How Trailblazing Tech Companies Use Executive Coaching To Stay One Step Ahead

By November 11, 2018Executive Coaching

Really, coaching is simplicity. It’s getting players to play better than they think that they can.

— Tom Landry

The rapid pace and the quickly changing face of business today means finding the best people and keeping hold of them is more important than ever before. Smart companies know people matter.

And that’s why leading tech companies are turning to executive coaches to make that happen for them. Tech companies not only need to stay ahead with their products but also with their employees. Especially the executives.

In very short, for any company to stay ahead of the pack they need the best people. But what the smartest of tech companies do is look for those emerging C-suite leaders already in their ranks.

Let me explain why this is vital.

I started this article with a sports quote. I did that for two reasons. One, the quote is a perfect illustration of how coaching works. Secondly, and most importantly, I want to make this next point crystal clear.

Elite sports teams (whatever sport you like) pay staggering amounts of cash to bring the best player to their team. Millions, if not soon billions of dollars.

Would it not be better if they could grow their own talent and not have to pay this amount, of course it would.

And today’s tech companies face almost the same challenge as top sports teams. Bringing in the best of the best is expensive. Ruinously expensive. And that’s why they’ve turned to executive coaching to help them identify emerging C-suite leaders.

Promote from within, help people realize their personal goals and aim to have loyal, happy people working for you. That’s good business, right?

Okay, so let’s say we’ve identified our future superstars. Brought them up through the ranks, coached them, paid them handsomely and treated them with respect. It’s quite a shock when they say they’re leaving.

If we take money out of the equation — as C-level people are paid handsomely —then we have to search for the real reasons why people leave. And executive coaches who work with leaders on a regular basis can identify these reasons long before they become significant enough for a person to want to leave. How much could that worth to your business? Keep that figure in mind as we shall touch on it again as you read further down.

Executive coaches can also play a role in the recruitment process. A coach can offer an insight into a potential recruit that generally won’t come out in the standard interview process.

In the same way, an executive coach would work with an individual to avoid applying for the wrong job. They can work with companies and help them avoid employing the wrong person. How much does it cost you to recruit a new executive? Keep that figure in mind as we shall touch on it again as you read further down.

The Changing Face Of The Workforce

More and more companies, especially tech companies are investing in their next generation of leaders long before their current leaders wish to retire.

Effectively, forward-thinking companies are creating a conveyor belt of highly qualified people to promote and grow the company.

Succession planning can make or break a company. If left until the last moment then confidence in the company can drop like a hot rock if key personnel leave and there is nobody to step in an fill the void.

Identifying those people capable of becoming the next C-suite leaders is then, as you know of vital importance not only to the company’s growth but essential to their survival.

An executive coach can work with you to develop a succession planning strategy and begin working with those members of staff who have the mustard to make it to the top and lead the company into the future.

Making Sure The Best Of The Best Stay Your Best And Don’t Defect To Your Competitors

We looked briefly at why retention is so important to a company’s success. But for that reason — the company’s success — let’s look again.

When put to the sword almost all CEOs say that retention of key workers is one of the absolute most critical factors in the future success of the company.

Yes, keeping hold of your best people is an area that needs constant attention.

In my experience, one of the main reasons people leave is because of their dissatisfaction with their chances of promotion to the highest level. Almost all executives I coach state this as the main reason they want out — even above money.

Anyone in business knows that it is far more expensive to recruit people than it is to retain them. What are your recruitment costs?

If a business has gone through the expense of recruiting someone, then having procedures in place to retain them is a given.

One of the most effective ways to retain people is to create a positive work environment. An environment where people feel they have a voice, and that voice is heard.

Creating a positive environment is a matter of respecting basic human desires. People want to feel engaged and they want to be recognized and appreciated for their efforts. A happy employee is someone who sees opportunities for growth within the company.

I’ve read more than once and had a HR professional share with me the following information. You might find it enlightening to know that HR professionals rank C-suite development programs as second only to competitive salaries.

In short, if people can see a path to the top within your company then they are more likely to stay on that path with you. Sound like a win-win situation?

Right Time Intervention Strategy

I don’t need to remind you of the rapid pace of change in business. You might know of a firm that got caught out for not keeping up with speed and complexity of change in the business world.

