Leaders define and power their organizations forward. They set the standards and model the way. People look to them for direction, for the drive to excel, the courage to innovate, and the inspiration to go the distance. They are expected to champion the culture, strategies, systems, and practices that keep an organization strong and performing above par.
But who champions the champ? When business operations reach crunching levels and old solutions do not seem to work; when he is confronted by new conditions that demand new skills and new perspectives; when his confidence is shaken; when he wants to push his limits but some fear or doubt keeps getting in the way; or when perhaps he simply wishes to explore potentials and opportunities — then what or who can possibly help?
Benchmark Consulting President and ICF Philippines founder, Julius Ordonez, the first Filipino to have earned the highest ICF credential of Master Certified Coach (MCC) explains, “Leaders have unique needs that cover diverse grounds, given their responsibilities. The choices they make have far-reaching implications. They deal with pressures from all fronts — customers, business owners, regulators, even their own people. Time, health, and happiness can become extraordinarily pressing issues, especially when they are pushed to the sidelines of the daily grind.”
Atty. Paul Roderick A. Ysmael, an accomplished lawyer and banker who currently serves as legal counsel of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), talks enthusiastically about the Executive Coaching program he completed with Benchmark Consulting two years ago. It was, he said, “a transformative learning experience that every corporate leader should undertake.”
In an effusive testimonial, Atty. Ysmael wrote, “Coaching is an aided self-discovery or self-rediscovery. The guidance of the coach through a series of conversations and interactions is aimed to help the person in his exploration of himself.” His observation highlights the principle that the Coachee’s most valuable resource is himself — that he can find the answers to his questions, and in the end, nothing can be more empowering than taking responsibility for what one wants of life.
A leader who discovers or regains a foothold in this zone will benefit greatly, not just from acquiring a new and more positive point of view, but often from realizing profoundly that he has, after all, what he needs to bring about his desired outcomes. With a deeper confidence in his ability to achieve compelling goals, and to enable others to do the same, his capacity to contribute to the organization expands exponentially.
We at Benchmark Consulting consider it a privilege to have worked with so many leaders both within and outside the country. The joy lies in seeing the Coachee rise to higher standards he has set for himself, or to witness him reclaim, and lead from a more solid sense of self- worth, ultimately attaining more than he originally thought he would.
Gary de Ocampo was a new CEO of TNS (now Kantar Consulting) when he opted to go through Executive Coaching with no less than our President, Master Certified Coach Julius Ordonez. At that time, he was facing what he perceived was an enormous and critical handicap, even as he had just been promoted to the highest position in the company. “I needed to fill shoes that I thought were too large,” he said. He was taking over the seat of a widely-admired and respected CEO. The prospect of being compared unfavorably to his predecessor weighed him down. He turned to Executive Coaching hoping it will strengthen his credibility and help him measure up. The results amazed him.
“The best benefit I got was discovering myself again,” he shared during a Panel Discussion in the last International Coaching Summit in the Philippines a few years back. “I found a new confidence from knowing myself better and living it. I realized that I did not need to copy anyone’s style.” Valuing and putting his own distinct capabilities to work gave Gary the credibility he so wanted. He was able to negotiate the transition successfully and to ultimately establish his own leadership brand. Surprisingly, he noted, the more he chose to be himself, the better he was able to focus on others.
Because leaders wield enormous influence, the gains from Executive Coaching are multiplied a hundred fold and impact practically all segments of the workplace. The intervention is particularly valuable when viewed through the lens of culture-building. The new definition of culture, many people say, is simply, “what the leaders do.” A leader who has benefited from the energizing and expansive results of coaching inevitably becomes the most persuasive advocate of positive organizational change.
Dr. Chandra Anamirtham, former President & General Manager of HGST who sponsored a massive Coaching Program for his people after decisively overcoming a stubborn personal challenge through Executive Coaching, once said, “When we talk about results, what’s important is the culture. That’s what we are measuring – how the culture is changing. Our performance measure is employee morale.” The journey was not easy, he reported, but the goal was ultimately achieved and the outcome was phenomenal.
There has been a marked increase in the demand for Executive Coaching, as more organizations see the value of strongly supporting their C-Suite, as well as developing the management ranks for leadership succession. This initiative, in turn, hugely impacts the moulding of an organizational culture.