Melonie Walter

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So far Melonie Walter has created 14 blog entries.

The Benefits of Executive Coaching

This week I wanted to share with you what I believe are the “real” benefits of coaching. As you probably know, the type of coaching engagement I am most familiar with is coaching CEOs and high-level executives.

I see Executive Coaching as a CEO’s competitive advantage. I have observed that when executives start making better decisions, developing better relationships, taking risks, increasing their presence, etc., I can see a positive correlation between those changes and four main components, which in my view are the real benefits of coaching.

1- Awareness

Successful individuals are a unique breed.  Since they have achieved a high level of success, they sometimes look at the coach, perhaps thinking to themselves or saying, “Why should I listen to you? Why should I take your suggestions? I have evidence that the way I behave, manage, and communicate is successful.”  The reality is that everyone can identify one or more behaviors that deter them in some manner from being their best.  When this behavior is coupled with the awareness of perception, then you have a powerful combination, and it is perhaps one of the most valuable benefits of coaching.

2- Change in Behavior and Perception

Successful individuals are a special kind.  Since they are successful already, they sometimes look at the coach, perhaps thinking to themselves or saying, “Why should I listen to you? Why should I take your suggestions?”  I have evidence that the way I behave, manage, and communicate is successful.”  The reality is that everyone can identify one or more behaviors that deter them in some manner from being their best.  When this behavior is coupled with awareness of perception then you have a powerful combination, and it is perhaps one of the most valuable

3-Benefits of Coaching: Efficiency and Power

Perhaps this point can be better illustrated with an analogy.   If I have a car with a powerful engine, you can start the car, put your foot on the brake pedal, put the car in drive, and still get the car up to a high speed. Highly successful individuals are very powerful engines and having their foot on the brake has not kept them from being successful. The reality is, however, that the brake drags down their efficiency. If they took their foot off the brake, they could go faster using the same power—or they could use less power, less energy, to get the same speed. In other words, the brake does affect performance and efficiency. It’s just that they are powerful enough to absorb that inefficiency and still go fast until conditions change.

4- An Unbiased Point of View

People at the top are less likely to receive meaningful feedback, it gets lonely at the top. Moreover, blind spots are less obvious when things are going well.  Executives tend to become almost strictly inward-looking, especially when they have demonstrated to high levels of success. These blind spots can become “the foot on the break of a high-performance car.” The coach provides an unbiased opinion and is only concerned with the CEO’s success as the leader of the company.

In my work globally, I have been surprised to see the low percentage of CEOs who have coaches.  In fact, two-thirds of CEOs don’t receive any outside advice on their leadership skills, yet almost all would be receptive to suggestions from a coach. Those are the findings of a CEO survey conducted by Stanford University.  In my experience, the most successful assignments have been with CEOs who seek a coach as a key competitive advantage to stay at the top of their game.

All of the coaching benefits can be tracked to awareness, change of behavior and perception, increasing efficiency and power and having an unbiased point of view. Those are the real benefits of coaching.


The Benefits of Executive Coaching2019-07-09T22:23:04+00:00

What is Executive Coaching

Many times, I have been asked by clients and friends, “What is executive coaching?”.   A simple and straight answer would be the International Coaching Federation (ICF) definition  “coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential”.  This definition is elegantly simple, but it is packed with many complexities.   Two of those complexities, especially when coaching CEOs and other high-level executives are related to the driver/objective and the length of the engagement. 

Let’s talk about the driver/objective of the engagement first.  When people initiate a coaching engagement it usually falls into four categories.  The one I am most familiar with is Coaching in response strategic moves, specifically managing critical talent, top leadership, CEO succession planning.    

The next complexity is regarding the ideal time of the engagement.   

Executive Coaching as a limited-time intervention.  Whether is three or six months; many coaches present their work as having a distinct period. They clarify that this is an intervention, albeit a very positive one, but an experience that is time-limited.  

Executive Coaching as a competitive requirement.  This type of coaching relationship is similar to a relationship with an athletic coach. This is my personal sweet spot.  In athletics, at the highest level, as long as you wish to stay in the game, to be at the top of your performance, you continue to appreciate the value of a coach. You need to continue receiving the benefit of feedback about style and form based on the coach’s observation. That is the way the athlete continues to improve in an environment where they know fully well that someone else will run faster or jump higher each year, unless they make contestant improvements.   

