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I'm Not Going To Tell You

Updated: Nov 17, 2019

Let me tell you...

All our lives, we deal with others telling us what to do. We grow up with parents, teachers and other adults who determine what we should do. Later in life, our bosses and managers give us direction during our time at work. Along the way, we each make a decision about how much we want someone to tell us what to do. For some that means stepping into leadership the way they want to lead; for others it’s the entrepreneurial route; and still others find the style of work environment that suits them.

Those who fit into the category of preferring not to be told what to do and have worked with an executive coach, know that working with a good executive coach is not a “tell” relationship. The coaching methodology allows for a learning and development conversation uniquely suited to you. The telling will happen on your own terms. For many entrepreneurs and leaders, this should mean that executive coaching is their default method of, and their best place for, learning and development. Though learning and development through coaching is a trend on the rise in many companies, there are some limitations to the adoption and access to it. The 2017 ICF Consumer Awareness Study shows how coaching is invested in for work performance and productivity. It also shows that 65% of coaching engagements are paid for by organizations.

For most companies, trainers, consultants and mentors are the most commonly sourced supports for change and growth. But those are all “tell” approaches to impact. Executive coaching takes a different approach. Here’s how I define executive coaching:

Finding your own way to growth

Growth is an important focus for our economy and leaders. There is research being invested in, programs being developed and financial support programs being offered. My view is that executive coaching is a great growth accelerator to support economic development goals. Guess what, though - in many cases executive coaching doesn’t meet the service parameters of some of the development and funding programs. When done with ICF standards of coaching quality, coaching is not consulting. These are the core competencies you should expect from your coach: ICF Core Competencies. I do not consider myself a consultant, yet ask my clients and they will tell you the impact executive coaching has had on the growth of their leadership and their business.

What are the facts behind my claims?

The image below is one statistic. Look at Innovacorp’s adoption of the MIT Venture Mentoring Service plus talk to the successful entrepreneurs. All would tell the same story - that their listening didn’t always correlate to what they were told. Growth stories are often realized by professionals and leaders hearing and seeing things differently.

Achieving growth with executive coaching

Pivotal Coaching offers high value professional services. My work with organizations is based on a Statement of Work that outlines the Pivotal Coaching methodology. Goals are set both with the company and with professionals in programs, cohorts or by 1:1 coaching. I run a parallel work methodology of coaching conversations plus exercises and reading outside of coaching time. Organizations who work with me also get an interim progress check-in. My clients, corporate and personal, will get a wrap-up. My corporate clients receive a final written report.

I left my comfortable corporate job because I saw the potential to realize growth with executive coaching. I hadn’t expected that realizing my company’s growth would see me trying to prompt business and business support agencies to think beyond training and consulting.

I’ll keep working on gaining acceptance of a broader definition that sees learning, development and most importantly growth realized through professional services which include training, mentoring, consulting AND coaching.

Conversations you can learn from

I am not going to tell you what to do. I’ll let my client results tell the story of how executive coaching can be a growth enabler. Let’s have a conversation and see if I can disrupt your thinking and results without telling you what to do. We have lots we can talk about. Read What To Say Next and Your ROI For Executive Coaching if you’d like to learn more about executive coaching for growth results.

What makes executive coaching different and, at the same time, successful?

Methodology, training, powerful questions, disrupting thinking, feedback, goal setting, action and accountability. Executive coaching drives change.

Executive coaching is how you capture potential. Executive coaching is another way to get to results and growth.


Lisa W. Haydon is the President and Founder of Pivotal Coaching Inc. She left her comfortable corporate career several years ago to follow her passion of helping people realize their potential and companies to realize high performance. Lisa is a growth focused entrepreneur, leadership development consultant and certified executive coach. To her clients, she brings business experience with prestigious corporations and continuous education. Lisa’s work in business operations and B to B sales expertise allowed her to create a differentiated coaching model and client experience. Lisa and Pivotal Coaching are known for 1:1 and cohort Programs in leadership development and sales effectiveness.

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