I don’t get many calls from the wives of my private coaching clients, but for the first time last week, I did. She said “I didn’t marry Gary to be on my own all the time”!
Obviously, I know Gary well. He’s very dedicated to his business, his clients and probably most of all to his 37 employees. He takes his responsibilities seriously. But something had gone seriously wrong. I know for a fact that he believes in being in the office first and not leaving until everyone has gone home. So long hours are commonplace.
Until I got that call from his wife I thought things were going well for Gary.
So, on our next coaching call I changed the focus from how we continue to grow and develop the business to what is happening in Gary’s private life. I found out that Gary had a lot of issues that he was struggling with and he was drinking quite a bit to help him cope with the pressure. Gary and I agreed to have a very honest conversation. We used a framework that helps business owners and senior decision makers to identify what is going on and how to fix it.
Firstly, I asked Gary: “Where are you at right now”? I got him to write down all the things that were troubling him. For example:
- My home life isn’t going well at present and hasn’t for the past 15 months.
- I’m not spending enough time with my kids.
- I’m feeling over weight and unhealthy.
- I get out of breath going up flights of stairs.
- My business is taking up all my time.
- Some of my team don’t like me, etc.
What are the goals that will get you where you want to be?
Then I asked Gary, “What are the goals that will get you were you want to be”
- I need to reduce my working days by a minimum of 4 hours per day.
- I want to spend more time at home with my family.
- I want to be more intimate with my wife.
- I want to lose 3 stone.
- I want my senior team to work in harmony, etc.
What actions are you going to take over the next 24 hours?
- I will ask my wife if she feels we should go to a marriage guidance councillor.
- I will join my local gym and employ one of their personal trainers.
- I will stop working weekends.
- I will have an honest soul-searching discussion with my senior team, etc.
This framework helped Gary to focus on what was important and what actions were needed.His family life improved dramatically, and this carried over into his business life. He no longer had his mind full of ‘head trash’; instead he became very focused, asked more relevant searching questions of his team and therefore became a much better leader. And this in turn made his colleagues more confident about the future of the business and their ability to deliver even better results.
To be a more effective leader you need to focus on your personal life as well as your professional life. Working on your well-being will help enormously on personal, physical and emotional levels, but will also positively impact your professional life and the people with whom you work.