Executive Coaching: When I asked, “How are you sleeping?” by Aubrey Rebello


First published on The Next Move Jun 1, 2019.

Throughout my career as a practicing manager, I have held few core beliefs; which I would summarize as:

  1. Do what You Say and Say what You Do

  2. If you are not able to Measure It, you are not going to possibly Do It either

  3. Questions need to be Simple to get Good Answers and Great Actions

I carry these beliefs into my coaching style.

I believe when coaching goals and outcomes are measurable, it gives the coaching process clear goal posts.

Success and completion are therefore certain and not vague; and we have a better chance to achieve the set goals by working together.

Measurable goals and outcomes: give clear goal posts in a coaching process

As a coach, through a process of a series of one-on-one dialogue, I would often identify 3 major stretch & measurable Goals as the outcome of coaching process. Setting clear outcomes however can sometimes be a challenge.

One of my Clients, a President of a large company had put “Stress Reduction” as a goal.  How does one measure Stress?  I could see that this was a genuine concern for him and had to be addressed in order to achieve his other goals. After some intense dialogue, we arrived at the following measurement: “Sound Sleep – 7 nights out of 7 in the week and Blood Pressure back to normal.” And by the end a simple and clear Plan of Action to achieve the improvement goals was detailed and made. 

Reviewing actions is par for the course for any assignment, and with this client I found myself specifically asking during each coaching session; “How are you sleeping?” As a Coach I have to handhold a Client and have to be available on phone or email for any advice in-between sessions during the entire coaching period … I cannot say that I did not lose my own sleep during those months on this coaching assignment!

Striking that balance for both my client’s work and well-being goals as a harmonious coaching agenda with patience and gentle persistence is how I enabled them to face their challenges and work through them to reach their successes. Both the Client and I were delighted when this outcome was achieved in about 8 sessions. After our coaching journey, the Client not only achieved his Goals but he also underwent an emotional Journey making him a changed and improved person. This ensures longer permanency in the improvement. I also feel happy for the client and all kudos to the client as the major effort is his!  As a Coach, I am only the “catalyst”.

Starting from where the client begins: readiness for change

From my experience for Coaching to be successful,

  1. A Client must be open to change,

  2. Able to reflect and acknowledge areas for improvement,

  3. Focus on future rather than on past, and

  4. Have a sense of personal mission and passion.

Each dialogue between the Client and the Coach is Confidential, and it’s how I bring myself to each session and being available, increases trust and breaks through mental barriers.

Once, I was a coach to a CMD of a large Group with Business Operations worldwide.  He owned a substantial equity stake in the company, was hands on and delivering results. So, no one dared to tell the Emperor that sometimes, he wore no clothes. With the rapport & trust we developed in each other & the introspection sessions we had, I was able to make him aware of not only his strengths, drives and values but also the impact he creates on others in the organisation. 

With a greater self-acceptance - for which I truly admired him for - and his participation in coaching over a period of time, he could regulate his disruptive impulses. He also developed a greater empathy to understand other people’s emotional make up. He could now build more rapport and move his Team members to the desired direction with much more ease.

At the end of the Coaching Journey the business group had better results & more importantly more peace and happiness in the work place. His one liner to me “You ask such simple questions which made a big difference for me.“ This was one the best compliments I could have had.

Simple questions make a big difference

In my 8 years of coaching, I have seen first-hand, executive coaching evolving not only to enhance performance of business results, but also acting as a catalyst for high performance managers and executives to transform into effective leaders.

Another Managing Director, whom I coached, was a workaholic, gave reasonably good results, but the Board felt he could do more. After a few rounds of dialogue and mapping of his work, he could successfully internalise the distinction between “Managing the Business” and “Leading the Business”. As a result, he started delegating more, focussed on truly critical issues and had some free time. This “free time” was now used by him to understand trends, look outwards to new opportunities, network better and soon improved results were seen by the Board.

As a Coach, I enjoy my work as I can also relate to each of the talented Individuals, whether female or male, from different Fields.  It keeps me alert and on my toes as no Senior Executive will sit for about 75 minutes unless I am bringing value to the table.  My greatest reward comes when I get to see the change I am bringing and feedback is instantaneous. I also learn immensely from the interaction and make a Friend for Life in the process.

To connect with Aubrey Rebello