10/15/2013 – FROM SETBACK TO BACK ON TRACK: THE MODEL FOR EXECUTIVES

CEOs and other executives are the titans and high flyers of the business world. To reach the very highest levels of peak performance, they primarily depend on their own talents and drive. They may also benefit from the help of an executive leadership coach. The model described below has a proven track record for helping executives reach these heights. It can help highly successful executives be even better than they already are.

The heights of executive-level success bring significant benefits and risks. When they fall, executives tend to fall hard. Setbacks happen to all of us – and when they do, getting back on track quickly is of paramount importance. What’s at stake is nothing less than our financial well-being, our leadership roles, our standing in the community, and our self-esteem.

Setbacks to executives can be ordinary or extraordinary. Ordinary setbacks may include failing to close a deal, being passed over for a promotion, or receiving less-than-perfect feedback from a Board of Directors. Although these kinds of setbacks are common, they can be stressful, scary, and even devastating when they happen. The executive can feel like he or she will never be successful again.

Extraordinary setbacks for executives can include serious work-related problems, such as being under investigation for professional misconduct or criminal activity. These setbacks can cause major damage to the executive’s reputation and bring a host of emotional and financial problems. Other extraordinary setbacks may involve a contentious divorce, other family problems, and worrisome health issues. In all of these cases, the executive is in a state of crisis.

After suffering a frightening and confusing life setback, the executive may be overwhelmed and unable to think clearly about how to get back on track. Where can he or she turn for reliable, structured guidance and safe, confidential discussion about an effective action plan? Who can the executive trust as a partner in the task of navigating a path toward success once again?

Good executive coaching is a powerful tool for quickly getting back on track following any of these kinds of setbacks. It cannot be “fluffy” or “light” coaching, however. Because of the importance and complexity of the lives of leading executives, the coaching process must be rigorous, powerful, and highly effective. In short, it requires a strong model for quickly overcoming setbacks and a strong coach who can implement that model along with the client.

Leading Minds Executive Coaching provides a clear and proven model for success. At its core, the model involves the coach’s using a process called Active Inquiry to assist the client along a clear path to being back on track. The coach asks the client a series of direct, powerful, thought provoking, and transformative questions. In the course of reflecting upon and responding to these questions, the client discovers that he or she has inner strengths and assets to solve the problem at hand.

When the client develops deeper insight and an action plan from within, the outcome can be astonishing. Genuine, lasting success is more likely to result when the client formulates his or her own solution, rather than being told what to do by someone else. The coach’s recommendations also help to reinforce the client’s own plan and to guide it toward successful implementation.

Active Inquiry and other coaching strategies must be used in a clear and effective model for executives. Leading Minds Executive Coaching provides this very model. Here is how it works and can help you overcome a setback so that you can get back on track:

THE 12P MODEL FOR EXECUTIVES

The 12P Model is designed to help you reach the height of performance, personal satisfaction, and well-being. Why is it called the 12P Model?

12P is a brilliant, Halley’s-like comet that has inspired people for centuries. The comet is expected to come into view again in 2024. The 12P model will help you become a shooting star once again.

12P is a signifier for High Noon, the time of day (12:00 PM) when the sun is highest in the sky. The 12P model will help you rise to the top of your world once again as well.

12P refers to 12 words (or phrases) beginning with the letter “P” and representing 12 dimensions of getting back on track. All 12 are important, but some may be more important to certain individuals than others. Here they are:

 

  1. PASSION FOR SUCCESS: When in crisis or experiencing a setback, it is essential to reconnect with your core values and the passions that drive you forward. The coaching process helps you to identify your priorities and passions, so that you can leverage them to reestablish yourself as successful and in control.
  2. PRACTICAL GOALS: Getting back on track will only occur if there are concrete goals and strategies. Active Inquiry and other coaching techniques will help you make a laser-focused, practical plan for success.
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  4. POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY: Setbacks often lead to negative thinking and a tendency to “pathologize.” The coaching model draws heavily on positive psychology, which emphasizes the importance of building on your strengths and assets to reestablish your success.
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  6. PHILOSOPHICAL REFLECTION: Only by reflecting on your inner values and sense of yourself can you figure out how to get back on track in your professional and personal life. Coaching needs to promote the kind of philosophical thinking that will empower you to take effective action.
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  8. PROACTIVE STANCE: Setbacks tend to make people feel like passive victims of unfortunate circumstances beyond their control. You can only get back on track if you see yourself as an active agent driving your own destiny and if you make a proactive plan to move forward. Active Inquiry and other coaching strategies can help you get there.
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  10. PERSONALIZED APPROACH: Every executive is a unique individual, so there is no “cookie cutter” solution to reestablishing control and success. The coaching process focuses in on the specifics of your individual situation and helps you work out a highly personalized plan. The 12P model provides an overall structure for developing your individualized plan of action.
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  12. PARTICIPATION ON TEAMS: When overcoming a setback, it is essential not to “go it alone.” You may need to work closely with a team of colleagues in the workplace. Or with a team of attorneys, public relations specialists, or other professionals who can support your getting back on track. The executive coaching process will help you develop the right team to support your success.
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  14. PEER TO PEER ORIENTATION: The executive and the coach must stand “shoulder to shoulder” with each other as peers. The executive may be feeling vulnerable, but the coach respects him or her as an equal. Conversely, the coach cannot be intimidated by the powerful status of the executive. The coach must say it like it is, using direct language and even confronting the executive with ideas that at first may be hard to hear.
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  16. PROFESSIONALISM: The coach always acts as a consummate professional, respecting the privacy and confidentiality of the coaching relationship. Similarly, the coach helps the executive to draw on his or her professionalism and ethics to formulate the ideal plan for getting back on track.
  17. PROFITABLE ENDEAVOR: The coaching relationship will help you make a plan to focus on profitable activities. That means both financially profitable, but also profitable to your sense of well-being overall. A structured exercise regimen, more time with friends and family, or other improvements to your daily schedule can all be profitable in the more general sense.
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  19. PROGRESSION UPWARD: The coach will continuously check in with you about the plan for upward progression toward establishing a state of peak performance. If progress stalls or goes off track, Active Inquiry can quickly identify the problem and correct the plan for getting back on track. The goal is always to rise toward 12P – the shooting star/comet and High Noon.
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  21. PEAK PERFORMANCE: The ultimate goal of the coaching process is to reach peak performance, however the executive wishes to define it. For the executive who is already thriving, that means taking the next step toward further flourishing. For the executive who has suffered a setback, that means getting back to the point of highest functioning and success.

