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Coaching The C Suite Transcript


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The challenges of maintaining a leadership position can be more challenging than earning the position in the first place.

More and more, CEOs and other high-level executives are turning to executive coaches to keep their decision-making and leadership skills sharp and enable them to be successful in their roles as leaders.

This program discusses some great successes and some public failures and what role coaching can play at both ends of the spectrum.


* Marhsall Goldsmith, Marhsall Goldsmith Partners LLC

* Agnes Mura, President, Agnes Mura Inc.

* Brian Underhill, Founder, CoachSource

* Ann Vanino, Owner, Moving Forward Coaching & Consulting


In today’s fast paced business world, C-level executives continue to face a variety of challenges, and are under more scrutiny than ever.

In its January/February 2007 issue, Chief Executive magazine highlights several challenges today’s executives are facing, including the needs to interact with a wider range of audiences, tolerate intense pressure and scrutiny, champion ethics and integrity, and more.

Is the C-team using coaches to help tackle issues like these?

And are coaches able to help keep these executives at the top?

According to a Manchester Inc. study – they are. The study found companies are more likely to retain executives who have been coached.

Our guests discuss these topics and more, focusing on what it takes to stay on top.

Published in: Business, Health & Medicine
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Coaching The C Suite Transcript

  1. 1. Insight on Coaching Coaching for Success in the Long Run: Coaching the C-Suite Transcript Prepared for: Prepared by: IEC: Insight Educational Insight Educational Consulting Consulting
  2. 2. Time Speaker Transcript Tom Floyd Hello, everyone. Welcome to Insight on Coaching. Insight on Coaching explores the many facets, flavors and sides of the emerging professional coaching field. I'm Tom Floyd. I'm CEO of Insight Educational Consulting and your host for today's show. Well, this week our topic is Coaching for Success in the Long Run: Coaching the C- Suite. We'll talk about how the skills required to be a CEO or C-level executive have changed over the years, the challenges C-level executives are facing, and how coaching is helping today's C-level executives stay on top. Let me give you a quick rundown on the four guests we have on today's show. Our first guest is Marshall Goldsmith, corporate America's pre-eminent executive coach and is one of the few consultants who have been asked to work with more than 80 CEOs in the world's top organizations. The American Management Association named Marshall as one of 50 great thinkers and leaders who have influenced the field of management over the past 80-years. Marshall's 23 books include The Leader of the Future, a Business Week bestseller and his most recent book, What Got You Here Won't Get You There. Welcome back to the show, Marshall. 1:29 Marshall Happy to be here. Goldsmith 01:30 Tom Floyd Our next guest, Agnes Mura is an Executive Coach and President of Agnes Mura, Inc. Agnes is also the current President of the International Consortium for Coaching In Organizations, The International Community of Coach Educators, Executive Coaches, Researchers and Users of Coaching. A published author on coaching in the post-modern environment, she's also a regular guest lecturer on executive leadership at Peppredine University. Welcome to the show, Agnes. 01:54 Agnes Mura Thank you. Lovely to be here. 2 | Confidential August 27, 2008 Page 2 Coaching for Success in the Long Run: Coaching the C- Suite Transcript
  3. 3. Time Speaker Transcript 01:56 Tom Floyd Great to have you. Our next guest, Brian Underhill, Ph.D. is an industry-recognized expert in the design and management of worldwide executive coaching implementations. He's the founder of CoachSource and the Alliance for Strategic Leadership. Brian is also the author of the upcoming book, Executive Coaching for Results: The Definitive Guide to Developing Organizational Leaders. Welcome back to the show, Brian. 02:17 Brian Underhill Thank you, Tom. Great to be here. 02:19 Tom Floyd And our last guest, Ann Vanino. Ann is the owner of Moving Forward Coaching Consulting and is a business coach, author and consultant who helps individuals move forward to fulfilling successful careers. Since 2000, Ann has written a local, weekly newspaper column, Coaching Corner, which guides readers to a fulfilling life. She is also the author of the book, Leadership on Trial: Lessons From the Apprentice, a booklet, Achieving Balance In Your Life and two E-Books, Power Stories and Coaching Corner, Volume 1. Ann writes the Leadership Blog and a bi-monthly e-zine as well, Power At Work. Welcome to the show, Ann. 02:53 Ann Vanino Thank you, Tom. Good to be here. 3 | Confidential August 27, 2008 Page 3 Coaching for Success in the Long Run: Coaching the C- Suite Transcript
  4. 4. Time Speaker Transcript 02:55 Tom Floyd To set the stage today I want to start today's conversation by reviewing some statistics our research team pulled. The first one that I want to highlight is from Chief Executive Magazine. In a bylined article in the January/February 2007 issues of Chief Executive magazine authors Dayton Ogden and Tom Neff state “Today’s fast-changing business climate demands a whole new CEO skill set.” Their analysis is based on the Spencer Stuart survey, which found that 95% of recruiting consultants at the company agree that leaders appointed to the CEO post require an entirely different approach, skill set, and set of experiences than their brethren who took the helm a decade earlier. In terms of the importance of providing coaches to CEO, to share a quote from the June 27, 2005 issue of the New York Magazine, “With CEO tenure at an all time low and CEO dismissals at an all time high, retaining the services of a top CEO coach is no longer an option for chief executives who desire to increase their performance and longevity.” Finally, according to an article in the 2002 Corporate Communications Yearbook (2002), “The average tenure of U.S. and Canadian CEOs continues to decline. The current range, depending on the study, is 40 months moving down to 30. Yet, most organizations still develop strategic plans that extend well into territory occupied by a new regime. It would appear that this is a fundamental disconnect, which probably needs a remedy.” Now Marshall, I'd like to start with you. In terms of the article that highlighted the decline in overall CEO tenure, how true does that ring to you? Is that something you’re noticing in your work with Corporate America’s CEOs? 4 | Confidential August 27, 2008 Page 4 Coaching for Success in the Long Run: Coaching the C- Suite Transcript
