Book Review: Marshall Goldsmith Professional Success System

Dave Kinnear1-On Leadership, Book Reviews

The world of executive coaching has changed a great deal since my early years in the corporate world. Today, companies turn to an executive coach as a way to invest in the future of a promising executive. Individuals hire executive coaches to help prepare themselves for leadership positions in their chosen profession or to further improve an already promising and successful career.
I had the pleasure of meeting Marshall Goldsmith at a conference where he was the keynote speaker. It was there that I received a copy of his fantastic book “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.” I was very impressed by Goldsmith’s keynote and even more impressed after reading the book.

Goldsmith is arguably the most successful executive coach practicing today. He is widely known, a best selling author and a much sought after leadership development professional. Knowing all this, I was very curious to find out how he might be able to “package himself” so that more people will be able to access his experience and knowledge. Frankly, I wasn’t sure it would be possible or effective. But now there is the MG-Pro program.

This six month on-line program is intuitive and deceptively easy – meaning that it is easy to navigate and has ample resources for you. Yet what Goldsmith is asking you to do is very difficult and will take a lot of self-discipline. It is laid out in six monthly modules with each month having weekly assignments. You are not left alone to figure this all out as Goldsmith provides ample articles, web links and high quality video clips. Here are the topics for each month:

  • Month 1: Choosing the right goal.
  • Month 2: Enrolling stakeholders .
  • Month 3: Using stakeholders.
  • Month 4: Changing effectively.
  • Month 5: Keeping the process going.
  • Month 6: Changing perception.

I found the organization of the program to be excellent with each week introduced by a video clip of Goldsmith giving a “nugget of insight” on one or another personal development topic. In his clear, concise and friendly manner, Goldsmith provides a guide for the week and, depending on the topic, will provide additional video support for the specific topic at hand. There is a very useful Glossary to help you keep track of the concepts presented.

There are tools to download and use in evaluating your goals as well as interviewing your stakeholders. The main focus is your Master Plan. Remember, the issue that gets named is the issue that gets solved. So if you don’t do the hard work of identifying the growing edge you want to push on, you will not get the maximum value out of the program so take your time developing your Master Plan. Other tools available to help are the Development Goal Worksheet which is a small survey that you can use to rate typical areas of strengths and growing edges as they apply to you as well as for a “mini-360” with your stakeholders. There is a time management tool called “Routine Tracker” to help you determine where you spend your time. Finally, there is the “Unrecognizable Habit Survey” to help you and your stakeholders determine the habits you have that are holding you back. I especially like the concept of making sure you are “Avoiding the Superstition Trap.” Which is, of course, the whole point of “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There!” No matter how successful you are, there is room to be even more successful in your personal and/or professional life.

Now here is the best part: You are invited to engage with a world class executive coach in a virtual world for about the same amount of cash investment that you would make to take your partner to a celebratory dinner. If you take advantage of this program, put in the effort it will take, practice self-discipline to complete it and are honest with yourself, you will have ample reason to celebrate. It is instructive to remember that Goldsmith won’t get you from “here to there.” But his program will help YOU get from where you are now to where you want to be. Get it, do it, enjoy.

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