The Building Blocks of Coaching

Coaching that is limited to making the coachee better at what they have always done or fails to factor in the emerging business context is a poor investment. The coaching conversation must be informed by:

  1. The emerging economic environment.
  2. Tomorrow's customer's needs.
  3. The business strategy.

Within that future-oriented mindset, regardless of level, a number of coaching disciplines are common.

  1. Coaching isn't about giving advice. It's framing the conversation such that the coachee finds their own way (power to).
  2. What the coach believes the coachee will perceive. The coach must thus work from the belief that the agreed outcome will – not might – could or should happen.
  3. An experienced coach learns how to work from a beginner's mind.
  4. To coach is to listen in the way the coachee has always wanted to be listened to.
  5. New behaviour emerges only when the coachee changes the conversation they are having with themself. To coach is to help connect the coachee with their own story, ask great questions, introduce a new metaphor, share a compelling story, open the door to best practice and personally model the behaviour being sought.
  6. A great coach is tough-minded. Tough questions, candour and the capability to talk to power become the tools of the trade. Silence is invariably the best question of all.
  7. Coaching is a supportive behavioural dance.

Coaching mastery draws on a robust coaching model, meaningful executive experience, cultural relevance, interpersonal sensitivity and mental agility. As an example, if the coachee's role involves significant international experience, a coach without that experience is a poor fit.

Insights from "Coaching the CEO".

Ongoing talent development is crucial to maintain a competitive advantage over one's competition. TRANSEARCH's leadership consulting solutions are delivered by highly experienced professionals who have access to research-based intellectual property, methodologies and cutting-edge tools.


As passionate experts in the executive search and leadership consulting industry we build leadership teams for our clients every day. Learn more about TRANSEARCH International and our wide-ranging approach to leadership acquisition and management assessment.

It's Lonely at the Top - Coaching The CEO

A study by Stanford Graduate School, co-authored by Stephen Miles and David Larcker, suggests that only about one-third of CEOs receive formal coaching. Meanwhile, half of senior managers operate without external coaching support. The same study, paradoxically, suggested that nearly 100% of those same leaders (CEOs and senior managers) said that they would like to be coached.

A wish isn't an action; saying isn't doing; and desire isn't delivery. Confidentiality, the time available, "if it ain't broke …", "what would I really gain", and "I'm getting all the coaching I need inside the business" loom large among the reasons why coaching at the top gets set aside. Although quickly eroding, the stigma of "needing to be coached" still concerns some. "I didn't realise that the CEO had problems."

In virtually every other form of endeavour where excellence is the benchmark of success, coaching is a given. No one even makes it to the Olympics, let alone medals, without a great coach. Paradoxically, that same executive who pushes coaching aside for the activity where they make a living will gladly pay for support in improving thier golf swing.

It is not at all unusual for top executives to be so dialed into the results and share price that they overlook how impactful their everyday behaviour is. A friendly smile and addressing employees by name go a long way. Take also the example of coaching as a company-wide intervention. No matter how much time and money is invested with middle managers, if coaching isn't evident at the top much of that investment is lost.

There is the Board of course. Although it is changing, all too often the Board, including the Human Resource committee, focuses on issues that directly impact the balance sheet and/or the investment community (financing, strategy, results, compensation, benefits, succession). Day-to-day executive behaviour is often too far removed for directors to be able to interpret how the business is impacted. Remedial coaching for a CEO who isn't meeting the numbers is, of course, a different matter.

It doesn't help that the conversation at the top around issues such as succession and leadership development – issues of genuine importance to the Board – are dominated by the organisation's strategic imperatives. Important as "the plan" is, in a turbulent and uncertain world, strategy is, at best, a work in progress.

Here it should be emphasised that there is a big difference between performance and developmental coaching. The former is about enhancing performance in the role as it is today. The latter implies developing the skills and capability needed several years out. The short-term nature of the capital markets puts an emphasis on today's performance. A smart executive understands that success is a marathon … not a 100-yard dash. Here today … gone tomorrow isn't much of a plan!

There is a case to be made that CEOs often sidestep coaching because they don't fully understand how coaching will benefit them. Two points are significant here:

  1. Every coaching conversation is different and the approach needs to reflect the needs of the individual being coached.
  2. Coaching at the top is not the same as coaching in the middle of the organisation.

The time span of discretion (how far one looks into the future), the balance between strategic and operational actions, the degree of complexity, the need to spend far more time managing from the outside-in and even the language used becomes more complex and/or is reframed, the higher in the organisation you go. These are not small shifts of behaviour.

Insights from "Coaching the CEO".

Ongoing talent development is crucial to maintain a competitive advantage over one's competition. TRANSEARCH's leadership consulting solutions are delivered by highly experienced professionals who have access to research-based intellectual property, methodologies and cutting-edge tools.


As passionate experts in the executive search and leadership consulting industry we build leadership teams for our clients every day. Learn more about TRANSEARCH International and our wide-ranging approach to leadership acquisition and management assessment.

Women's Values of Sustainable Leadership
transearch.com (PDF)

It is clear that the issue of Sustainability is part of a collective awareness within civil society, business and politics, which strives to respond to these paradigm shifts and the resulting contradictory injunctions. How do we reconcile the need for immediacy, reinforced by the expansion of digitalisation, with the long-term reconstruction? How do we instil a shared value at the time of a new era marked by individualism?

These transformations profoundly modify the fundamental principles of our society and tend to define new balances, such as developing our business models towards a tripartite balance "People, Profit, Planet", or paying more attention to gender stereotypes.

Diversity and Inclusion are founding principles of a more sustainable business model, and even if they encompass several components, including that of gender equity, it is obvious that good intentions are not enough. The principle of reality still bears witness to this in France, with so few women in leadership positions.