  5. 5. Time Speaker Transcript 04:44 Marshall Oh, yes. I think it's very true. I think what's happened in the CEO land is there's a Goldsmith bigger upside and a bigger downside. One thing he didn't mention is the dramatic increase in CEO salaries that have occurred and CEO benefits. Therefore, what you see now in the new world, is CEOs get paid a lot of money but they're dealing with a lot more insecurity. There's also a lot more visibility, emails, voicemails. I mean, one of my CEO clients made a little joke, he thought was a joke; thousands of Internet hits later, the company had to issue a public apology, which would have been considered harmless five-years ago, right? There's so much visibility now, on CEOs and also the sort of, “cult”, of the CEO. The good news is they're more famous, they make a whole lot more money and they probably have more status. The bad news is, everybody's watching. One of my CEO clients talked to a future CEO and the future CEO said, “well does this coaching mean I have to watch what I say and how I look in every meeting for the rest of my career?” And the present CEO said, “welcome to my world.” That's exactly what it means. You know what, you get paid a lot of money, got a lot of responsibility, stakes go up and the downside goes up. 06:00 Tom Floyd Now when you mentioned a little bit about the insecurity going up as well, can you tell us a little bit more about that, too? What are some of the insecurities CEOs and C-level executives are starting to experience? 5 | Confidential August 27, 2008 Page 5 Coaching for Success in the Long Run: Coaching the C- Suite Transcript
  6. 6. Time Speaker Transcript 06:16 Marshall What happens is, everything you say and do just gets magnified much more than Goldsmith ever before. Just a small point: everybody today has a camera and there are people videotaping things today that nobody had any idea were being videotaped in the past, right? And so your visibility factor just goes up and up and up, and anything miniscule, anything you say wrong, anything that is an inappropriate quote can be taken out of context and put on the Internet, can be sent to thousands of people or millions of people in a nano-second. So the degree of visibility and exposure has increased exponentially along with the amount of salary, compensation and benefits. So it's been a two-edged sword for CEOs. On one hand things have gotten a lot better, on the other hand they've gotten a lot worse. 07:08 Tom Floyd It’s almost like the sheer pressure of being on display constantly. It's feeding into that, it sounds like. 07:14 Marshall Exactly. Goldsmith Also, leaders at all levels, not just CEOs, but political leaders; the world is totally different. The President of the United States used to get a pass. John Kennedy was - when he was president what did he do? Well, basically, whatever he did was ignored. What did Bill Clinton do? It was not ignored. So you see what I mean, it's not that Bill Clinton did any worse than John Kennedy did; just Bill Clinton lived in a world where his behavior was not ignored. Even the business press today doesn't give CEOs a pass. The business press today can be brutal about CEOs. I think what you're seeing much more of is a sense of almost combative nature of the press in terms of, “let's see if I can get this guy”, as opposed to the old days when I think the business press used to be much more cow-towing to CEOs. Today they're almost looking to get them. So it's much, much more challenging out there. Also, shareholder activists are much more common; people looking at that CEO and saying, “what's this person doing right? What's this person doing wrong?” I think the spotlight is just turned up. 6 | Confidential August 27, 2008 Page 6 Coaching for Success in the Long Run: Coaching the C- Suite Transcript
  7. 7. Time Speaker Transcript 08:20 Tom Floyd Brian, what are some of your thoughts? 08:22 Brian Underhill Well, I agree with that, fully. I think the pressures are greatly enhanced and to go along with that, what CEOs are required to do as leaders has shifted greatly. I think many of us would agree the model for effective leadership in today's world is a lot different than it was, say, 40 to 50 years ago. Now leaders are expected to be, not only able to achieve the results, but also to bring people along with them, positively, to get people's input, to inspire them, to motivate them. We now have a workforce of professionals in the service industry with knowledged workers who expect to be treated with respect. And incidentally, as the population ages we're going to have greater and greater shortages of professionals at different levels. So the ability to retain and find these great professionals is increasing as well. 09:24 Tom Floyd So the skills are increasing and they're required to be successful but the number of folks who can fill those shoes could potentially be decreasing. 09:33 Brian Underhill Right. For people to be able to want to work for these CEOs you can't just incentivise them, purely, with money any more. People want more from their careers and so they want to be able to make a difference and have an impact, and they're not going to tolerate an autocratic leader as much as they might have in the past. 09:54 Tom Floyd Definitely. Ann, to build on some of the things that Brian's sharing and also some of the commentary that was offered in Chief Executive Magazine, in your opinion has the CEO role changed from what it was a decade ago, and are you also finding there's a new set of skills and experiences that are required? 7 | Confidential August 27, 2008 Page 7 Coaching for Success in the Long Run: Coaching the C- Suite Transcript
