Improved Leadership. Competitive Advantage.

The essence of a competitive advantage lies in a simple precept; to secure a competitive advantage you must have something that others don’t. For a moment, we want to comment on our competitive advantage—our executive and leadership coaches are without peer in the industry and are the seeds of our advantage.

Below, we highlight how we are different and better. By addressing this question, we offer some insight on how you can select and best prepare to get the most out of your leadership coaching experience.

Although we’re good—real good—in fact, there are two sides of the coaching equation. Of course, ELP supplies only one side of the equation—the coaching role. However, the other side is equally important—if not more so. And that’s the individual leader being coached.

While many think that the executive/leadership coach does all the heavy lifting, that can’t be further from the truth. The heavy-lifting metaphor just used is appropriate, as we’ll draw on the comparison between our coaching model and what a physical trainer does. So, out of the gate, leaders must want the experience. The best coach or the best physical trainer in the world can never drive change if the individual, at his or her core, does not want to get better. Sadly, this is a waste of money, resources, and most depressing, time. Second, the individual leader should mentally prepare for discomfort. Think about it—when we start a physical training regimen, we often look silly and feel particularly vulnerable as we try new routines. As we at ELP have witnessed, the same applies for the leader. Before leaders can grow, they must tread in the vulnerability space.

More than you think, people feel naked and afraid here. Especially leaders, who for years, were socialized that portraying strength and invincibility mattered most. Just like the physical training phenomenon, though, getting stronger and faster is impossible without stumbles and awkwardness that accompanies learning new and different exercises. Finally, just like the best athletes, leaders should be self-aware and receptive to coaching and feedback. While we always hesitate to issue declaratives, we violate that now. It is impossible to benefit from any type of coaching with a defensive, “I know best!” mentality. To the contrary, the very best coaching experiences we’ve been a part of involved the leader demanding tough feedback and inviting challenge. Inviting challenge, of course, requires us to shelve our egos and to replace it with courage and, you guessed it, the vulnerability notion mentioned above.

So, let’s get to ELP’s part of this coaching dynamic. At ELP, we abide by some key factors that distinguish us from the pack. First, we intellectually and emotionally push to the point of slight discomfort. Aiming for this sweet spot is critical. We embrace the physical trainer mentality mentioned above; if a physical trainer pushes too hard, people will quit and ask, “Why am I paying to get abused?” Conversely, though, if a physical trainer doesn’t push hard enough then people won’t lose weight or run any faster. Because of this, we aim to push slightly beyond the comfort zone where real progress is found. Also, and like the best physical trainers, we believe in accountability. The number one reason that individuals reach for the physical trainer is for the accountability component to the relationship. Left to our own devices, we won’t do the hard work or push the extra bit.

With an accountability partner, though, that dynamic changes. While we can often ignore or just flatly dismiss promises or commitments that we make to ourselves, we don’t like to let others down. That’s where a physical trainer or an ELP coach is needed. Finally, and unlike many traditional leadership coaches, we don’t waste time on the esoteric. We don’t want to know ‘why you don’t like your mother.’ Many of the executive or leadership coaches that we’ve encountered get into therapeutic space or the arena of licensed psychologists. We aren’t that. Not even close. We focus on driving performance. Specifically, we’ll build an ELP simplified, strategic One Page Plan for you, and then we’ll work the plan—not entirely unlike what a physical trainer does when he establishes goals and develops a plan to achieve those goals.

To recap, ELP offers among the best executive and leadership coaches in the world. But as good as we are, the individual still owns a good portion of this relationship. If you are interested in securing an executive or leadership coach that’s guaranteed to improve your trajectory, reach out now to one of ELP’s principals and original co-founders Robin Bichy at robin@elpadvantage.com.