This week’s featured member Claudia Lantos

This week, our featured member Claudia Lantos tells us about her own leadership development & coaching firm, Lantos Coaching & Consultancy. We asked Claudia about who her clients are and what she can offer them.

Claudia Lantos, executive coach
Claudia Lantos, executive coach

Who are your clients?

Our clients are usually organisations operating in a highly competitive market or dealing with continuous change or disruption. We work with both individual executives and teams.

For individuals, we can help them to:

  • become more effective
  • break with old patterns and habits and improve their personal positioning
  • establish more effective management behaviour
  • undertake organisational alignment
  • transition into a new role
  • excel in stakeholder management, and
  • enhance their performance and lead better-performing teams.

We also work with teams, both at executive leadership level and the level(s) below and can assist with:

  • newly formed teams
  • teams experiencing disruptive changes and organisational realignment
  • teams which need to become more collaborative and improve their performance and
  • teams which need to adjust to a new workplace culture.

Who do you think most benefits from LCC’s services?

Senior executives, emerging leaders and teams alike benefit from partnering with us. We offer best in class program frameworks, methodologies and assessments – all evidence based and with proven effectiveness.

What makes LCC stand out from other coaching businesses?

From briefing to delivery, LCC provides a quick turnaround time. As we are a boutique firm, we can accelerate effectively for our clients.

LCC has four key business principles:

  • All our programs are highly customised and tailored to our clients’ specific needs – we don’t believe in a ‘one size fits all approach.’
  • Our broad range of specialties, industry knowledge and experience mean we understand our clients, whether they are in the private, public sector or non-government sector.
  • We don’t shy away from giving you our best advice, even if this means sometimes needing to ‘tell it like it is’. My Dutch background might be the reason 🙂
  • We try to lift our game every time and keep coming up with new approaches and fresh perspectives.

What services does LCC offer?

We offer various kinds of evidence-based coaching including:

  • Executive Coaching programs
  • Assessments and debriefs
  • Leadership Development programs and workshops
  • Team Coaching
  • High Performance Team programs
  • Culture Change programs.

What is your vision and mission for LCC?

LCC’s vision is to encourage and challenge our clients to be the best versions of themselves. This might relate to an individual or a team’s performance and effectiveness, or a changing organisation or culture.

Our mission is to make sure we deliver high quality and highly customised services with direct impact for the client, by sharing our own best practices and let our clients benefit from the combined wealth of experience of our team.

Where does LCC operate?

While we are based in Sydney, we operate throughout Australia. We also offer our executive coaching services via video calling platforms like Skype and FaceTime for executives who are travelling or are based overseas.

How successful are your approaches?

The feedback we get from clients is that we really understand them and their needs. As evidence of this, we have clients coming back to us and referring others to us.

We know you started out in The Netherlands working as a lawyer in labour law. How did you end up working as a coach in Australia?

I’ve called Australia home for the last five years. Prior to that I was working in Europe and South-East Asia. I transitioned from labour law into recruitment and executive search, as part of the national management team of a stock-exchange-listed recruitment group, so I worked both in Amsterdam and Singapore. In that role, I was responsible for opening up new markets and building teams.

Before I moved to Sydney, I had my own coaching business in the Netherlands for 8 years. In my latest venture LCC – Lantos Coaching & Consultancy I try to implement my previous learnings and share best practices with both my clients and my team.

What is it you like about owning your own coaching company?

I really love to empower people. Whether they are my clients, organisations I work with or my own team. Of course you have to love business development, which I do, so I decided to continue my entrepreneurship here in Australia. I find it exciting to inspire my clients to set goals and help them achieve them and becoming more effective. I also set goals for myself and practice what I preach. I’m proud to say that LCC is already going from strength to strength.

Tell us about the team at LCC

Soon after I founded LCC, I asked six high calibre coaches and facilitators with whom I’ve been working together on assignments in the past, to join me. The team, all of whom had also held senior executive roles in the past, bring a complementary range of specialisations, skills and experiences to our coaching practice.

While we often work as individual coaches, for bigger Leadership Development Programs, we team up in pairs or even larger groups – whatever is required to meet the needs of our clients. We pride ourselves on the flexibility of our approaches.

How can people get in touch with you?

You can find me on the Executive Coach Exchange website or you can contact me directly on 0449102060 or by email at lantoscoaching@gmail.com or at www.lantoscoaching.com.

What are you looking for in an executive coach?

Executive Coach Exchange doors pixabay qimonoAs you start your search for an executive coach, have you jotted down some ideas about what you are looking for?

  1. Guidance on a challenging work issue

Do you need help to make your communication with team members more effective? Or perhaps you are dealing with a person you just can’t seem to get along with? Working with an executive coach can provide you with insights on how to manage these situations, and on how to build and maintain effective relationships, which can provide you with huge benefits and make your workplace more rewarding and enjoyable.

