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Coaching the Emperor

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I recently read the classic bedtime story to my son, Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. You’ll remember the key plot twist in which the Emperor gets tricked into believing he is wearing an absolutely splendid outfit but is, in fact, wearing nothing at all. His tragic mistake arises not solely out of stupidity but because he’s surrounded himself with sycophantic courtiers who favour fawning compliments over candid feedback. One little child, independent in thought and not on the Emperor’s payroll, dares to points out that the Emperor is actually naked, and the whole charade falls apart as the Emperor is exposed and embarrassed in front of all.

If only the Emperor had had the benefit of access to executive coaching!

Well okay, that’s perhaps not the lexicon that would have been used at the time. But the principle stands, in both the story and in contemporary corporate life. Whose job is it to encourage leaders to see themselves for who they really are? A coach helps to:

  • create a psychologically safe and non-judgmental space
  • bring about improved self-awareness

This allows the leader to think about not only about how they lead but how others experience themselves in their presence.

Leadership in the 21st Century is increasingly about this latter point; the atmosphere that leaders curate, not the prescriptive directions they give.

We equip and accredit coaches to support senior executives by challenging them constructively, helping them to find their true selves, overcome their barriers and perform even more effectively.

One of the ways we do this is through our Cambridge Advanced Executive Coaching Programme which gives participants the tools to help infuse a coaching culture into the fibre of organisations.

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