Thanks to the megaphone of social media and the onslaught of a 24-hour news cycle, the dark side of humanity seems all too often on display these days. Many of us, as coaches, find ourselves caught up in a collective gasp, asking:
It may feel quaint or outdated to talk about the importance of character in leadership success. Yet, on occasion, an organization acts swiftly, with a clarity of values and a unified voice — as ABC/Disney did in their decision to cancel their top-rated television show after Roseanne Barr’s racist tweets — and we are reminded there are still leaders out there who walk their talk.
Safe to say, we all know intuitively that honesty and ethics — even the facts — still matter. And, as we will hear in this month’s webinars, the empirical evidence is clear: integrity has a direct impact on the bottom line. Yet, as coaches, we also know that a topic like character can be challenging to bring into a coaching conversation. In a time when our social discourse is so fragmented, it is sometimes easier to avoid subjects that can quickly become political or polarizing.
On June 6th, Suzanne Bates and Walter Jackson of the Bates Group presented: Coaching Executives to Lead Their Companies to Growth: What Qualities Really Matter? (a recording is now available to IOC Members on our site). On June 26th, Mark Thompson, an expert on leadership, business strategy and innovation will be joined by senior leaders from Intel and the World Bank, to present: Business Transformation: How to Drive Change and Create a Culture of Innovation.
In these presentations, our experts explore the key attributes effective leaders need today. You will hear real-world case studies and learn tips on how coaches can help bring out the best in leaders (the character that counts), in spite of the cacophonous echo chamber of our political and social discourse.
Our featured research article provides an accessible, yet academically rich, summary of one of the few empirical studies that have tested the impact of a leader’s integrity on the engagement and performance of followers. It’s the kind of research that coaches can use to underscore how specific behaviors — transparency in communication, consistency between speaking and acting — affect the performance of their teams.
In this context, I am reminded of the advice I received from an early mentor when I first started coaching up-and-coming leaders. She suggested that at some point during an engagement, I bring two key questions to my client:
Twenty years later, I continue to look for the right moment to ask these questions, which invariably leads to a powerful exploration of what really matters. Today, more than ever, we need to ask the questions that count. We hope these resources will help you do just that.
IOC Director of Education and Business Development
The IOC is a global community of coaches.