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Top Ten Coaching Tips For First Time MD's (or CEO's)

Posted almost 2 years ago by James Taylor


Becoming an MD or CEO for the first time, or moving into a new "Number One" job poses a number of challenges, I know as I am in this position myself.

I came up with the "First Time MD" idea in November 2017 after placing a good friend into the Managing Director position for a local SME.  Pre-start date, we met for dinner and discussed ideas around his "first 100 days" and it was at this point that we both recognised how useful it would be if we could share ideas, problems, opportunities etc on an ongoing basis.  We thought, if this is good for us, it is definitely going to be good for others too.  And so the event started to take shape.

We trialled the idea in our Nottingham Office with a close circle of MD's who I have assisted with a number of career moves over the years.  That event was such a success that the delegates all requested to meet once a quarter for three hours. The next one is on January 22nd 2019.

So I took the idea to Louise Donaghy, Head of Executive Education at DeMontfort University... she jumped at the chance to host the event and even provided us with two highly experienced Exec Coach's for the evening in Lucy Mullins and Sonya Shellard (thankyou to both of you if you're reading this).

Lucy and Sonya showed us four techniques that we can all take back and start to use in our respective businesses immediately:

  • Thinking Outloud & Supportive Silence - the power of speaking without interuption. 
  • Top 10 Coaching Questions - to help others answer their own questions. 
  • The Hot Seat Challenge - explain your challenge and then write down all the questions people ask without answering them.
  • Obstacle Audit - the "what might prevent us achieving our goals" technique.

For anyone interested in attending any future follow up sessions, it is important to note that this wasn't a "death by theory" evening, it was about practical tips and advice that we can use to manage real life situations, my top takeaways that I want to share with you are:

  1. Let people speak freely without interuption.
  2. Asking questions when people are speaking shifts the agenda to your agenda, not their's.  Don't do it until they have really finished speaking.
  3. "Think-time" is critical to success.  As MD you have to set time aside to work "ON" rather than "IN" the business.  
  4. When you're in the business, be present.  Listen, really listen.
  5. GREAT COACHING QUESTION #1 - "if I was in your shoes, what would you advise me?"
  6. GREAT COACHING QUESTION #2 - "make a list of ALL of the things you could do to improve your situation"
  7. ...now make two more additions to the list!
  8. You must be able to articulate your challenge to other people who don't work for your business and who have zero experience of your sector.  Solutions are often simpler than you imagine (that's not to say that they are easy!).
  9. Having a support network of people who are prepared to ask the "silly questions" is hugely beneficial... you will never get this within your own organisation.
  10. BELIEF is critical to success.  As leaders, we must ask for people's "belief score" before we start something new.  As the saying goes, whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, YOU'RE RIGHT.

We all have to juggle so many balls, spin plates and occasionally put out the odd fire as Business Leaders.  One thing that I have learned is that you have to have fun doing it or what's the point.  My biggest tip, from my own experience, is that you need to surround yourself with people who excel in their own field, their own specialism.  If you don't, you'll end up carrying people and therefore doing more work yourself.

If you would like to register your interest in one of our next MD Group sessions please register below:

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