Distinctive Publishing

It’s tough at the top!

LAMAD headers 880x8803Leadership and performance coach Claire Walton has urged CEO’s and MD’s to acknowledge how lonely their role can be and find an external coach and an external mentor to support them through the challenges of 2016.

Claire Walton, founder and Executive Director of Leaders Are MAD (Making A Difference), a business which offers change leadership consultancy and coaching, believes that too many CEOs battle through the pressures of the role without a shoulder to cry on and this affects their performance as well as their health and wellbeing.

Claire, who has held many senior positions during her career, including directorships with major companies, said: “Leadership can be very lonely and I have seen many cases when leaders only seek help when they have already derailed.

“In my experience the Ceo or MD feel they cannot be 100% open and honest with people in his or her team as this would sometimes betray confidences with others and there are some things that they are just not in a position to share because of the impact on their team. If you seek internal help, you are talking to people who have their own agendas and may even be seen as competitors or peers or who may be defending their own position, whereas an external advisor has none of that.”

My coaching clients also tell me they do not always want to go home and burden their partners with their worries and pressures. This makes the top job a lonely one.

Claire, an Organisational Architect and qualified Coach who has worked with many leaders, said: “When I was a HR Director, I would coach my CEO or MD but we could only take this so far as both parties inevitably are somewhat guarded given the nature of the internal relationship. As an external coach, that does not exist and the coaching I do now is so much deeper and effective for my clients”

Through Claire’s work, she helps business leaders align the organisations strategy, values and culture back to the purpose of the business and challenges leaders to identify their own purpose and align this to that of the business. In this way the business leader is not only able to engage employees to work more effectively towards business priorities it also enables leaders to maintain personal motivation and resilience when times are tough.

Claire said: “when times are tough the CEO or MD is having a tough time. People often forget this and expect them to be super human. As a coach I am an empathetic ear in tough times and I am able to challenge the leader in a way no one else can, I can help the leader find personal strategies for coping with pressure without passing it on to others. I can also guide them to think through solutions to their challenges often identifying them as being the biggest obstacle to their own performance. I have had CEOs tell me ‘that was the toughest conversation I have ever had as no one challenges me like you do. This is because no one else can from inside the organisation.

Research carried out in 2013 highlighted the loneliness of leadership. The US-based Center for Leadership Development and Research at Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford University’s Rock Center for Corporate Governance and The Miles Group surveyed CEOs and found that nearly two-thirds did not receive coaching or leadership advice from outside consultants or coaches, and almost half of senior executives were not receiving any either.

However, nearly 100% of CEOs in the survey who had received coaching had benefited from receiving leadership coaching. Of 200 CEOs, board directors, and senior executives of North American public and private companies polled all of them stated they were receptive to making changes based on feedback and nearly 80% of directors said that their CEO was receptive to coaching.

All leaders can benefit hugely from an external coach, if you would like to hear more about the benefits and about the aproach Claire takes contact Claire at claire@leadersaremad.co.uk or telephone 01642693833.