A CEO Coach's Tools for Optimizing Your Performance

"In the twentieth century coaching was seen as a remedial activity: 'Something’s broken – I need to call Steven or somebody else because I need to be fixed,'" says Stephen Miles, C.E.O. and founder of The Miles Group, an advisory service for executives. "One-hundred percent of my coaching today is actually not that. It’s about working with high performing people and helping them get better."

How does Miles help high-performers become even better? He explains his four-step approach in the latest installment of Big Think's Edge.

The Diagnostic

First, he says, he works with executives to identify ingrained leadership styles.

"So when I’m under stress or when I’m in a situation, I’m going to revert to my 'base case,'" he explains. "And we want to understand that fundamentally. And then we want to understand, 'Okay, when is your 'base case' the best leadership style? What situations is the application of that leadership style going to give you the best outcome?'" 

Advance Preparation

Once a "base case" style is identified and understood, Miles works with an executive to modify his or her leadership style to produce desired outcomes. He works with each individual to expand a range of styles that best suit intended audiences and outcomes.

Listen for Content

Miles advises executives to foster dialogue by refraining from using "listening to win" tactics. He advocates demonstrating interest through non-verbal communication, asking clarifying questions, and fully immersing in what opponents have to say.

"A common trait in many executives at every level inside companies is just talking too much," he says. "And if it’s not a monologue then what it becomes is 'I want to win the interaction with you. I want to prove that I’m right and anything you say to me I’m just going to pick on that and you’re wrong.'"

Facilitate the Opposition

Miles advises executives to instead affirm an opponent's point of view and take a Socratic approach.

"If you can hold your ground, not be defensive, facilitate them using affirmation to start and then facilitate them, you’ll end up in the higher place and the higher ground," he says.

For more on Miles' approach to coaching leadership strategies, watch Big Think's latest installment of Edge.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

10 books to check out from Jordan Peterson's 'Great Books' list

The Canadian professor has an extensive collection posted on his site.

Jordan Peterson with Carl Jung and the cover art of Jaak Panksepp's 'Affective Neuroscience' (Image: Chris Williamson/Getty Images/Big Think)
Personal Growth
  • Peterson's Great Books list features classics by Orwell, Jung, Huxley, and Dostoevsky.
  • Categories include literature, neuroscience, religion, and systems analysis.
  • Having recently left Patreon for "freedom of speech" reasons, Peterson is taking direct donations through Paypal (and Bitcoin).
Keep reading Show less

Kosovo land swap could end conflict – or restart war

Best case: Redrawing borders leads to peace, prosperity and EU membership. But there's also a worst case.

Image: SRF
Strange Maps
  • The Yugoslav Wars started in 1991, but never really ended.
  • Kosovo and Serbia are still enemies, and they're getting worse.
  • A proposed land swap could create peace – or reignite the conflict.
Keep reading Show less

Should you invest in China's stock market? Know this one thing first.

Despite incredible economic growth, it is not necessarily an investor's paradise.

  • China's stock market is just 27 years old. It's economy has grown 30x over that time.
  • Imagine if you had invested early and gotten in on the ground floor.
  • Actually, you would have lost money. Here's how that's possible.