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Harnessing Mid-Year Momentum – Executive Coaching Strategies For A Strong Second Half

Written by Gilles Varette, Business Coach

30 years’ experience in Leadership; NCO in a paratrooper regiment in his native France, leading a global virtual team for a Nasdaq-listed company, Board stewardship, Coaching, and Mentoring. Gilles, an EMCC-accredited coach holds a Master’s in Business Practice and diplomas in Personal Development and Executive Coaching as well as Mental Health and Well-being.

 
Executive Contributor Gilles Varette

As we reach the midpoint of the year, it presents a pivotal moment for executives to pause, reflect, and strategize for the months ahead. This critical juncture offers an invaluable opportunity to assess the progress made thus far, identify areas requiring adjustment, and recharge both personal and team energies to ensure a strong finish to the year. The concept of mid-year momentum is not merely about evaluating performance but about harnessing the insights gained to drive sustained success and innovation. This article explores how executive coaching can help leaders harness mid-year momentum to achieve their goals and drive organizational success in the second half of the year.


Mentor writing ideas in team presentation, seminar and planning charts for strategy

Executive coaching emerges as a powerful tool in this context, providing leaders with the guidance and strategies needed to navigate the complexities of their roles with greater clarity and confidence. Through personalized coaching, executives can develop a nuanced understanding of their leadership styles, refine their strategic objectives, and implement effective practices that align with their organizational goals. This article delves into the specific ways executive coaching can facilitate a robust second half of the year, highlighting the importance of mid-year reflection, setting fresh goals, enhancing leadership skills, building resilience, and strengthening team dynamics.


By leveraging the principles and techniques of executive coaching, leaders can transform the mid-year checkpoint into a launchpad for heightened performance and achievement. Whether it's through reevaluating existing strategies, adopting new leadership methodologies, or fostering a culture of continuous improvement, the insights and support provided by executive coaching can be instrumental in turning mid-year evaluations into actionable plans for success. Let’s delve into these strategies in depth, providing practical advice and real-life examples of how executives have effectively navigated the latter half of the year to foster organizational excellence.

 

1. Mid-year reflection and assessment

"Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future too." – Marcus Aurelius

Research shows the habit of reflection can separate extraordinary professionals from mediocre ones. Bailey and Rehman (2022) contend that it serves as the basis from which all other soft skills develop: in their article they present a few reflective tools, the Gibbs Reflective Cycle being my favourite.


Evaluating progress

Midway through the year, assessing progress towards annual goals requires revisiting the initial objectives, measuring key performance indicators (KPIs), and comparing planned milestones with actual achievements. This process includes analyzing deadlines, gathering feedback from team members and stakeholders, and documenting findings in a detailed report enriched with visual aids. Based on this assessment, goals and strategies may need adjustment, with new action plans and milestones established accordingly. Clear communication and team engagement are essential for maintaining transparency and fostering continued progress.


Identifying strengths and areas for improvement

Encouraging executives to identify strengths and areas for improvement involves reflecting on successful strategies and practices that have contributed to achieving goals, recognizing the efforts and resources that facilitated these successes. Simultaneously, executives should pinpoint areas where progress has lagged, analyzing the underlying reasons such as resource allocation, unforeseen challenges, or market changes. By conducting a thorough SWOT analysis, they can gain insights into internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities and threats. This reflection should lead to actionable adjustments in goals and strategies, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and ensuring that efforts are realigned for greater effectiveness in the second half of the year.


To conduct a SWOT analysis for a mid-year performance review, follow these steps:


  • Strengths: Identify your key strengths, such as successful projects, leadership skills, and any positive feedback received.

  • Weaknesses: Acknowledge areas needing improvement, such as missed targets, skills gaps, or negative feedback.

  • Opportunities: Explore potential opportunities for growth, including new projects, training programs, or market trends.

  • Threats: Recognize external challenges that could impact performance, like market competition, economic shifts, or resource limitations.


This structured approach will help you gain a comprehensive understanding of your performance and guide your strategy for the rest of the year.

 

2. Setting fresh goals

"Begin at once to live and count each separate day as a separate life." – Seneca

Rather than dwelling on unmet goals, it is essential to reflect on your journey. What worked, what didn't? Identifying roadblocks as well as enjoyable activities, using these insights to move forward (Alpaio, Ravishankar, 2021).


