Leader development addresses the behaviors, mindsets, and practices necessary for an individual to effectively influence others and guide groups to accomplish important objectives. Development is a continuous process of learning from experience, refining one’s self- and social-awareness, and growing, both personally and professionally. To promote leader development, Overfield Leadership Group offers three complementary services: executive coaching, which facilitates assessment-based and individually tailored personal growth; executive advising, which assists leaders in working through personal and organizational issues by providing a sounding board for them to check their thinking and improve their judgment when making big-bet decisions; and onboarding support, which helps organizations bring in new people and assist them and newly promoted people in becoming effective leaders.
Executive coaching, in which an individual works one on one with a seasoned consultant who is an expert on human behavior and organizational dynamics, can notably accelerate leader development. In order to do this most effectively, though, two fundamental principles must be followed.
First, it must be highly customized to address the specific needs of the person being coached. This requires a thorough understanding of the environment in which the executive works. For most, coaching begins with a rigorous assessment process, grounded in empirical research and tailored to one’s situation and circumstances. Typically this includes conducting a personality assessment (so that the executive can better understand his or her motivations and behavioral tendencies) and collecting 360-degree feedback from key stakeholders (through a survey or by one-on-one interviews) to identify the strengths, shortcomings, and blind spots that others experience in an executive’s leadership. This approach helps the coachee set appropriate and realistic goals, create effective action plans, measure progress toward goals, and assess change at the end of the coaching engagement.
Second, it must be confidential. Although it serves an organizational purpose—promoting better leadership—the substance of the developmental conversations is known only to the coach and the person being coached. Confidentiality promotes trust in the relationship and provides a safe, supportive environment in which learning can occur, making it possible for the individual to take the risks inherent in change and to grow as a leader and as a person.
In other situations, coaching can focus on helping a new or newly promoted executive successfully onboard, facilitating a mutual assimilation process with a leader and key stakeholders (for example, members of the board of directors, one’s manager, subordinates, peers).
Trusted Leadership Advisor
Frequently, as an extension of executive coaching, we serve as confidential advisors, acting as a sounding board and providing counsel on wide range of situations in which an impartial outside perspective can help inform an executive’s behavior and decision-making. This has led, for instance, to notable improvements in conflict-management, mentoring, talent development, sharing leadership, and delegating to subordinates.