The Executive Coaching planets are finally beginning to align


By Chris Gandy

Many moons ago, I reported to a senior executive who, when considering the right time to act on a significant business decision, had a pet saying “Wait till all the planets are aligned”. Of course he wasn’t referring to some  Mayan or harmonic convergences, eclipses and other awe-inspiring inter-galactic phenomenon. He was talking about bringing together as many favourable external factors as possible to give the final decision to be enacted a better than even chance of being successful.

I was discussing Executive Coaching with an Associate recently and found myself saying the planets were beginning to align with this particular management development tool.

So what did I mean by this throwaway line?  Well,  as I see it, there are three major planets in the executive coaching solar system:


More and more high profiled senior executives are citing coaching as a significant factor in their career development. Recently Jim Atchison who rose from parking lot attendant at SeaWorld to become the $3.2b company’s CEO, had this to say to Fox Business

“My best advice for others is to look for people who can be sounding boards and  use them judiciously. Don’t be afraid to ask for opinions and advice.  You can accelerate the progression through your career if you listen to others  who have been there before.”

Encouragingly, we are witnessing a similar experience in the not-for-profit sector though often executives are not citing career progression as their coaching goal but are seeking help and guidance in making their organisations more impactful.


A second planet that is nicely coming into alignment is populated by “coaching talent”.

Over recent years in Australia we have noticed a number of senior executives leave their corporate roles in search of something different and this trend is not confined to this continent. Last month Reuters ran a short article titled Chief executives and the itch to quit which discusses some recent shock departures by 50-something chief executives at European blue chip companies – none of them under any obvious pressure to quit. As Ian Butcher of MWM Consulting says in the article:

“They’re still in their early fifties, with energy and a desire to do something, but they want to do something different, something quite significantly different sometimes”

Thankfully, the “something different” for a great many of these former executives is to offer their immense skills, talents and experience to the not for profit sector thereby offering  a rich affordable resource which previously could only have been dreamed of.


Th means to effectively link the coaching talent with the not-for-profit sector is the “technology planet” Facilitation.

Technology has made executive coaching accessible, flexible, affordable and effective. With such tools as Skype, email and mobile phones almost the entire world has become a virtual coaching space.

I must admit that I was quite sceptical about this intrusion of technology into the hallowed room of hitherto face to face coaching. So to test it out (and to attempt to prove that it wouldn’t work), I engaged Patrick McFadden of Indispensable Marketing to coach me and Cause and Effective in marketing. This was going to be a real test – you see Patrick is in Richmond, Virginia, USA while I was in a variety of Australian locations, some of them quite remote. Any scepticism I had was allayed before the conclusion of our first meeting and we were able  to transcend hemisphere, time-zone and cultural differences in a lightyear (admittedly having a great coaching talent like Patrick does help!)

So with these key planets nicely aligned there are no reasons why your not for profit can’t take that leap from good to great. The resources to help you do this are ready and waiting – and more and more of your competitors are beginning to realise this. If you need assistance in finding the right Executive Coach for your organisation, call us today.

About the author: Chris Gandy is a Director of Cause and Effective ( a provider of Coaching and Consultation services to the not-for-profit sector. Patrick McFadden is an occasional Guest Blogger on B-Cause.

About B-Cause

B-Cause is published by Cause and Effective. We help good causes find and attract effective leaders.

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