Five Coaching Practices to Accelerate The Growth Of Others

By Kevin Cashman, originally posted to his Forbes blog, Pause Point on January 29, 2018. 

All traditions throughout the ages have had exceptional coaches.  We may have called them advisors, sages, elders, wisdom-keepers, teachers, mentors, shamans, gurus, or masters.  No matter what their titles, we have always turned to them to help us look at our lives and behaviors from deeper and broader vantage points.  These coaches helped their “coachees” – seekers, disciples, students, apprentices – see the world with fresh eyes, transcend what they thought was possible, and glimpse their fullest potential.

We know from our global research that most people rate “coaching and developing others” among the top three most important leadership competencies, according to 360° assessments.  However, despite the rated importance of this critical competency, it actually scores as the lowest practiced competency around the world.  No other leadership competency has such as wide gap between importance and practice.  We agree that coaching and development are critical to transformative leadership.  However, there is just one major problem:  we don’t practice it!  Why?  Leaders often tell us that they do not have enough time; they do not know a precise, proven process; and/or they feel it will slow down their immediate performance.  Regardless of the reasons, learning a pragmatic, straightforward methodology to coach and develop yourself and others is extremely critical to high-performing leadership.

For coaching to have a lasting, transformative impact, three interrelated foundations need to be constructed:  Building Awareness, Building Commitment, and Building Practice.  If all three are present and operating, breakthroughs will occur, and growth will be sustained.  If any one of the three is absent, the results will dissipate over time.  You may learn the best techniques and disciplines to practice, but if you lack commitment, you won’t continue your efforts.  Similarly, all the enthusiasm and commitment in the world won’t get you far if you don’t adhere to the right practices.  And without awareness of your strengths and weaknesses, how will you know what to commit to or what you need to do?

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Stories: Effective Leaders’ Must-Have Tools

By Roger Dean Duncan, originally posted to DuncanWorldwide.com on January 15, 2018. 

Good stories have a power all their own. They can make complex issues understandable. They can give people a sense of community. They can call people to action in ways they never imagined.

As a young journalist many years ago I covered large events ranging from business conventions to religion conferences to political rallies. I always watched and listened to the speakers very carefully. But most revealing was what I observed in the audiences. When a speaker said something like “Let me illustrate with a story,” the audience would always become more alert and attentive. It was as though the listeners were thinking “Okay, here comes the really good stuff.”

So why don’t more leaders have storytelling in their toolbox of skills? That’s always been a mystery to me. But one thing’s for sure: the value of good stories and effective storytelling cannot be overemphasized.

Kevin Cashman certainly knows this. In the updated edition of his fine book Leadership from the Inside Out he highlights many of the whys and wherefores of good storytelling. He shared some of his insights in a recent interview.

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8 Resolutions on the CEO’s Desk

Originally posted on Korn Ferry Institute on January 10, 2018. 

Some may be obvious but still get missed as the grind of the business year cycles through. Others are new and unique to 2018. Either way, the breath of this year’s resolutions that experts believe CEOs need couldn’t be wider.

A tight focus on culture, to prevent so many of crossed wires that befelled many too CEOs last year. Some real change–more than talk–about diversity at all levels. A much deeper pipeline of talent to fit the fast improving job market today. And so on, as Korn Ferry experts provides the following overview:

Create an effective culture.

As business leaders look ahead to 2018, many of them are looking for ways to drive cultural change. It makes sense: five years ago, salary and benefits were the No. 1 reason a job candidate would choose one company over another; today, culture is No. 1. Organizations have found that when they lead with purpose, transparency, fairness, and accountability, they’re able to attract and retain better talent, and inspire greater creativity and innovation—all of which ultimately helps their bottom line, experts say. And while culture permeates every aspect of a business — from its systems to its ethics to its processes — as a business leader, a change in culture starts with you. “It’s a mistake for top leaders to believe that culture is somehow separate from themselves or a separate project,” says Arvinder Dhesi, a Korn Ferry senior client partner. “Everything that we do contributes to the culture. There’s no culture-neutral behavior.”

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Forget the Score Just Play

By Evelyn Orr, originally published in Korn Ferry’s Briefings magazine in November, 2017.   Evelyn Orr, the chief operating officer of the Korn Ferry Institute, writes regularly on the intersection of career, relationships, and gender and the impact on familes and firms.

Parents’ hopes and expectations of their kids can be intense. Our hearts are in the right place. We want our kids to be prepared for the real world, to discover their potential, to be able to compete and achieve great things. But it can be tough keeping things in perspective; we think that every move from preschool on will heavily influence our children’s destination.

