Subscribe via RSS Feed Connect on LinkedIn

Executive Coaching

Are you ready to LEAD your life?

Prepare to be astounded at what you can accomplish when you partner with a professional coach to take charge of your job, your career, and your life!

[Truth telling: if you could do it on your own, you would not be reading this page, now, would you?]

You have a powerful vision for your work, your career, and your life. Yet from where you sit, it’s an uphill journey all the way. What’s stopping you from being fabulous? It’s not one particular thing that is of concern; it’s more that you noticed that you have some patterns of behavior that are consistently NOT getting you what you want. Yet you can’t really pinpoint what that behavior is because you’re stuck in the middle of it. All you know is that you are frustrated trying to get the results you want or move to the next level in whatever you are doing.

Do any of these describe you? Do you:

  • Feel stuck, overwhelmed, or inadequate? (it’s not about logic, it’s about emotion)
  • Sense you are operating at maximum capacity and you’re terrified of getting more and failing?
  • Live constantly in the self-talk of “I should be better…more balanced…less stressed?”
  • Fear you are dead-ending in your career if you don’t change something?
  • Work so hard that you are often not taking care of yourself (low priority) and you’re frustrated about that?
  • Feel like in you are in a “stuck place” with no idea how to exit?
  • Have little experience dealing with failure or not knowing, since Knowing the Answer has always worked before?
  • Lack a clear personal vision and core values?
  • Feel constantly stressed… and your stress relievers aren’t working?
  • Get a lot of feedback to “improve communication” and you don’t know what else to try?
  • Sometimes feel unhappy and off balance (work/life/selfcare balance) but you don’t even know how to acknowledge that let alone fix it?

Have you been told, “We value you… AND we’re not sure you’re promotion material?” or “We’re not sure you have what it takes to go to the next level?” or “We need you to be more?” Have you been told you need a different ‘presence’ and that term invokes a sense of mystery and frustration? If you experience any of the above, you likely also hold a lot of stress, you experience communication breakdowns (with your boss or team), and even when you are told you’re valued, you don’t feel very confident about the situation.

 

Executive Coaching Can Help

Are you ready to LEAD at a higher and better level, while improving your life/work balance? As a recovering executive, I understand how the ceaseless – and ever-increasing – demands of your job can wear you down. My holistic approach to coaching will help you expand your leadership skill set, dramatically improve your self-awareness and personal presence, and reduce your life/work stress. Personal commitments to change are easy enough to make. Yet, a large percentage of our personal change efforts fail. Why is that?

The Truth is, change IS hard!

  1. You resist all change, because you are Human. Human beings are programmed for Stability – it’s a survival tool that enabled our ancient ancestors to survive. Today, it causes people to resist learning new tools, deny different points of view, and hang on to their old habits, especially when stress levels are high.
  2. Change creates Discomfort for you. If something you do causes pain, what do you do? You stop, of course! New habits and new conversations create pain. Failure – a side effect of experimenting with new behavior – creates pain. Feedback from other people creates pain. It’s no wonder that you soon forget your New Years resolutions and return to what you did before!
  3. Being Smart and Creative is a blessing and an obstacle. If you are in a leadership role, you are probably smarter than the average bear, which is what got you promoted in the first place. Your personal gifts have helped you achieve much… AND those gifts have helped you cover up for your deficiencies, or cram to make a last minute deadline, like you used to cram for exams in school and still do well. The downside of this capacity is that you can “pretend” you are changing – and fool even yourself in the short term! – yet avoid the difficult work of long-term change.
  4. You are Invisible to yourself. A goldfish is totally unaware that it is surrounded by water, until and unless it is suddenly confronted by a lack of it. Human beings are the same way. We live much of our life unconsciously, not paying attention to what we are doing. When was the last time you “thought” about how you walk? Are you aware of that little thing you do with your hands when you talk? Or have you ever driven somewhere, without remembering the drive? Or been told you reacted in a particular way in a conversation, and you have no recollection? As long as we are invisible to ourselves, change is not even on the radar.

