we can never know the interaction of the multiple variables we must consider, let alone how to integrate them effectively. It is ambiguous — the same data can yield multiple and often competing interpretations and lacks precedence making it difficult to move ahead.

Globalization and technology have and continue to fuel the VUCA dynamics through increased innovation, interconnectivity, and digital revolutions, which, in turn, give rise to new and nimble competitors, who operate globally to transform customer expectations radically and thus produce organizational turmoil. The current turbulence has baffled leaders due to its novelty and because the proven approaches of the past have been inadequate in the VUCA-world.

The VUCA world obstructs a leader’s ability to understand, to decide, to communicate, and ultimately to act decisively — which is actually a precondition for effective action in business.

It’s natural for leaders to react differently to this environment. Some have become so distracted by the volatility and constant change that they have stopped planning and are just trying to react to events. Others have become so intimidated by the uncertainty and ambiguity that they don’t act for the fear of making a mistake. Still, others try to do everything they possibly can in this complex environment and don’t end up focusing their efforts in any one direction.

Only a few leaders have been able to fight through all the complexity and uncertainty and chart a way forward for their organizations. They have managed to impose their will on such complex environments and succeeded where others haven’t been able to do so.

In fact, a study by DDI in 2015 had shown that only 18% of leaders were capable of leading in a VUCA world! I haven’t come across any update on this study in recent times but I believe that the percentage may have moved only marginally. If you ask me why I don’t think leadership development in the last few years has really focused on developing the specific competencies to deal with this VUCA world. So, what are the leadership traits or competencies that would prepare them to be successful in a VUCA world? What would help them to thrive where others flounder?

Based on my inter-disciplinary work in leadership development, social and cognitive psychology, coaching, and my own experience as a leader and a coach, I have come up with a model for leadership development that can prepare leaders to handle this VUCA world in a more deliberate, self-assured, and successful manner. I call it the CARES Model of Leadership.

CARES Model of Leadership

CARES is an acronym for C – Credible A – Adaptive R – Resolute E – Emotionally Intelligent S – Sense-making Let’s look at each of these aspects as to why it is important for a leader in the VUCA world.

Credible

Why does a leader need to be credible to be effective in the VUCA world, or actually under any circumstance? As a leader, credibility lets your employees see you as a dependable source of reliable information and for fair, effective decision-making. This information could be on a day-to-day basis or on those occasions when it's most critical. If you have credibility with your team, you will earn their mutual trust and respect. This would enable you to align them with the goals of the organization. Without credibility, there cannot be a culture of trust and shared goals. So the creditability of the leader is of prime importance, especially in a VUCA world where you need the team to trust you to lead them in the direction that you want them to go.

Adaptive

To welcome change is to be adaptive. Adaptive describes people who are flexible — they don't lose their cool when plans change quickly and they are always willing to learn new ways to do things. Being adaptive helps you cope with the volatility and uncertainty and sail along in today's ever-changing world. Clearly being adaptive, flexible, agile, and adaptable is paramount in a VUCA world.

Resolute

Developing and articulating a clear view of the future in today’s increasingly complex environments demands that leaders make judgments about the future — something that entails risk and could be wrong, and there could be significant consequences. Successful leaders are those who can overcome those doubts and act to prepare the organization for success in the future.

I am calling this trait Resolute because it refers to someone who is purposeful, determined, and unwavering. A resolute person has the courage to act with conviction in the face of uncertainty and risk. Be able to manage their emotions and be decisive even with limited information.

Emotionally-intelligent

As we discussed earlier, dealing with uncertainty, volatility and ambiguity can be emotionally challenging for any leader. Unless you are able to manage your emotions on this roller-coaster, you might end up burning out really fast. Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, as well as recognize and influence the emotions of those around you.

Emotionally intelligent leaders are aware of their own emotions and intuitively aware of the emotions of others. This self-awareness also helps them to manage their emotions when dealing with stressful situations. Their social intelligence enables them to lead with empathy and factor in emotions when presenting information, or otherwise engaging with their people. Leaders set the tone of their organization. If you lack emotional intelligence, it could have more far-reaching consequences, resulting in lower employee engagement and a higher turnover rate.

Sense-making

The primary function of any leader is to point the way ahead. This requires vision — the ability to see something significant about the future that isn’t readily apparent to others. Today’s VUCA environments are tough on leaders. The more volatile and the more ambiguous the environment, the harder it is for leaders themselves to come to grips with the situation, let alone articulate a clear way ahead.