2.  A mentor

A mentor is usually someone working in your organisation who can give you an insider’s view, while a coach usually comes from an external organisation. However, an executive coach who has worked in your industry or sector can be invaluable, bringing both objectivity and relevant experience, and combining the skills of coach and mentor.

  1. Career progression

Making the transition from team member to team leader is one of the most difficult things you’ll ever do in your career. Reporting to a board for the first time can be a very daunting experience. An executive coach can assist you to adjust your approach to meet your new challenges.

  1. Leading organisational change

Today, organisational change is a constant. Leaders need to be able to establish a new course for their organisation and implement change effectively and efficiently. Managers at all levels of an organisation are expected to lead their teams effectively during times of organisational change. An executive coach can be a trusted ally who provides a confidential environment for you to test your concepts and work through the challenges of leading change.

  1. Help with career transition

Taking the big step to move a new career, either by choice or as the result of a redundancy, is extremely challenging, both emotionally and professionally. When you have been an expert in your field, the first year in a new sector can make you doubt your ability and question your self-confidence. An executive coach with experience in career transition can help you make your change successful.

 

Starting out with some ideas about what you are looking for will make it easier for you to find the right coach. Different coaches bring different skills and experience. Some coaches specialise in particular skills, like team building, or strategy and business planning. Others work with particular professions, such as lawyers or doctors, or particular sectors, like government. Others still focus on particular points in your career, like on-boarding or career transition. At Executive Coach Exchange you will find a diverse group of executive coaches who cover all these area and more.

Don’t make your plan too detailed and inflexible, however. A coach can shed new light on an old issue and help you see it differently. The process of working with an executive coach can be a catalyst for change.

An interview with our executive coaches

How do you find the right executive coach for you? What should you expect from your executive coach? How can you measure your progress? Should managers use executive coaching to address performance issues or to reward great staff?

Founding Partner, Catherine Burrows, spoke with the foundation members, Marg Lennon, Claudia Lantos, Glenn Dennett and Trish Kelly, about the big questions of executive coaching. Catherine began by asking how they got into coaching.

Marg said she had been coached as an executive and found it very helpful in clarifying her goals and giving her another perspective on the situations she was facing.

Claudia told Catherine that she is passionate about helping people achieve their objectives, in both business and personal growth.

Executive Coach Exchange founding partners & foundation members
Executive Coach Exchange founding partners & foundation members

Trish said that, as GM of HR, she had seen the power of coaching, for individuals and organisations. She gained great professional and personal satisfaction from working with people to help them achieve their potential and find solutions to issues they were confronting.

Glenn said it was his colleagues that started him on this path: “Many of my colleagues recommended it to me. They had seen me coaching in my capacity as a leader and manager for many years and thought I should do it full time.”

Catherine asked what people should look for in an executive coach and how to tell if an executive coach was a good fit.

All our coaches spoke about the importance of trust. As Claudia said, “The executive coach should build trust and a safe environment to share things in.”

Executive Coach Exchange Glenn Dennett
Glenn Dennett, foundation member

Glenn agreed that, above all, a coach needs to be someone you can trust. He feels there needs to be a strong rapport between coach and client: “An executive coach should be someone you can relate to and feel comfortable with.”

Claudia also mentioned the importance of feeling comfortable with the coach, both their personality and professional background. Clients should be confident that the coach can guide them to achieve their goals and they should feel good about the executive coach’s track record and results. Finally, the client should “feel the coach has empathy and knows their world”.

Executive Coach Exchange Trish Kelly & Claudia Lantos
Trish Kelly & Claudia Lantos, foundation members

Trish believes the client should be comfortable with the coach’s style and feel they will be able to build an open and trusting, collaborative relationship. The coach should have a proven track record and the leadership and coaching experience to provide value. A coach who is a good fit will show that they are genuinely interested in their client’s goals and will encourage them to openly pursue the achievement of those goals in a flexible, respectful and, at times, challenging way.

Marg told Catherine it could be useful for the coach to have had executive experience, although not necessarily in the client’s field, because this “aids understanding of aspects of executive work that cross all professional categories.” A solid coach training background is important and the coaching approach and methodology should be considered too. A client could consider the merits a coach of a different gender might bring. She added, “If you find the questions the coach asks hard to answer, in that they cause you to think about things in a different way, then they might be right for you.”

An issue coaches often discuss is how clients should measure their progress when working with a coach. Our foundation members took different approaches to answering this question.