Revisiting goals

Revisiting and possibly redefining goals based on current business conditions is crucial for maintaining strategic alignment and ensuring organizational resilience. As the business environment evolves, with changes in market trends, customer needs, and competitive dynamics, previously set goals may no longer be relevant or attainable. Regularly reassessing these goals allows executives to adapt to new opportunities and challenges, ensuring that resources are allocated effectively and efforts are focused on the most impactful areas. This proactive approach not only enhances the organization’s agility and responsiveness but also keeps the team motivated and aligned with a clear, updated vision that reflects the current realities and future aspirations.


SMART goals

Setting SMART goals for the next six months involves creating objectives that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Start by clearly defining what you aim to accomplish, ensuring each goal is precise and unambiguous. Make goals measurable by identifying quantifiable criteria to track progress and success. Ensure they are achievable by setting realistic targets considering available resources and constraints. Goals should be relevant, aligning with broader business objectives and addressing current priorities. Lastly, assign a clear deadline, breaking the six-month period into smaller milestones to maintain momentum and provide checkpoints for assessing progress. This structured approach ensures clarity, focus, and accountability, driving meaningful progress.

 

3. Enhancing leadership skills

"To lead others is to help them discover the power they hold within." – Marcus Aurelius

Valcour in a HBR article “Anyone Can Learn to Be a Better Leader” (2020) reminds us that it is one thing to want to hold a leadership role; it’s another to want to do the deep work that learning to lead entails. Resisting the developmental journey of leadership is like flying to an exciting locale, but then spending your whole time there in the airport bar.


Continuous Learning

Continuous learning is vital for personal and professional development, enabling individuals to stay relevant and competitive in a rapidly changing world. By consistently acquiring new knowledge and skills, professionals can adapt to evolving industry trends, embrace innovative practices, and enhance their problem-solving abilities. This commitment to lifelong learning fosters a growth mindset, encouraging curiosity and resilience, and equipping individuals to tackle new challenges with confidence (Dweck, 2016). Moreover, ongoing development ensures that leaders can inspire and guide their teams effectively, driving organizational success and fostering a culture of excellence and adaptability.


Adopting new strategies

Adopting new leadership strategies and tools is essential for executives looking to enhance their effectiveness and drive organizational success. Integrating approaches such as agile management, which promotes flexibility and rapid response to change, and leveraging tools like data analytics for informed decision-making can significantly improve outcomes.


Embracing collaborative platforms fosters better communication and teamwork, while incorporating mindfulness practices can enhance focus and emotional intelligence.


Additionally, adopting mentorship and coaching frameworks supports talent development and succession planning. By integrating these strategies and tools, executives can stay ahead of industry trends, foster innovation, and cultivate a resilient, high-performing organization.

 

4. Building resilience and adaptability


"Embrace the challenges as the whetstone of your character, forging resilience with each blow." – Unknown

The concept of Resilience strongly resonates with me. “Fall seven, rise eight” (Angela Duckworth, P. 169, 2016) is a Japanese quote that I want my clients to take inspiration from; the expectation that their efforts can improve their future. As I have been telling several people, success is not about luck but about not being afraid to fall and just get up again, introducing the concept of growth Mindset and Carol Dweck’s research (P.178-182, 2016). I want my clients to accept and believe that over time their talents can be developed (Dweck, 2016) and that potentially if they wish they could “reach the moon”.


Handling change

Becoming more adaptable and resilient in the face of unforeseen challenges requires cultivating a mindset open to change and learning. Embrace flexibility by staying informed about industry trends and be willing to pivot strategies as needed. Develop problem-solving skills and resourcefulness to quickly identify solutions in dynamic situations. Building a supportive network of colleagues and mentors can provide valuable perspectives and assistance. Practicing mindfulness and stress-management techniques helps maintain focus and composure under pressure. Finally, viewing challenges as opportunities for growth fosters resilience, enabling executives to lead with confidence and guide their teams through uncertainty effectively.


Stress management techniques

Effective stress management is essential for maintaining a balanced and productive work-life. Key techniques include practicing mindfulness and meditation to enhance focus and relaxation, incorporating regular physical activity to release endorphins, and utilizing time management strategies like prioritizing tasks and setting realistic goals. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle through a balanced diet, adequate sleep, and setting clear work-life boundaries is crucial. Social support from family, friends, or professionals provides emotional relief while engaging in hobbies, creative outlets, and relaxation techniques like progressive muscle relaxation and visualization help alleviate stress. Cultivating an optimistic mindset through gratitude and affirmations, along with continuous professional development, further enhances resilience against stress.