Coaching high level executives isn’t much different. They have a demanding group of stakeholders who expect performance to continue to increase year after year, quarter after quarter, month after month. The only way this can be achieved is to continue to become more and more efficient, more and more effective. And one of the ways that effectiveness can be increased is through the constant feedback about style and form that the executive coach provides.   

What are your thoughts on this?  I would love to hear your from you. 

What is Executive Coaching2019-07-09T22:32:53+00:00

Defining Global Mindset

For many years, as a global CEO coach, I have used the Global Mindset phrase to indicate an orientation of openness towards other cultures, other people, and another way of doing things.  In my most recent book, Global Mindset Coaching, I asked global leaders,  “what are the most critical aspects of a Global Mindset?”.   Their responses varied, but in short, the consensus was that having a Global Mindset means: 

  1. Having an openness to learning 
  2. Ability to adapt to new cultures 
  3. No one universal way to do things 
  4. Interest and curiosity 
  5. Proactive use of diversity 
  6. Not bound by local customs. 
  7. In my own experience and taking into consideration the results of my research, I have updated my Global Mindset Definition as follows.    

“It is the ability to step outside one’s base culture and to understand there is no universally correct way to do things”.  

To understand this, I have divided the definition into its two main components.   

A) The ability to step outside one’s base culture.  This is the willingness of the individual to take risks, exploring learning and adapting

B) There is not a universally correct way to do things.Global Mindset leadership is situational, cultural differences and similarities are neither positive nor negative;  “my way is not the only way.”   

In dealing with new cultures, there are things that you can see and explore.  Language, food, music, the way of dressing, and others.  Also, you can also see how people work, attitudes like punctuality, negotiation styles, and how decisions are made.   

There are other things you don’t see, but they impact how people work together.  Behaviors such as whether individual or group dynamics take precedence in decision-making, whether the culture is hierarchical or egalitarian, and whether relationships must be established before or after entering into a project.    

Developing a Global Mindset will allow any leader to take advantage of those differences to manage in a way that is sensitive and effective.   They become more effective because of those differences, rather than in spite of them.    

I believe that one of the most important characteristics for leaders to cultivate is a Global Mindset.  Today one of the biggest challenges of the globalization of business is preparing global leaders that embrace a Global Mindset. 

What are your thoughts on this matter? I’ll like to hear from you.   

Defining Global Mindset2019-07-09T22:32:08+00:00

Globalization of Business and Developing a Global Mindset

As you probably have experienced, the world today is not the one most of us grew up in.  Radical changes have occurred, the biggest drivers include global economic opportunities, trade liberalization and the communications revolution. This has strategic advantages and challenges.

Globalization of business is nothing new.  In fact, it started much, much earlier, with the early trading empires. The Silk Road between China and Europe, Phoenicians, Egyptians, Romans and Greeks among others.

In today’s economy, businesses want to sell more, stay competitive, increase their revenue thus they are looking to diversify their presence and their products across the world.  Their biggest challenge is preparing leaders to thrive on the global stage. Unfortunately, there is not a way to minimize this, if companies want to successfully globalize, they must develop leaders with a Global Mindset.

Global executives need the same knowledge and capabilities as domestic executives, as well as unique attributes and skills to work in often radically different cultures, political systems, and environments.  They need to develop a Global Mindset.

The most common assumption I have seen is that global leadership is developed only through experience.  I truly believe that experience is not sufficient for the development of an effective global leader.

If experience alone is insufficient to develop an effective global leader, what do executives need to learn to be effective?

They need to develop and embrace a Global Mindset, in fact I see it as a requirement for success in the globalization of business going forward. Only by being truly open to new ideas and new ways of relating to each other, leaders will be able to capture the opportunities available on the new, fast-changing global stage.

Interested in learning more about Global Mindset or the globalization of business,  please visit this page.


Globalization of Business and Developing a Global Mindset2019-07-09T22:38:13+00:00