Frequently Asked Questions
Executive & Leadership Coaching
Great question and the answer really begins with why you want an executive coach in the first place. "Coaching" has become a huge field with many different perspectives on what coaching should be. Are you looking for a consultant (e.g., someone to tell you based on their view what you need to do differently, or are you looking for someone to challenge your thought process to help you come up with a broader way of thinking about the different situation? This type of question is incredibly important to ensure you are engaging with someone who will be a good fit for you. At Strategy People Culture, you can expect us to consistently be modeled in the theory that your coach's role is to challenge your thinking, support you in expanding past your comfort zone, and be a private accountability partner. While we will certainly share perspectives we may have, you should expect us to push you to a place where you can fully own your decisions so you can better learn from the mistakes and sustain the successes. You can expect your coach to provide a safe and trusted partnership that you may not receive in the day-to-day business context.
What is making better decisions over the course of time worth? What is having your employees better respect you worth? Can you put a price on your own happiness? Effective coaching should strengthen your self-awareness (even if you believe you are already self-aware), make you a better leader, help you see greater perspective to make better decisions, and much much more.
The role of a good executive coach will adapt based on the needs of their clients. SPC coaches will be more thought and challenge partners than advisors. Your coach will challenge your thinking, support you in pushing beyond your comfort zone, and be an accountability partner. This will take many forms, from being a sounding board to being a role model, an outlet to talk about various issues with, and sometimes pushing back when you need it.
Our point of view is an executive coach can ALWAYS be of value. The key is for the leader to be successfully coached to be receptive and open-minded. Coaching unequivocably works best when working with a high achieving and successful leader that is simply looking for help to raise the ceiling of their potential. Other organizations engage coaches when they have a valuable member of the team who is successful in many ways but struggling with a particular issue. Some companies look to coaches to help with last-resort situations to turn around a faltering employee. SPC is not interested in those last-ditch situations as we do not believe they have a high chance of success.
The most important thing is to give real thought to what you are working on between sessions. It is not unusual to have "homework" from meeting to meeting. Ensuring you do the work in between meetings will ensure you achieve maximum results. Beyond that, bring your issues, thoughts, and ideas into the meeting. Executive coaching is about your agenda, not the coaches. If you show up and are present in the conversation, you will have quite a great ride!
The biggest reason for hiring an outside company such as Strategy People Culture to perform an investigation of an employee complaint is for objectivity and neutrality. The sad truth is, internal employees who are often conducting investigations have competing interests around the results of the investigation. To get to an objective conclusion is critical. Hiring an independent company has many implications, including risk management. Ask yourself, if you had to defend your company in a court case, what do you think would have more credibility in front of a jury: a member of your company's management, a member of your company's human resources team, or an expert independent and neutral third party.
Investigations vary in size, scope, and complexity. Strategy People Culture prides itself on being flexible to move quickly if and when our clients are ready. We understand there can be time sensitive and SPC will work with you on meeting your time requirements. If time horizons and expectations are not achievable, you can expect us to communicate proactively with you.
There is not a one-size-fits-all to investigations. Often, investigations involve interviewing complainants, potential bad actors, and possible witnesses and looking to find corroborating support in other ways. Usually, the goal of an investigation is to try to determine if a particular action, more likely than not did or did not, occur based on a preponderance of evidence standard.
We do not share information on our investigations with anyone other than the client contact and other authorized members of the client. We do not actively share information with other parties, including witnesses unless considered helpful for an individual interview. We do not commit to absolute confidentiality; however, as a general rule, we take reasonable effort to treat information as confidential. Please note, our investigations are generally not subject to privilege. You should consult with your attorney prior to hiring us.
Too often, we see employers not take some basic preventative measures against sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace until after they have a problem. We strongly recommend all employers have anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies, complaint procedures, and provide regular training in this area. Additionally, being deliberate on your culture in a way that mitigates discriminatory situations may be extremely helpful.
Anti-Harassment and Anti-Discrimination Training
Yes, maybe, and no. Depending on the State or City you are located in, there may be specific laws mandating training. Even if you are in a jurisdiction that does not have a law mandating this training, there is federal case law, and in many States, State case law, indicating the potential legal benefits of having training or lack of potential legal remedies by not having training.
Yes, we strongly recommend every employee, including independent contractors working on behalf of your organization, go through this training. It is clear under federal and many local laws, people, have a protected right to go to work free from sexual harassment and discrimination. It is also clear employers can be held liable for situations where these rights are violated. Training in this area is an important part of mitigating both potential workplace incidents and relative risks.
Legislative mandates differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction throughout the United States. We recommend as a best practice, training is done at the time of a new hire starting with an organization and annually, regardless of where your employees are located.
There are legal, moral, ethical, cultural, productivity, profitability, recruiting/retention, and risk management reasons that individually and collectively are important reasons to do this training.
This is too broad of a question to answer quickly. At a very high-level, someone being treated differently based on a "protected class" that has the effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment could create a discriminatory situation.
The wonderful thing about organizational culture is there is no singular answer to this question. Culture is a continuously created environmental phenomenon. What works in one organization may not necessarily work in another organization. The best workplace cultures are in companies that know what their organization's culture is and are deliberate about what the culture is and aligning this effectively to the organization's operation purpose.
Every member of the team contributes to organizational culture.
When your company isn't sure what their culture is, struggles around alignment, has operational issues, is experiencing high turnover, isn't getting proper productivity, or in general, feels there is not good employee engagement; these are all signs your company could benefit from some consulting help in this space.
Culture is more of a byproduct of effective leadership. Leadership should be deciding what behaviors they are looking for in their employees to drive desired organizational success. Good leadership will be stewards of these behaviors and hold employees accountable who exhibit opposite behaviors.
We do not share information on one client with anyone else. Even if our marketing efforts or reference requests disclose a company, it is always done with permission in advance. We take the work, and the confidential nature of this, very seriously.