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  • Becoming a Leader in 2014: What Are You Missing without a Coach?

    By Evan Roth


    I recently bumped into a colleague who had held a senior leadership role with one of the top financial services companies in the world. Shebecoming a leader using executive coaching was recruited to a smaller company and was perplexed that her new company did not know about the value of executive coaching. She indicated that each senior leader at the bank had an executive coach for at least the first six months (frequently longer) when they moved into a new position.


    We discussed why certain companies saw great value in executive coaching while others did not. The conversation validated why executive coaching is essential to the success of a senior leader:


    1).  It helps leaders to see themselves from all angles. This applies to many leaders who believe that they “have arrived.” Everyone has blind spots which is why even executive coaches have their own coach. Through multi-rater assessments and interviews, the executive coach can help leaders see the differences and similarities between self-perception (or self-deception!) and how those working closest with the leader see that leader. Contrary to most internal feedback the executive receives, the executive coach has no hidden agenda when providing feedback. They can be direct, objective, and clear about what will be best for the executive, accelerating the feedback, improvement and development process. 


    2).  It gives leaders the competitive edge. Simply put, the best leaders acknowledge that they don't know everything. They are hungry to better themselves and their companies. There is no one better than an executive coach to ask senior leaders the questions that no one else is asking. Effective executives understand that to win over the competition, they need to think differently than every one else. Through insightful open-ended questions, raw curiosity, and reaching into the powerful, intuitive mind, executive ...

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  • 3 Signs You're an Ineffective Leader

    By Mary Ann Gontin

    You have the title, you have solid experience in your field, and you know that senior management is expecting you to get results. However, you have this nagging feeling that your team is not taking you seriously. Here are some signs that you are an ineffective leader:3 signs you're an ineffective leader

    1. You request information but no one responds in a timely manner

    2. You call a meeting but soon lose control of the direction

    3. You tell people what to do but what they produce is not what you asked

    In my coaching and talent development work, the above three complaints are very common with those who are new to leadership roles. Here are ways to correct them:

    1. Effective leaders set clear deadlines. Too many people say “get this to me ASAP.” What does that mean? For an employee who is in the middle of several other things, ASAP can mean a week from now. Tell someone when you need it and why you need it by that deadline. But be sure it’s a “true deadline.” Nothing will annoy people more – and have them lose trust in you – if you create a false deadline. Staff members don’t want to work through lunch and cancel evening plans to get something done for you and then find out you took the next day off to play golf. They won’t believe your next critical deadline demand. 

    2. Effective leaders prepare and distribute an agenda for every meeting. If you are expecting to make decisions in that meeting, let people know so they can prepare and be ready to discuss.  Ask someone in the meeting to be the timekeeper and empower them to signal the group with a 2-minute warning as the time allotted for a topic is ending ...

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  • How to Plan Like Great Leaders Do in 2013

    By Susan Ruhl, OI Partners - Innovative Career Consulting, Denver

    It's that time of year again; it's time to publicly reflect on our accomplishments of 2012 and set our sights on the future.

    So, did you accomplish your goal(s) in 2012?

    how to plan like a great leaderIf you’re like most people, you developed a few goals for 2012, and you may have even accomplished them. Good for you! Realistically, if you did achieve your goals, you did more than just make a mental “resolution.” It takes more than will power to successfully achieve our goals for ourselves, our teams and our companies. 


    In 2012, I spent a large amount of time reading up on how leaders set their strategy and goals and see those through to fruition (this was one of my goals). The most notable book that has changed my thinking is “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits” by Verne Harnish. In fact, it’s a must-read for anyone serious in building a successful team.


    What are the common things great leaders do to ensure engagement and buy in of company goals and values? While it remains that we should create a few, smaller goals, assign metrics, measure and apply consistency toward achieving those goals, the timing around this concept has shifted.


    Priorities—I found it interesting that instead of planning for 2013, I would do better creating 5 priorities for the next quarter and identify the clear Top 1 priority. Additionally, these priorities should align with the defined strategy of the company. So what this translates into is:  there is no goal setting for the whole year. It is better to set 30-, 60-, and 90-day goals that relate to the 10-year plan in place. 


    Defining a simple long-term vision 10 years out and deciding on a few priorities for ...

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  • Executives in Career Transition: How to Clearly Define Your Value Proposition

    By Susan Ruhl

    Every month, I facilitate a “power networking” group for executives going through career transition services. Not surprisingly, these executives are faced with an intense and highly competitive marketplace that includes larger pools of competing candidates, sparse opportunities and a talent buyer’s market. Time after time, I have noticed that these leaders poorly communicate what they want or need.    

    The most important thing any candidate, especially a leader, senior executive going through career transition servicescan do to help themselves in the job-search process is take the time to really understand what makes them unique. Often, job candidates don’t have a good grasp on the “Why should we hire you over someone else?” question.  

    HR leaders love to say that what makes them unique is that they like to be out among the workers. So?  How does that help a company? IT leaders love to say that they understand Technology AND Business. I have yet to meet a CIO who doesn’t say that. If everyone is saying that, you are not unique. So how do you figure out what makes you different?

    One of the quickest ways to identify who you are as a leader is to think about 3-5 stories in which you were successful in past positions. Lay them out (on paper) and identify clearly the Challenge you were faced with, the Action that you took and the Result. We refer to this as the CAR exercise. Frankly, this is a vital step that will help you throughout the job search process. If you clearly understand the value that you can bring to a prospective employer, you will be able to network better, brand yourself better, interview better and assess your own needs better. 

    Once you do have a handle on what you bring to the ...

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The vOIce

The vOIce is written by many of the managing partners of OI Partners. Topics include our ideas on how you or your organization can be effective in areas related to career development, executive development, workforce development, career transition and more.

We welcome your comments!