In my executive coaching experience, it truly takes a village to grow a leader. While it would be great to have a manager that is also a great coach, most managers today find themselves often without enough time, energy, or skills to do this effectively, and human potential is compromised.

Yet, there is a different way. This different way is called “Stakeholder Centered Coaching”. It is a process that has been proven by the #1 Leadership Coach, Marshall Goldsmith, to have a 95% success ratwith leaders. I use this methodology in my coaching and I can attest to the results. If you could have a virtually guaranteed way to improve your leadership effectiveness, would you use it? Here’s how this works:


Five Steps for Successful Stakeholder Centered Coaching

Each leader identifies behaviors they would like to practice more of. In my executive coaching work with Fortune 500 leaders, I conduct 360-degree feedback interviews for the leader being coached. From these interviews, we determine the leader’s strengths as well as their opportunities for development. Once this is debriefed with the leader and their manager, the leader selects two to three specific behaviors that are actionable, observable, and measurable that they want to practice more of. This could include delegate more effectively, give feedback more effectively, communicate concisely, etc).

The leader engages stakeholders to help them shift their behaviors. I recommend that a leader identify no more than five to seven stakeholders (bosses, peers, direct reports) to help them make the shift in behaviors. The leader approaches them with the specific behaviors and asks for help and accountability. The conversation goes something like this:

  • Thank you for participating in my 360 feedback. Based on this feedback, I have decided to practice more these specific behaviors (specify chosen behaviors)
  • I would like your help in practicing and holding me accountable for these behavior shifts. Would you be willing to do that?
  • What ideas do you have for me to do more of (specify chosen behaviors)?
  • From your perspective, what actions on my part will demonstrate progress in these behaviors?
  • I plan to share my progress/plan with you monthly. Would you be willing to give me quick feedback/ideas monthly?
  • Would you be willing to take a quick survey to help me monitor my progress?

Involving stakeholders is critical to this process because it creates shared accountability for change. It also creates more supportive, interdependent and trusting relationships with stakeholders. Stakeholders are now involved in your growth, and this is very powerful because they are part of the shift in perception and impact that you’re creating and actively helping you to do that. In my experience, too many times leaders make shifts in behaviors that go unnoticed until stakeholders are specifically asked about these behavior shifts.

A client of mine recently said “You have no idea how great it is to get specific feedback from my stakeholders. People now come up to me after meetings and tell me what I did well and what I could have done better. This simple tool has helped me develop more trusted relationships with stakeholders in the last six months than in the 20 years I’ve worked with them!

The leader creates an action plan and shares it with their executive coach and stakeholders. The leader creates a 1-page bullet point action plan that they share with their stakeholders monthly. During the sessions with their executive coach, the leader discusses progress, challenges, new opportunities to engage and learn. Each month they solicit feedback from their stakeholders on their plan.

The leader executes their action plan and gets learning and new insights. As new behavior is practiced and leaders get in-the-moment feedback from their stakeholders, they are able to get new learning and start to create new leadership habits. For example, one of my coaching clients Anna was able to get quick feedback about how she delegates from her direct report.

The executive coach measures and reports progress on a quarterly basis. Once a quarter, the executive coach gets feedback from stakeholders via a quick internet-based survey and shares this feedback with the leader who can then share it with their manager(s). This measures progress against the behavior goals to bring greater accountability and results to the executive coaching process. Positive results and helpful comments from the survey are an enormous source of added motivation for the person being coached.

The Stakeholder Centered Coaching model overall brings more accountability and results to the coaching. It also creates a culture where growing others is not just the responsibility of a manager, but that of the organization, creating a culture and people that are more open to learning and growth. 

What are opportunities for you to use this model in your leadership growth? What do you see as the challenges?

If you are part of an organization that hires executive coaches, reach out to me for the “Tool-Kit for Executive Coaching Impact“. It helps HR leaders optimize the impact of their executive coaching program.