- How Executive Coaching Honed My Decision-Making Edge
Receive infrequent tools, workshops and articles related to growing your business!
May 21, 2024

When I started my digital agency, Imulus, over 15 years ago, I thought I knew it all. I was a fearless founder ready to conquer the world, one app at a time. But as the company grew, so did the complexity of the decisions I faced. I found myself falling into the same traps that many leaders do: analysis paralysis, imposter syndrome, and the constant fear of making the wrong call.

If you're a founder or CEO, you know exactly what I'm talking about. The weight of every decision feels like it could make or break your company. You second-guess yourself, stall on important choices, and sometimes feel like you're navigating a maze blindfolded. Sound familiar?

That's when I turned to executive coaching. At first, I was skeptical. I mean, I'd built this company from the ground up; what could a coach teach me that I didn't already know? Turns out, a whole lot.

Over the years, working with various executive coaches transformed not just my decision-making process but my entire approach to leadership. It gave me the clarity, perspective, and confidence I needed to lead my company through tough times and major milestones.

After successfully running Imulus for over 15 years, we decided to shut it down. It was a bittersweet moment, but I knew it was time for a new chapter. I took the lessons I'd learned and the skills I'd honed and channeled them into helping others navigate the same challenges I'd faced.

Now, I work with founders and executives to help them sharpen their decision-making skills and unlock their leadership potential. And let me tell you, the view from the outside looking in is a game-changer. Here's what I've learned:

Clarity Is King

As a leader, it's easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day and lose sight of the big picture. That's why the first thing I do with my clients is make them get crystal clear on their goals and values.

Here's a simple exercise you can do right now: Write down your company BHAG, then your top 3 goals. Now, with every decision you face, ask yourself: does this align with my priorities? If not, it's a no and the project or task needs to be shelved.

Sounds simple, but this kind of clarity is a superpower. It allows you to make decisions quickly and confidently, knowing that you're staying true to your vision.

Perspective Is Power

When you're deep in the valley of running a business, it's hard to see the forest for the trees. That's where an outside perspective comes in.

As a coach, my job is to help my clients see their business from new angles. It's always easier for an outsider to see the problem, it's harder to accept their view. We role-play tough conversations, we challenge assumptions, and we look at problems from every possible side.

The next time you're feeling stuck on a decision, try this: Imagine you're advising a friend on this exact issue. What would you tell them? Getting out of your own head and looking at the problem objectively can unlock new solutions.

Prepare for the Pressure

I once thought that confident leaders just trusted their gut. But here's the truth: Real confidence comes from being prepared.

Before any high-stakes decision or conversation, I work with my clients to rehearse intensely. We anticipate every tough question, every objection, every curveball. By the time they're in the moment, they're ready for anything.

So before your next big meeting or presentation, take the time to prepare. Write out your key points. Practice in front of the mirror. The more preparation you do, the more confident and calm you'll feel.

Master Your EQ

Your emotions set the tone for your entire team. If you're stressed, they're stressed. As a client once said, "leaders bring weather." If you're excited, they're excited. But if you're anxious, unsure, or reactive, it ripples out in all directions.

That's why emotional mastery is such a critical skill for leaders. It starts with simple things like deep breathing, taking breaks, and checking in with yourself regularly.

The next time you feel your emotions getting the best of you, try this: Take a deep breath in for 4 counts, hold for 4, exhale for 4, hold for 4. Repeat 3-5 times. This simple reset can help you approach the situation with a clearer head.

Trust the Process

Cliche I know, but making good decisions isn't about being perfect; it's about being intentional and consistent. That's why I teach my clients a simple, repeatable process for decision-making.

Here's the framework: Clarify the problem, gather data, generate options, evaluate the pros and cons, make the call, and reflect on the outcome. Rinse and repeat.

No, it's not glamorous. But it works. Trusting in a process gives you the confidence to make tough calls, even when the stakes are high and the outcome is uncertain.

I know how lonely and daunting leadership can feel. But here's what coaching has taught me: You don't have to have all the answers. You just need the right tools, the right perspective, and the right questions.

Imagine waking up every day feeling clear on your priorities, confident in your choices, and excited for what's to come. Imagine being able to make the toughest decisions with ease and inspire your team with your calm, focused leadership.

If you're feeling stuck, overwhelmed, or unsure, don't go it alone. Investing in your decision-making skills is one of the best things you can do for your business, your team, and yourself. Take it from me, I've been there, leading with a coach by your side will aide your growth as a leader. 

author avatar
George Morris
I use my 20+ years of entrepreneurial experience and training to coach businesses on scaling up rapidly using Verne Harnish's Scaling Up framework. By doing so, my clients are more efficient and profitable, giving them the ability to make bigger impacts in the world. I deeply believe entrepreneurs are the best equipped to be the vehicle for meaningful change, and in the decade ahead, we'll see a substantial shift in how business is done. We'll move to a model where company purpose, impact, curiosity, and team health will be differentiators in overall business success. As Simon Sinek has pointed out, the finite games are the legacy of the past; we're moving to an infinite game.