Colin's Blog

Confidentiality Concerns Regarding Leadership Coaching

confidence reguarding coachingIf you’ve been looking into leadership coaching for yourself or for someone in your company, you likely have some concerns with regard to confidentiality. Businesses today want to protect their information, assets, and anything else that could be beneficial for their competition to know.

Ideas, products, and even operations can all be sensitive topics for managers and executives. Confidentiality, then, becomes a very important topic to discuss.

The Importance of Trust

Because of the nature of leadership coaching, and because the coach needs to get to know the client as well as possible, they are going to need to share some personal information.

If the client holds back pertinent information because he or she is concerned that it can be shared elsewhere, then this is going to hamper the working relationship and it’s going to cause the coaching to be less effective than it could or should be.

Trust is absolutely paramount to success with regard to coaching. That’s why a reliable, honest coach is going to be willing to sign a confidentiality agreement. In fact, the vast majority of executives or companies that hire leadership coaches will demand that they sign some type of agreement stipulating that they will not share, disclose, or steal any ideas, information, or processes that the company exclusively uses or has developed.

In order to achieve the level of trust and build a positive relationship, the client and the coach need to have a clear understanding of the expectations and the client also needs to understand that what the coach shares is also confidential.

It’s a two way street when you step into the world of leadership coaching and what you get out of it is what you put into it. Speak to your potential coach and he or she will be able to set your mind at ease about confidentiality.

The Length of Time an Executive Coach will Work with You

amount of time your coach will spendOne of the most common questions that people have when they are considering hiring an executive coach is how long they will need to work with a coach. In truth, every person is different and as such it is almost impossible to provide an estimate with regard to length of time for coaching.

Your personal expectations.

Mostly it is going to come down to your personal expectations with regard to the coach. If you are expecting to completely transform your leadership style or to maximize your skill set and efficiency as a leader within your company, then you should plan on having a coach work with you for a relatively long period of time.

However, if you are only seeking certain skills or strategies that can help in a short-term solution, then you may only need to work with the coach for a matter of weeks.

How long you work with a coach every week matters.

Another factor that will determine the length of time you should work with an executive coach is how much time you can devote to that coach during the week. Some business professionals are extremely busy and have difficulty scraping together an hour a week to work with their personal coach.

It is important to remember that if you don’t have the time to devote to the coaching process, then you really don’t have time to devote to trying to improve your leadership or executive skills. That being said, if you are able to work with a coach for several hours a week, this may reduce the overall duration of time (months) that you will have to work with him or her.

On average, many business executives plan to have an executive coach working with him or her for between 3 to 6 months. Some cut that short if they decide they don’t have time or it is not for them. However, others extend the duration to up to a year or even more, depending on how far their skills have come and what they hope to achieve in the future.

The best way to determine how long you should plan on working with an executive coach is to sit down with an experienced coach, explain your goals, so that they can then offer their honest assessment.

5 Classic Signs You Will Benefit from the Right Executive Coaching

executive coaching torontoTrying to determine whether executive coaching is right for you may be a challenge. Most people have difficulty stepping back in honestly assessing their own skills and position in a company or in life.

There are several signs that can indicate that any person could benefit from the right executive coaching. Below are five classic signs that could indicate it is time for you to choose a professional coach.

1. Something urgent is at stake.

You may be looking at a potential promotion within your company. It may be that a significant project has been established and the deadline looms somewhere in the distant future. The last thing you want is to miss the deadline or be passed over for that promotion, especially if those opportunities do not arrive all that often.

If something urgent is at stake within your company, an executive coach will likely be able to help you take advantage of the opportunity.

2. You recognize gaps in your knowledge or skill set.

If there are certain things that you don’t know or don’t have experience with as an executive, a professional coach can help you analyze and gain the proper knowledge and skills.

3. Unable to gain clarity when it comes to choices.

If you have difficulty making choices or you are unsure about the choices you have made and keep second-guessing yourself, you will likely benefit from executive coaching.

It can be overwhelming at times to have a great deal of responsibility and when the viability and success of your company is in your hands, it can add a significant amount of stress. Having a coach work with you can help you feel more at ease about the decisions you need to make and it can also help clarify what is truly important as opposed to what may be just ideal.

4. You don’t know what your core strengths are.

If you don’t know what your core strengths are, you can’t leverage them to the best of your ability. A professional coach will be will be able to identify those core strengths and help you best leverage them for yourself and your business.

5. You have a sincere desire to accelerate results.

You know that results come eventually, but you want to accelerate them. You may not have a clue how to do this and an executive coach will be able to assist you in finding the best ways to gain the greatest results in the shortest amount of time possible.

Leadership Coaching is Extremely Popular for some Very Good Reasons

leadership coaching popularLeadership coaching has become increasingly popular in recent years. There are many good reasons for this and we will touch on a few of them in this article.

The external business environment.

