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  1. Stakeholder Centered Coaching for Guaranteed & Measurable Leadership Growth


Leadership growth and improving effectiveness takes place at work while interacting with stakeholders! 

Most successful leaders / managers today have a good intellectual understanding of the various management tools & skills required to lead an organization successfully. Therefore, the major leadership challenges for managers and executives today is NOT understanding the practice of leadership, BUT practicing their understanding of leadership. For successful organizational leaders to become more effective, leadership change needs to be positive, sustained, recognized and acknowledged by their stakeholders (and others). 

Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centred Coaching is a real time on the job process that is highly effective and time efficient. Accelerating leadership growth and effectiveness is about changing behaviours and creating new processes & habits while interacting with others (stakeholders) on the job.


Awareness and Acceptance is not enough!

Coaching frequently focuses on assessing leadership effectiveness and action planning which results in a strong emphasis on awareness and acceptance. As a result the leader intellectually understands where leadership change would be desirable and how leadership change would lead to higher effectiveness. Though this step is critical at the outset of the coaching process as it defines the 'intent of the leader to change', it often times results in a long list of good action intentions that might not see the light of day.


Action and Acknowledgement is key!

Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centred Coaching takes the leadership change process further, outside the leader's office, and into their work environment with the stakeholders. Stakeholders can provide important and insightful suggestions for behavioural change that would help leaders to become more effective on the job. The Stakeholder Centred Coaching process includes a strong emphasis on action implementation and follow-through to make change stick, thus creating more effective leadership behaviours and habits. Leadership growth has only real value though implementing change that is sustained, recognized and acknowledged by stakeholders in the workplace. Perception is reality.


Stakeholder Centred Coaching guarantees measurable leadership growth

 The efficacy of Marshall's Stakeholder Centred Coaching approach has been clearly demonstrated:

  • A comprehensive study among 11,000 business leaders on 4 continents concluded that 95% of leaders who applied the Stakeholder Centred Coaching process measurably improved their leadership effectiveness. This study is described ‘Leadership is a contact sport’.

  • Numerous great top executives, leadership thought leaders and HR development professionals have first-hand experience in working with Marshall Goldsmith and applying his Stakeholder Centred Coaching process for themselves and their organizations.

  • Stakeholder Centred Coaching does not require any 'extra valuable time' from busy business executives as the coaching and leadership change process is integrated in their leadership role on the job.

  • The Stakeholder Centred Coaching program includes a ‘No Growth, No Pay’ success guarantee. Our commitment is to support leaders to become more effective in their organization, which is demonstrated in our coaching service fee structure where up to 100% of the coaching fees (for the yearlong programs) are subject to measurable growth in leadership effectiveness of the leaders as assessed by stakeholders.

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“The coaching process provided not only a fact-based and thought-provoking stimulus to changing personal behaviours and our organizational culture, but also effective action plans to deliver committed actions to drive results at all levels. It has been a turning point individually and for the leadership team as a whole. After only a few weeks, there have been noticeable improvements in team behaviour and effectiveness.” 


Paul Richards, President Fonterra SE Asia

2. Stakeholder Centered Coaching Focuses on Follow-through to Measure Leadership Growth


Whereas executive development and coaching programs generally focus heavily on (intellectual) learning and little on follow-through and measuring tangible results, Stakeholder Centred Coaching has turned this on its ear with a strong emphasis on implementation and follow-through to measure growth in leadership effectiveness. In the end the only thing that counts is leadership growth i.e. improved leadership (behaviour) effectiveness on the job as perceived by stakeholders.

As Marshall puts it: "Leadership Change and Coaching are simple but not easy!". Stakeholder Centred Coaching developed by Marshall Goldsmith, Frank Wagner, Chris Coffey and Will Linssen is a highly effective and time efficient process that works as follows:


A.  Determine 1-2 Leadership Growth Areas Important to the Leader and the Organization

In consultation with the coach, the leader selects 1-2 specific behaviours that are important for their leadership growth (e.g. influencing or delegation). Usually multi-rater leadership assessments (1800 – 3600) and behavioural interviews are used to determine the aforementioned focus.


B. Leading Change Involving Stakeholders (Monthly)

The leader selects a handful of stakeholders mostly their manager(s), direct reports and peers. Throughout the coaching program the leader involves these stakeholders on a monthly basis in the leadership growth process. This creates accountability for the leader to implement the change, as well as accountability for the stakeholders to support and to take part in the change process, which mostly impacts and benefits the leader's team as a whole.


B1. Involve Stakeholders to Capture Feedforward Suggestions

On a monthly basis the leader asks stakeholders to provide a few practical feedforward suggestions as it relates to their leadership growth focus. 


B2. Monthly Action Planning

The leader thinks through the feedforward suggestions from the stakeholders and drafts a monthly action plan. This plan includes the issues the leader is committed to execute during the next month. After the coaching session the leader responds to the stakeholders informing them about their action plan. 


B3. Change behaviour and perception through execution on the job

Throughout the month, the leader implements their action plan and demonstrates to the stakeholders through their actions that they are working to make change visible and become a more effective leader in the two selected leadership growth areas. Implementing change and following up with stakeholders also alters the stakeholders' perceptions of the leader over time.


 C. Perception is Reality: Measure Leadership Growth based on Stakeholders’ Perception

The coach checks in with the stakeholders approximately every quarter via a short internet-based survey, to measure the stakeholders' perceptions on how they see the leader’s effectiveness has been changing in the two leadership growth areas. This Leadership Growth Progress Review (LGPR) is reported back to the leader (and the sponsor) so that they can gauge how their leadership change efforts have been perceived by the stakeholders. This survey also plays a key role in guaranteeing and measuring leadership growth for the leader and the organization.

