The American poet and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “A friend is one before whom I may think aloud.” This “thinking aloud” without self-censorship or posturing is the hallmark of trust in any relationship, and is particularly true of any coaching relationship. In order for executives to extract the most from coaching, they have to feel comfortable to freely share their thoughts and feelings with their coaches. At times, this may include candidly voicing their concerns and fears, and even disclosing their mistakes and misgivings. At the same time, leaders must be willing to take in what they hear from us during the coaching session, without hiding behind defensiveness or self-justification.
For leaders who are used to exercising a high level of power and control, this means being able to make the psychological shift necessary to place themselves in a position of increased vulnerability. This willingness to
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