When you stop and take a look at the external business environment and how companies operate, you will notice that there have been a number of massive changes occurring within recent years.

For example, more people are working away from their teams. This places an even greater burden on executives and managers to find the best leadership abilities in order to maximize efficiency of their teams. When team members are working independently more often and do not meet in person, that changes the entire dynamic of the team and requires extremely strong leadership.

Organizational changes.

Downsizing and restructuring have become commonplace throughout business. Mergers and other acquisitions have made organizational changes a way of life.

This has also changed the way that employees work with and view their employers and leaders. That has placed an increased burden on those in leadership roles to find new ways to connect with their employees and team members and encourage them to accomplish the company goals.

Seeking more inclusion.

Diversity is a common word used in businesses today. More companies are aiming to achieve greater inclusion and collaborative efforts among their team members and employees. In order to achieve this and to encourage people to work well with one another, it requires stronger leadership.

Also with more diversity will be an increase in cultural differences among team members. When team members differ on how they approach work, it can create tension within the team structure. Relying on strong leadership will help to bring people together to achieve the common goal.

These are just a few of the reasons why leadership coaching is becoming increasingly popular. If you find that your company is stepping into these tepid waters, it is a good idea to make sure that your leadership skills are at their best.

Four Steps to Determine if Executive Coaching is Right for You

egoDetermining whether executive coaching is the right thing for you at this time will be a personal decision. There are some keys that you can think about that should help you recognize that this is the right time for you to get the final pieces in place to put yourself above the competition and help your team achieve all of its goals.

1. Determine your expectations with executive coaching. It’s not going to do you or anyone else much good if you’re not sure what you hope to achieve from coaching or training.

Be as clear and precise about your expectations from the outset.

2. Do you collaborate well? If you don’t tend to work well with others, but are an effective manager, then you may not be ready for executive coaching. This type of coaching requires you to work closely with your coach. You would need to listen to what he or she says and put that advice and information to work for you.

3. Do you have the time and energy to devote to coaching? Far too many business executives underestimate the amount of time that is required for executive coaching. It will be a relatively significant investment in your time and effort and if you’re not willing or able to commit to it right now, then it might not be right for you at this moment.

4. Determine how important it is for you to elevate yourself and your team. When you are committed to being a stronger team leader and help your company reach the next level, then executive coaching will certainly be beneficial to you.

3 Ways Executive Coaching Differs from Other Service Professions

whistle2When you are considering hiring a professional counseling service to help you improve your skills and abilities as an executive, you may be wondering how this can differ from other types of service professions, especially those that aim to improve your position, efficiency, and even to achieve better results for your team.

Executive coaching is one of those services, but there are also general consulting, mentoring, training, and therapy that all promise to be able to help the professional executive make the most of his or her time and get the most out of those working for them.

Executive coaching differs from these other services in three very important ways.

It takes an inventory of all of your talents, skills, and knowledge. Therapy is focused on helping a person overcome pain, blocks, or other issues that interfere with their success. Mentoring only aims to improve certain skills. While coaching takes what you have now and helps you polish them to be the best that you can be.

The coach isn’t looking to solve your company’s problems. Unlike a consultant, an executive coach isn’t hired to find the flaws in your business model, look for ways to get an advantage over your competitors, or other similar issues. The coach is going to be focused on helping you improve your baseline skills that will then be able to help you solve those other problems yourself.

The coach isn’t setting a training session. Think about it this way: when you go to the gym to get exercise, you may hire a trainer to help you determine what machines and exercises will help you maximize your workout. A coach will work with you to help you build the best skills that will help you maximize your body, endurance, and talents.

Not sure how coaching can help you. Call TheHolbrowGroup and speak with an executive coach about options to determine if it’s the right for you.

Resolving Team Member Disputes with Less Animosity and More Productivity

dispute-700Every business leader who works with various teams will eventually have disputes among members of that team. How you handle those disputes can actually impact productivity for the entire team.

There are several things that you can do to approach these disputes and discourage animosity while also boosting productivity for those team members who are having a problem as well is the rest of the team.

Don’t take sides.

Even if you have a personal preference for one team member over another, when a dispute arises you want to remain neutral. Effective leaders maintain neutrality as much as they possibly can.

If you have a personal relationship outside of work with one of the team members, it is going to make being neutral more complicated. If that’s the case, you may wish to defer to another leader or executive to resolve that specific issue.

Gather both sides of the story before making an assessment.

It is crucial that you hear what all members involved in the dispute have to say. Listening to only one side of the story will cloud your judgment and it could cause significant problems among your team.

When employees see that their supervisors are interested in getting the whole story rather than jumping to conclusions, they will be more inclined to accept your decision or ruling on something that happened.

Be willing to cut ties.

One of the toughest things for some leaders is knowing when to cut ties, even with somewhat valuable employees. If you are having consistent problems between some team members, especially with one in particular who seems to be creating a lot of disputes among his or her fellow members, then it may be time to consider letting that employee go.