  8. 8. Time Speaker Transcript 10:11 Ann Vanino Yes. Absolutely. In addition, playing off two of the things that were said, the degree of visibility and exposure is so much greater. If you go even further back with presidents, with FDR people didn't even know that he was sitting in a wheelchair. You couldn't imagine that today; it's just not possible. Then, if you look at the model of leadership and the way that it's changed. Two places that I go with my clients, are that effective leaders have to understand both people and power. We all know leaders that understand power well; we know leaders that understand people well. However, it's not enough to do just one; you have to understand both. You have to be able to lead people and you have to understand power. The ground is always shifting, be it shareholder responses to what you do, be it the increased visibility and exposure - everything has changed. That brings me down - when I am coaching with people - that most of the people I coach are aspiring CEOs; they're moving their way to the top; they're vice-presidents or middle managers - and we start with the inside. We start with a strong center point because you can't be sure of the environment that you're going to be in. You have to be able to have a strong sense of self; you have to have a sense of power; you have to have self-trust so that whatever comes your way you're going to be able to deal with it from the inside out because you are the only thing that you can really rely on. 11:35 Tom Floyd When you talk a little bit about power; is it understanding the responsibilities that come with power; is it understanding, how to use your power effectively and professionally? Can you tell us a little bit more about that? 8 | Confidential August 27, 2008 Page 8 Coaching for Success in the Long Run: Coaching the C- Suite Transcript
  9. 9. Time Speaker Transcript 11:48 Ann Vanino I think it's both of those things. I think it starts with knowing who you are and finding your own self. One of the things we talk about in coaching is the tyranny of the shoulds; what everybody says that you should be. I feel one of the most important journeys we take is the hero's journey, the journey to our self and knowing who we are and that self-trust. Then you've got to understand the game that you're in and you've got to produce. Many times there can be a mismatch between who you are and where you are in the game that you're playing. You can't play baseball rules in a football game. So you have to know yourself and know the game you're in. 12:28 Tom Floyd Therefore, it's understanding yourself, understanding the game and the business and then continuing to assess, “is this the right game for me?” 12:35 Ann Vanino That's right. And it's an alignment of all that. It's an alignment of your body, mind and spirit in what you're doing. And then the ability to be fully in the present moment so when these surprises come down the pike, you can deal with them the best that you can. You may fail - it's going to happen - but at least you'll know that you were at your best point. 12:55 Tom Floyd Agnes, anything that you would add in terms of your experience? In your opinion, what are some of the skills that today's CEOs need to be successful? 9 | Confidential August 27, 2008 Page 9 Coaching for Success in the Long Run: Coaching the C- Suite Transcript
  10. 10. Time Speaker Transcript 13:05 Agnes Mura Well connecting with what Ann was saying and also this question that you're posing, of what's causing such turnover, which I'm seeing as well. Actually, in all higher leadership ranks there's this increased turnover. It has to do with precisely what Ann was calling your own game and who you are, and then the requirement to be adept at changing your leadership style. Because the environment changes so fast that you might have been brought in as a CEO, as a turnaround specialist, being a very sort of hard-hitting analytical person. And if you've been successful and the company is doing well, you're now required to become a long-term visionary leader. That requires a huge personal evolution and transformation. Or perhaps if you are - you've been successful your entire life being a democratic, sort of a feeliative people leader. As Ann was saying, people tend to have both sides as a requirement but we all have preferences. If that's been your MO for success, let's say you've been working in a non-profit sector, that's been a very successful leadership strategy for you and it's now required of you to develop a greater sense of urgency, to set an aggressive pace and use sort of an accountability culture. So you either develop tenure because you're able to have in the back pocket two or three different leadership styles that you can bring forth or you're going to be changed out. I want to also say just a thing, a little bit about this talent issue that was brought up. I work in a lot of different cultures and a lot of different languages and so forth. And the global corporate CEOs, their greatest headache is exactly as Brian was mentioning earlier, this need for talent, but a particularly challenging brand of talent, which is the globally adept executive. An executive that has both the intellectual capacity to manage the complexities of a global organization and the cultural emotional intelligence, if you wish, the cultural emotional acumen to work across a variety of-of cultures; let alone the willingness not to burn out as they move every two or three years, the different assignments across the globe. So - 15:44 Tom Floyd But somebody who's really receptive and understanding, understanding the different cultures that are out there. Sharp listening skills, interpersonal skills, all of those things. It's amping them even further. 15:56 Agnes Mura Adaptability. Enormous amount of flexibility, which people are not typically born with. 10 | Confidential August 27, 2008 Page 10 Coaching for Success in the Long Run: Coaching the C- Suite Transcript