Sense-making is the action or process of making sense of or giving meaning to something, especially new developments and experiences. Sense-making is how we make sense of the world so we can act in it. A person with highly developed sense-making can tolerate ambiguity and uncertainty. They have the ability to be able to know enough, even from limited information, to be able to make a measured and appropriate decision. The ability to spot existing or emerging patterns is one of the most if not the most critical skill in decision-making. Hence, it is self-evident that sense-making is a key competency for leaders to succeed in a VUCA world.

As a business leader in the 21st century, you face persistent changes in the business environments in which you operate. VUCA refers to this operating environment that is constantly changing in conflicting, dramatic, and relentless ways to produce leadership and organizational challenges. The VUCA world obstructs a leader’s ability to understand, to decide, to communicate, and ultimately to act decisively — which is actually a precondition for effective action in business. The CARES model for leadership development can prepare leaders to handle this VUCA world in a more deliberate, self-assured, and successful manner.

- Sonali Sinha

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Videos | Motivation

How to Beat Your Entrepreneurial Interia

I’m a very driven entrepreneur. Always raring to go and full of ideas that have to be actioned. Constantly learning and trying out new things. But even I have days when I just don’t seem to have the energy to get stuff done. I’m sure you’ve also experienced such days. Whether it's a lack of inspiration, a feeling of burnout, or feeling paralyzed when facing too many options, sometimes it's hard to be anywhere near as productive as you normally are.

If this happens to you once in a while, it’s nothing to worry about. Maybe you just need a break or change of scene. But if this inertia goes on for days, weeks, and months at a stretch and business starts dwindling and there is nothing in the pipeline, it can be alarming!

Sometimes a hard knock, like losing a big client or not winning an important deal or a change in the business environment that puts us in a disadvantageous position can really impact our confidence and self-esteem – and we may not even be aware of it. It could linger at the back of our minds and slowly make us disengage from the work that we love doing. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of being judged negatively, all these can paralyze us. 

Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely journey because we don’t feel comfortable talking about such situations with anyone – whether it’s our team or even our family members. We don’t want to spook our employees and we don’t want our families to worry about us. Somewhere deep down we also feel that if we talk about our inertia and lack of motivation, we will be judged negatively.

Inertia can show up in many ways. Sometimes you want to or must take some action steps, but you don’t take it? Sometimes you want to start a new business vertical or launch a new product, but something pulls you back to the current status quo situation. Sometimes you need to take an important decision, but you don’t decide?  Sometimes you make your plan, and never implement it, in reality. Sometimes you need to reach out to an important customer but you keep avoiding it. All these are signs of entrepreneurial inertia.

So, what can you do when you find yourself stuck in entrepreneurial inertia?

Five Tips To Beat Entrepreneurial Inertia

Here are 5 simple actions you can take to bounce back from inertia and save your business.

1. Step Back and Reflect

When things are not going as you would want them to go and you find yourself lacking the motivation to forge ahead, the most important thing is to re-focus your attention on your long-term goal. Ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Why you do what you do?
  2. What do you hope to achieve?
  3. What will achieving this do for you?

If you take time to reflect on these three questions, it will help you align your thoughts and actions with your goals and get you back on the track of getting things done. Seeing your ambitions in black and white will refocus your mind effectively.

2. Take Action to Create Momentum

Often, the best way to give yourself a kickstart is to simply take action. It almost doesn't matter what this action is - it could be a piece of administrative work, some light research for a new project or even something completely unrelated to your business.

Once you start moving, your energy will usually begin to flow back and you can switch to something a little more intensive. However, don't begin anything that could turn toward displacement activity - avoid social media at all costs, for example, unless it is a necessary part of your work schedule.

3. Prioritize Tasks

If you're feeling overwhelmed by the size of your to-do list, then it can be helpful to bring it back down to size by scrapping the less important and urgent items. Take a close look at which jobs really need to be done first. This will help give you a little more clarity and generate a burst of motivation.

There are many tools that can help you prioritize and stay focused. Try and keep your list of activities to just 2-3 important activities in a day and make them happen. Once you start seeing that you are able to tackle the 2-3 important tasks for the day, you will feel energized and motivated. You can even reward yourself to keep the motivation going.

4. Talk to a Coach or Mentor

When you know you've got things to do but you're not in the right frame of mind, it's easy to become frustrated and angry with yourself. This is unlikely to improve matters. If you’re not the type who can step back and reflect on your own, try talking to a coach or mentor.