The introduction of quotas at board level, and soon within management committees has surely started demonstrating its virtues. But doesn't strengthening a company's performance in the deployment of its "Sustainability" imply the development of a new, more balanced leadership model that upholds both feminine and masculine values? Wouldn't promoting women's values be an additional performance lever? Is it not time to design a woman leadership model, similarly to the way the men leadership model that has prevailed so far?

In the continuation of their first study conducted in 2020 on the definition of a "Sustainable Leader", TRANSEARCH Paris wondered about the feminine components of a new sustainable leadership, its assets to support the tall orders of Sustainability, the actions to be taken and the challenges to be met to promote sustainable parity.

Read "Women's Values of Sustainable Leadership" leadership insights

Leadership Skills Of A Sustainable Leader
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Leadership is evolving to tackle the complex challenge of implementing an environmental and societal transition from a "People / Profit" model to a "Planet / People / Profit" model.

A recent study by TRANSEARCH International Paris, based on interviewee testimony and the analysis of "leadership competencies" from TRANSEARCH International's proprietary tool, reveals the core leadership skills of a Sustainable Leader.

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The Leadership Weave

Unfolding seasons

Nature's plan lies not within any single season but in its unfolding unity. Each season is a special time, but it is the whole that yields nature's wealth. So it is with leadership. Leadership that defines the mission is of the head (winter). Leadership that generates movement is of the hand (spring). Leadership that builds through mastery must touch people's hearts (summer). Leadership that provides meaning has to encompass the spirit (autumn).

Only when all of the seasons are "full," only when each unfolds one unto another can leadership bring about a transformation. Only when the leadership weave is complete can leadership be the difference that makes a difference. For people to give of themselves they need to feel that to change is to step into the light. For people to be deeply committed, they have to believe that the journey they are being asked to take is one that has personal meaning.

Leadership balance

What people are yearning for are leaders who can not only address the head and deliver the hand, but also engage the heart and enrich the spirit. There is overwhelming evidence to support the contention that many of us are well versed in the head and hand. None of us can become masterful leaders, however, until we complete the weave.

In today's turbulent times we believe strongly that to lead is to employ the head; empower the hand; engage the heart; and enrich the spirit. This "leadership balance" - be it found coaching a CEO, our on-line 360° feedback instrument, designing a culture intervention or developing role-specific leadership competences - is central to the Orxestra® experience. Discover the Orxestra® Methodology and get in touch with a consultant to discuss how we can help you find tomorrow's leaders today.

Insights from the book 'New Role, New Reality' by John Burdett, © 2003. A book extract is available from the Orxestra® Methodology page in which John describes the Head, Hand, Heart, Spirit Leadership Model.


As passionate experts in the executive search and leadership consulting industry we build leadership teams for our clients every day. Learn more about TRANSEARCH International and our wide-ranging approach to leadership acquisition and management assessment.

The Now, The Next, and The New Normal
aesc.org

"It's important to take lessons out of this rather quickly. So, what can you learn out of this crisis? What can you do? How can you shape your solution? How can you shape your services? How can you shape the sale of your product? This is pretty much something that every single industry or every single client has to think about." - Ullrich Ackermann, Chair of the Board at TRANSEARCH.

Ullrich shares his views on dealing with the ever-evolving status of organisational life, with the AESC.

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The Culture Conversation
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TRANSEARCH International held "The Culture Conversation" webinar on the 8th July 2020.

Culture isn't an end in itself. It is a container for diversity. It both frames and supports the organisation's value proposition. It is the bedrock of a great brand. It is 'the engine' that drives change. It's what separates a great company from the rest of the pack. The greater the change, the more an organisation's culture has to reflect the new reality. Simply put, organisation culture and the leadership challenge implied, is more relevant at this moment than ever.

Leading the webinar was John O. Burdett, who has worked in over 40 countries as an executive and as a consultant for businesses that are household names. He has worked on and continues to work on leadership development and organization culture for some of the world's largest corporations.

For more information please visit www.transearch.com or contact your local TRANSEARCH Consultant.

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Study of the impacts of virtual integration
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In the most challenging of times it is essential that new leaders are integrated quickly and successfully. TRANSEARCH Paris interviewed leaders in new positions to determine the impact of the current situation on their ability to integrate without breaking stride. Anne Chevillotte highlights key findings including the leadership qualities and traits helping new leaders through these difficult times.

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Tips for Winning Talent in the Era of Disruption
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David Wongso, MD TRANSEARCH International Indonesia, recently spoke with SWA Magazine on 'Ways to Win Talent in the Era of Disruption'. David notes how in this era of disruption many workforce skills are becoming irrelevant, and that the rate of change is getting faster. He highlights that leadership development and talent acquisition agendas must tackle the mismatch of skills and be directly managed by the C-suite and board of directors.

"The board of directors must ensure that leadership development and talent acquisition work effectively. Do not let the two agendas be entrusted to the level below but not be controlled."

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Leadership Consulting | TRANSEARCH International
transearch.com

TRANSEARCH's consulting solutions are delivered by highly experienced professionals who have access to research-based intellectual property, methodologies and cutting-edge tools. Leadership Consulting is a global practice, offering consulting in several areas including:

  • CEO & Top Team Effectiveness
  • Succession Planning
  • High Potential Identification
  • Leadership Development/Coaching
  • Leadership Assessment during M & A

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The Global Expansion of Executive Search
aesc.org

The demand for skilled leadership exceeds supply worldwide and the pressure is high for organisations to find and retain top talent. Ulrich F. Ackermann, Chair at TRANSEARCH International, is interviewed alongside other global AESC leaders for the most recent Executive Talent magazine to discuss the tremendous growth in the executive search and leadership consulting profession.

Read "The Global Expansion of Executive Search" leadership insights