The Leadership Ascent

Harnessing the Power of Pause in Leadership

Premierehire Executive search and leadership strategies

Leading a team, a department, or even an entire organization is a lot like climbing a challenging mountain. Each step requires focus, intention, and sometimes, a momentary pause to ensure the path chosen is indeed the right one.

Drawing insight from Phil Powers, an acclaimed mountain climber, I’ve seen how his concept of the ‘rest step’ – a slight pause with each stride – can be applied to executive leadership. Powers found that by integrating these tiny moments of respite, he could continue his journey with renewed vigor, achieving the pinnacle with energy still in reserve.

But here’s the challenge for leaders. Many become so engrossed in scaling the heights of business objectives that they overlook the importance of these ‘rest steps’. While enthusiasm and focus is commendable, pausing can be misconstrued as a sign of inefficiency or hesitation.

Sometimes you need to slow down to accelerate

Senior leaders, particularly those leading a team up new paths with fast changing conditions, need to grasp this counterintuitive principle: sometimes, you need to slow down to accelerate. To distill complex strategies, to build cohesive teams, to engage employees, to envision a brighter future – these all demand a leader’s thoughtful reflection. Without the power of pause, a team could ascend only to get caught on a ledge, run out of oxygen, or worse. Even if the pinnacle is reached, they may be spent or have lost team members along the way.

Taking a leaf out of Carl Honore’s book, “In Praise of Slowness”, it’s imperative for leaders to reconnect with their “inner tortoise”. Only through introspection can we hone our leadership style to drive transformative results. This self-awareness ensures that leaders don’t remain ensconced in their bubbles but are attuned to the realities, challenges, and opportunities of the greater systems and the interconnectedness. An executive coach raises this attunement and can help a leader avoid the missteps of haste and take more thoughtful steps, and encompass the wider picture.  It is important that everyone reaches the pinnacle with renewed energy for the desent and the next ascent.

Executive coaching supports the pause & offers unparalleled ROI

Helping a leader to pause, reflect, and be more effective is a key attribute of coaching. Today’s forward-thinking organizations no longer reserve coaching for budding or struggling leaders but also make it a priority for their top-performing leaders. The reason is simple: executive coaching offers unparalleled ROI.

A leader’s growth and effectiveness cascades down the hierarchy, bolstering the entire team’s capabilities and nurturing future organizational leaders. As a leadership coach, I have seen this cascade have huge benefits to company culture and results. The significant ROI of executive coaching also comes from leaders being more focused and aligned on their biggest challenges so they can help drive exceptional transformation and results.

Extensive research and case studies have measured the ROI of leadership coaching anywhere from 6 to 8 times, especially when employee retention is considered.

  • According to the International Coaching Federation (ICF), 86% of organizations saw an ROI on their Coaching engagements, and 96% of those who had an Executive Coach said they would repeat the process. Behind these results were tangible as well as intangible factors. Tangible factors included increased productivity, higher levels of overall employee performance, reduced costs, growth in revenue and sales, higher employee retention, and higher engagement of employees. Intangible factors were increased confidence of those being coached, improved communication, more vital employee and peer-to-peer, and key stakeholder relationships.

What will you, as a leader, gain from the power of pause in executive coaching?

  1. Break the Echo Chamber: An adept coach will push you to question and challenge your ingrained assumptions. You’ll be nudged to adopt a multifaceted systemic perspective, understanding that your viewpoint, while important, isn’t the sole narrative.

2. Unlock Your Authentic Self: Executive coaching is akin to holding a mirror to oneself. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of your intrinsic strengths and acknowledge areas that need reinforcement. Embracing this holistic self-awareness is pivotal for genuine leadership. Brain research tells us that this process is difficult to do on your own and an outside voice is needed.

3. Elevate Strategic Foresight: Just as a mountain climber gauges the best path forward, through coaching, you’ll refine your decision-making prowess, ensuring each choice aligns with your overarching vision and business objectives.

4. Cultivate Courageous Leadership: Armed with clarity and reinforced self-belief, you’ll find the confidence to make audacious decisions, charting unexplored territories that can redefine the future trajectory of your organization.

5. Diminish the Solitude of Leadership: Leadership can sometimes be a lonely journey. An executive coach serves not just as a guide but also as a confidant, ensuring that you never feel isolated, regardless of the challenges you face.

In essence, to embark on an executive coaching journey is to commit to a transformative leadership ascent. Just as one wouldn’t scale a mountain without the right gear and guidance, navigating the complexities of leadership demands specialized insights, perspectives, and tools.

In the complex journey of leadership, embracing the power of the ‘rest step’ (the power of pause) might just be your secret weapon with a coach to help make it happen and help you do it well. As you endeavor to reach the pinnacle of your leadership journey, know that with the right guidance and reflection, you’ll not only achieve your goals but do so with energy, passion, and purpose to spare. Welcome to the world of strategic pauses and transformative ascents!

To explore if executive coaching is for you please book a consult with me.

The Author

Leanne Abraham helps leaders and teams reach higher levels of performance and fulfillment in their work.

Leanne serves as an executive & team coach, facilitator, leadership trainer, and talent advisor. Her coaching, tools, and proven processes elevate organizational health, growth, and transformation to attract great people and build great places to work because ‘people are the point’.

She and her team also help organizations find and retain top people with their 4 Phase Executive Search and New Leader Integration Solutions.

Leanne has over 25 years of executive leadership experience and is a certified executive and team coach (EMCC). She is a certified coach for Birkman Leadership and Career Assessments and has extensive training with the Adizes Institute for Organizational Transformation, Robbins Madanes Intervention coaching, the European Mentoring & Coaching Council (EMCC), and the Global Team Coaching Institute (GTCI). She also has a degree in Psychology and a Masters in Business from UBC.

Leanne serves clients throughout the US and Canada, ranging in size and industry.

If you are looking to elevate your team, your leadership, or your career, please send an email or book a complimentary consult.

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