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“I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.” 

As a manager do you ever ask yourself:

  • What in myself can I not face, and where does that leak out?
  • What drives me?
  • What does power over others mean to me?
  • For what insecurities am I compensating?

“These are tough questions for anyone, especially for those whose chief training has been to manage externals and hide what is inside. Such considerations are heroic and revolutionary, and, when undertaken seriously, can change the corporate ambience in amazing ways. The energies that emanate from us affect others, sometimes infect them, and always influence them. To the extent that our personal energies are healthy, the world around us may be able to change for the better. This is as true in our working environment as it is in our intimate relationships.”

(Hollis 1998:112)

As a manager or leader, why not try asking some of the following questions in an appraisal of one of your reports and see what happens?:

  • What’s the most exciting part of your job?
  • If you wanted to make more of an impact in your job, what would you do differently?
  • What are you doing at work that makes no sense at all?
  • How would you change your present work into your ideal work?
    (ref: Centre for Supervision Training)

If you regard such questions as idealistic (and not practical to day-to-day tasks), then consider that to lead effectively (and to get the best out of people) is to motivate and inspire, which in turn means to understand your employee’s values and hopes, and how they derive meaning from their work.

Why Executive Coaching?

Leaders who foster coaching into the workplace realise that the old leadership style of command-control is counter-productive, and that in conditions of high-pressure and high anxiety, learning is hindered. High performers are people who learn fast and who can apply what they already know. So instead, such leaders trust the autonomy, competence and skill of their employees and their capacity to learn directly from experience

More and more organisations are beginning to realise that the quality of life of their employees affects morale, which affects productivity and therefore the bottom-line. James Hollis describes how many companies can become complacent and less competitive when their best resource (their people) is not recognised as such:

“Many organisations arise from some noble idea or compelling purpose, but over time their underlying values may be forgotten or become outmoded…….the corporation may defile its founding values, make brutal decisions based on abstract notions of corporate interest rather than the well-being of its citizenry.” (Hollis 1998:106)

As an institution is the sum of its individuals, and more, so it is also a reflection of its leadership (and each team a reflection of its management). Where the leader (or manager) is stuck psychologically, the corporation too will be stuck.


Current Practitioners