Executive coaching is designed to help facilitate professional and personal development to the point of improved performance and individual development and growth.
In business, before Covid19, a consistent theme in my executive coaching work was the ongoing challenge for executives to find space and time to think, really think. What does it mean to really think?
It means creating the space to reflect. This reflection could be about self, others, conversations that went well or badly, decisions, needs, motivations, behaviours, actions taken and outcomes, successful or not.
This is the type of reflecting that can lead to recognising strengths or weaknesses, thinking outside the square, letting creative juices flow and seeing self, others and situations from different perspectives. This can lead to different choices about strategy, communication, behaviours or significant decisions for the Executive and the organisation.
During Covid19 some Executives have made or found that time. This is not to say that they have not been busy managing departments, teams and projects remotely or in hybrid arrangements, however it appears that working remotely has given these executives a new sense of space, freedom and time for reflection.
When executives have shared this “time to think” in our coaching conversations their presence and demeanour changes. As they describe their reflections there has been a change in their physicality (on screen virtually at least), they appear relaxed and insightful, smiling knowing smiles.
Some have been energised, relieved or aspirational and their lightness of being has been pervasive in the coaching space. Some have been challenged by their reflections which has led to exploration in the coaching space, increased self-knowledge and growth.
One executive started to reflect and then decided to start Covid19 journaling her thoughts, feelings, choices and actions. This proved rewarding in two ways, the deeper reflections about challenging issues led to clearer thinking, focus and less procrastination and also making time for this consistently enabled her coping skills and resilience.
Reflection has also led executives to demonstrate reflective conversations with their teams. They have increased the use of coaching skills with managers and team leaders where they are asking more questions rather than directing or advocating, involving and empowering others to share ideas and take ownership and responsibility for decisions.
An outcome of this has been increased trust and deepening of relationships with peers, team members and managers across the organisation.
The quest and opportunity for Executives is to create that space for daily or weekly reflection and reap the rewards. There is no better time to start than right now.