CEO Coaching: When Do You Practice?
As I write this, the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics just finished, and I just watched arguably the most talented skier ever — Mikaela Shiffrin — make tragic mistakes in three events she had a high likelihood of winning.
Shiffrin is on the podium so often that when she doesn’t do well, it’s shocking — though it shouldn’t be. Even with brilliant preparation, ski racing has so many variables, such as weather, snow conditions, how the course is set, gear, lighting conditions and all those competitors! However, we expect our heroes to always perform.
Shiffrin and most athletes, performers, and the military spend almost all their “work” time practicing. As a leader, you shouldn’t expect to perform brilliantly without practice any more than they should. So, when are you practicing?
Business school is practice. Reading about other businesses is practice. Getting coached is practice. Rehearsing your board agenda with a coach or mentor is practice. Having conversations with your teammates is practice for the ones you’ll have in the future. You might even say planning is practice for the actual event.
Back when I was an executive, I “winged it” too often. I was “too busy” to practice much. Dumb! Even something as simple as your weekly senior staff meeting deserves practice. For example, what issues can you foresee as generating resistance? From whom? How will you handle this? Who will support it? How long will you allocate for the conversation? You get the picture.
I bet if I looked at your calendar from last month, I wouldn’t see a lot of practice time, just a lot of performing. Performance at a lower level than it could’ve been.
Open your calendar right now and schedule some practice time for next week. What are the most important things in your business currently? That’ll tell you what you need to practice for.
coaches CEOs to higher levels of success. He is a former CEO and has led teams as large as 7,000 people. Todd is the author of, Never Kick a Cow Chip On A Hot Day: Real Lessons for Real CEOs and Those Who Want To Be (Morgan James Publishing).