Even highly productive employees can actually disrupt overall productivity, costing the organization time and money. Evaluate the situation and if you recognize a pattern with this particular employee, you may need to consider replacing him or her.

5 Things that Interfere with Executive Coaching

egoExecutive coaching can have many benefits for not only the individual, but also for the entire organization. The more skilled that a leader is in overseeing teams and planning out goals, the greater the chances those goals will be achieved and deadlines met.

Almost every executive in business today can benefit from some type of executive coaching. The only real nemesis to executive coaching are a few things that can stand in the way of the executive learning better techniques and strategies.

A bad attitude.

If an executive contacts a coach to try and learn new skills or to figure out why his or her team is not performing as they should, and they have a bad attitude -meaning they assume that they know everything and that it’s their team’s problem- then this is going to end interfere with proper coaching.

Excessive stress.

Any time that someone is stressed, he or she may be unwilling to listen to other ideas, especially if they appear to be untested. Experienced executive coaches will know the best ways to help the executive move forward and guide their team, but when somebody is overwhelmed by stress, they are less likely to be able to see the end result before they get there.

An overwhelming schedule.

In order to be successful at learning anything, you need to have the time to work on them. If you hire an executive coach but don’t have the time to devote to the coaching itself, then you are not going to learn very much in the process.

Be sure that you can give enough time to the executive coach in this relationship.

A selfish focus.

A person who contacts an executive coach with only the desire to improve themselves and isn’t interested in putting that to use for the organization is going to be limited on what they can learn.

You need to be able to focus on your own goals, but also those of your team and the organization.


For some people, lies are an essential component of getting ahead in life. When it comes to executive coaching, though, lies will do nothing but hamper the lessons and opportunities presented. Always be honest with yourself as well as the coach so that you can maximize the lessons you’re about to learn.

The Value of Stories to Inspire Teamwork

valueThere’s a reason why millions of people around the world love to read stories. They get a chance to become lost in them, to escape their own lives for a little while. They also can relate better to well told stories.

That’s why they can be powerfully effective at helping to inspire others to get onboard with your team and the goals that you’ve set forth for your company or organization.

The Best Stories to Use

The more personal, the more direct the stories, the more easily your team members will be able to connect to them. The goal of any story is to connect with others on a personal, emotional level.

If you don’t have anything you believe would be inspirational, dig deeper. There might have been an employee in the past who had a difficult time with something and they overcame it. There might have been a deadline that was looming and a single mother of two stayed late, sacrificed her time to give to the company for a few weeks and really made a difference. Today she could be CEO.

You can also glean stories from the news around the world. There are countless stories of people who overcome long odds and end up taking a victory lap in the end. No matter where you pull the stories from, the right ones will help your team members relate to the problem or goal at hand.

If your company has been floundering and everyone around you believes that you’re too far behind, that you didn’t pay attention to the warning signs, that the competition is so far out ahead of you and it’s affecting the work of your employees who believe that their jobs are only weeks or even days away from ending, call upon stories of individuals or companies that pulled themselves back from the ashes to be winners.

Inspire your team members by relying on great stories of success. That will help to elevate you to another level of a team leader.

3 Ways Your Ego Can Cost You

ego-costsBeing a powerful leader takes strength, intelligence, experience, and a lot of self-confidence. Yet there’s a fine line between having a solid ego and being arrogant to the point of actually hurting your team, your goals, and your company.

There are several ways that your ego can cost you, but the top three are:

1. Loss of faith in your leadership abilities.

2. Creating conflict.

3. Failing to recognize internal problems.

Loss of Faith in Your Leadership Abilities

Everyone makes mistakes. No matter how many years you have been operating within your industry, no matter how much training you have or awards you’ve earned, you will make mistakes from time to time. They may be minor but they can also be quite significant.

If you have a bloated ego, you might not be willing to acknowledge those mistakes. In fact, you may skirt responsibility because you’re simply too good, too important, too talented to have to accept responsibility.

Your team members won’t be fooled. They may not say anything directly, but they will lose faith in your leadership abilities, knowing that your ego is getting in the way.

Creating Conflict

It’s no secret that people who are arrogant tend to have more confrontational personalities. When you have a strong ego, you believe that almost everything you say or do is right, which will put you at odds with others in your organization.

If you can’t set your ego aside, then you’re going to increase the number of conflicts that you face within your organization. It could be outward or passive, but conflict is still a destructive force for everyone involved.

Failing to Recognize Internal Problems

When you have a bloated ego, you will assume that everything is going as well as it could, and should, be. That often blinds us to the realities that surround us every day. Step back and recognize that there could be internal problems.

And they may be cause by you.

If you want to improve your leadership skills, you’ll need to understand the time and place for your strong ego to rear its head and when to put it aside. If you can’t, then your ego is going to cost you.

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