Going From Good Leader To Great Leader
Becoming the Leader of Leaders
Cytiva, previously GE Healthcare Life Sciences, offers solutions to support work from biological research to clinical therapy, including tools for research, drug discovery, diagnostics, and bioprocessing.
Garland Grant, the Global Product Management Leader for Cytiva, previously GE Healthcare Life Sciences, had a goal to become a “leader of leaders” at his organization and within his team. He had an innate desire to further his own executive leadership training while managing a product line and multiple tiers of teams, from new hires into the workforce to seasoned leaders.
At GE, he had already participated in leadership training courses around topics such as manager development, storytelling and establishing executive presence. Those were helpful for him, but something was missing. Garland was seeking something more personalized and a way to receive more immediate ideas and feedback.
As he shares, “I was a good manager and good leader, but I wanted to become a great leader. What I lacked wasn’t hard skills, it was soft skills. Only a one-on-one focus could give me what I needed to make personal changes. The other training sessions were too generic.”
Given his goals and motivation, one of the other executive leaders in the company encouraged Garland to seek out one-on-one coaching
Garland approached executive coaching with an open mind. He was ready to see where it could lead him, and he didn’t have any assumptions around it, given it was his first time experiencing it.
Garland was introduced to AceUp through one of his colleagues who was already working with an AceUp coach. His colleague recommended his own coach to Garland, and they soon kicked off with bi-weekly coaching sessions together.
As they started, Garland and his coach established key frameworks they wanted to focus on as well as goal setting for their work together. Garland was asked to think about his long-term expectations and where he saw himself in 12–18 months. Their main focus together was around how to “be a leader of leaders.”
There were a few specific competency areas that they worked on together; these included Communicating Effectively, Influencing Stakeholders, Developing Executive Presence, Managing Conflicts & Difficult Conversations, and Collaborating Across Divisions and Teams.
Garland has already seen results from his work with his coach. He has learned to embody a holistic view of his career and establish a broader vision. As he says, “Coaching has helped me envision how I tie everything to an ultimate goal.” He has grasped more skills around how to organize these goals within his own team and identify where his team can have the most impact.
He has also learned new strategies around effective communication—both with his own team and with upper management. For example, Garland focused on how he can best communicate what his own capabilities are with a new manager and how to share these capabilities in a way that is well received. Garland realized something he didn’t expect during these “capabilities meetings,” as they called them. “In the course of these capabilities meetings, I got to understand how my manager thinks. We all come in with our own perceptions, but we have to break through and listen to verbal cues, and I learned how to do this better.”
Finally, Garland has begun to focus more on mindfulness and how to bring this into his professional life. With his manager, he realizes he needs to pick one topic at a time, and in his own day-to-day he has learned he can be easily distracted and needs focus. His coach has studied mindfulness and tells him, “You are not supposed to be good at five projects at the same time.” He realized he was multitasking often and jumping from one project to another and can now work on building strategies around this.
Garland has experienced a lot of hands-on growth with his coach and states “I am able to relate academic approaches to my real-world experiences. I am able to use what I am learning immediately. This level of instruction is very actionable.” In the next 6–12 months, his focus will be on several areas. He believes coaching will help him formulate and maintain a perspective on a specific project with both his own team but also those in upper management. Also, he will continue to envision how he ties all that he does at work to an ultimate career goal. Lastly, he believes he will become even more clear about what motivates him each day. He says, “I believe as I continue coaching, I will continue to bring my whole self to my work.”
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