Wall Street - 4 ways a great executive coach can elevate your game
Whether you are an investor, a trader, a banker or a manager of vital corporate functions, you are only satisfied when you are successful. You have mastered your craft, but you seek an additional edge.
An executive coach is a great partner to help you build on your strengths, mitigate your weaknesses, identify your blind spots, and make you more effective.
Elite professionals have coaches
You may be skeptical of the value an executive coach can bring to your role. A coach, after all, is not going to tell you a better way to price a security, to negotiate a merger, or to structure a risk-management model. But your success is about more than your technical skills. It is about the way you relate to the people around you, about your approach to decision-making, and about the way you direct your energies and build stamina and resilience. Developing these ancillary but critical skill sets will make you more successful.
Anyone who has worked with a great coach – whether an elite athlete, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur or a Wall Street executive – can testify to the profound benefits they have experienced. The typical feedback I hear from my clients is, “I wish I had done this sooner” or “I used to think that coaching was too non-core, and that it only would be a distraction, but its impact was direct and immediate.”
Here are four ways a great executive coach can elevate your game.
1. Improve how you understand and influence others
No matter what you do, you are in the people business. You are most successful when you understand what drives other people, when you communicate persuasively, and when you grasp how others perceive you and your work. Your goal is to build better relationships, whether with co-workers, stakeholders, or clients.
Think about your current frictions and frustrations; think about the time and energy you waste, and the discomfort you suffer, when you manage high-maintenance people and handle unnecessary conflicts. Consider how much more effective, productive and satisfied you would be if you could more deftly deal with those challenges.
A great executive coach will teach you about the science of people. You will make small-but-vital changes that will improve your read of people and the way you communicate and respond to your environment. You will strengthen your credibility, deepen your ability to influence others, and achieve better outcomes.
2. Improve your decision-making and uncover your blind spots
You form opinions and make decisions every day. Your ability to think critically and see patterns drives your success. Research shows that even the most intellectually-gifted professionals adopt bad decision-making habits over time. Our thinking gets entrenched, we default to biases and we avoid change. We tend to focus on near-term results at the expense of longer-term risks, and we allow ourselves to be unduly influenced by less-relevant factors. You may observe these failings in others without recognizing them in yourself.
A great executive coach will help you identify your blind-spots and avoid these pitfalls. You will replace your biases with a more rigorous decision-making framework. You will make better calls, be more open to change, and have more confidence in the outcomes.
3. Build your sense of well-being
The relentless pace of your job energizes you, but it also creates a systematic pressure chamber. You pride yourself on your accomplishments, but stress and frustration keep you from fully enjoying your successes.
You might be spending insufficient time with the key clients who depend on you, or alternatively spending so much time with them that you don’t focus on the infrastructure necessary to deliver what they need. You might be too micro-oriented, besieged by tasks that could be more optimally handled by one of your colleagues. You might be concerned that your stakeholders do not adequately appreciate your contributions. In any event, you are too busy to recognize the easy changes that you could make to be happier.
A great executive coach will help you identify what builds your sense of well-being and what detracts from it. You will create a game plan to emphasize the former and manage the latter. You will build habits to become more self-aware and have more perspective. This will help you sustainably operate at your best without burning out.
4. Focus on your long-term career trajectory
Your intensity keeps you so focused on the day-to-day that you may lose focus on your longer-term career goals until moments of urgency – such as bonus & promotion season, or business restructurings - when you think, "I need to get out of here."
A great executive coach will help you keep sight of your long-term goals on an ongoing basis. You will stop procrastinating and you will be more focused on where you are in relation to where you want to go. Together, you will evaluate ways to make your current job more aligned with your long-term objectives. You will learn simple ways to keep your internal and external networks active and be continually alert to better opportunities. The input of your executive coach is particularly valuable at those crucial career “pivot moments” when you start a new position or evaluate different roles.
Connecting the dots
As an executive coach with twenty years of experience in financial services and consulting, I love working with high-performing financial professionals to achieve these outcomes. During our partnership, clients are often amazed at the direct and immediate impact on their day to day effectiveness. They start to recognize that they have fundamentally and sustainably altered their approach.
The point here is – don’t submit to the potential knee-jerk reaction in favor of the status quo. (“It sounds great for others but not for me”, “I don’t think I can change”, etc.) Consider how a partnership with a great executive coach could impact you, your team and your business. Consider the benefits of having a great executive coach in your corner, a unique blend of expert, champion, challenger, and chief accountability officer.
The future is a range of possible outcomes. Take action to steer towards the best one.
“If you are not learning constantly, you are like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest” – Charlie Munger