Transforming Internal Audit Leadership: When to invest in Executive Coaching

Every leader has a story that is a tale of many challenges and many opportunities which revolve around your ability to thrive in chaos – your ability to grow resilience.  The Center for Resilience has recently revised its definition of resilience to be “the ability to thrive in chaos”.  

If you are a leader who wants to make an impact in the world, you need to build your resilience – both mental and physical – to make that change. This requires a number of factors.  The main one being the ability to look inside yourselves – for there lies all the strength, ideas and creativity to deal with any situation you face.  The trouble is that our ability to coach ourselves is very like our ability to tickle ourselves – almost impossible.  You need a guide to help you. You need a coach.  

So what does a coach offer for Internal Audit Leaders?

Paul Whitman, part of the PotentialSquared Delivery Team, takes up the story: “I think many auditors would benefit from an executive coach as they move into people leadership for the first time. Then they have the next transition when they take on a Regional or Head of Audit role where they have multiple teams and several direct reports. These transitions require them to do an audit of themselves, their leadership and in many cases to acquire a new skill set. To do that alone is a real challenge.  A coaching relationship would certainly help them to make sense of the changes and equip themselves for the change required.”

For a lot of leaders, finding the time to pause and reflect is tough enough. To carve time out of your diaries to consider, plan and craft your personal goals is incredibly tough.  Coaching from a good professional coach helps leaders to hone and work effectively on achieving their personal and career goals.

A PotentialSquared client described his frustrations before he had the benefit of receiving coaching. “I was leading a regional audit team. I had been doing the job for several years and was getting frustrated due to the lack of opportunity for progressing my career.” This is not unusual for most leaders.  We desire to have a role that will stretch us and provide us the opportunity for continuous learning and development.  For some, it is the title or the salary.  For most, the bigger desire is the level of our growth, stretch and impact.  We spend a lot of time working in our lives.  We sacrifice a lot and that sacrifice we want to make it worthwhile.

The client continued: “I felt that I had come to a point where the learning had slowed down, there were limited opportunities for career growth, and I started feeling I was operating in my comfort zone.”

Things soon changed, however, when the client decided to collaborate with an executive coach from PotentialSquared. “The coach was an excellent listener who showed a genuine interest in getting to know me. He spent quality time with me, going over my career ambitions, goals, and concerns. He used mind-mapping very effectively during these conversations and helped me to structure my thinking and career plan.

“He was open and honest in his feedback and gave me insightful feedback which motivated me to prioritize my career growth. It forced me get out of my comfort zone and explore opportunities to break through the glass ceiling that was blocking my career growth. 

It also made me structure my thinking in terms of what the next step should be in my career growth journey. Finally, it brought a sense of urgency to my career action planning. As a result, I have become more aware of which direction I want my career to go and how fast I want to get there.”

Our need as humans is for someone to light fires inside us. To ignite a new or latent energy and passion for the next phase in our career. Sometimes we just need a fire lit under our feet to get us to take that leap and find a new path or a new source of energy. 

Goals in our career give us a direction.  The challenges on our journey to those goals provide us with an infinite source of learning.  Honing those goals and defining our learning through deep reflection and insight creation requires a guide or guides.  A coach provides a safe space to distil your own learning and to help reshape your goals allowing you to be ready for the next series of challenges you’ll face. 

When is the right time for you to consider using an executive coach?

  • You know you need to take a step up or make a radical change in how you deploy your leadership but are struggling to articulate those changes
  • You are finding it a challenge to make key habit and practice changes – the methods, blockers and time seem to be insurmountable;
  • You are consistently receiving feedback that your leadership style isn’t effective, but you don’t know how to adapt your style while remaining true to yourself;
  • You are making a move from being a subject matter expert into a people leadership role and you’ve never led people before;
  • You have been passed over for promotion but are still unclear why. You are working in a confusing feedback situation or even worse in a feedback free zone, on why you have been overlooked;
  • You know the changes you want to make but can’t seem to find the time to make them happen.

Get in touch to transform your leadership journey with Executive Coaching.