The Power of Executive Coaching Triads

Magic happens during executive coaching triads because the sessions facilitate incredibly succinct, transparent communication between leaders and the CEO.

Video Transcription

I want to share with you something that I found a few years ago, when I stumbled onto a tool that has been incredibly powerful for helping to improve the performance of executives.

Actually, so powerful, it shocked me.

I’ve been coaching now almost 19 years, and have worked with hundreds of CEOs, and executives around the world, and it’s almost embarrassing to me that I didn’t find this tool earlier. This tool, is what I call “executive coaching triads” (‘triads’ for three).

The idea was to get a methodology that could be scalable: to take unknown coaches, and bring them in to support leaders in the company, before we really knew how effective they were. Basically, the CEO could keep an eye on them.

I did some work with my coach, Nan O’Connor. She’s brilliant, and we figured out this methodology, with her help. This idea of the triad is that, as part of the coaching methodology, there is a regular quarterly feedback session between the CEO, the executive, and the coach.

And this is what it looks like: There’s normal coaching work that happens, in terms of figuring out how a leader can grow. But then, every quarter, we sit down with a simple agenda:

  • The executive has 10 minutes to share where they’re doing well, and making progress, and where they need to improve.
  • Then, the CEO, for their seven to 10 minutes, says where they see the executive making progress, and where they need to improve.
  • As the coach that’s there, I make some notes, add in any other comments or commentary, and then clarify the areas where that executive needs to grow.

And the magic that happens in those sessions – I wouldn’t believe it, if I hadn’t seen it myself – is that it forces this incredibly succinct, transparent communication between the leader and the CEO.

Secondly, the CEO gets a sense of the work that the coach is doing – to almost audit the coach, to see the coach in action, and hear some of the things that they’re working on.

Thirdly, because the three of us have been witness to that conversation, the follow-through is incredible, mostly because they know that, next quarter, we’re going to have the same conversation, where we’re gonna have the follow-through, and again, talk about the improvement in the next areas of focus. It’s quite fascinating.

The idea – the best part for the CEOs watching this – is that you can go through and give feedback to your entire executive team in two hours a quarter – deep, powerful feedback.

Because it’s quick, you’re succinct, and get to the real meaty points.

The CEO gets more comfortable giving feedback, the executives get more of the feedback that they all seem to crave. It’s incredibly time efficient.

After that, the coach goes on to work with the executive.

The challenge today, as a CEO: look to make sure that your executives are getting regular, powerful feedback to help them grow. And, as an executive, or a leader in a company, make sure that you’re doing the same with your people.

There’s a bit of a cheesy saying: “Feedback is the breakfast of champions” – and I do believe that.

Truthful, helpful feedback, with an intent to make a person grow, is the best way to grow strong leaders. Have a great day.