There’s a really good lead article in this week’s Sheridan Weekly around that vital ingredient of executive coaching – trust. In the absence of trust, it says, executives tend to be defensive rather than candid, making it hard to identify the core drivers that underlie their performance. Without trust, it’s also difficult for the person to take the “leap of faith” necessary for considering alternative ways of thinking or experimenting with new behaviours.

Leaders face a difficult and growing challenge: they need to give leadership to those who know far more about a particular business process or specialism than they do. This necessitates a change in leadership style – managers don’t have the specific answers, so they no longer need to waste time pretending that they do. Instead, they should move to a position of enabling learning and creating knowledge within their teams. Everyone needs to be learning constantly, including managers, and increasingly their purpose is to create the conditions that make it as easy as possible for others to do the same.

To develop a trusting executive coaching culture in this new environment isn’t easy. It requires an understanding of this learning mentality – and its individuality, because everyone has their own learning style. Executive coaching is there to unlock the potential in each individual and trust lies at the heart of its success or otherwise.

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Caroline Sheridan, Chair, Workplace and Employment CMC group and Founder of Sheridan Resolutions