Leadership Coaching

Coaching Statement and Method

Women's leadership consulting and coaching - Sally HelgesenIn coaching women leaders, my ultimate purpose is to help them better recognize and more powerfully articulate their greatest strengths while determining how these align both with their organization’s mission and the ultimate impact they as individuals seek to have on the world. This emphasis on strengths also requires identifying any specific behaviors or habits that may have served them in the past but could undermine them as they move to higher levels — strengths that could threaten to become weaknesses as their span of authority and influence broadens. The client and I then develop a detailed plan for acting on her top identified strengths, addressing potential challenges and holding herself accountable for growth, in part by engaging others in her development.

Leadership coaching - Sally Helgesen
Sally is featured in The Art and Practice of Leadership Coaching: 50 Top Coaches Reveal Their Secrets, by Marshall Goldsmith and Howard Morgan

I prefer to use the Stakeholder Centered Coaching method, in which I am certified. SCC provides a simple yet highly disciplined process for effecting long-term positive measurable leadership change by engaging stakeholders who interact with the leader as witnesses to and participants in her growth. But I also draw on what I’ve learned in thirty years of observing, interviewing, writing about and working with women leaders around the world to help them hone their own most effective leadership style and consistently demonstrate the integrity, courage and commitment to inclusive practice required to fully engage the talents and creativity of those they lead.

I am not formally trained in assessment, so I rely on internal or outsourced surveys, typically provided to me by Human Resources. But I supplement these results with my own extensive in-person interviews, both with the client and her team, manager, board, peers or direct reports–– whichever stakeholders will be most pertinent in helping meet her goals.

On occasion I partner on a coaching assignment with Marshall Goldsmith, who has now retired from formal coaching but whose mentorship adds a powerful dimension to the client experience. When we partner, I actively work with the client, do the interviews, manage the scheduling and reporting and help identify and engage the stakeholders. Marshall offers the client feedback and insights, makes himself available by phone and for in-person meetings, and includes the client in his regularly scheduled CEO Small Dinners, attended by the world’s top executives.

Marshall and I also provide one or two leadership classes or seminars in organizations where we jointly coach a client as part of our package. I offer this as well when I coach a client solo. This helps prepare the ground for more consistent alignment within the organization as well as a common language around leadership development and stakeholder concepts, with ancillary benefits for those who may not have access to a coach.