What you really want:

Admit it, what you really want is to:

  • Continually increase your capacity so you can grow and take on more
  • Feel confident in all domains of your life
  • Have earned the respect of your coworkers, and be seen as a valuable resource
  • Be sought out by others for advice, coaching, and advancement
  • Develop your risk tolerance: try more, fail more, and learn from the experience
  • Hold an inspiring personal vision that drives your life
  • Know how to recover quickly from stressful situations, and bounce back from adversity
  • Be told that you are an “excellent communicator” and that you have a “powerful personal presence” (even if you’re not sure what that is, yet)
  • Take excellent care of your health and fitness, spend sufficient time on yourself and with your family, and still have a great career
  • Feel happy and fulfilled most of the time

Sound like a fantasy world? Perhaps the above is a wee bit exaggerated, yet…

You can transform yourself when you Think Big and Take Tiny Steps

First, you need a clear and powerful vision. Where do you want to go? Think big, here, as coaching creates a space where you can challenge all the boundaries and beliefs that have been holding you back from greatness. Just as you plan a long trip in small segments, we will together identify ways you can fit that big change into your current life/work by breaking the challenges down into manageable pieces. Tiny steps, yet when you stay constantly in momentum, you will be amazed at your cumulative progress.

I help you connect to what you most care about, create more powerful conversations, improve the commitments you make, and drive better outcomes by changing your behavior. I help you create a more powerful presence, build a broader Leadership skill set, and reduce your stress levels.

And we will help you accomplish all this by shifting and expanding who you are, one ingrained habit at a time.

How Habit Change Works:

In coaching my clients I continually cycle through a simple, four-stage process: Awareness, Exploration, Design, and Practice X 3

1. Awareness

This first is the most important step toward adopting a new habit. If you engage in a habit that’s not serving you, you must first realize you are doing it! how habit change worksRemember that habit is something that you’ve done repeatedly and over time, such that it operates from your subconscious. Every behavior you engage was at one time working for you. But sometimes what worked in the past is no longer effective, yet you’re completely unaware you’re doing it, and your system will – literally – filter out all data to the contrary. You become Invisible to yourself. In the coaching conversation, I will hold a mirror up to you to help you “see” what you are doing, and ask, “is this working for you, the way you want it to work?” Most people, once they become aware they have a non-productive habit/behavior, become curious to learn, “what’s a better way for me to lead?” That moves us in to stage two.

2. Exploration

Here we ask many questions to understand and open up new possibilities, e.g.

  • What assessments do you hold about this situation?
  • What “stories” do you tell yourself about your old behavior, & what do you want the new story to be?
  • What emotional reactions do you have in ‘X’ situations, and what emotions would serve you (and others) better?
  • What outcomes do you want instead?
  • What are other options to achieve those outcomes?
  • How do you want people to respond to you?
  • What’s stopping you?

We will explore what is happening with you in three domains: your Head (thinking, knowledge, judgments, self talk, etc); your Heart (your emotional responses); and your Body (behavior, reaction, physical practices)

3. Design

Next, we get very specific about what that new behavior will look like, again looking at all three domains of Language, Emotion, and Body.

  • What language will you use? How will you speak?
  • What must change in your self-talk?
  • What internal shifts must you make to enable you to show up differently?
  • What emotional space will you need to inhabit?
  • In what ways will you embody this new behavior, language, posture, or reaction?
  • What will you do?
  • What resources will you access?

The new habit you design might include elements of how you think, how or what you speak, even aspects of how you sit, stand, or move. During the coaching conversation I’ll challenge you to embody the new behavior – literally “try it on” – and tweak it till it works for you. And don’t worry if you have no ideas… in the coaching conversation, we work together to Co-create your new actions/practices!

