What the C-suite really needs!

Here at the-Coaching Blog run by Gerard O’Donovan, our aim is to constantly bring value to those seeking to improve their lives. Therefore we have a policy of publishing articles and materials by guest authors whom we value and appreciate. Today’s guest author is Namita Sinha (India).

“The hardest thing about being famous is that people are always nice to you. You’re in a conversation and everybody’s agreeing with what you’re saying — even if you say something totally crazy. You need people who can tell you what you don’t want to hear” — Al Pacino

When I came across this great quote from a great actor, my mind was instantly triggered to relate it to the lives of leaders and CEOs in an organisation, who are not exactly famous or celebrities in their own right, but who by virtue of the influence, authority and power they wield, are many a time rendered devoid of an honest critical feedback about their own strengths and weaknesses. How difficult and lonely it becomes to so often hear the “Yes” from most of their colleagues and teams, and to be subjected to only false praises, not being able to see through, as to exactly what’s working and what’s not.

In fact, this entire syndrome of many influential senior most leaders, the so-called mighty occupants of the C-suite, especially in traditional companies, nurturing their own flock of admirers, their indispensable left hands, and right hands — only backfires, simply because this coterie most often only serves their own purpose of affording favours from the Bosses by diplomatically flattering or boosting their ego and not really letting them see through their own flaws!

A few days back, I had invited a discussion on a favorite quote by Peter Drucker, “While the leader of the past knew how to tell, the leader of the future will know how to ask.”

It attracted diverse views and it won’t be wrong to say that, while most leaders wish to play safe just telling others what to do, it pays well in the long run for them to pause and “ask”. Ask others about what they have to say about the inputs coming in from their Boss!

Modern day leader is the one who inspires and motivates his team towards higher accomplishments- he values his own need to continuously learn and grow, he cannot be a person who feels threatened to receive harmless suggestion or critical opinion. While it’s understandable for subordinates to feel reluctant at times in suggesting that their emperor is wearing no clothes, it’s for the organization and for the leaders to have a circle of reliable critics who genuinely care for them and for the organization’s well-being. It’s not about a formal appraisal or a 360-degree performance review, but a regular dialogue with someone who has the ability and who is well positioned to help leaders see both their strengths and weaknesses in the right light!

Precisely, one of the sole reasons why any organisation today would like to invest in hiring a Coach for their “ C -suite occupants : CEO, CFO, COO, Directors”, — to afford for them a person who helps them see for themselves ,the critical aspects of their own functioning, and helps them establish an honest opinion about themselves — setting the tone for improvements in key areas.

It may take years of solid decision making to reach the boardroom, very often it only takes one bad decision to fall. In today’s high-pressure environment, leaders need someone they can trust to tell the truth about their behavior. And though many boards still do not find value in seeing feedback for performance improvement as important as other things, such as financial results, increasingly, smart CEOs and progressive organizations now realize the value of a good CEO coach who enables constructive feedback in an atmosphere free from fears and anxiety.
I wish to sum up by voicing another piece of ancient wisdom coming from none other than the great Indian poet and saint, Kabir, translated here in English — “Keep your critic close to you; give him shelter in your courtyard. Without soap and water, he cleanses your character”

Commentary — You get to know your fault if someone criticizes you, and you will have a chance to correct them. Listen to the criticism without annoyance, because the critic is not your enemy. He is helping you to clean the rubbish from your own life.

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About Namita Sinha

Namita Sinha is an Internationally Certified Success Coach and Life Coach. Trainer and writer on a mission to help everyone live a life of purpose. She is based in Nagpur, India.

She is keen to support and empower people, and look forward to sharing her insights, especially with young minds on socially relevant themes and topics through her writing and blogging.

A budding Coach and Trainer in personal, academic and executive space, she likes researching ideas which actually integrate and align the personal and professional domain, and is, therefore, a strong advocate of work-life integration rather than work-life balance.

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