What defines “executive coaching”?

What defines “executive coaching”? Does it mean coaching for those in the C- Suite or does it mean coaching for anyone who manages others?

After a decade as an executive coach working with hundreds of professionals, here’s how I define executive coaching:

A holistic approach to maximizing the success, as they define it, of senior and emerging leaders.

Ready to try it?


How Do You Set The Tone As A Manager or Leader?

The Positive Competitive Working Environment Vs The Negative Competitive Working Environment. How Do You Set The Tone As A Manager or Leader?

Positive or negative for whom and based on what measurements? If you wanted each of your two children to maximize their personal performance you could pit them against each other through constant comparison. You could reinforce this with a system of rewards and punishment. But you’d better not expect them to be best friends or even play nicely with each other when you’re not in the room. Do you expect different behavior just because you’re in a business environment? It doesn’t work that way.


Working abroad can bring rewards of global economy

According to consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, the number of employees working on international assignment outside their home country has grown by 25 percent in the last decade and by 2020 they predict an additional 50 percent increase.

Global consultant Michelle Randall, author of “Cultural Profit: Vastly Accelerating Bottom Line Results for High Growth Global Companies,” reflects the consensus of talent managers when she notes that “employees at every level within an organization (need) cross-cultural fluency.” She notes that cross-cultural competency isn’t just important for employees working for multinationals. “Go to your local Target and you’ll find that there is a culturally plural work force speaking at least two languages. This has huge hiring, work force and management implications.”

Whether you are at the start of you career, mid-career or looking for a second career, cultural competency is essential.

Business is becoming increasingly global. International trade, overseas assignments and multicultural  work forces create a demand for individuals that have developed the ability to deal effectively with individuals from other cultures.

What are the keys to cross-cultural fluency? Ken Belanger, director of Global Leadership Training for Berlitz, a provider of language training and cross-cultural services, points to the following elements: “One is an open attitude. Curiosity is a pre-requisite for engaging in the continuous learning process of developing cross-cultural effectiveness. From there it’s important to become self-aware, which is the ability to recognize one’s own cultural values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. You must also become aware of others, which is the ability to observe and identify the roles, behaviors, attitudes and cultural orientations of our counterparts. The fourth component of the Berlitz model is having cultural knowledge, specific and general knowledge about a given social and business culture.” Cultural competence, according to Belanger, requires not only learning these skills but also seeking opportunities to put them into practice.

To that end Berlitz has developed the “Cultural Navigator,” an online tool to help executives increase their ability to effectively interact with individuals with different cultural backgrounds.

Lauren Supraner, president of CAL Learning, an intercultural communications training company, points out that “understanding that not everyone views the world as you do is the first step to developing cross-cultural competence. Look. Listen, and lastly talk (not easy for Americans, who prefer the reverse order).”

Understanding your own culture is also important she adds, because it is “the filter through which you view people and events.”

Lynne Sarikas, executive director of the MBA Career Center at Northeastern’s D’Amore McKim School of Business, points out that when she was in China recently it was “striking how many of the leaders of the multinational companies had experience working for multiple international companies and had strong language skills.” To lead global companies, there is an increasing demand for leaders with experience in many countries. Knowledge of the business challenges, culture and language enable these managers to be more effective and successful as they assume more leadership responsibilities.

For individuals interested in gaining international experience, Sarikas suggests the following:

• Build Your Value. Gain experience and build your knowledge of the company and how to get things done at headquarters first so you bring that value to the other locations in a future assignment. Do what you do very well so you will stand out as a candidate for a broader experience.

• Don’t Wait Too Long. I’ve seen people keep putting off the international assignment for various reasons. It is easier to relocate before you have a family or before your children start school.

• Be Prepared. Before starting an overseas assignment, do your homework. Learn as much as you can about the company and customers in that location. Review business customers. Learn at least common phrases in the local language. Talk to employees currently working there or those who recently worked there. Seek their input on ensuring a smooth transition.

• Seize the Opportunity. Make the most of the assignment. Learn as much as you can while you are there. Take advantage of being there to see the sights, learn the history, and interact with the locals when possible. Do your work well and learn as much as possible about the unique aspects of the business in that location as well as the challenges of working with corporate from afar. This perspective will change how you think about challenges in the future.

Berlitz’s Belanger offers the following career advice to individuals seeking to succeed in today’s global economy. “Get out there and experience the world. Take a curriculum that has a global perspective, look for internships with companies that operate internationally and focus your job search on global companies. One thing leads to another.”

A veteran human resources executive, Lee E. Miller is a career coach and the author of “UP: Influence Power and the U Perspective — The Art of Getting What You Want.” 


As an organization grows, what is a major crisis that it will encounter?


What major crisis is an organization likely to encounter as it grows?

There are many major crises in growth: mismatch of financial resources to growth needs, diluting company culture, alienating long-term employees, poor hires, underserving existing customers in the quest to land new ones, to name a few. Adequate planning and development of key leaders can lessen these threats if they can’t be avoided outright. As a result the number one crisis is caused by lack of investment in the organization itself.


Monterey Institute features Alumna Michelle Randall

Michelle Randall: “Passion is Too Small a Word When Globalization is at Your Core”

Written by   //  October 3, 2012  //  Alumni StoriesMBA  //  No comments

“Curious, risk-loving, and wanting to engage with the world,” is how Michelle Randall(MBA ’97) describes herself as she was on her first day of classes—and why the Monterey Institute of International Studies was such a good fit for her. “When you become a culturally agile leader, it becomes part of the fabric of your existence,” she says of her formative experiences at MIIS working in teams with people from different cultures and backgrounds.

Michelle has woven that fabric into her current career as an executive coach, speaker, and author in Silicon Valley. After graduation, Michelle started the first green building materials product line in the U.S. at Hayward Lumber on the central California coast. At the time, green building was “ready to come in from the fringes, so my timing was phenomenal,” she says. She then moved to Silicon Valley with a leading-edge technology company launching a tablet just like the iPad, a decade earlier. Eventually, Michelle “got tired of making rich men richer” and broke out on her own, starting her consulting firm, Enriching Leadership International. A decade later, she has no regrets.

“In my job, I often go back to what has worked for me,” Michelle shares, adding that the skills needed for cultural agility are much the same as those needed for senior leadership. She helps top executives be relevant and lead people from other cultures, not by mimicking other cultures, but by maintaining their own personality and authenticity. She notes that this “includes different cultures around the globe and around the office.”

Michelle has stayed in contact with many of her classmates from MIIS and is the founder of the MIIS Silicon Valley alumni chapter. She is generously offering to send a copy of her newest book, Cultural Profit: Vastly Accelerating Bottom Line Results for High Growth Global Companies to any alumni who contact her via email at michelle@enrichingleadership.com.