I have been coaching senior executives and corporations for just less than two decades. I got into coaching after a successful career as a recidivist entrepreneur. I founded and built six companies. The experience of building those businesses brought many good times but I have recently been thinking about all those clients I coached and the successes that they have had. Some of my fondest memories have resulted from those coaching engagements.
Over the years, I have provided executive coaching, leadership guidance, organizational support, team and life coaching. Each is different but the focus has always been the same – working to help my clients unlock their potential and enjoy successes that they never thought possible.
Executive Coaching: I generally have worked with senior executives – often CEOs and presidents of companies. Some of them were managing start-ups while others were running more mature and established companies. Because of my experiences with my own companies, I have been able to help them meet and overcome challenges that they initially found daunting. The satisfaction of watching a client find their focus and stride is one of the principal reasons that I continue coaching.
Leadership Coaching: Most of my executive clients want to become better leaders. Leadership is, after all, at the very core of good management – and certainly the core of effective entrepreneurship. However, leadership is one of those things that most of my clients approach casually. Helping to improve leadership skills is the single most important contribution that I can make to many of my clients. I have watched clients who had difficulty managing small teams gain the experience and skills to manage very large ones.
Organizational Support: One of my favorite engagements involves what I call a Q&D initial survey. In these engagements, I think of myself as an airborne ranger – parachuting into a chaotic environment – scoping out the challenges and opportunities – and developing a plan to improvement. There is something invigorating about this. I enjoy the challenges of triage – identifying the priorities and moving quickly to manage them. My clients start to see results immediately and their team becomes invigorated and better focused. It is a real ‘rocky mountain high’ when a company starts to move on an upward path. I particularly enjoy the ‘all hands’ meetings that signal the passing of the hard times and a celebration of the bright future that has opened up.
Team Coaching: Some of my engagements focus on improving team performance. During my entrepreneurial phase, I built and managed a number of teams. I will always remember the satisfaction that comes from a plan coming together. The joy of coaching teams is much like that. When a collection of individuals begins to operate as a coherent team, almost anything is possible – and I get a great seal of satisfaction out of watching the team members catch the fever. Nothing is truer than the maxim ‘one may accomplish but a team can accomplish what on cannot’.
Life Coaching: In some ways, this is my favorite kind of coaching. I get to work holistically with a client – encompassing both their personal and professional life. Often these engagements begin when I am approached by a person who has lost their way – is experiencing a life that the do not like. Perhaps, they need to find a different path. Life coaching deals with issues of balance – balance of the personal and professional – balance of the skills, interests and abilities of a client with the road that they have chosen. I have worked with clients who have totally remade their life. Some have left the industry that they wandered into for an avocation that they only dreamed of following. Helping a person remake their life is a source of great satisfaction for me.
Over the years, I have developed a simple screen that has helped me select clients to work with. It is ridiculously simple. I look for people who are seriously interested and dedicated to making changes in their life. It does not seem to make a difference as far as the kind of coaching that is involved. Their dedication makes the difference between success and failure. By working with these people, I have been able to contribute to their lives. As a coach, I always strive for that result. If you want to learn more about my coaching, send me an e-mail and we will arrange a time to talk.
© Dr. Earl R. Smith II