Most of that experience has been in the world of politics and public policy, where it is obvious that successful leaders can have enormous impact through the setting of new rules and the creating and re-creating of institutions that are openly designed to affect society as a whole. The potential to achieve massive good is great.
But we at Harley Street are also convinced that leaders in the private sector can now have a profound impact on society as well. By leading innovation and change in their companies with a broader group of stakeholders in mind – shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers, and community members – whether we call this "sustainability" or corporate responsibility -- business leaders can transform their companies, their markets, and yes, society as a whole.
But impact leaders can be far more effective if they are not confined to thinking, feeling, and acting alone. Change leadership is one of the most difficult of aspirations, and without support, any leader can be hampered by his or her isolation. The pace of this work can be frantic, and without someone to talk to about the strategic and tactical challenges – in a structured, purposeful, confidential way – the leader can easily lose his or her way. Leaders can’t talk frankly about their concerns and fears with key people they work with -- whether in the case of political leaders they be donors, key advisors, their office or campaign staff, or in the case of business leaders they be their superiors (e.g. the board of a directors for a CEO), their direct reports (whose confidence in the leader may be critical to success), or even their spouses (whose relationship with the leader extends well beyond the organization’s challenges).
Harley Street provides exactly the critical support that the impact leader needs. In Harley Street coaching, impact leaders get a supportive, committed partner to help them think and say all the things they really want to and see new pathways that they wouldn't otherwise see -- in a totally safe, confidential environment. The leader and Harley Street agree at the outset on the scope of the engagement – the goals to be achieved by a time certain. And then every conversation in the engagement is purposeful; that is, we get clarity about the topic to be discussed and the definition of what would be a successful outcome of the session, we explore the issues around the topic, and we close with the leader’s deciding what actions he or she wanted to take -- big or small -- to move forward.
Harley Street Associates can also help the impact leader succeed with team coaching and consulting services that build on its executive coaching strength but provide a broader range of support for the changes the leader is trying to effect.
Harley Street Associates is named for the street in London on which King George VI's coach -- Lionel Logue -- lived in the 1930s and 1940s.
Logue was King George VI’s coach, and the stated goal of the coaching engagement was to deal with the King’s persistent speech stammer. The King’s stammer kept him from performing one of his most important duties as King – to be the robust voice of Britain and democracy during World War II.
The story of this coaching engagement was most recently told in the Academy-Award-winning film, The King’s Speech. As the film unfolds, the viewer realizes that the King’s stammer is not cured by “speech therapy.” Rather, this impact leader – the King – succeeds through the trusting and confidential coaching relationship between the King and Logue where Logue’s sole purpose was to help the King find the resources within himself not only to overcome his stutter but also to execute his duties as King, as husband, and as father to the next monarch – Queen Elizabeth II – with more effectiveness and with more joy.
In a newly-discovered, handwritten letter on Buckingham Palace notepaper, dated February 28, 1952, Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) told Logue shortly after the death of her husband, King George VI, that her husband had owed him a debt of gratitude for helping him not merely with his stutter, but his whole life.
"I think that I know perhaps better than anyone just how much you helped the King, not only with his speech, but, through that, his whole life, and outlook on life," she wrote to Logue one year before his death.
"I shall always be deeply grateful to you for all you did for him."
So at Harley Street, we like to think that as King George had his Lionel, you should have your Harley St. coach.
For your enjoyment, we have included clips about The King’s Speech on this page. The first is the movie’s trailer; it will give you a feeling for the movie and the great coaching story it tells. And the second is a brief cut from an interview with the star of the film – Colin Firth – who won his first Academy Award for his portrayal of King George VI. Firth talks about the unique qualities of the coaching relationship.