  11. 11. Time Speaker Transcript 16:03 Tom Floyd Interesting. Well let's go ahead and go on pause. I'm starting to hear the music for our first commercial break. Stay tuned everyone. More Insight on Coaching when we return. 18:45 Tom Floyd Welcome back to Insight on Coaching. I'm Tom Floyd. Today the topic is Coaching For Success In The Long Run: Coaching the C-Suite. With me are Marshall Goldsmith, named by the American Management Association as one of 50 great thinkers and leaders who have influenced the field of management for the past 80-years; Agnes Mura, executive coach, published author and President of the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations; Brian Underhill, founder of CoachSource and The Alliance for Strategic Leadership, and author of the upcoming book, Executive Coaching for Results: The Definitive Guide for Developing Organizational Leaders; and Ann Vanino, owner of Moving Forward Coaching & Consulting and the author of Leadership on Trial: Lessons From the Apprentice and several other publications as well. For those of you just joining us, in the first part of our show we talked about the skills and experiences required to be successful in the CEO world today. In the next segment of our show, I'd like to discuss some of the challenges that we're seeing CEOs face in Corporate America today. We've seen some very public failures; these have been things ranging from fraud and the financial collapse of Enron and WorldCom, to white-collar theft at Tyco. In a recent failure at Jet Blue, former Jet Blue CEO, David Neeleman stepped down as CEO after the airlines suffered embarrassing delays that stranded thousands at Kennedy Airport, February 14th of this year. Neeleman, now Jet Blue's Chairman, left the CEO post weeks after the meltdown when the airline cancelled more than 1,000 flights - not a fun experience - during an icestorm, which stranded thousands of passengers. If we also loop back to that same January and February of 2007 issue of Chief Executive Magazine that we mentioned at the beginning of the show, the same article highlighted several challenges that today's C-level executives face; including the need to serve and interact directly with a wider range of audiences. Something that came up at the beginning of our show; the need to tolerate the intense pressure and scrutiny from regulators and shareholders; the need to champion ethics and integrity throughout the organization; and a need to relinquish the outdated command and control approach with the board and the organization. Now Ann, I've been dying to ask you about some of your experiences in working with the cast and contestants on The Apprentice. Were some of the challenges highlighted by Chief Executive Magazine the issues that came to light on the various seasons of the show as well? 11 | Confidential August 27, 2008 Page 11 Coaching for Success in the Long Run: Coaching the C- Suite Transcript
  12. 12. Time Speaker Transcript 21:06 Ann Vanino Yes. What I did was, I was an observer of the show. I took the first season of The Apprentice and I analyzed the lessons that can be learned on leadership from them. So most of my focus in my book, Leadership on Trial, is on that first season. And I came up with several lessons. It goes back to what I was talking about earlier about being yourself and understanding the game that you're in. In terms of the examples that are given in the magazine, these people were in a little bit of a different situation. They were aspiring to be at that top point and Donald Trump was looking to them to see if they had those qualities. One of the more interesting things that came out of it was, as I started writing the book there were a number of lessons, like have a strategy, think outside the box, be yourself, know the game, take risks, all the things that we know about. But I came up with a seventh lesson that became clear to me on the show, that all of the contestants had a dual purpose. They had to know when to join and when to lead. They had to be able to join in the team and work well as a team and at the same time they had to be able to distinguish themselves as a leader to be able to get to the top point of The Apprentice. And with the people that I worked with, we talk about that quite a bit because they have to play the game well, they have to be part of a team, but they've got to be able to get to the top and be able to act on their own. When the executives ran into the problems that this article talks about, and that you mentioned, they were all alone. All of a sudden the media is against them. 22:44 Tom Floyd I had an opportunity to meet several of the folks from The Apprentice as well. Our company has actually developed a-a Women's Leadership Program with Elizabeth Jarosz She was on Season Two. 22:58 Ann Vanino Yes. 12 | Confidential August 27, 2008 Page 12 Coaching for Success in the Long Run: Coaching the C- Suite Transcript
  13. 13. Time Speaker Transcript 22:59 Tom Floyd And I spoke with Carolyn, briefly, and one of the things I asked her was “what are you seeing some of the most successful folks on The Apprentice do?” And she said, “you know, it's really the candidates who are adaptable.” She said, the ones that can easily shift from leader to follower, to a variety of different companies, environments and things like that. She said, the candidates in the end that can do that well, are the ones that tend to make it the farthest. Is that one of the things you saw from your experience too? 23:33 Ann Vanino That's absolutely true. That's absolutely true. Earlier, we were talking about the workforce of tomorrow shrinking and what would be needed. I did some research for a foundation. We were looking at preparing out of school use for that workforce and looking at them as valuable members of the future workforce, and we looked at adaptability, as Agnes mentioned, as absolutely critical. It did not become a focus on what technical skills can we give them, but how can we help them be versatile, how can we get them to a point where they have the learning skills to be able to respond to new technologies? And definitely, what Carolyn said, it's very interesting to hear that that was her viewpoint on it because that's what I saw. In fact, in the first season there was a woman that was in the boardroom, Tammy Lee, and she was trying to distinguish herself. She said she felt her team was dooped and Trump went right at her in the boardroom. He said, “well you're supposed to be a team player. How could you get up there when you're defending your team, and say that you think you were dooped?” And she was fired because she made a misjudgment there and thought that she would distinguish herself at the expense of her teammates. 24:49 Tom Floyd Marshall, what are some of your thoughts in terms of the importance of being adaptable, or having the ability to adapt to a variety of situations, audiences, challenges, all of those things? Are those some of the things that you're seeing CEOs and C-level executives experience as well? Are those some of the challenges that you've been working on? 13 | Confidential August 27, 2008 Page 13 Coaching for Success in the Long Run: Coaching the C- Suite Transcript
