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Demystifying 3 Popular Leadership Misconceptions

How Stakeholder Centered Coaching rights all of the leadership wrongs

Photo by Karlijn Kant on Unsplash

Stakeholder Centered Coaching (SCC) is a practice that is based upon the research and experiences of Marshall Goldsmith, a world authority in helping successful leaders get even better — by achieving positive, lasting change in behavior for themselves, their people and their teams.

As the business world becomes more complex with changing technology and global endeavors, the role of a leader is also growing in complexity making it more difficult to efficiently and effectively dedicate time to developing oneself.

SCC is a 7-step process which includes the following:

  1. Gather 360-degree feedback from people around you
  2. Choose one behavioral goal to work toward for six months
  3. Choose stakeholders, or people who will hold you accountable as you work to achieve your goal
  4. Share your goal with these stakeholders and ask them for suggestions
  5. Create and follow an action plan to begin changing behavior
  6. Ask stakeholders to evaluate you halfway through your engagement
  7. Ask stakeholders to evaluate you once the engagement is over

As the role of the leader becomes more important at the hundreds of thousands of companies around the world, it is important to use SCC in order to break down some of the traditional beliefs surrounding leadership and use this methodology to better yourself, your people, and your organization.

I have worked with many leaders using this methodology, and I have noticed that SCC refutes the following misconceptions.

1. It is lonely at the top

This common phrase is shared to express how it feels to be the head of something. The CEO may have this sentiment, thinking that nobody else understands what it feels like to be in charge of and accountable for every component of the business. The CEO may feel like he or she has nobody to lean on or confide in when making decisions, and this is why he or she may feel lonely.

However, with Stakeholder Centered Coaching, the concept of a single, omnipotent leader is crushed. By relying heavily on the people around him or her, the CEO is able to understand that there are people in this with him or her. This feeling of loneliness is washed away because their performance as a leader is based on how they are judged by their stakeholders.

2. The leader does not need to improve

Many believe that when a person gets to the top, this person is done growing because there is no reason or possible way to get better.


The quality of the leader dictates the quality of the organization. With that logic, the company will only continue to improve if the leader continues to improve.

Just because the leader has received the title does not mean it is time to sit back and lead with a “do what I say, not as I do” attitude. Rather, it is the perfect time to lead by example and show employees your commitment to improving yourself and the company.

3. Subordinates cannot help the leader

The common belief is that the authority figure does not or no longer needs critical feedback and assistance because this person is at the top of the organization. Many employees think that a leader is simply there to help everybody else and does not need any help of their own.

But, with Stakeholder Centered Coaching, it is apparent that the leaders can get so much value out of how they are directing others by asking directly those with which they are leading!

After completing multiple coaching engagements and talking with amazing leaders about their experiences, I have learned and wish to share some takeaways about what leaders get out of this process.

This is the value you can add to your clients and the feeling you should be striving toward as a leader of your organization.

1. You are not in this alone, relationships are everything

At the end of the day, this process changes relationships within a company. A leader gets much closer with the team around him or her, there is more trust, there is more accountability, everybody takes ownership for their actions.

Numerous members of the team take part and everybody in the company is aware that the leader is making an active effort to get better. The leader should no longer be the terrifying, unapproachable figurehead of the company. Rather, the leader should be somebody who is in the trenches with their employees, leading by example.

2. This changes organizational culture

Culture has become a hot buzz word when describing companies and how people act within them. Simply defined, culture is a variety of behaviors that define a certain set of norms.

Through this process, the entire company is able to change both its behaviors and its norms along with the CEO, ultimately altering the culture in the end.

3. This is about playing the long game

In regard to return on investment, there is no monetary value that can be placed on developing the leadership in an organization, enhancing the culture, or strengthening the relationships within a company.

With that being said, the benefits that this process has on leaders is about prevention and proactivity rather than reactivity. Understanding these principles before any fires occur, rather than going through an engagement like this after sh*t has already hit the fan is what it is all about.

All in all, leaders are only as good as the people around them, and the people around them only get better if the leader is also actively trying to get better as well.

  • **This is the work I do with clients every single day. If you or a leader you know could benefit from this method of leadership coaching, please email me at, and we will set up a free consultation. Also, you can find more leadership insights here. ***

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