Take sports, for example. As our kids’ soccer tryouts approach, my husband and I hold our breath. We feed them high-energy foods, make bedtime stricter than finals week, and anticipate any heartache they may experience. It turns out that all that effort and excitement in this case may be well worth it—especially for girls, whose access to sports hasn’t always been a given. Whether or not a child ever gets a scholarship or turns pro, sports participation apparently has a strong correlation to success in the C-suite. One wonders: Can the great female CEOs of the future have anything to learn from this field of dreams?

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Read to Lead Podcast #194: Leadership from the Inside Out with Kevin Cashman

readtolead
Kevin was recently interviewed by Jeff Brown with the Read to Lead Podcast about the updated 3rd edition of Leadership from the Inside Out.

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The Five Principles Of Leadership Improv

By Kevin Cashman, originally posted on his Forbes blog, Pause Point on December 15, 2017. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “The world belongs to the energetic.”  While true, in our volatile, unpredictable, complex and ambiguous world, it may be even more true that “the world belongs to the most agile.” Our ability to learn on the fly and deliver in first-time conditions has never been more critical.  I marvel at clients who can flex, adapt and perform in new and novel situations.  Like that, I also deeply admire comedians adept at improvisation, who can seemingly create out of the unexpected, the new and the different.  Fascinated by improv, I have studied it at a distance for years trying to understand how it works and often reflected:  Is there a process here or does it just depend on lightning fast out-of-the-box comedic thinkers?  Are there connections between improv and the change agility needed by leaders today?

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The Reading Lists with Kevin Cashman

By Phil Treagus, originally posted on TheReadingLists.com on October 30, 2017. 

How do you describe your occupation?

As the Global Leader of CEO and Executive Development at Korn Ferry (with 130+ offices and consultants around the world), we foster the accelerated growth of CEOs and CEO Successors to ensure sustainable, purpose-driven enterprise growth. Also, I authored Leadership from the Inside Out and The Pause Principle: Step Back to Lead Forward; am a worldwide keynote speaker, and write a leadership column for Forbes.com.

Talk us through a typical day for you…

How about an ideal ‘typical’ day? A day that balances pause, purpose and connection is ideal. On these days, I feel rested when I awaken, take Leo, our Golden Retriever on a walk through the woods along the lake, hopefully gathering inspiration and creative clarity. My best writing often emerges on these walks! I enjoy some time to exercise a bit more, then some writing, maybe a new Forbes article, a keynote or book project. Shifting focus, I work with CEO and CHRO clients, co-creating meaningful breakthroughs. I engage with my team and consultants in the office. At home, in our meditation studio, enjoy dinner and conversation with my family, then maybe a movie or a good book in front of the fire, while Leo jumps in our bed and snuggles-up to sleep.

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Finding the Keys to the Corner Office

By James Lewis, Senior Director, Research, Korn Ferry Institute.  Originally published February 13, 2017 on Korn Ferry Institute. 

It matters in wars, in most sports and, to some extent, in games of chance. But does it really take courage to get into the upper echelons of a company?

Slowly but surely, science is finding ways to measure the traits and skills that tend to succeed in corporate hallways, and it’s getting more exact by the day. In fact, based on executive responses from Korn Ferry’s Four Dimensions of Leadership Assessment (KF4D) tests, it’s possible to rank the skills in two ways: those more common among C-suite types than midlevel managers, and those in more successful or engaged top executives. In other words, a guide to getting into the corner office—and staying there.

Looking at these traits by industry, it turns out fortune does indeed favor the bold, with courage the top trait in the financial services sector, and the second highest in professional business services. It’s also in the top five of at least three other major fields. But a bit of advice for C-suite executives: tuck that brashness away once you’ve made it to the top. Managing ambiguity, instilling trust, planning, persuading—these are the top traits for highly engaged versus low-engaged C-suite types.

Of course, no guide is perfect, and few people can pull off a personality makeover. The takeaway: Try. “It’s not easy for someone who doesn’t innately possess specific competencies to start exhibiting them,” says Stu Crandell, senior vice president, Korn Ferry Institute. “But proper development and practice can help.”

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New Podcast with Talent10x: Why Leadership is More Important Than Ever

By Frank Kalman; originally posted on Talent Economy on December 6, 2017. 

Managing Editor of Frank Kalman interviews Kevin Cashman, senior client partner at executive recruiting firm Korn Ferry and author of the book “Leadership from the Inside Out.”  The two talk about how leadership has evolved in recent years as well as why the skill has become more important in business than ever before.

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On Transformative Leadership: Step Back to Lead Forward