 

CASE STUDY

 

Andrew is the founder and CEO of a successful boutique advertising firm in the New York area. Although his firm was still generating sufficient income at the time he started working with me, he was no longer growing the business and he had started to feel a lack of enthusiasm for the work. He was struggling at home with a marriage that was “on the rocks” and not getting the attention that it needed because of his constant worries about the business.

A couple of years earlier, Andrew had been a high-level executive at a large Manhattan firm in which he had daily contact with colleagues and oversaw the work of a large team. He found it to be stimulating and it kept him “juiced,” but he ultimately felt “drained” by always having to “perform for others” and follow the strategic plan of the company rather than his own passion. These considerations had led him to leave the large firm and establish his own small company, with just a few employees and a short list of clients. Over 90% of his business in the last several months came from just one client. He was worried about the long-term financial viability of that set up. He also felt guilty about serving this client, because they had a long track record of outsourcing jobs from the United States and of making large contributions to a political party that he opposed.

Andrew felt like he had suffered a significant setback in his career as a result of these challenges to his work situation, financial well-being, moral sensibility, and family life. He wanted to get all aspects of his life back on track as soon as possible. He contacted me for executive coaching and we began a process of Active Inquiry, guided by the 12P Model, which in the first meeting helped to identify the main areas of concern. Andrew wanted to reconnect with his passion for working more collaboratively with others. He immediately set a practical goal of spending no fewer than 10 hours per week on developing new clients, so that he could wind down his engagement with the client who made him feel both guilty and financially insecure.

By the second and third meetings, Andrew had deepened his philosophical reflection on these circumstances to the point that he had developed a personalized approach to expanding his business and at the same time spending more time revitalizing his marriage. He came up with new ideas about how to delegate work to his employees, participate as a team player, work more efficiently in the office, and spend more time “dating” his wife. Instead of remaining stuck in the passive view that his life was happening to him, the coaching process empowered him to feel proactive. He stated that the coaching discussions helped him to feel “back in the driver’s seat.” Within the coming two months, he had two promising new clients and the company had entered a state of profitability. He was now in a position to consider whether to discontinue the client that had caused him discomfort. His marriage was still struggling, but both he and his wife agreed not to divorce and instead to spend the coming months working harder to save their marriage.

Overall, a more positive psychology had emerged in Andrew. For example, he could now see his worries about the questionable client as evidence not of his own personal failing, but instead as positive evidence of his financial savvy and morally justified world-view. He stated that he had regained his self-respect in a number of different ways. He noted that he felt respected by the peer-to-peer orientation of the coach, even at a time when he was “down in the dumps” and very unsure of himself. He was glad and hopeful about the newly emerging profitable state of the company and its continued progression upward. Andrew and I continue to work collaboratively toward getting him back on his previously successful track – and ultimately toward an enhanced form of peak performance in all aspects of his professional and personal lives. We both remain deeply committed to this important, ongoing work together.

CONCLUSION

The 12P model is a rapidly effective, client-centered coaching model that helps executives to achieve peak performance and overcome whatever setbacks may occur. Using Active Inquiry and other key coaching conversations and tools, Leading Minds Executive Coaching provides a distinctive set of services within a powerful and proven framework. Whether you are striving to be even more successful than you already are, or are struggling to overcome a troubling setback in your personal or professional life, consider the possibilities of executive coaching using the 12P Model. For more information about the services provided by Leading Minds Executive Coaching, contact David Brendel at (617) 932-1548 or David@DrDavidBrendel.com.