A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of hearing notable business coach Marshall Goldsmith speak at the Fortune Growth Summit.  Marshall’s work helps to make people better and is both educational and enlightening.  He has successfully coached several of the Fortune 500 leaders, and has done so by helping them in areas that required improvement.  As we’ve all heard time and time again, the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

Marshall has written two bestselling books, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There and Mojo: How To Get It, How To Keep It, How to Get It Back if You Lose It.  What is interesting about this is that the key to success for people already in leadership roles is in their own, quirky personality flaws.  I find it comforting when reading his material and hearing him speak to learn that we all have those flaws.  The most successful people out there are filled with “issues” about how they are viewed by the people around them.  I know personally that I am dinged by both my partners and others around me for my own personality traits that they find annoying.  So what are we to do?

The first thing you need to do is identify the issue.  Marshall does this with a 360 degree survey.  He doesn’t just focus on the subject with the issue, but interviews all the people around that person (and is paid big bucks to take the time to do so!)  There are a variety of testing tools out there that do very similar things (check out the multipliers blog).  The second step is having the desire to change.  If that’s not there, you might as well stop here.  Marshall says that coaching someone who does not want to change is a waste of time.  Most of us want to get better, but there are still those who believe “being this way is what got me where I am”.  For those, it will usually take losing a job, or missing out on a prime opportunity to make them look back and finally question what went wrong, and what they could have done differently.

Marshall lists 20 main areas of interpersonal behavior that are annoyances to those around us.  A few of them are: winning too much, passing judgment, starting with “no”, “but” or “however”, speaking with anger, negativity, making excuses, not listening (my issue), and clinging to the past.

After the interviews take place and you have feedback, Marshall explains the 4 ways to address your issues, which include: apologizing, telling the world (what you’re going to change), listening and thanking.  He takes an entire chapter for each of these topics to explain them in greater detail.

We could all use some coaching, even Marshall.  His coach calls him every single day, no matter where he is, to ask him a dozen questions, such as:  how many pushups did you do today, have you said anything nice to your wife, how much time have you spent writing, and how much time did you spend on things that didn’t matter?  He discusses this in his interview with Verne Harnish.

Who is helping to make you better?