  14. 14. Time Speaker Transcript 25:12 Marshall Yes. Because the world is changing so rapidly, so in a period of incredibly rapid Goldsmith change, then adaptability becomes more and more important. Almost by definition, if the world is incredibly stable you don't have to be that adaptable. But when the world is rapidly changing you have to adapt. As the adaptation requirements have gone up, then obviously, CEOs have to adapt more. The other thing that's occurred is globalization. We used to be in an environment where people were competing in a domestic market. Today people are competing in a global marketplace. So just the demands are much higher, the need for understanding is much greater and not only adaptability, but I'd say rapid adaptability. You have to be able to adapt but you have to be able to adapt very quickly. 26:02 Tom Floyd Agnes, let's talk a little bit about, in the Chief Executive Magazine article one of the challenges that it highlighted was the need to serve and interact directly with a wider range of audiences. That's the thing that came up in the first segment of our show as well. From your perspective, what skills are really needed to do this effectively? 14 | Confidential August 27, 2008 Page 14 Coaching for Success in the Long Run: Coaching the C- Suite Transcript
  15. 15. Time Speaker Transcript 26:24 Agnes Mura That's very interesting because one of the things I work on with executives is how to stop being prisoners of their own experience and of their own success. Because it's interesting that if you interview a lot of corporate executives, including the C-suite, you find a remarkable similarity in their education and in what type of places they have lived and the steady success that they've enjoyed, especially in the U.S. Very few have experienced a lot of ambiguity of living and working in another country or having friends from significantly different backgrounds or age groups. That's why I think I've rarely attended an executive committee meeting where the members would openly reveal their honest confusion or their genuine fears and concerns. There's a guardedness because you feel that you're surrounded by solid, similar, monochromatic environment. So questioning your assumption is the first thing that we work on to escape your own mindset. And I'm thinking of not only Microsoft, that systematically appoints a smart dummy to play the role of challenging assumptions in any sort of controversial or critical team meeting, but there are lots of companies have done a lot of work with Sony. But also Radicon Electronic Guards, for example, pays cultures that reward people who challenge sacred cows. So to institutionalize this questioning of assumptions is one way to break out of this past success. Last week actually, I was doing a retreat, an annual retreat, with Underwriter Laboratories - you know, the people that put the UL on light bulbs. And it was so interesting that in order to mix the different business and non-business environments and open up sort of new neuro pathways, if you wish, they offered their executives the choice to either help on habitat - Habitat For Humanity building houses - or go to golf. A larger portion of them went to build houses and guess where the CEO went? So you break out of your environment by going into very new situations and letting your brain and your body and your experience truly be different. 15 | Confidential August 27, 2008 Page 15 Coaching for Success in the Long Run: Coaching the C- Suite Transcript
  16. 16. Time Speaker Transcript 29:06 Tom Floyd So in terms of being able to interact with a wider range of audiences, instead of bringing it back to that, it's really understanding the needs of each audience; or if you have any premade assumptions about them, really making sure you understand what those are and being willing to break out of your box in terms of what it takes to really connect with that audience? Is that true? We'll come back to that when we get back from our next break. I'm hearing the music for our next commercial break. Stay tuned everyone. More from Insight on Coaching when we return. 32:29 Tom Floyd Welcome back to Insight on Coaching with Tom Floyd. Today the topic is Coaching For Success in the Long Run: Coaching the C-Suite. With me are Marshall Goldsmith, Agnes Mura, Brian Underhill and Ann Vanino. I'd like to continue our conversation today by focusing on the keys to staying on top and being successful in the long run. To kick us off, in a article last year, August of last year, actually, CNN reporter Elizabeth Yuan writes that “attitude, time management and some “me” time, are critical to staying on top of your game.” Now, Brian you've captured or mentioned many examples of what it takes to stay on top in your new book, Executive Coaching for Results: The Definitive Guide to Developing Organizational Leaders. In addition to attitude, time management and me time, from your perspective what else does it take? 16 | Confidential August 27, 2008 Page 16 Coaching for Success in the Long Run: Coaching the C- Suite Transcript
  17. 17. Time Speaker Transcript 33:17 Brian Underhill I think, in today's day and age we're absolutely seeing a focus on integrity and ethics as we should have all along. But we certainly know some widespread issues that contradict that. So people are still, no matter what, going to be looking for their leaders to demonstrate integrity and to walk the talk. And then in the last segment we spoke about adaptability as being important, too, and knowing who you are and being able to adapt to the changing environment outside you. I was asked by a friend just the other day what I would consider the two key leadership traits. It's quite simple and I think it goes back to basic models of leadership that we've known about for quite some time; that once again it's the balance between being able to lead and get things done and being able to bring people along on the relationship side as well. You can't just order people around. You have to be able to relate to them. You have to be able to get them on board, get them engaged. 34:21 Tom Floyd It seems like something basic that changes too. It's also the ability - and this actually came up on one of our projects a year or so back. We were interviewing folks and I remember one person that we interviewed said, “you know, when I was managing individual contributors it was different than when I was managing managers; it was a different skill. It's like my influencing skills became more important, it took longer to get things done; it was totally different.” Is that something that you're seeing as well, that as the leader is growing up in an organization, going from manager to director to VP to CEO, for example, that just continues to get amplified? 17 | Confidential August 27, 2008 Page 17 Coaching for Success in the Long Run: Coaching the C- Suite Transcript
