They need to make the commitment to be honest and to be willing to learn. I call this “looking in the mirror instead of looking out the window.” When the executive continues to talk about how poorly everyone else is doing then I know by the language he or she has a pattern of avoiding responsibility by blaming. Real leadership is about alignment and you can’t be aligned if you don’t know how to take full responsibility.
Also, the executive needs to trust the coach, and to be transparent. I have had clients tell a little white lie, for example about taking my advice and acting upon it, when in fact they did not because they didn’t have the courage. When my client trusts me and takes advice (for example to initiate a difficult conversation) they are busting at the seams to call me and tell me of the success. When people take that one act of courage it gives them tremendous energy and they grow. That’s what is so exciting…to be the witness to someone stepping into their greatness.
Simple, two things: an eagerness to learn and a willingness to do the work. Behavior change isn’t easy; neither is managing ego. Change begins from within and manifests itself in behavior.
The ability to listen and process in a different way than he does his current job. It is not about jumping on the magic three things they can do tomorrow. They have to understand that this is more than a silver bullet; in a perfect world, it is developing a zeitgeist for the entire organization that they will live on through the next tumultuous time.
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