4. Practice X3 – or X100!

Whatever you design, you must then move into a regular practice… because remember, every habit you have became such because you practiced, practiced, practiced it until it was embedded in your cells: the way you fold your arms; the way you brush your teeth; the way you listen, react, give orders, make requests, walk, sit, stand, and breathe! To create a new habit, then, you must follow the same process of Practice, Practice, and more Practice! Your success will only come thru repetition. You see, every new thought or action lays down a new neural pathway in your brain; the more often you repeat a thought or behavior, the deeper that pathway is etched in your brain. Metaphorically speaking, a habit is like a path in the forest that’s been walked on so many times that the ground is bare and deeply rutted. You can’t make that path go away if you keep using it. But if you forge a new/different path through the woods and take it often, the old path will slowly fill back in and grass will grow over it. You will still be able to take the path when you choose to, but it will no longer be your default – or only – route to your goal. This core cycle will repeat over and again throughout the course of your coaching engagement. NOTE: The goal of coaching is not to create dependency – it is to support you in building a new infrastructure for your future! Our goal, by the end, is for you to have developed the skill to observe yourself through this cycle, so that you can carry the benefits of coaching with you long after your engagement is complete.

Other benefits of Leading Your Life through a coaching relationship:

  • An outside partner who will provide objectivity, ask the tough questions, help you get to the core of issues, and help apply you apply what you learn to improve your outcomes.
  • Improved communication up, down, and across your organization.
  • A clear understanding of what you really want for yourself, personally and professionally.
  • A “Safe Space” for conversations, with someone who does not carry any hidden agendas (it’s all about YOU).
  • A resource for new ideas, behaviors, and practices that will help you better achieve your goals.
  • An accountability partner who is going to hold you to the commitments you make TO YOURSELF.
  • Acceleration of your personal development.
  • Improved personal productivity as you learn to let go of what is no longer yours, and focus your attention what is truly important to you.
  • Better relationships with your partner, family, and friends as the new behaviors you learn through coaching start to take root and show up everywhere in your life.
  • Finally, a healthier, happier YOU. Some clients start their coaching with a “sidebar” goal around personal fitness or stress reduction. Nearly 100% end up declaring some takeaway around improved self-care and life balance – because their new awareness and leadership skills bleed over into every part of their life.

How our Coaching process works:

Every coaching engagement begins with a preliminary exploration of your goals, and a conversation to determine if the chemistry between us is going to work for you. Once you commit, you will receive a planning package that will help you set your initial goals for your coaching. You will also participate in a variety of assessments to provide you with information you can use in your goal setting, including feedback on your leadership habits, communication style, and even life balance. After that, we meet for a lengthy intake process, during which you may refine your goals for the coaching. Then, we dive in. At regular intervals we will step back and assess how the process is working for you (and for your organization, if they are sponsoring you).

Three Tiers of Engagement

We work with clients in three different ways, based on what you need, what your organization needs, and your available time and budget.

Tier 1: Full Contact Coaching for You and Your Team

In Full Contact Coaching, I work with you individually, as well as your team. You are the central player, of course, and will receive substantial 1:1 coaching; and you have unlimited access to me during the engagement. The package includes options for leading a team retreat/strategy session, group coaching of your senior leadership team, and observation of you and your team in the field. The impact of your coaching will be felt system-wide, and can even be tied into in existing culture change or leadership succession planning initiatives. Note: Because of the significant time commitment, I take only a small number of Full Contact Coaching clients each year.

Tier 2: Coaching You and Your Environment

In Tier 2 Coaching I focus on you within your environment. In addition to your regular 1:1 sessions, I visit your site for shadowing of you with your team and in the context of the organization. By arrangement I will observe and/or facilitate a limited number of team meetings with your direct reports to help you shift how you show up in your environment.

Tier 3: Individual Coaching

For individuals who need coaching only for themselves, Tier 3 will provide ample 1:1 coaching time, plus unlimited access to me via email/voicemail between regular sessions. Most sessions will be conducted via phone or Skype, although I may offer limited Face-to-Face meetings (e.g. our intake session) for clients based in NE Ohio, or if I happen to travel to your city for other reasons.

