Big Red Car here. Bit cool but bright and sunny. The Boss is out power washing the driveway. The Boss loves power washing. [he is really a simpleton who readily embraces simple solutions. But, hey, who doesn’t love a clean driveway and walks and patio?]
So I was eavesdropping on a couple of conversations between The Boss and some of his brilliant CEO clients. They were talking about chemistry. Huh?
One client in particular had had a great year and their coaching relationship has lasted for going on two years. They have developed an effective relationship which the Big Red Car thinks is attributable in no small part to chemistry. Personal chemistry. The CEO and his team are crushing it and the world is beating a path to their door.
Here is what the entrepreneur recently had to say about The Boss on LinkedIn:
“Jeff Minch is an executive sherpa with an indispensable array of proven strategies, personal experience and entrepreneurial kung-fu that any CEO could benefit from having in his or her back-court.
Top level leaders of limited or broad experience would be remiss to assume they would not benefit from the wisdom of the Big Red Car as a co-pilot, security blanket or utility infielder.
Adaptability may be his superpower.
JLM, as I call him, has helped me navigate structural, leadership, alignment and private equity challenges within RevZilla’s unrelenting hyper-growth environment.
When I reflect upon all of Jeff’s contributions, it’s probably appropriate to buy this man a steak – or perhaps a whole steer.”
WTF, Big Red Car, “chemistry”?
Chemistry is the natural emotion that occurs between two individuals which enables them to work together on a personal and professional basis with mutual trust and almost effortless communication.
It is a state of being that develops over time. It requires effort. There is a huge payoff when such chemistry is able to develop.
It is a force multiplier. A very powerful force multiplier.
How to develop chemistry
The first thing that has to happen is an acknowledgement on the part of the CEO coach and the entrepreneur that “chemistry” even exists. That it can be developed. The Boss is a believer and has experienced it myriad times.
It takes two to make it happen and it happens gradually. It requires the investment of energy. In every relationship worth having it is energy which fuels it.
The path to good chemistry is different for all entrepreneurs. It may require an acknowledgement of vulnerability on the part of the entrepreneur. It is the manifestation of trust.
The Boss is a good listener but only because he wants to be a good listener. There is no natural talent at work here. He understands the power of knowing from whence the entrepreneur is coming. The Boss will take copious notes and will not make the entrepreneur retrace the path of their journey.
The Boss will typically provide the entrepreneur with several documents which will probe for the nature of the business, the business model canvas and an understanding of how the relationship could typically develop. Here they are.
This sets a clear understanding of the point of departure and the journey. It is not necessary that one do all the work that is outlined in these documents but to simply understand what work is necessary. Much of what is discussed is already in an entrepreneur’s head. When the entrepreneur is ready, it will come out.
This is the first step in relationship building. We will talk about “CEO Coaching — Relationship” at a later date.
If after a couple of months of working with a CEO coach, you don’t have a sense of personal chemistry developing and confidence that you are headed toward mutual trust and easy communication — bring it to the attention of your coach and see if the feeling is mutual.
Talk it through.
If you cannot make progress toward that goal — GET A DIFFERENT CEO COACH.
In over 35 such contacts this year, The Boss has never failed to make such a connection. Some are more powerful than others.
The Boss is always willing to invest the requisite energy in a relationship but sometimes the timing is just not right. Timing impacts chemistry very powerfully. Do not fight the feeling. If the timing is not right, then move on and perhaps wait until it is.
The Boss will likely never be the one to kick an entrepreneur out the door but The Boss will hold it open as the entrepreneur exits. The Boss will not bash a relationship to fit when the timing is not right. He will likely stay in touch.
The entrepreneur has to come to the relationship with his game face on and a willingness to seek the advice. It is useful if the entrepreneur is ready to and seeks to excel. He does not have to implement the advice. That is the funny thing about coaching, it is a two way discussion not a monologue. The entrepreneur has to be ready to embrace the advice. That’s the timing aspect of things.
A good CEO coach does not assign homework but rather helps the entrepreneur to see the possibilities. The CEO is still the whip hand in the implementation. The CEO will know when they are ready. Don’t fight your instincts.