A coach will ask you questions that will help you reflect and come up with answers that a really very personal to you. The coach will also help you with planning out your action steps and will help you with holding yourself accountable.

If you speak to a mentor, they may be able to share their own experience of snapping out of inaction and low energy situations. Some of those ideas might resonate with you.

5. Step Away

Finally, sometimes it's really better to just step away for a while rather than allow yourself to become frustrated with your lack of motivation and results. Take some time off to recharge. Physical activity can be really rejuvenating – walking, running, playing a sport, etc can help revive your energy levels and make you feel better about yourself. Meditation, digital detox, short staycations, are some other options to explore.

Hope these ideas help you snap out of inertia if you’re experiencing one. While it is not humanly possible to be driven and energetic all the time, but as an entrepreneur, you can't afford to let your low-productivity days come around too often or stay too long . By using one or more of these tips, you can get back in the groove and start pushing your business forward once again.

Want to discuss a challenge you're facing with managing your business? Click on the Request Consultation button above or email contact@soaringeagles.co

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Articles | Leadership

How To Stay Relevant in Disruptive Times

Why do you need to stay relevant? What makes it important for business leaders to stay relevant, especially in times of crisis?

Well, the current COVID-19 situation is very telling about the times that we live in. While many businesses have been moving towards becoming more active online and using technology-backed tools to be more agile, this COVID-19 situation has really pushed companies to literally switch how they work within weeks, even days. Businesses that were not able and ready to make this switch have suffered tremendously during this period.

But at the same time, some businesses have made the transition quite smoothly and have been able to keep the business running remotely with employees working from home. This has been possible not only because of their use of technology-backed tools but also because of their ability to rejig their operating model quickly. More importantly, this has been possible because of the leaders at the helm.

In this post, I will share four specific steps for you to take to innovate your way out of this crisis. So, read on!

COVID-19 is a test case for leadership. While the leader’s primary responsibility is to keep the team safe, cohesive, and productive, what should the leader be focused on in the midst of a global disruption like this? I believe that every crisis is an opportunity for innovation. Crises present us with unique conditions that allow innovators to think and move more freely to create rapid, impactful change.

We are seeing this already playing out. Around the world, beermakers and distilleries have shifted production to hand sanitizers. In Italy, a start-up engineering company began quickly using 3D printers to create the valves used in ventilators. Fashion businesses are producing protective gear, gowns, and other supplies for hospitals.

When we look back to this health crisis, I am sure we’ll see the impact it had on innovation in many sectors – be it medical devices, healthcare processes, manufacturing and supply chain innovations, collaboration techniques, education, and so on. Service businesses in particular are likely to see a lot of innovation in how services are created, packaged, and sold.

If you believe the world will go back to being what it was before the pandemic, I’m afraid you are sadly mistaken. Once customers, businesses, and employees are exposed to a certain way of operating, it will be difficult for them to go back and work as if nothing changed. Actions taken during the crisis will shape how companies perform in the long run. Some companies may even continue to pursue opportunities first identified during the crisis.

A very important point to remember is that reputations are built — and lost — during times of crisis. Companies that are demonstrating good citizenship by helping with shortages, or by making major donations, are probably hoping that consumers will remember their actions when the economy returns to normal.

Companies that treat their employees or customers badly during a crisis will face major challenges rebuilding when the storm has passed. Similarly, if leaders in business segments fail to lead the way in terms of innovation and customer service, it is inevitable that other competitors will emerge with better products or platforms.

Eventually, how a business responds to such vast and dislocating change depends on how the leader views the situation – as an opportunity or as a disaster.

So how have you and your company tried to innovate and adapt during this time of crisis? How are you trying to stay relevant in the market? In the next segment, I’m going to talk about some specific approaches that you can adopt to manage this crisis and opportunity for innovation.

So, we were talking about how important it is for leaders and businesses to reinvent and innovate during a crisis. But remember, rapid change is an ongoing process – not just linked to a crisis. Change emanates from changing customer expectation, entry of new players in the market, the introduction of new-age technology, socio-economic factors, new laws, and also changes in executive management or structural transformation of organizations. A crisis only accelerates the pace of change. So these approaches that I am going to share now are relevant, whether you are facing a crisis or not. 

