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Words of wisdom from the world’s top executive coach, Marshall Goldsmith. Part 2 of 3

Source | business-financialpost-com : BY CRAIG DOWDEN

Dr. Marshall Goldsmith has been recognized multiple times as one of the Top 10 Most Influential Business Thinkers in the World as well as a top-ranked executive coach. He has authored or edited 35 books, including New York Times bestsellers MOJO and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, the latter receiving the Harold Longman Award for Business Book of the Year. He was also acknowledged by Fast Company as America’s pre-eminent executive coach and has received countless prestigious awards and accolades for his extraordinary contributions to leadership. This is the second of three parts.

CRAIG DOWDEN: What are some of the most important things an executive should ask before deciding to work with a coach?

MARSHALL GOLDSMITH: First and foremost, ask yourself why you want a coach. What are your goals? Then ask the coach what they do best. You want a coach whose specialty fits your needs. For example, my area of expertise is helping successful leaders achieve positive, lasting behavioural change. If you need help with another area, like marketing or business strategy, then I would be a useless coach. So you really need to match the needs of the client with the skills, background and expertise of the coach.

Look at the coach’s track record. Do they have a record of helping people do what they want to get done?

CD: Let’s say an executive has found a great fit, how should they prepare to get the most out of the coaching experience?

MG: Take responsibility for your own life. Realize the coach can only help you achieve your goals. Your coach cannot do it for you. I’m a Buddhist. Buddha said, “Only do what I teach if it’s for you.” Learn to listen to the coach without judging or critiquing all his or her ideas. Really ask, “What works for me?” and do that. If something doesn’t work for you, move on.

CD: One of your exercises that is a favourite among my clients is your Daily Questions exercise. What is it and how does it work?

MG:  It’s quite simple. Get out a spreadsheet. In one column, write down a series of questions that represent what’s most important in your life. These questions could be about friends, family, health, work, etc. And you add seven boxes across, one for every day of the week, Monday through Sunday. And every day, every question must be answered with a Yes, No or a number. And at the end of the week, the Excel spreadsheet will give you a report card, which tells you how well you are focusing on the most important priorities in your life.

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