By Diana Jervis Read, executive coach and PR mentor at JR Performance Coaching
Hot-wired mavericks like Charlie Sheen are not uncommon in the marketing and creative world. The quandary is how can you possibly convert that wild talent into well-directed energy, sustained effort and some kind of loyalty, rather than an irretrievable meltdown that in Sheen’s case has cost him everything, and others tens of millions?
Here’s what a few executive coaching sessions could do to bring demotivated and self-destructive individuals back into the fold – a much more cost effective solution in a recession than replacing them.
To create a fundamental and sustainable change, you have to change their thinking. That means you have to penetrate their psyche showing them insight and revelation. To succeed, however, the person cannot be dependent on drugs or alcohol and they must be receptive, even welcoming to coaching if success is to ensue.
In the first session build on the cornerstones to job satisfaction – inspiration, growth, value and community. People need to feel that they are motivated and challenged, continuing to develop and learn, and that they are an appreciated member of an interacting group.
Tip: talk with your team and get them to rate each cornerstone out of ten. Then see what that tells you about what they need and what you need to do. Set them challenging (but not overwhelming) goals and focus these goals to increase commitment and determination for achievement. Break the goals into achievable milestones, and perhaps offer rewards as each mile marker is reached. It’s important to have more than one goal – Charlie Sheen has probably achieved his and feels he has no more to strive for.
The second session could focus on self-awareness. An important part of emotional intelligence is understanding your key drivers and limiting fears, how you adapt under stress, and how you process and learn from past behaviours. Do the same things and you will always get the same result. Really good leaders know what their team values and can prompt them accordingly. When you know your boss is concerned about you, you will care for the company all the more.
Tip: a SWOT analysis carried out by members of your team focuses on where they are smart and where they have weaknesses so that they can react and respond accordingly and learn how to value their experiences. Many observers would say that Charlie Sheen, like many self-saboteurs, never believed he was worthy of the success he had achieved.
The third conversation might address teamwork involving all team members. It is so important for everyone to share their aspirations, barriers to progress and helpful processes and identify common points – and it’s even more useful if you carry out the exercise for the whole team together, on both client and agency side. From this platform they can push forward with an agreed consensus to which everyone is committed.
Tip: Coaches use an ice-breaker where each team member, including the boss, takes a turn in the ‘hot seat’ while other members cover things they would like the individual to stop doing; start doing; and continue doing. It’s a revelation in honesty!
The fourth session could focus on recognising your allies. Throughout the ages man has needed confidantes who will accept him just the way he is, but challenge him when needed. We all need first-rate personal or business advice in some areas, but need to come to our own conclusions. It is important to recognise who is hindering your progress and who is genuinely putting your interests first.
Tip: When setting goals, discuss the individual’s resources to achieve them, agree colleagues who can help and how, and name the barriers that are likely to get in the way of progress while working out strategies to overcome them.
The fifth session could be about spotting limiting beliefs. More often than not, it is these that prevent people from reaching their highest potential. Such beliefs as: “I’ll never be able to stop smoking” are defeatist states of mind that need no proof to contribute to a mindset that then dictates resultantly indulgent behaviour patterns.
Tip: When you see a team member’s attitude blocking success, drill down to the core belief that makes them think they are not up to the job. Ask them to note down the evidence that supports their thinking, followed by your evidence that does not. Get them onto the front foot, not backing away, shying away, or trying to shuffle sideways.
Fundamentally, it would appear that Charlie Sheen has lost his real passion. He’s lost sight of what once made him a respected and sought after star. Without healthy and genuine passion to keep us driving forward, none of us would succeed. In business, the lack of passion manifests itself in high levels of absence, apathy, poor task and project control and frequently missed deadlines.
Tip: The whole team needs to share a passion and where passion is missing; probing questions need to be asked to set a ‘wow’ goal that translates into a journey of challenge and excitement. Get to know what trips each member’s blind spots and what will light their passion with raging ambition.
All business problems are people problems, and I believe passion and purpose are subjects that need to be openly discussed and thoroughly examined in every office to bring about increasing levels of impressively high returns.
And it’s real, honest communication skills that underpin every step of the whole trip.
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