I will provide more details on all three tiers during your free Leadership Strategy Session (see the bottom of this page for more details on setting that up).

Is engaging The Executive Happiness Coach® the right choice for you?

The ideal client for our coaching program is a CEO, C-level manager, or leader of a discrete organizational unit; a business owner; or a high-potential leader-in-waiting. WHO you are is more important than title; to determine a good fit, review our Coaching Readiness Assessment. Current and Past clients include:

  • CEO of a regional Midwest manufacturer of oils and synthetics who was leading expansion into China and Southeast Asia
  • National Marketing Director for a faith-based non-profit who is leading a global initiative while bringing the organization’s PR and Marketing strategies and systems into the 21st century
  • Executive Director for a non-profit healthcare organization preparing to move into a national leadership role
  • Superintendent of a large school system striving to build capacity for the next generation
  • Director of Asia-Pacific Operations for a global consulting firm, based in Japan
  • High Potentials, members of the secondary leadership team of a family business preparing for the retirement of several senior leaders
  • Executive Director of an English-language school in China who is simultaneously developing his own consulting/coaching business
  • Director of Administrative Services for a national wealth management firm

What Do Clients Say About Coaching?

Coaching has worked wonders for each of the above clients, and more. But don’t just take my word for it. Read here how they describe their coaching outcomes.

Is NOW the Right Time for You?

Coaching is most effective (and indeed, only possible) when you – the client – are Ready, Willing, and Able.

  • READY. You have arrived at a significant transition point. You took on a larger role, or you want to expand your reach. You have declared, “I want more. I want to play a bigger game!”
  • WILLING. As strong and capable as you are, you recognize that you cannot do it alone. You have found the courage to intentionally step into a zone of DIScomfort and vulnerability, because you know you need to learn and change in order to grow. You don’t know How, but you know Yes!
  • ABLE. You understand that coaching takes time, and that your investment in self will pay off in faster change, a deeper commitment to your new reality, and higher levels of performance. So you commit to make your coaching – and your homework – a priority.

Disclaimer: You may not be an appropriate coaching candidate for us if you feel you are being forced into coaching, if you studiously avoid discomfort, if you seek only a “quick fix,” or if you are convinced you already know all the answers.  Also, if you seek only career/job search coaching, I am happy to refer you to other great coaches with that special focus. Our coaching process has proven effective even when “complications” exist:

  • Other people are “part of the problem.”  Since you are 50% of every conversation, when you change, others will feel the shift.
  • You feel like you have already “tried everything.”Before, your options were limited to what you already knew; we will expand those options.
  • Where you have been struggling with change for a long time, and you are feeling “stuck.” We will work through your obstacles and personal resistance.
  • You feel you have no support at work.  You may not control the workplace, but you DO control you!

What’s the Next Step?

If you have read everything to this point, I expect you are curious about how a personal coaching relationship might help you to transform the way you show up in the world. I invite you to contact me for a complimentary Leadership Strategy Session. In that conversation I’ll help you become very clear on where you want to go in your learning and development, what you want to achieve, and some metrics that will help you know you’ve “arrived.” We will also discuss the details of my coaching tiers and respond to your questions about how we might work together. If you’d like to schedule this No-Obligation Leadership Strategy Session for yourself, here’s all you need to do.

  • Write me to schedule the conversation, which will take about an hour.
  • Complete and return a short questionnaire I will send you to get your thinking started in advance of the conversation.
  • Read a short article about coaching that I will also send ahead.
  • Reflect on the vision for your life and work, and bring that energy to your call.

That’s it! I promise that you will walk away with more clarity around what you need to do to become a better leader – for your organization and your life. So you will take away value from the conversation regardless of any other outcome. I look forward to supporting you in building a Less-Stress Leadership presence! In Happiness, Jim Smith Jim Smith, PCC, NCOC® +1-440-885-3247 P.S. The Executive Happiness Coach® is located in the Midwest United States, and through the “miracle” of Skype and telephony works with clients around the world. For more on the impact of coaching for you, review the infographic below.