A quarterly column for helping others heal and transform
Dr. Keith Merron (USA)
Seven executive coaches sat in a coach’s roundtable, each eager to learn from the others; each also feeling a sense of comfort and satisfaction in rubbing elbows with others with similar challenges. Dan, the youngest of the group, was talking about the difficulty he had with one of his clients, a CEO of a growing food chain. Dan, felt, and perhaps rightly so, that his client was overly demanding of his team and told his fellow coaches how he offered guidance to the CEO and how difficult the CEO was—basically how the CEO resisted what was clearly sage advice.
‘Been there, done that,’ responded the wizened elder of the group as he listened compassionately. ‘I’ve got the same problem,’ offered another member of the roundtable. ‘It’s a tough one,’ replied a third. The others all nodded in understanding. Dan felt enormously relieved.
After recounting his story more fully, Dan asked what seemed to everyone to be the natural question. Actually, it was a question they all expected him to ask, and he obliged. ‘What should I do?’
Each member of the group in turn, offered their suggestions. One said that this was par for the course and that Dan shouldn’t worry. ‘Keep at it. The CEO will eventually see the light of day.’ Another pointed out that the more Dan befriended the CEO, the better. It was clear to this coach, that ‘the relationship wasn’t yet solid,’ and then offered a couple of ideas for how to do that well. Each suggestion was delivered from within a paradigm embedded in the person advising—basically a theory of coaching success born out of a set of assumptions and beliefs. In no case did the coach delivering the suggestion own the paradigm. And in no case did the group discuss whether giving advice to each other was helpful. They did it rather automatically in spite of the fact that many of them professed to give more than advice when working with their clients.
Keith Merron is the Managing Partner of Leadership Pathways, a consulting firm dedicated to helping organisations with bold visions achieve sustainable high performance and industry leadership. As an organisation effectiveness and an executive development consultant, he has more than 35 years of experience assisting executives and managers in business, government, and education.
In the context of his consulting, he works with the C-suite as a transformational coach. In addition, Keith has designed and led over 100 seminars and workshops for leaders. He has helped create some of the most innovative leadership training programs in the country.
Keith received his Doctorate from Harvard University in 1985, where his studies spanned the fields of human and organisation development. He is the author of five books on human and organisational change and is putting the finishing touches on a new book, tentatively titled: The Art of Transformational Coaching.