I recently had a chat with an ex-colleague from my previous employer. As he used
to do so frequently before, he told me a few things that were going on in the
company. And so I thought, how would I have dealt with these challenges if I were
still a manager there? I further asked myself, how would I have done things today if I
had never left?
And I noticed a big difference between these two scenarios. I realized that because
of my career development from senior manager to executive coach, my views,
beliefs and skills have changed considerably. Leaving the company gave me the
freedom to think beyond daily tasks and job requirements. It allowed me to look at
things differently and to tremendously expand my horizons. Furthermore, I spent
more time than ever before to study diverse approaches towards leadership and
A considerable break or sabbatical from the regular daily work could allow
managers to expand their horizons and depth of knowledge. This could lead to
better approaches towards the challenges inherent to any management position.
Now I know of course that this is easier said than done. For various reasons this
idea is not a feasible option for most managers. So I thought, what could be a good
alternative? How could busy managers make better decisions through an expanded
view of their work? How could they fast-track their leadership ability?
Having worked with a considerable number of senior executives, I know that one of
the key benefits I provide to them as an executive coach is that I look at things from
a different perspective…which I share with them. I can inspire and sometimes
challenge them to think beyond their normal thought patterns. This, in turn, leads
to improved decision making. Obviously, it is also my responsibility to assist my
coachees in the development of their leadership skills. This helps them improve the
engagement of their staff and retain their best people.
Putting myself again mentally into my previous management position, I realize that
a professional executive coach could have helped me fill the awareness and
knowledge gaps I could have otherwise acquired only by taking a break of several
So if you can’t take a break, get at least a good coach!