“We spend a lot of time teaching leaders what
to do. We don’t spend enough time teaching leaders what to stop. Half the
leaders I have met don’t need to learn what to do. They need to learn what to
- Management expert Peter Drucker, as quoted by Marshall Goldsmith in What Got You Here Won’t Get You There
I recently spoke with the CEO of a San Francisco Bay Area company regarding providing executive coaching and leadership development for their senior executives. She asked some very insightful questions to determine fit. She specifically wanted to know how I worked with different personality styles, and my methods for facilitating changes in thinking and behavior.
The CEO and I spoke about my emotional intelligence-based approach to coaching, and my belief that possessing a psychological understanding of human behavior based on neuroscience is important for coaching executives. We also spoke of the need for her organization to create a culture where innovation and creativity flourishes. As part of that effort, leaders would need to change some of their bad habits.
The CEO is interested in collaborating with me to help create a socially intelligent corporate culture based on openness and respect. We further discussed how company leaders can benefit by working with a seasoned executive coach.
Almost all of us delude ourselves about our workplace achievements, status and contributions. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can certainly mislead us when we are told we need to change.
It can be challenging for high-level executives to improve their interpersonal skills. We tend to believe the habits that have helped us rack up achievements in the past will continue to foster success in the future. But as the title of his recent book asserts, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, according to executive coach Marshall Goldsmith.
The more frequently you are promoted to higher levels of executive responsibility, the more important your interpersonal relationship skills are to your success—and the more challenging it is to change bad habits.
It’s natural for successful people to believe that what contributed to their past accomplishments will continue to work for them. They also assume that they can—and will—succeed, no matter what. “Just give me a goal, and let the games begin!” they think to themselves.
But when it comes to changing the way we interact with our peers and direct reports, we often fail to recognize the steps required for ongoing results. Part of this stems from healthy denial, while part may be sheer ignorance. Only when confronted with performance or promotional issues do we open our minds and take action to change bad habits. This usually triggers emotional hot buttons of self-interest.