 

5. Strengthening team dynamics

"United in purpose, strengthened in adversity." – Unknown

Teamwork has been at the core of human accomplishment across the millennia – Teams are at the core of how work is accomplished in business, medicine, science, military, and sports, in

virtually all human pursuits (Kozlowski, 2017)


Team re-engagement

Re-engaging and motivating teams after the mid-year point can be achieved through several key strategies. Begin by recognizing and celebrating achievements to date, which boosts morale and acknowledges hard work. Set fresh, inspiring goals aligned with a compelling vision to reignite enthusiasm. Foster open communication by encouraging feedback and actively listening to team members' concerns and ideas, ensuring they feel valued and heard.


Provide opportunities for professional development and skill enhancement, which can reinvigorate interest and commitment. Finally, promote team bonding through social activities or team-building exercises, strengthening relationships and fostering a collaborative, supportive environment.


Effective communication

Transparent and frequent communication is crucial for aligning the team with revised goals, as it ensures everyone is on the same page and fully understands the new direction. Clear communication helps to eliminate confusion, reduce misunderstandings, and build trust within the team. Regular updates and open channels for feedback allow team members to voice their concerns, ask questions, and feel involved in the decision-making process. This not only fosters a sense of ownership and accountability but also enhances motivation and commitment to the revised objectives. Ultimately, effective communication is the backbone of a cohesive, well-aligned team that can adapt swiftly to changes and work collaboratively towards common goals.

 

6. Leveraging executive coaching

"Coaching is unlocking a person's potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them." - John Whitmore

There is a clear business purpose for coaching that goes way beyond resolving present issues, it includes the development of employees, particularly leaders, managers, and supervisors, and benefits the organization as well (Kimsey-House et al., 2018).


Personalized coaching benefits

Personalized coaching provides tailored guidance that addresses specific leadership challenges and opportunities, offering leaders a unique advantage in their professional development. By focusing on an individual's strengths, weaknesses, and personal goals, coaching helps to create a customized plan that fosters growth and improvement in targeted areas. This bespoke approach enables leaders to develop critical skills such as effective communication, strategic thinking, and emotional intelligence, which are essential for navigating complex organizational dynamics. Additionally, personalized coaching offers a confidential space for leaders to discuss and work through specific issues, receive constructive feedback, and gain new perspectives, ultimately enhancing his ability to lead confidently and effectively in their unique context.


Case studies

(Note: The names and specific details have been anonymized to preserve confidentiality.)

 

Client 1 background

The client, identified as a mid-level executive navigating significant professional changes, sought guidance to enhance decision-making, confidence, and overall performance.


Key outcomes


  • Improved decision-making: Through our sessions, I guided the client towards enhanced clarity and confidence in decision-making, enabling them to navigate complex situations effectively.

  • Enhanced confidence: By providing constructive feedback and affirming strengths, I helped boost the client's confidence and self-assurance, empowering them to tackle challenges with resilience.

  • Increased self-awareness: Introspective exercises and feedback discussions led the client to develop a deeper understanding of their strengths, weaknesses, and leadership style, facilitating proactive improvement.

  • Overall performance improvement: Tangible enhancements in adaptability, strategic thinking, and interpersonal skills resulted in recognition from colleagues and senior leadership, marking an improvement in the client's overall performance.


Conclusion: My experience coaching this individual underscores the transformative impact of coaching in professional development. By leveraging my skills and genuine interest, I was able to support the client in becoming a more effective and empowered leader.

 

Client 2 background

The client engaged me as his executive coach during a period of professional uncertainty. The client was experiencing feelings of stagnation and confusion regarding his career direction.


Key outcomes


  • Clarity and confidence: Through my support, the client gained clarity and confidence in his career path, enabling them to make informed decisions about their professional journey.

  • Improved emotional resilience: the client developed greater emotional resilience and effective stress management skills, enhancing their ability to navigate career challenges.

  • Enhanced clarity for future direction: With newfound clarity in his future direction, client 2 was equipped to set concrete goals and take actionable steps towards his desired career trajectory.


Conclusion: The personalized approach to executive coaching empowered my client to overcome career uncertainties and embark on a journey of self-discovery and growth. By providing tailored guidance and fostering emotional resilience, I enabled client 2 to navigate his career transition with confidence and purpose. Client 2's endorsement underscored the effectiveness of executive coaching in facilitating meaningful change for clients.


Client 3 background

Client 3 sought executive coaching to enhance her leadership skills and resilience. Before coaching, Client 3 faced challenges related to leadership effectiveness and maintaining resilience in demanding professional environments. Her willingness to engage in coaching reflects a proactive approach to personal and professional development, indicating a growth-oriented mindset.


Key outcomes

Through the coaching process facilitated by me, Client 3 achieved notable outcomes in both personal and professional domains:


  • Enhanced leadership skills: I assisted Client 3 in identifying areas for leadership growth and provided tailored guidance to enhance her leadership effectiveness. This likely included developing strategies for communication, decision-making, and team management, resulting in improved leadership performance and impact within her organization.