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3. 1 on 1 Yearlong Executive Coaching Program using Stakeholder Centered Coaching for Guaranteed & Measurable Leadership Growth


Most successful executives today have a good intellectual understanding of the various management tools required to lead an organization successfully. Experience has shown that the same behaviours that contribute to initial career success often do not guarantee future leadership success. The coaching process therefore focuses on further developing the 'I am successful because of ....' behaviours and reducing the 'I am successful despite of ....' behaviours. Hereunder a more detailed step by step outline of how a typical coaching process is structured though in most cases the process is customized to fit the needs of the leader or the organization.


Phase 1. Introduction to Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centred Coaching (+ 2 hours) 

During the initial session the coaching process is explained to the leader in detail and the coach interviews the leader to understand the leader's awareness of areas for development as well as their commitment to real leadership change. Leaders can only change if they want to change!


Phase 2. Behavioural Interviews and Assessments


Behavioural Interviews (10-15 hrs)

Structured in-depth behavioural interviews with the most important 

people around the leader produce a detailed & colourful overview 

with real life examples of strengths and areas for development.


(1800 – 3600) structural assessment

 The multi-rater structural assessment provides objectivity and structure to the assessment process and aside from relevant psychometrical content, it creates buy-in from the leader. The undermentioned assessment is most suitable and most frequently used. However the coach (or the leader) could decide to select another qualified multi-rater assessment.


Marshall Goldsmith Global Leadership Assessment 

Marshall's Global Leadership Assessment includes all relevant leadership skills to measure the effectiveness of leaders operating in an international business environment. This unique assessment developed by Marshall Goldsmith and Accenture in collaboration with 200 international organizations on 6 continents measures skills related to leadership communication, managing diversity, global & strategic thinking, leading change, technology savviness, engaging people and much more which competencies modern leaders require to succeed in an globalizing business world.

The assessments in this phase create aside from content (objectivity, structure, colour and real life examples), a strong involvement from the stakeholders as well as buy-in and commitment from the leader for the coaching and leadership growth process.

Phase 3. Determine 1-2 leadership growth areas (+ 2 hours) 

From the aforementioned assessments, the leader selects and articulates areas for leadership growth that would significantly improve their leadership effectiveness. We typically focus on 1-2 key areas for behavioural change and skill development. This ensures that maximum attention is paid to the most important behaviours. Over the course of a few weeks, the coach works with the leader and stakeholders as appropriate, to construct an action plan for improvement in the targeted areas.



Phase 4. Stakeholders briefing (30 mins)

Leadership growth is not a cognitive process but a daily creation of new behaviours and refinement of existing habits on the job. Stakeholders facilitate the leadership growth process as the stakeholders:

  • Are experts in their respective fields and as they interact with the leader frequently they should be in a position to provide solid and practical action suggestions in the predetermined leadership growth areas.

  • Function as quasi accountability partners towards the leader in the leadership growth process. Since the stakeholders are an integral part of the operation of the leader, the stakeholders should subscribe to support leadership change. 

  • Are on the receiving end of the leader’s behaviour. They are in an excellent position to assess growth in leadership effectiveness over time. Their perception is reality!

The leader supported by the coach will briefly explain the stakeholders their role in the Stakeholder Centred Coaching process and solicit their support in leadership change for the leader and the team.


Phase 5. Leading Change Involving Stakeholders 

11 monthly coaching and action planning sessions (+ 2 hours)

Leading Change Involving Stakeholders is based on highly effective and time efficient seven-step process developed by Marshall Goldsmith which process involves stakeholders in leadership change. The leader will use this seven-step process as foundation for their monthly interaction with stakeholders to manage leadership change and improve their leadership effectiveness and that of the team. The seven-step process is briefly explained above.



The aforementioned steps get the momentum in the leadership change process going. Based on the monthly feedforward suggestions from the stakeholders, the leader supported by the coach, completes a monthly action plan that the leader wants to commit to. The remainder of the monthly coaching session focuses on skill development and overcoming leadership change challenges mostly, related to stakeholder management or dealing with other organizational issues. Throughout this process the coach operates as a sounding board & accountability partner on one hand, and knowledge / experience resource provider (as well as stakeholder advocate) on the other hand. The process of consistent and regular follow-through is a key contributor to leadership growth and improved effectiveness, resulting in a changed perception of stakeholders at the same time (see tables below based on Marshall Goldsmith’s research with 11,000 business leaders). 


Results from 11,000 business leaders on 4 continents (Research: ‘Leadership is a  contact sports’)

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Phase 6. Leadership Growth Progress Reviews (LGPR)


 After 5, 8 and 11 months into the process we collect the opinions of the stakeholders to understand & measure their perception of the leader’s growth in the 1-2 leadership growth areas as determined at the outset of the process. At these points in time, the leader can evaluate their progress and identify areas for continued focus. At the end of the yearlong coaching program the final LGPR results are used to measure leadership growth and determine payment of coaching fees.


Phase 7. Leader as Coach (+ 2 hours) 


Throughout the year long behavioural coaching program, the leader has mastered the process and discipline to incorporate the Stakeholder Centred Coaching process into their personal leadership style to coach themselves and their direct reports. This should result in the continuous acceleration of leadership success without the requirement of a coach so the leader becomes even more of a coach to their direct reports. 

A truly powerful system that drives organizational performance and culture change. 

“Working with Marshall Goldsmith - Stakeholder Centred Coaching has been highly engaging. 

We learned practical and actionable ways for leaders to get better.”


Jack Stoltzfus, Ph.D., Manager of Talent Development, 3M Company 

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