#1 Align around a Purpose

One of the key leadership challenges in day-to-day organizational life is inspiring engagement and generating momentum towards the goals of the organization. This becomes even more important in times of crisis as there is a big jump in the nervous energy present in the workforce. Leaders who can harness this energy and focus it on a clear purpose in resolving the crisis will be able to lead the team to success. They will be able to tap into a wave of new ideas, as individuals feel compelled to share insights, they normally would keep to themselves. They will be able to lead their team from fear to a clear shared goal. After all, courage is defined as the ability to overcome fear for a good purpose. In this way, a crisis has the potential to create the organizational courage to take action in support of a purpose that would be unthinkable in times of calm. Also, know that this constant effort to get the team aligned around a purpose will pay dividends even in normal times.

#2 See Systems From Outside In

When organizations want to find opportunities to innovate, they usually bring in an external consultant to get an outside perspective and fresh ideas. A crisis can actually play that role very well because it brings to the fore the vulnerabilities and problem areas in the organization which may have been ignored earlier in the drive to keep growing the way things are. When a crisis hits, we are compelled to confront the truth about whether our systems work or not. They make us question our disaster recovery plans and business continuity plans. Being able to zoom out and see things for what they are can suddenly throw up opportunities for operating more efficiently or serve our customers better. A crisis is a good opportunity for you as the leader to give a hard look at why you do what you do and whether you do it in the best possible way.

#3 Shake Up the Organization

Organizations, over time, tend to fall into a familiar and predictable way of operating. The very rules that help the organization become more efficient can keep it from evolving and responding rapidly to opportunities thrown up by change. A crisis changes all that. Companies are forced to do away with bureaucratic overheads of review and approval and allow for fresh thinking to be applied quickly to address the challenge. So, how are you responding to this crisis? Are you still trying to stick to the old and familiar ways of taking decisions? If yes, then, believe me, the organization is in for some rough times. What you need right now is for communication to move upwards and downwards and sideways without any barriers of hierarchy because through these communication channels, you get valuable inputs for your strategic decision-making.  

#4 Create a Bias For Action

A crisis brings with it a lot of uncertainty and anxiety. This can lead to a paralysis of action as leaders and team members grapple with their worries about losing out on things that have been important to them thus far. But dealing with a crisis demands movement and change – the pace of ideation, decision making, and implementation all increase dramatically. If a leader gets trapped in focusing on how to protect what they have rather than identifying what opportunities the crisis is throwing up, they will remain stuck in the present – or an analysis paralysis situation. On the other hand, if leaders choose to focus on quickly creating experiments, seeing what happens, and experimenting some more, they will encourage the freedom to test different thinking, to fail fast, to learn, and to move forward – in short, to innovate.

So there you have it – four approaches to help you innovate and stay relevant despite a crisis. These are

#1 Align around a Purpose

#2 See Systems from Outside In

#3 Shake Up the Organization

#4 Create a Bias for Action

Times of crisis present incredible opportunities for learning and growth. It is a time for experimenting with new technologies and approaches to operating your business. We don’t know how long this coronavirus crisis will continue for or how it will impact our economies and businesses but if we use it wisely as an opportunity for innovating, for learning and growing, we will come out on the other side stronger and more agile.

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Articles | Executive Coaching

Executive Coaching in Singapore

About 37,400 international companies base their operations out of Singapore, including 7,000 multinational corporations, with more than half of those running their Asia-Pacific businesses from the city-state, according to the EDB website. This means that the regional leadership for many multinational companies sits out of Singapore. With the recent developments in Hong Kong, more and more companies are shifting their regional head offices to Singapore making Singapore even more important in the leadership map of the world.

Businesses today are grappling with the economic fallout of COVID-19 as also the continuing chaos of digital disruption, regulatory changes, demographic and consumer demands, labour shortages, and skill gaps, and more. Companies need their leaders to evolve and learn how to manage within this chaos. They also need leaders to learn quickly, and coaching can provide the targeted, personalized, and focused development that is required.

So, what is the scenario of Executive Coaching in Singapore? Before we get into that, let’s first understand what Executive Coaching is because sometimes it is mixed up with mentoring, consulting, or advising.

What is Executive Coaching?

Executive Coaching is a one-to-one partnership between the coach and the executive or leader (‘client’) in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires the client to maximize personal and professional potential. Executive coaches work with leaders of various organizations (such as a director, vice president, president, or member of the C-suite).

The executive coach brings new eyes and ears to their situation and provides a safe and non-judgemental space for these leaders to understand their current challenges and aspirations, see how others perceive them, and focus on identifying and clarifying current goals as well as the appropriate action steps to reach those goals. Executive coaching is not just about problems and issues—it is about awakening consciousness to maximize potential.