  • Increased resilience: Client 3 experienced growth in resilience through the coaching journey. I supported them in reframing challenges, building coping mechanisms, and fostering a resilient mindset. As a result, Client 3 became better equipped to navigate setbacks and adversities, demonstrating increased adaptability and perseverance in her professional endeavours.

  • Improved work-life balance: Client 3 gained insights and strategies to achieve a healthier work-life balance. Through our coaching sessions, Client 3 explored techniques for time management, boundary setting, and prioritization, leading to a more harmonious integration of personal and professional commitments. This improved balance resulted in reduced stress levels, enhanced overall well-being, and increased satisfaction both at work and in personal life.


Conclusion: The coaching engagement with me proved highly beneficial for Client 3, yielding tangible improvements in leadership skills and resilience. My approach, characterized by a focus on client-driven agenda setting and provision of relevant resources, facilitated a supportive and empowering coaching environment. Client 3's positive endorsement underscored the effectiveness of the coaching process and my ability to facilitate meaningful personal and professional growth. Overall, Client 3 emerged from the coaching experience equipped with enhanced capabilities to thrive in her leadership role and navigate challenges with resilience.


Call to action

"Persist and resist, for the calm within you will guide the storm around you." – Unknown

Taking a proactive approach at the mid-year mark is crucial for ensuring a strong finish to the year. By re-engaging teams, aligning them with revised goals through transparent communication, and addressing specific leadership challenges with personalized coaching, executives can navigate the latter half of the year with renewed vigour and strategic focus.


Embracing the guidance and support of executive coaching not only enhances individual leadership capabilities but also drives organizational success. As the examples in the previous section illustrate, effective coaching can lead to transformative outcomes. Executives who leverage these insights and resources are well-positioned to lead their teams confidently and achieve their year-end objectives.


This article underscores the value of taking stock at mid-year and leveraging executive coaching to optimize performance and achieve strategic objectives.


  • To experience these benefits firsthand, I invite you to reach out for a complimentary coaching session.

  • Personalized coaching can provide the tailored guidance and support needed to address your unique leadership challenges, re-engage your team, and realign with your strategic goals.

  • Imagine having a trusted advisor to help you navigate the complexities of your role, enhance your communication skills, and build a cohesive, motivated team.

  • My coaching practice offers a confidential space to discuss your specific needs, receive constructive feedback, and develop a clear action plan to drive success.


By embracing executive coaching, you can ensure a strong finish to the year, setting a solid foundation for future growth and achievement. Don’t miss this opportunity to enhance your leadership capabilities and unlock your full potential. Contact me today to schedule your complimentary coaching session and start your transformative journey toward greater effectiveness and fulfilment in your leadership role.

 

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and visit my website for more info!

 

Gilles Varette, Business Coach

30 years’ experience in Leadership; NCO in a paratrooper regiment in his native France, leading a global virtual team for a Nasdaq-listed company, Board stewardship, Coaching, and Mentoring. Gilles, an EMCC-accredited coach holds a Master’s in Business Practice and diplomas in Personal Development and Executive Coaching as well as Mental Health and Well-being. He strongly believes that cultivating a Growth Mindset is the key to Personal Development and a natural safeguard against the expertise trap. He lives by this quote from Epictetus: “It is not what happens to you that matters, but how you react, when something happens, the only thing in your power is your attitude toward it”.

 

References:


  • Alpaio, K. and Ravishankar, R.A. (2021). 5 Terms to Know Before Setting a New Goal. [online] Harvard Business Review. Available here 

  • before-setting-a-new-goal [Accessed 2 Jun. 2024].

  • Dweck, C. (2006). Mindset: Changing the Way You Think to Fulfill Your Potential. London: Robinson.

  • Duckworth, A. (2017). Grit : why passion and resilience are the secrets to success. London: Vermilion.

  • Bailey, J.R. and Rehman, S. (2022). Don’t Underestimate the Power of Self-Reflection.

  • [online] Harvard Business Review. Available here.

  • Kimsey-House, H., Kimsey-House, K., Sandahl, P. and Whitworth, L. (2018). Co-active coaching : changing business, transforming lives. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.

  • Kozlowski, S.W.J. (2017). Enhancing the Effectiveness of Work Groups and Teams: A Reflection. Perspectives on Psychological Science, [online] 13(2), pp.205–212.

  • doi

  • Valcour, M. (2020). Anyone Can Learn to Be a Better Leader. [online] Harvard Business Review. Available here.

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