  18. 18. Time Speaker Transcript 35:00 Brian Underhill Oh, absolutely. I remember a few years ago we were called by a very well known brand. They were interested in a coach for their CEO who had been recently promoted. This man actually was, really the main name behind this brand. He was the one whose genius had helped make it what it was. Then he got promoted to CEO and he was still doing things the way he used to; he was micro managing; he was not listening to anyone; he was doing things the way he wanted; he was ordering people around. Consequently, the brand started to suffer and not much longer after, he was let go in a very public way on the front of all the newspapers, in fact. We definitely can see that, as Marshall likes to say, what got you to a certain point is not necessarily what's going to get you onward from there or will keep you there. 35:52 Tom Floyd That's actually a perfect segue to my next question, Marshall, and this is something that you've mentioned on previous shows as well. In your book, What Got You Here Won't Get You There, you introduced 20 habits today's leader should avoid. You highlight things ranging from winning too much, to passing judgment, to withholding information, things like that. Can you tell us a little bit more about this? 18 | Confidential August 27, 2008 Page 18 Coaching for Success in the Long Run: Coaching the C- Suite Transcript
  19. 19. Time Speaker Transcript 36:14 Marshall What I talk about in the book is something called the superstition trap. Goldsmith Any human, in fact, any animal will replicate behavior that's followed by positive reinforcement. The more positive reinforcement we get the more likely we are to replicate the behavior. No one gets more positive reinforcement than CEOs. The superstition trap is, “I behave this way, I am successful; therefore, I must be successful because I behave this way.” Reality is, we're all successful because we do many things right and in spite of doing some things that are stupid. CEOs are just as human as anybody else is and I've never been able - they're so wonderful they had nothing on the, in spite of, list. So what I try to do is help people figure out what's on your, in spite of, list and what are the key positive behaviors you need to change. At the CEO level one of the most important things that the CEO can do is be a role model for change, rather than hiding from the fact that he or she is trying to improve; publicly say, look, I'm trying to improve; here's what I'm trying to improve; here's how I'm trying to get better; I appreciate your help. By doing that, the CEO sends such a powerful message throughout the whole company. Then the other message you don't have to be a genius to read between the lines, is, hey, “I'm trying to get better; it's your turn. Yes, I expect you to get better too but I'm not preaching at you. I'm trying to get better and create an environment where we're all trying to get better together.” 36:30 Tom Floyd Would you say that today's CEOs are more inclined to be a little more open, to be a little more human than those of, let's say, a decade ago? 19 | Confidential August 27, 2008 Page 19 Coaching for Success in the Long Run: Coaching the C- Suite Transcript
  20. 20. Time Speaker Transcript 37:39 Marshall I'd say, again, it's hard for me to say. Goldsmith All the ones I work with are. And again, I think there's much more demand, obviously, for coaching than ever before; 360 feedback 30 years ago is virtually non-existent. In that sense there's been some huge changes. I think the one thing that we do see, unfortunately, in the business press is just the incredible over focus on bad CEOs and under focus on CEOs who are doing a great job. Most CEOs are not unethical or bad people; they're highly ethical people with a great sense of moral character. It's just the ones that screw up are the ones that are put in the newspapers. So I find that in general, at least the CEOs I work with, are dedicated, hard working, highly ethical, trying to get ahead, trying to do what's right for the company, and willing to accept feedback and try to get better themselves. 38:26 Tom Floyd How important are things like building relationships, both within the organization and outside the organization, for a CEO? As a skill, how important is that? Brian alluded to that a little bit. 38:39 Marshall The higher up you go the more important that becomes. Goldsmith I wrote an article about this called, The Higher Up You Go The More Issues Are Behavioral. At that level they're all smart, they're all dedicated, they're all hardworking, they're all technically competent people or they wouldn't even be in the game. The higher up you go, everything starts to revolve around behavior, revolve around recruiting and engaging other people as opposed to being the expert yourself, and letting go of that sense of technical expertise and letting other people become the technical experts. You're much more the leader; you're the person who engages people; motivates people; establishes relationships with people. The higher up you go the more that becomes the whole game. 20 | Confidential August 27, 2008 Page 20 Coaching for Success in the Long Run: Coaching the C- Suite Transcript