Executive Coaching is not the same as mentoring or advising. In mentoring, the mentor shares their own experience and opens doors for the mentees. They tend to be from the same company or industry as the mentee because they need to have had a similar experience to be able to guide the mentee. Coaching on the other hand is a learning modality that taps into the inner wisdom of the coachee and helps them unlock their potential.

The executive coach need not be from the same industry as the skills of the coach are more around their ability to create a psychologically safe environment for the coachee to explore their innermost thoughts and concerns and to be able to get insights to move forward. Many individuals call themselves coaches and offer executive coaching services without having any coach-specific training or credential. This is why it is important to understand what coaching is and choose to work with only credentialed coaches.

ICF credentialed coaches go through rigorous coach-specific training and meet experience requirements before they receive their credentials. This ensures that they are able to provide the best coaching services to their clients and that they adhere to the internationally accepted global code of ethics for coaches.     

For more details you can look at the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) here.

What is the importance of Executive Coaching for executives and business leaders?

There are many reasons why an organization or business leader might choose to work with an executive coach. These reasons range from wanting to develop a leader to take on a bigger role in the organization, the transition to a new role, region or business vertical, enhancing their succession management efforts, improving the strategic thinking of leaders, or enhancing executive presence. Organizations tend to invest in coaching for mainly their senior leaders as coaching is a highly personalized and relatively premium leadership development modality.

Senior executives and business leaders make high stakes decisions on a regular basis. Their decisions impact not only the business performance of the organization but also the growth and work environment for their teams. Hence the investment in executive leadership coaching can have far-reaching positive outcomes for organizations.

Executive coaching also works really well for business owners, entrepreneurs, start-up founders, and young business heirs. While they may be experts in their field, managing people and other resources require them to polish their leadership skills and business acumen. Executive business coaching is an effective tool for this given its personalized and exclusive approach.

Executive Coaching in Singapore

Over the years, we have seen executive coaching being embraced by more and more organizations, and its value appears to be growing across industries and for different leadership levels. The benefits of coaching match companies’ desperate need for developing leaders into leaders of the future.

Professional coaching has been around in the western world for close to a century, and in countries like the US or even the UK, having a coach, whether you're a middle manager or an executive, is pretty commonplace. However, it is still an emerging market in Asia.

International Coaching Federation (ICF), which is the largest coach credentialing organisation in the world with 30,000 members, offers an easy way to clients to find credentialed coaches. ICF has a Credentialed Coach Finder website where you can search coaches by their level of credential, experience, demographics, location and the services that they offer.

If we look at the number of coaches in Singapore in this platform, there are 419 ICF credentialed coaches based in Singapore. Of this, 58% at the Associate Certified Coach (ACC) level and 40% are at the Professional Certified Coach (PCC) level. The remaining 2%, i.e., 8 coaches are at a Master Certified Coach (MCC) level. ACC is at the foundation level and PCC and MCC are advanced and mastery levels for coaching.

While at a glance, the number of coaches in Singapore may seem large, one must understand that coaches tend to specialize in one or two areas. For instance, someone focused on life coaching brings in very different skills and services as compared to someone into executive coaching. An executive coach helps clients achieve professional goals and feel confident making bolder business moves. A life coach helps people achieve their life or personal goals, find happiness and improve their relationships.

Another thing to keep in mind is that a lot of senior coaches (PCC and MCC) tend to go into coach training, i.e., they focus on training others who want to become credentialed coaches. So, then their focus is not entirely on coaching clients, though they might continue to do so to some extent. Their main focus is into running their executive coach training companies.

Another segment of coaches is the internal coaches, i.e., credentialed coaches within organisations who support the coaching needs of their own organisation. These could be employees from HR and sometimes even from the business side. However, these coaches don’t work with clients outside of their own organisations in most cases.

Executive Coaching helps key employees within your organization build new skills and competencies, so that they are effective leaders when their leadership is needed most.

Ultimately, executive coaching has the potential to develop executives who feel confident and can make tough decisions, have improved capacity to deal with rapidly changing environments and develop a corporate culture where more motivated and productive employees contribute to the bottom line.

ICF Singapore offers an easy way to find ICF credentialed coaches in Singapore through their Find A Coach page.

While there are many coaches listed there, it is important to be clear about your goals from coaching and then chose a coach accordingly. Coaching can be especially beneficial in the current challenging times that we are in. If every individual has access to quality coaching, our world will be a far better and more sustainable place.

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