Executive Coaching and The Queen

Oh yes, there is a common thread through The Queen’s Diamond Jubile and executive coaching. It’s not obvious, it’s about – connecting. Connecting one person to another in a relationship that has far reaching impact.

This weekend I stopped to watch with millions of others as Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Diamond Jubilee. There is something about such an event that makes us stop and take note of how time passes.

Beyond the brilliance and ceremony, I was struck by Queen Elizabeth II the person, and her relationships – specifically her relationships with the British prime ministers past and present.

Here in front of me was a great example of an executive coaching relationship. An example I could share with others to help them better understand the role and importance of coaching.

The Queen as executive coach.

Since Sir Winston Churchill, HM Queen Elizabeth II has invited the British Prime Minister for regular audiences (meetings). Take a moment to let that sink in. To date she has counseled 13 Prime Ministers.

As I watched video documenting this audience and listened to the commentary, I could not help but notice the similarities to an executive coaching relationship.

Before we get carried away, I am in no way comparing myself or any executive coach with Her Majesty. Though I do admire how she presents herself and would love to emulate a few things, what I am sharing is only how I experienced this small moment of an otherwise grand existence.

Because of the visibility of these two roles (Monarch and Prime Minister), it makes it easier to use as an example of  a  coaching relationship to those who have not experienced it for themselves. Here are a few of the similarities:

  • The audience (meeting) is between only the two individuals;
  • There are no minutes or recordings allowing each to be authentic and open;
  • The prime minister (the client) is comfortable and free to say whatever is on his/her mind;
  • The PM uses this discussion to think through situations;
  • The queen (coach) provides a unique perspective;
  • The queen serves as a sounding board;
  • The queen serves as counsel;
  • This audience happens regularly, providing accountability;
  • Each respects the other’s differences;
  • Each has made a commitment to the relationship by preparing for each meeting by reading and studying crucial documents);
  • Each is open to changing their perspective through discussion;

Ultimately these two individuals of power work as a team, each with a different role but both with the greater good in mind.

Leadership Lesson: Take Time for Counsel

All leaders need to take time to seek counsel outside of their own organization. It need not be someone who has been in your position (that would resemble a mentor more than a coach) but rather someone who can provide some of the elements above.

A formal relationship with an executive coach (or other professional who provides counsel) has more strength and impact than a casual or informal relationship. Without the formal agreement, there is a lack of accountability, commitment, and thus results.

Who is your formal counsel in your role?

until next time,

your executive coach