  21. 21. Time Speaker Transcript 39:18 Ann Vanino Marshall, this is Ann. I think that is really wonderful and goes back to knowing yourself. If you get up to the top and you're not willing to share what you're working on and if you don't know yourself well enough to be able to relate to other people, you're going to be in trouble. If you don't have a center and if you don't have a sense of self and enough of a self- confidence that you can say what you do well and what you don’t' do well. 39:44 Marshall Yes. Goldsmith 39:45 Tom Floyd Doesn't it seem like some leaders aren't brave enough to say when they don't do well; that they think that's going to impact them, negatively, somehow? 39:53 Marshall Of course. Some leaders are afraid to do all kinds of things. Goldsmith The reality is though, it used to be no leaders talked about what they don't do well. Today many more leaders do, so what we're talking about today was a non-issue 40- years ago. Nobody was doing this 40-years ago; nobody got 360 degree feedback; no leaders were evaluated by their direct reports; 40-years ago this stuff didn't exist. 40:17 Brian Underhill Tom, I would add as well - this is Brian talking now. When we are talking to organizations about a coaching program for their CEO we're always very interested in, is this leader wanting to do coaching; are they willing to get feedback; are they willing to let people know what they're trying to work on? Very often we can tell by those we're interfacing with whether or not that's okay for this leader. If it's not, we become very concerned and the possibility for success through a coaching program goes down greatly. 40:52 Tom Floyd Let me ask a question from a devil's advocate perspective; is there ever a time when you do come up against one of those leaders who's not willing to be a coach or be coached, or receive feedback and things like that? Is there ever a time when you have a client or organization that says, “ahh, that's okay, there are going to be other things?” Or is that such a big red flag today and it's like “whoa, we've got a problem here.” 21 | Confidential August 27, 2008 Page 21 Coaching for Success in the Long Run: Coaching the C- Suite Transcript
  22. 22. Time Speaker Transcript 41:15 Brian Underhill For me, I've seen people like that - I just don't work with them. 41:20 Agnes Mura Oh, I have to tell you this one. This is Agnes. I was invited to work with the general partner of a very large accounting firm. He presented that argument that everyone in this conversation has heard before. Well I'm old and I'm rich, why should I change? And I’m sitting in this big leather chair and I'm in front of him and he says, “Agnes, tell me, I'm retiring in a year and I've got more money than God, why am I going to work with you?” Of course I said, “you're absolutely right”; we joked around a bit. I said how about lunch instead. We went to lunch and I asked him about his retirement plans and how he's doing with his family. An hour later he engaged me to help him become a human being because he realized that whether it was at the firm or the rest of his life he had really reached the limit of how abrasive and aggressive he needed to be. It was a pleasure working with him from then on. I think anyone at the point where they see a personal developmental benefit will accede to this. 42:31 Tom Floyd His initial reaction sounds like something straight from a Dilbert Cartoon or something! That’s a fantastic story. Well let's go ahead and go on pause. We're coming up against our next commercial break. We'll talk a little bit more about how coaches, in more situations like that, are able to successfully work with C-level executives and CEOs, so stay tuned everyone. More Insight on Coaching when we return. 22 | Confidential August 27, 2008 Page 22 Coaching for Success in the Long Run: Coaching the C- Suite Transcript
  23. 23. Time Speaker Transcript 45:23 Tom Floyd Welcome back to Insight on Coaching. I'm Tom Floyd. Today the topic is Coaching For Success in the Long Run: Coaching the C-Suite. With me are Marshall Goldsmith, Agnes Mura, Brian Underhill and Ann Vanino. I'd like to spend the last segment of our show talking about the importance of coaching and how C-level executives be successful. According to Investor's Business Daily, John Russell, Managing Director from Harley Davidson, Europe, was quoted as saying, “I never cease to be amazed at the power of the coaching process; to draw out the skills or talent that was previously hidden within an individual; and which invariably finds a way to solve a problem previously thought unsolvable. “ Manchester, Inc., also released results of a study that quantifies the business impact of external executive coaching. The study included 100 executives, mostly from Fortune 1000 companies, and concluded that companies were more likely to retain executives who had been coached. Also, companies that provided coaching said their executives realized improvements in productivity, quality, organizational strength, customer service and shareholder value. They received fewer customer complaints of executives who were coached than those who weren't. Now, Ann, I'd like to start with you. I understand that you're familiar with the Manchester Study. Can you tell us a little bit more about it and some of the quantifiable business impacts of executive coaching overall? 46:41 Ann Vanino I would love to but I have to be honest here, and self-authentic, and tell you that it was my assistant who found that doing research for Megan. 46:52 Tom Floyd Okay. 46:52 Ann Vanino So I don't want to speak and pretend I have authenticity on that, and I don't. One thing I can offer is on the Investor's Business Daily Study, The Power of the Coaching Process. One thing that I have found is that in working with people through coaching; if I can work with them to a place of self-trust and they can reach self-confidence, self- reliance and accountability, it opens a world for them where they can go wherever they want to go. 23 | Confidential August 27, 2008 Page 23 Coaching for Success in the Long Run: Coaching the C- Suite Transcript
  24. 24. Time Speaker Transcript 47:23 Tom Floyd Brian, from your perspective, why is coaching so important to C-level executives? 47:31 Brian Underhill I think coaching, in general, is continuing to gain popularity because it's something that can be done at the work place. The C-level executive does not have to leave, to go somewhere else, to go to a leadership program for five days or something like that. They can do it right in place and develop as they're doing their normal day job. While all our lives - you were talking about the Manchester Study, which is looking at the return on investment. There has been some work in coaching to look at return on investment. I'm not sure the methods are fully settled yet but they are generally finding at least six times the investment of what's put in for coaching is brought back, in terms of a business result of some sort. 48:17 Tom Floyd Six times. That's amazing. Any anecdotes or stories that you can share? Maybe some from your book or your experiences where you know executives have really come forward and felt comfortable speaking to the success that they've experienced? 