Who Wants to be a Skillful 21st Century Leader?

3 minute read

As a standard part of my coaching practice, I always ask my clients for feedback about the coaching experience and process, how it has been helpful to them, and how it could be enhanced. What I hear back from them is always helpful in continuously improving the quality of the client experience, but sometimes a client will share feedback that is not only helpful to me, but also to others who may be considering working with a coach.

One example of this kind of client wisdom came in the form of an analogy comparing the benefits of coaching to having Lifelines from the game show, Who Wants to be a Millionaire. In this long-running, popular show, contestants answer trivia questions of increasing difficulty to win cash prizes. When they get stumped by a question, contestants have the option to use one of their Lifelines to help them answer it correctly and thereby escape elimination.

In the original version of Millionaire, contestants had three Lifelines they could use to stay in the running:

  • Ask the Audience, in which the entire audience voted on the correct answer to the question via electronic keypads;
  • 50:50, in which two incorrect answers of the four multiple choice answers were eliminated; and
  • Phone a Friend, in which contestants could call one pre-arranged friend at home and get 30 seconds of their help to answer the question.

My client compared Ask the Audience to the 360-Degree Assessment that we conduct with new coachees. During 360s (as we call them), clients identify associates at all levels of their work life to anonymously evaluate them on their leadership qualities. We then use this information to create the coaching plan that reflects their unique strengths and weaknesses.

The 50:50 Lifeline is comparable to the process that comes after the 360, in which we work with clients to truly understand the strengths and weaknesses their colleagues identified in the 360. Once a client understands where their growth edge is, we can work together to lean into those challenges, while simultaneously taking advantage of areas in which the client excels.

Finally, the Phone a Friend option—the most powerful of the Lifelines—is analogous to the client’s ability to call or email their coach for one-on-one assistance that is specific to the challenge they are currently facing. Having an executive coach available to consult with during decision points that can make or break one’s career is an extremely powerful tool, and it’s one that most clients agree provides them with the most security as they pursue their career goals.

Support from our networks, support from individualized insights, and support from someone who cares about us and has deep knowledge and experience to share—these are the kinds of assistance we all need to become skillful 21st Century Leaders. And these are the ways Haile Coaching & Leadership uses knowledge to positively impact career trajectories, one client at a time.

How about you? Which of these Lifelines would be helpful to you right now as you start this brand-new year and decade? What are the challenging questions you’re facing at this point in your career, that you could use some outside perspective on? Where could you go if you had these Lifelines at your fingertips?

If you’re ready to advance your career to the next level, or if there is someone on your team who is full of leadership potential, but just needs a little support to get there, I’d be honored if you’d give me a call or an email. Helping people learn to lead skillfully is my calling, and it would be my privilege to be one of your Lifelines. Here’s wishing you a happy and successful New Year!

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