In today’s world though that change is happening lightning quick. It’s almost become the new normal to be in a constant state of flux.

So, when we look at who and what makes a good employee we focus on how fast they can learn, develop and adapt to change. These are critical skills. But even the best people who naturally have these skills can come up short at times. There is an answer.

The answer is using a right time intervention strategy. That means you put a trainer or coach in front of key people so those key people can adjust and implement new strategies at the same lightning quick speed that change happens.

The Not A Second To Spare Specialized Training Program

Those who use modern business practices are aware that the one size fits all training program is almost redundant — save for lower level employees.

In fact, when it comes to training executives the one size fits all is redundant because the range of skills and knowledge executives now need is so vast.

That’s why those companies who remain at the forefront of our minds use coaches to deliver bespoke training needs to executives.

The reason for this is the flexibility that coaching offers as well as the personalized approach.

Each executive is essentially on a bespoke training plan. They get the training they need when they need it.

I wonder if you can see how all the pieces are fitting together?

A business promotes from within, saving on recruitment costs. They offer that new executive a clear roadmap to the top. Along the way, they offer him or her personalized training to keep moving up to the next level. In return that executive has less and less thoughts about moving to another company.

When an executive feels their voice is heard and receives training specific to their needs, they feel valued — Basic human needs are being met.

Each session they have with the coach helps them plug professional development gaps. That means analysising and approaching the best ways to improve those underdeveloped skills.

Not Quite One Hat Fits All But Close To It

Technology combined with the right people means downsizing. Why have three people do three jobs when one person can handle them all.

Downsizing only works though, when the person who has to start wearing more than one hat can take the leap and keep on taking the leaps.

Downsizing means giving fewer people an increased amount of responsibility. To that end we need to make sure we have the right people, and that we support them on the journey.

Coaching allows newly promoted people to thrive in their positions. It’s time to let go of ‘sink or swim’ thinking.

Professional development using coaches saves money in the long run. As well as what we’ve already mentioned about people feeling happy, coaches can also help executives achieve changes in their role in quick time.

When The Heat Keeps Getting Turned Up, Up, Up…

There probably has never been time before that compares with the pressure on today’s executives.

There is more and more scrutiny coming from every direction. And the truth is executives need to be able to handle this pressure.

Of course, that is where a coach steps in. To help develop within the executives, models and tools handle the increased squeeze.

We know that the performance of our top people is under a microscope. So, let’s give them everything they need to succeed.

How To Figure Out… “What I don’t know about What I don’t know”

Many of my clients ask me to help them figure out what they don’t know about what they don’t know.

In days gone by people wanted to get better at something, usually one thing. Say time management for example.

They knew that time management was an issue for them, so they went and did something about it. Simple.

In today’s business landscape people are trying to figure out what they don’t know. You could say this is pre-emptive training.

When I have a session with an executive trying to figure out what they don’t know, it goes something like this:

The person talks to me and tells me what their working day consists of and I ask them questions to challenge procedures and practices that they use.

I’m not trying to give them new procedures, what I’m doing is helping them think about familiar things in a new way.

This process often leads to people realizing what they don’t know. Then, and only then can the best way forward for the training be assessed.

As the employer, it’s essential to invest in people. But having people who are ready to invest in themselves means you have a superstar on your hands.

What Will It Cost You And Your Business?

This next part might be a little scary. Don’t worry we’ll go through it together.

You’re considering using an executive coach. You have a budget and you want to know the cost.

The cost is straightforward. Just answer this question.

How much will cost you the next time a C-level executive leaves the company for a rival?

Top recruitment firms are known to charge 33% of the total salary of an executive they find and you hire.

Think about how much that is going to cost to recruit someone to fill a big pair of shoes.

Of course, there is the option to promote from within. Assuming of course that the people currently working for have been identified as potential replacements.

Putting someone into a position of authority before they are ready can be disastrous. Even if they were internally recruited.

Of course, we have only looked at the cost of recruitment. What is the cost to your business if a vital cog in the wheel is missing?

Does that mean production will stop, or important meetings to seal a new deal is missed…

You know what the loss of a senior level employee means to your business.

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