48:35 Brian Underhill What's interesting is, we actually asked companies whether their executives, their CEO and their leadership team had coaches. It was interesting that about 43% of the companies we met told us that their CEO did have a coach. The CEO though, is more likely to admit and publicly support coaching if they have a coach themselves, than their executive team is. It's really interesting; the executive team might be receiving coaching but they're not as willing to say something about it to others. The CEO is, though. 49:15 Tom Floyd That is interesting. On our show last week, we talked about why style matters in business and politics and one of the things one of our guests shared; is that for many politicians who use image coaches and folks like that, it’s actually bad PR to admit that you have a coach to help you. Is that the mindset of some of the folks on the executive teams? Are they exhibiting some of the same behaviors? 24 | Confidential August 27, 2008 Page 24 Coaching for Success in the Long Run: Coaching the C- Suite Transcript
  25. 25. Time Speaker Transcript 49:39 Brian Underhill Yes. I think the people on the executive team may still be worried about that image even though we're seeing that improving. More companies are now using coaching for their star performers than for those that are in trouble, but nonetheless, there still may be a little bit of that stigma still in place. But the CEO seems to be less concerned about it; they're more willing to say something about it than their executive team. 50:03 Tom Floyd Got it. 50:03 Ann Vanino And I have found, Tom, at the mid-levels like vice-president level, the aspiring CEOs, that the stigma is going away fairly quickly because there's an acknowledgement of the need. In my early coaching years people would sometimes say, “would you say you're my consultant instead of saying you're my coach?” That doesn't happen any more because people's ambitions are strong and they want to get there. 50:26 Tom Floyd So people thought the word, consultant, was safer. 50:28 Ann Vanino Better, yes, to put that on my invoice. That was back in the late 90s. She was an entrepreneur, had her own landscaping company, and that's what she wanted and I did it. But I don't think I would do it again and I didn't do it again, after her. And I haven't come up against it; no one asks for it any more. 50:50 Tom Floyd Good! 50:51 Ann Vanino Right. If you give the analogy of, you're like a coach for a sports team, people can relate to that. When you start your conversation and begin building a relationship with them, I think people see pretty quickly what it can do. 25 | Confidential August 27, 2008 Page 25 Coaching for Success in the Long Run: Coaching the C- Suite Transcript
  26. 26. Time Speaker Transcript 51:04 Tom Floyd Now, Agnes, back to one of the points of the Manchester Study. It said that companies were more likely to retain executives who had been coached. Is that an opinion that you would share as well? 51:15 Agnes Mura No. And I have to tell you, ironically, how well retention and promotions were and how I almost lost my job as a coach, with a very, very promising high flyer at The Lloyd, who ended up having larger and larger assignments, ended up on the board, and one day took me aside and said, “I've got to stop coaching with you because I am literally running out of horsepower for the large jobs that I'm beginning to do.” Of course tongue-in-cheek, but it drew my attention - this was five or six years ago - drew my attention to a fact that we really, as coaches, support people in managing this increasing amount of stress that's coming their way, and creates pressures that bring out their derailers, their shadow side. So we can help them learn how to recognize and anticipate the situations that may draw them into risky behavior; also to work with burnout, their own and their entire organization. I work with a number of organizations where the CEO used to think that life is a marathon, work life is a marathon, and as he understood through coaching that even marathon runners train in sprints and don't run marathons all the time, he allowed himself and his entire staff to celebrate successes more, to take a breather. The pressure of the economy at the moment is so enormous, that's a very important skill at the moment, to know how to pace yourself and your organization. 52:52 Tom Floyd Marshall, anything that you would add? 26 | Confidential August 27, 2008 Page 26 Coaching for Success in the Long Run: Coaching the C- Suite Transcript
  27. 27. Time Speaker Transcript 50:03 Marshall I agree with what was just said. Goldsmith I think that as globalization has occurred, the pressure has gone up and up and up. If you look at the United States, you can go way beyond the CEO level. I wrote an article in about pressures on people in the middle. If you were born right after World War II in the United States, all you had to do to make the middle class life style was walk and chew gum. Anybody could make the middle class. I totally disagree with that Tom Brokaw, The Greatest Generation thing; I think that was the luckiest generation. Kids growing up today are facing incredible global competition, to even make it to the middle class in the United States; the small house, the yard, all that stuff which their grandparents had with very little brains or effort; it's hard today. I think that the stress goes way down below the CEO level. I think in many ways it hits harder at the young people today, who by the way, more of them believe in space aliens than believe they're going to collect Social Security. 53:58 Tom Floyd I love that! Well, a huge thank you to the four of you today for being on our show. And as always, a huge thank you, to our listeners as well. For more information about our show you can look us up on the Voice America Business Channel; you can visit our website at; and of course, you can drop me an email at as well. Don't forget, you can access the podcast version of our show as well in Apple ITunes. Just open up ITunes, go to the iTunes store, click podcast and enter, Insight on Coaching in the search field. Thanks, everyone. We'll see you next week! 27 | Confidential August 27, 2008 Page 27 Coaching for Success in the Long Run: Coaching the C- Suite Transcript