Sunday, September 17, 2006

What sets Gary apart as a corporate politics coach..

Hi Gary,

There are a lot of coaches offering a variety of services. What particular skills set you and your executive coaching apart from all the other coaches practicing now?

GARY’S ANSWER: My ability to understand and coach about corporate politics.

General Electric approached me in 1989 and asked me to help one of their top managers in their Power Systems Group to change his management style. There was no formal term then for this type of consultancy. Over the years we’ve come to know of this work as executive coaching.

I do bring a different style and in particular, a different set of skills to this role of coach.

I saw that the role that I was being asked to do back in ’89 was to help someone be more successful. Really what the company wanted was for them to be more efficient, more productive. And so I thought well if that’s the case, I need for them to understand more of the political agendas surrounding them. Here is where I began to differentiate myself from others and why people would come to me and not to somebody else. I

Most corporate cultures have some degree of politics. I ask my client to talk to me about the people who surround them. Most people haven’t analyzed their corporate political environments, political cultures, or political systems like that. I help them strategically think about the people in their world and who and how they are important to achieving their goals. I help my clients think about what their goals are and what they want to do? Make more money? Be promoted? I think it’s very important for the executive coach to keep it very simple and pragmatic.

And then I start to use this skill, the political savvy, to help the executive analyze their client’s corporate political environment. I ask them to talk to me about what they perceive to be the agenda of these other people. And I’m also asking them to begin to look at their own agendas. We begin to make comparisons and see how these agendas are either in conflict, help, hurt, or don’t matter at all.

This political strategizing becomes a really unique process that many coaches or clients never thought about. And that’s part of what I do that is unique as an executive coach. My clients are in the senior management at the very highest levels. Mostly I work with people who have great consequence – as role models in their style of management and in the decisions they make.

This political analysis that happens in my coaching is different than simply helping somebody be more efficient or help change their behaviors. I think that this added dimension of what I bring to the coaching process is extraordinarily powerful for my clients because they can begin to take control of the politics that surround them.



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