Executive Coach Exchange Claudia Lantos & Marg Lennon
Claudia Lantos & Marg Lennon, foundation members

Claudia noted the use of 360 assessments and third party interviews, before and after coaching. Observations and feedback from their manager, colleagues and peers could be useful. The client’s own experience during the coaching program could assist too: for example, a client might recognise that they have become a more effective communicator. Clients should expect a change in behaviour and more richness in the tools available to them if they put in the hard work.

Marg told Catherine that clients should expect to begin their work with a coach by creating some goals to be achieved by the conclusion of the coaching process. Although these goals may change as the process unfolds, it’s useful to have agreed goals to start with. Marg noted that the client’s manager should usually be involved in the creation of those goals. A client could expect regular discussions about their goals and progress toward achieving them as part of their coaching experience.

Trish emphasised that a client should not expect the coach to provide them with answers. They should feel listened to, supported, energised and sometimes challenged to think about their goals and issues, often in ways they might not have done before. The client should also feel that they are able to take away actions they have identified that will progressively help them reach their potential.

Glenn feels that progress in coaching is mostly about the client finding new ways of doing things or seeing their circumstances; and clients should expect their coach to have an ability to enable that new way of ‘doing’ or ‘seeing’ in them. 

Some coaches express strong views about whether coaching should be used as a way of addressing performance issues or whether it should be reserved for use as a reward for great performance. Catherine asked the group what they thought.

Executive Coach Exchange Trish Kelly
Trish Kelly, foundation member

Trish feels coaching is a method of supporting individuals to achieve their goals, so this means people are coached for a range of reasons. “Many managers and organisations do not deal with day to day performance issues and don’t have clear and meaningful discussions with employees when an employee is not performing to the standard required.” Programs to support employees to address performance issues need to be customised: while coaching can certainly have a place in this, it is likely coaching will have a focus on improvement.

Glenn believes there is a role for coaching in both circumstances. He said that his approach doesn’t vary much: “My view is that change and growth are generally difficult for everyone, regardless of whether they are coming to it from a place of shortfall or success.” So, he tries to work with his all clients with the same amount of care, compassion, non-judgement and empathy.

Marg feels that in addressing performance issues, the client, their manager and the coach need to get very clear on the outcomes, so everyone knows what success looks like. Regular reviews are useful to ensure progress towards these agreed outcomes. When coaching is a reward for high performing executives, “a key success factor is that the client needs to want to be coached, to do or think differently.” Here, she said, goals were still useful, along with the development of a vision: the sessions would have a focus on improvement and clients could expect to participate in conversations and answer questions that would stretch their thinking and thus their actions.

Claudia said that while both approaches are valid, she is passionate about people who are truly interested and committed to reaching their best potential: this could be whether they were not yet performing well or when they were performing well but wanted to do even better. “Also, sometimes it’s a more personal journey, with a lot of insights and a new awareness of themselves, their job or their purpose. I love it when it’s all of the above.

Executive Coach Exchange Catherine Burrows presenting
Catherine Burrows, founding partner

Two of our foundation members were formerly very senior HR practitioners, so Catherine asked them about choosing coaches for other executives.

Marg was Vice President of HR and Organisational Development in an ASX 100 company. She looked for qualifications first when choosing coaches. She then asked about the coach’s methodology, including how they planned to communicate and involve the manager, where this was appropriate. She also asked about their experience across a variety of industries.

Trish was General Manager HR in a huge public sector agency. She first ensured the executive and their manager were committed to coaching. “I also ascertained, in broad terms, why they were pursuing coaching to enable me to identify possible coaches with the relevant background and experience.” Trish would have an initial discussion with potential coaches to assess whether their style and approach was likely to be a match for the executive. She then arranged for an initial meeting between the executive and the potential coach. Following each assignment, she sought feedback from the executive and their manager to assist with sourcing future coaches

And executive coaching as an experience?

Glenn summed it up like this: “I am always reminded that being a coach is an incredible privilege. And being coached can be an incredible resource in one’s life, often paying dividends well beyond the end of the coaching engagement. It is a unique and very special relationship.”

Catherine concluded, “As these observations show, executive coaching is as individual as the clients and coaches themselves. It’s such a personal experience. One thing comes through above all, however. It’s the quality of the interpersonal relationship between the client and coach, the trust that develops between them, that makes executive coaching so powerful – and so rewarding.”

Finding the right coach

Executive Coach Exchange pathWhat is the path to find an executive coach who is right for you?  Dorie Clark has some useful tips in this article, including:

  • thinking about when to engage in the process – waiting until work issues have reached a breaking point can be too late;
  • identifying what you want to learn, and finding a coach who works in that area;
  • giving the coach a test drive – as a starting point, looking at their content, including blogs;
  • recognising that you can change if a coach is not a good fit or if your needs evolve.