Looking Up at The Illusion of Power

Bottom line: Your coaching clients tend to over-estimate the power of their superiors. Now the details. And why it matters. Think about the comments your coaching clients make about their bosses or their CEOs. My guess is that the ratio of complaints to positives is high. In other words, your clients are more likely to talk about their bosses’ failures than what their bosses have done well. You are likely to hear comments that begin: “If I were in that job, I would . . .” But if they ever do get in that job, they are likely to bump into constraints on power that are not always evident to others. We see this most dramatically with the President of the United States (POTUS). Candidates for that office are full of statements that begin, “And when I am President, I promise that I’ll . . .” George Bush (the first)…

Thought Experiment: Imagine that you are . . .

Thought experiment: Imagine that you are Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s (yes, there are two y’s at the end of his name) executive coach.  How might you approach this assignment? What are the issues that you would have to think through? What emotions might you experience? And finally, how might your thinking about this assignment inform the way you approach your real-life coaching assignments? For myself, I’d first have to get past the awe I have for Zelenskyy’s courage and accomplishments to date, even before the invasion. Being in awe of our clients rarely serves them well. Emotional Self-Awareness with regard to what we feel for our clients is essential. If we’re not tuned into those emotions, unhelpful ones could lead us astray. My own conceptualization of the problem goes this way: President Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people seem to have experienced an initial galvanizing adrenalin rush in responding to being…