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.
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.
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.
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.
To experience a complimentary coaching session, click on the Request Consultation button above.
2020 is coming to an end and what a year it’s been! The global pandemic has really challenged us in so many ways and it’s been hard for many of us to feel in control as the crisis just drags on. Our businesses have taken a hit but we know that there are many around us who have been hit even harder.
It’s natural then for many business leaders to feel guilty about the hard decisions they’ve had to take in terms of layoffs, closures and disruptions in service. A client of mine had to let go of a senior employee in the US and he knew this meant that the employee had to go back to his home country and his entire life would get disrupted. He was also worried that the employee would no longer have health cover to take care of the special needs of his child. A friend who is the CHRO of a large organisation was distraught when a young employee passed away due to COVID and he felt he couldn’t do anything to save her.
Guilt is an unsettling emotion to deal with. But it’s also a sign that you’re a conscientious leader. While there are many things that are out of your control, one way of dealing with this guilt when it hits you is to re-evaluate and improve the way you approach your employees and company, and demonstrate compassionate leadership in difficult circumstances.
Here are 5 ways in which you can do this:
If you have a small team, it’s possible for you to do so yourself. If you have a large employees base, put together small cross-functional teams to spread out and listen to the wider group. This will help you plan your initiatives better.
When you have no choice but to implement furloughs, reduced hours, or pay cuts, don’t delegate sharing the news to HR - it feels demoralizing, disrespectful, and lacks empathy. If you are responsible for the decision, it is you who should be sharing it. This sends a clear message to not just the people who are impacted but also the others around them and support the morale of the team.
If some of your decisions have gone wrong and negatively affected others, take remedial action as soon as you know or can and do it as publicly as possible. Acknowledge your mistake and then communicate new developments frequently and consistently. Decisions can go either r way based on the limited information that we operate on – you are not expected to be right all the time. But how you own up and make amends is what your team and customers are looking at.
Try and see what benefits can be retained even when someone goes on a furlough or pay cut. Help the ones who’ve been laid off to find new jobs. Provide career transition support wherever possible.
People respond to that. They connect with you and they trust you when you’re being the best version of you. Talk about how you balance your own personal and work commitments. Talk about your own challenges and encourage sharing of tips and resources for managing workload, scheduling and so on. You don’t have to have a stoic mask all the time. Let people know that you also struggle sometimes and that’s okay. That’s being human.
So, to sum it up, it’s understandable if you as a leader are struggling with guilty feelings as you see the disruptions and struggles that the Covid-19 crisis is causing your employees and colleagues, sometimes specifically as a result of your own actions. But if you reframe your feelings of guilt as an opportunity to consciously and thoughtfully make the best decisions possible, communicate clearly, and behave with compassion and concern for both your employees and yourself, then you can help steer their teams and organizations toward better times.
If you want to talk about this, just click on Request Consultation and pick a convenient time for discussion or send me a WhatsApp message using the button above.
Many times, when I bring up coaching with business leaders and owners, they react by saying that I’m doing well. I don’t think I need a coach.
To my mind, there are two possible reasons for this reaction – one, they are not aware about what real coaching is and its benefits, and two, they are not ready to have a hard look at themselves and see what’s not working. They may be afraid of what they might uncover and are happier just coasting along till they are forced to confront these issues.
I always make an effort to explain what real coaching is and how it’s different from having a mentor or guide or just reading self-help books. I also make it a point to share that coaching is not about solving problems. It is about unblocking the realisation of your potential. You can do and achieve much more than what you are doing currently just by getting out of your own way. A coach helps you get out of your own way and go after those big hairy audacious goals.
Ask yourself this
Having a coach is not a sign of weakness – it’s a sign of ambition, it’s a sign of hunger for bigger impact, it’s a sign of courage to work on oneself.
Go ahead, tell me you don’t need a coach…
Click on the Request Consultation button above for a discovery call.
To be truly listened to is an amazing experience, partly because it is so rare! When another person is totally with you – leaning in, interested in every word, eager to empathize – you feel seen and understood. When people feel that they are really being listened to, they open up more as they feel safe and secure and the trust between the parties grows.
Unfortunately, most people do not listen at a very deep level as they are preoccupied with the challenges of their fast-paced life. As a result, most conversations tend to skim on the surface.
The absence of real listening is especially prevalent at work. Under pressure to get the job done, we listen for the minimum of what we need to know so that we can move on to the next fire that needs fighting. So, what’s the consequence of this? Everyone is talking, no on is listening. As a result, employee engagement has become a serious issue in organisations today.
This is becoming a bigger problem in this COVID scenario as employees are dispersed and the conversations are very transactional and brief. Leaders seem to have become busier and more distracted in recent times.
How often are you as a leader distracted in a conversation or a meeting with your team? How often are you as a leader not psychologically present when you are virtually with your team? How often do you cancel, interrupt or shorten meetings with your people in favour of some other stakeholder, priority or task? How often do you make your people wait, ask, or even hope for your leadership? Ironically, now more than ever, leaders need to be deeply and continuously connected with their teams.
What your team needs right now is authentic and unequivocal leadership presence. So, turn off the noise in your head. Turn off the noise from your technology. Focus your mind and your time on the people you lead and they, in turn, will follow and support your leadership efforts.
Now, more than ever, it’s important to take the time to connect, to show that you care about your employees as people. Listening deeply will also help you understand what their challenges and expectations, and gives you a chance to share what your intentions and goals in a way that everyone can be aligned.
Listening is a skill that you can gain from training and practice. And who better to learn if from than coaches. Effective coaches tend to be gifted listeners and they hone their listening skills to reach a high level of proficiency. This enables us coaches to reach the inner recesses of your mind and help you get those deep insights.
In the book, Co-Active Coaching, Henry and Karen Kimsey-House explain the three levels of listening and how the art of listening can be cultivated.
Level 1 listening is an interaction where the primary focus of you as the listener is on your own thoughts, opinions, judgments, and feelings. You relate the words you hear to your own experiences or needs. For example, if we are buying a car, we will be listening at Level 1 to the salesperson to see how the car features will fit our needs and budget.
Level 2 listening takes the communication one step further. It involves paying attention to the tone of voice, body language and facial expressions. As you filter out your internal chatter and distractions from the environment, you are able to tune in to the meaning of the words, choose a way to respond, and assess the effect of the response on the speaker.
Level 3 listening brings an entirely new state of awareness to the conversation. It involves doing everything at Level 2, plus using your intuition and being open to receiving more information in any form that it presents itself. If you get a hunch, for example, while listening to someone, you could bring it up without being attached to it. Without insisting on being right, observe the effect it has on the speaker and be aware of where the conversation goes next.
For instance, you may say: “I understand that you are happy with the results, but I have a feeling that you have something else on your mind.” The response may be, “No, not really,” or “Yes, actually, I wanted to tell you about this issue that came up with our project.” It is irrelevant if you are right or wrong; what is important is the effect on the conversation.
So, there you have it – why it is important for you as a leader to hone your listening skills and how you can enhance your depth of listening. The art of listening takes time to develop, but it can be practiced daily. It builds trust and understanding and contributes significantly to your effectiveness as a leader.
If you want to discuss further, just schedule a complimentary consultation by clicking this link above.
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