In part one of our two-part feature on leadership coaching, we explored how coaching has become vital for purposeful professional development.

In this second part, we continue to talk to executive coaches Beverly Landais, Steve Lee and Lisa-Marie Sikand about their coaching expertise, and the specific ways in which they enable leaders to navigate their roles and thrive. For more details of our coaches and their expertise, see further details of their biographies at the end of this feature. 

Part two: Coaching in action

Leadership is never easy. Promotion is awarded for outstanding performance at earlier career stages, often in technical and/or function-specific skills. But this experience rarely sets people up for the broad demands of the most senior roles – especially in a professional services firm in which leaders must steer partners who may have very different views on how the business should move forwards. This is where coaching can make a profound and hugely positive difference.

‘Typically leaders are in very isolated roles,’ says Lisa-Marie, Executive Coach and Founding Director of Soulitude7. ‘It’s not often that you’ll get C-suites being vulnerable and genuinely talking to each other – and often as leaders, the training stops, the conversations stop, the networking stops. As a coach, I help people to get out of their own way, to move through from where they currently are – and to be self-aware and resourceful, because you have to be resilient as a senior leader within a law firm, and to effectively influence lawyers who are naturally, and furthermore trained to be, risk-averse.’

‘I think coaching provides reassurance for leaders,’ adds Steve Lee, Consultant and Coach at Rosewell House LLP. ‘I think perhaps one of the biggest mistakes leaders make is feeling that they can please all the people, all of the time and you just can’t. Sometimes you will need to make unpopular decisions that upset people – and that is okay. I think intellectually, senior people get that but in practice it is very hard to do, especially in stressful moments – for example, a board meeting where you’re trying to push through a certain decision, idea or strategy and you know you’re going to be met with resistance.’

Bespoke support

To meet the many different and specific needs of today’s leaders and their firms, our expert panel of coaches offer an impressive array of services and insights, adapting their approach as necessary to suit individuals and building specialist expertise to target areas that can be especially tricky for those in leadership roles.

Both Lisa-Marie and Beverly Landais of Beverly Landais Executive Coaching, for instance, are certified in positive psychology (understanding your strengths to deal with difficulties in life more effectively) and Beverly is a qualified physical intelligence coach (helping people to understand how they can manage their physiology to calm nerves, be mindful and present, and engage with people better).

The coaching process too has a clearly defined and structured approach, designed to deliver results. ‘Coaching remains a very close relationship between the coach and the coachee and chemistry is therefore vital,’ says Steve. ‘I will start by meeting the coachee to see if we can work together. There would also typically be a meeting with a third-party line manager or head of department depending on the reporting line. And that would be to establish the goals, objectives and timelines of the coaching. There’ll be agreement around confidentiality so that the coachee can feel safe in the company of the coach and then I would have a series of meetings with the coachee, either face to face, or virtually, or a mix of both.’

There is huge flexibility around the tempo of the coaching too – whether it’s a regular, weekly meeting or a couple of hours a month. ‘Some clients may say they want to see me every week for the first three weeks and then take a more leisurely pace thereafter. It’s whatever works best for the coachee and the business, with any urgency around the purpose of the coaching playing into that as well,’ Steve says.

With the growth of coaching as an industry over the past decade, Beverly advises clients to check out any potential coach’s credentials and qualifications. ‘There’s a lot of discussion in the coaching world about the importance of ethics and properly qualified coaches, because unlike the world of counselling and therapy, coaches don’t have a specific regulatory body,’ she explains. Like our other coaches, Beverly is an ICF Certified Coach and member of the Association for Coaching, meaning skills must be kept up to date with regular CPD and rigorous supervision.

Positive coaching: Shifting the performance dial

Coaching today is a constructive and positive force for good. ‘I think coaching has come of age,’ says Beverly. ‘It’s no longer seen as something that is done to people if they’re not quite up to the mark. I think many good organisations now see coaching as something they can offer their people as a way of engaging them even further, to enhance their contribution and their sense of being valued at work.’

‘Coaching has moved from being a remedial only to developmental tool that harnesses executive well-being and performance,’ says Lisa-Marie. ‘Progressive firms invest in it because they see the many employee and organisational benefits it provides.’

In a world of uncertainty, good career coaching is an indispensable tool to carve out a clear and prosperous path ahead for individuals, teams and firms. In a world in which it is ever harder to differentiate talent, coaching can give you and your team the edge to stand out.

Meet the coaches

Beverly Landais spent nearly 30 years in business, culminating in roles as a CEO of a commercial barristers’ chambers, as well as Director of Marketing and BD (including at board level) in legal, insurance and professional services, and latterly at a wealth management firm. Here, she also worked as a business coach, gaining a professional qualification and post-graduate certificate at master’s level in business and personal coaching. Her management style, using questioning and  challenging people to think through their options, led naturally into coaching. She set up Beverly Landais Executive Coaching in 2015.

Steve Lee came to executive coaching from a background as a chartered accountant and partner (and managing partner – Partner Matters) at both Andersen and Deloitte. He describes the collapse of Andersen as a career-defining moment where he worked with people dealing with ‘a series of circumstances they might never have reasonably been expected to face’. He was also a Chief Operating Officer and Global Head of HR before becoming a NED, Consultant and Coach at Rosewell House LLP.

Lisa-Marie Sikand experienced a rapid rise to seniority – joining the legal industry in 2005 before being appointed to the C-suite at just 33 years old. She became EMEA Chief Marketing Officer for a global law firm in 2014, combining vast responsibilities with a reputation for straight-talking advice, warmth and ability. In 2020 she recalibrated her life following a series of life-changing events, including burnout, setting up her consultancy, coaching and mentoring business Soulitude7 to maximise leaders’ and firms’ effectiveness and performance . She is ICF, C-Suite, Positive Psychology and Mindfulness for Coaching accredited.

 

See part one of our leadership coaching feature, which explores the reasons for coaching and why there is no better time than now to engage a coach to unlock your potential.

Download our PDF here, or by clicking on the image to the left, to find out more about coaching services and the benefits you could gain for yourself and/or your firm by working with one of our expert panel of executive coaches.

To find out more about coaching services or Totum’s expert panel of executive coaches, contact [email protected]

 

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