Often at CEO Coach we are asked if career discussions are a part of the coaching program. This does not come about explicitly, but usually in a roundabout or circuitous manner as the discussions progress. CEOs and senior executives primarily want to focus on the business at hand and have impact. Inevitably however, some choices are not theirs. The recent situation at Parks Victoria is one which comes to mind http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-14/parks-victoria-ceo-sacked-to-be-investigated-by-ibac/7843458 . Naturally we do not expect our CEOs or executives to be in this situation, however it does highlight that the end of a senior role can come about swiftly.
In coaching there are a number of avenues the conversations can take. These can be dictated by the coachee, the coachee’s sponsor, the coach’s questions or just recent events. The coach and coachee relationship is critical – without trust and the capacity to build rapport conversations are meaningless and certainly cannot continue if trust and rapport are not present. So what happens when there is more than expected value in the coaching discussions? Not only do these discussions progress, but they can transcend the initial aim of the goals of the coaching engagement. For instance, topics such as the coachee’s family and other matters can be part of the subjects discussed. Generally, the recognition can be that there are many factors impinging on the coaching goals. Again, the situation at Parks Victoria, whilst not common, does mean that CEOs need a sounding board for the difficult situations with which they are sometimes confronted.
Interestingly another part of the coaching discussion that often takes place is around career. Where to after this role? What happens if my contract is not renewed? What if I do not survive the restructure? What if my relationship with the Chairperson falters or the Board/Partnership no longer have confidence in me? What if the business needs to be sold, folded or if my time is up? And of course, where do I stand if there is bad press about me?
The coaching discussion can quickly turn to a career discussion. As a CEO or seasoned executive, be open to the flow of coaching sessions. They add value to your time in the role, help in giving you visibility as to how you are seen, provide a solid sounding board for your ideas and can pave the way for your next career step. You never know when this might be needed.
The outline below shows how career discussions fit into our CEO Coach model: