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Executives Facing Challenges May Find Help With a Coach

Executives who find their challenges daunting - or who just want to sharpen their leadership skills - might benefit from a helper they probably had never thought of: a coach.  
Even at their highest level of achievement, some of the most successful business executives have benefited from coaching. And the key to their success, says one expert, is recognizing that they needed help and finding someone to provide it.
Lenann McGookey Gardner, an executive coach who has worked with hundreds of professionals from lawyers to scientists, is offering a free online assessment at her Web site,, to help professionals determine whether they are interested in developing better leadership qualities.
The 10-question assessment takes only minutes to complete. If a responder marks “Yes” to two of the questions, Gardner says he or she is “likely to benefit” from executive coaching. If a responder marks “Yes” to more than five questions, executive coaching can help make this year the person's most successful, she says.

“I spent 20 years as an executive in corporations, 18 years as a consultant to companies worldwide, and have been an executive coach for over a decade,” says Gardner. “In all that time, I've observed what works and what doesn't. I've experienced major successes and major mistakes, and observed what follows from both.

“I offer encouraging support as well as the benefit of all that experience, and can give ideas as to how other professionals have dealt successfully with many, many challenging situations,” she explains.

The assessment will give participants information and advice on finding a mentor, being singled out for a promotion, changing behavior for enhanced work/life balance, improving communication skills with high-powered people and dealing with politics in business." 

Those who send a message to Gardner through the contact page can get a free 30-minute telephone consultation with her to determine whether they can benefit from working with an executive coach.

Gardner says her approach is to respect the client and to invest time in understanding his or her perspective. 

“Then we move to goal-setting: If this coaching is completely successful, what will happen as a result?" She says she also asks what the client believes will result if the coaching " 'is wildly successful, beyond your expectations,'so we're clear about the coachee’s definition of terrific success.” Both parties have to agree before the coaching begins.

Gardner assigns homework and relates every session to the agreed-upon goals. She says most high achievers are attracted to structure, so they appreciate a goal-oriented, step-by-step approach to improving in areas they have found challenging.

If clients fail to progress, she suggests they delay further coaching until they can make it a current priority. “Motivated coachees mostly keep their commitments, make small but regular commitments to the coaching process, and achieve measurable – and often stupendous – results.”

Lenann McGookey Gardner is an executive coach, management consultant, adviser and author. For more information, visit her Web site at


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