What Success Looks Like


As a very busy mid-level executive in a Fortune 100 company, he took to coaching like a duck to water. He was ready to work on himself. When we first started our work together, he thoroughly studied the 360 feedback he’d received and focused on learning from the leadership development training he’d just had. He knew immediately the goals he wanted to work on and couldn’t wait to get started.

His goals were centered on leadership, increasing personal connections with his staff, and improving his health with regular exercise and a better diet.

Driven to excel

He had a thoughtful (albeit ambitious) agenda for each of our meetings prepared ahead of time. He always called at the time we agreed to. He didn’t have to make excuses for being late or missing a meeting because he didn’t do either of those things.

He didn’t reschedule any of our meetings in the months we worked together; he said he saw the value in the reflection they provided. When it was time for us to meet, he made sure that he wasn’t distracted (turning off his cell phone, closing his laptop, asking his admin to make sure he wasn’t interrupted).

In short, he was driven to excel.

Others are now taking notice. His manager gave him a great review. People outside his team are clamoring for the openings he has in his organization (there aren’t many at any given time). Peers are asking for advice on how to create a winning team. Employees want to be mentored by him. Customers are happier than they have ever been. His team is shipping on time and within budget and they are willing to go the extra mile when needed (without grumbling).

Recognizing there’s always more to work on

It all sounds so rosy. And for the moment things are so good that a lesser leader might rest on these achievements. Yet he has some new things he wants to work on: assuring that internal customers get transitional help in the projects his team hands off to them; important relationships to forge within the larger organization, a focus on developing his direct reports so that one of them is ready to step into his position when he gets promoted (and he will).

He’s very intent about continuing to develop himself. He can see the benefits of his personal growth by the impact he’s making on his staff, customers, stakeholders and organization. He wants to expand his impact even more.

When I asked him if he was enjoying himself, he said, “Yeah, its fun.”

That’s what success looks like.

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Mary Jo Asmus is the founder and President of Aspire Collaborative Services LLC, an executive coach, writer, internationally recognized thought leader, and a consultant who partners with organizations of all kinds to develop and administer coaching programs. She has “walked in your shoes” as a former leader in a Fortune company.


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