In CorpoHub team, we often share books worth sharing in a form of short presentation – what is worth remembering about the book, what we liked about it, why do we recommend the book, etc. We decided to start sharing books we’ve read on our blog, to inspire other people with those books as well.

Why is this book worth reading

Marshall Goldsmith’s book What got you here won’t get you there is a great read for everyone, interested in coaching and leadership. He has almost 30 years of experience in the field, so his book is based solely on his learnings and observations, which brings a real added value (in comparison to books that cite other authors/theories related to coaching and leadership). He describes two interlaced topics really well:

  1. Process of coaching (how to coach leaders to change their behavior, which steps to take – he goes in details, with quite some unexpected steps on the way).
  2. The most common leadership behavior/habits, that require coaching (he describes 20 behaviors/habits leaders have that he most often works on).
coach leader behaviour

Why is changing behavior hard

  • We are not talking about skills, knowledge, intelligence or personality, we are talking about our behavior and interaction with other people – which is often very hard to change.
  • Our past successes strengthen our belief, that we were successful, we are successful and we will be successful – so, therefore, our behavior is okay, our flaws are not problematic.
  • Most leaders change their behavior only when something important to them is threatened (money, status, popularity or power).
  • We don’t want to change, we don’t see the need to change and actually making a change is hard work.

Examples of problematic behavior

Marshall described 20 different behaviors with stories and examples. Here are just three of them, to give you an idea:

  • Adding too much value (adding your two cents to every discussion, leaders can’t let go of things or feel the need to contribute to everything, to comment on every idea or initiative out there. They see themselves as approachable, proactive and full of ideas, while their employees are deeply annoyed by their micromanagement).
  • Starting with no, but, however (overuse of these negative qualifiers which secretly say to everyone – you are wrong and I am right, leaders try to politely dismiss ideas and share their rich experience, but this demotivates the team and decreases productivity).
  • Failing to give proper recognition (inability to praise or reward, leaders don’t praise for different reasons – not their style, lack of time, lack of awareness, which again demotivates the people around them. They might have a successful team – but with praise, they could have an extraordinary team).

Why is giving feedback so hard

  • 360 degrees anonymous feedback is the most effective method for leaders to really get honest and useful negative feedback
  • We don’t want to receive negative feedback and we don’t want to give negative feedback
  • For people at higher positions (CEOs other leaders) negative feedback is even more rare – people don’t want to give negative feedback to people that decide about their salaries, promotion, etc.
  • We only accept feedback that is in line with the way we see ourselves
  • It is much easier to see flaws in other people than ourselves
  • 95 % of us think that we are better than we really are
coach leader behavior

Intrigued? Read the book – you can also borrow it from our CorpoHub library and let us know, what do you think about it.