Does Theresa May need a life coach?

Over the last few weeks Theresa May has shown just how treacherous the life of a leader can be.

From a supposedly imperious lead in the polls a few weeks ago, Theresa May is now being described as a “dead woman walking”.

As with all leaders, your career can be defined and decided by a number of key decisions. Get them right and you stay in power. Get them wrong and you will be in trouble.

I know that Theresa May has many advisors, two of which were sacked last week, but I doubt whether she has a life coach who specialises in leadership.

Here’s why…

Life coaching for leaders is about intuition as well as strategy

Whatever the reasons were for Theresa May not attending the recent leaders debate, it clearly backfired on her.

Whilst her strategy was to appear so strong and stable that she cared little about engaging in debate, it appears to have made her look arrogant and aloof.

The trouble with strategy is that it can become dated very quickly. I think this is especially relevant in todays political and business environment.

Whilst I think strategy is important, I also think that an ability to listen to and trust your intuition as a leader has never been more valuable.

Would Theresa May have made the same decision if she had spent a little time listening to her gut, rather than the data she was being shown by her advisors?

Whilst the very idea of “intuition” may appear trivial, and perhaps unrealistic, for todays data-driven market, the truth remains that leadership is, and always will be, about dealing with the unknown rather than the known.

Elements such as intuition take many years to develop in leaders, but can become invaluable in times of uncertainty and unprecedented change.

Whether you are running a small business or a large organisation, I encourage you to develop and listen to your gut as well as your head at times in order to navigate a world where change is often too fast too calculate.

Life coaching for leaders is about vision as well as tactics

Theresa May clearly had a number of tactics she was using to try and win the last general election.

  • Putting herself, rather than her party, first in campaign literature
  • Appealing to UKIP voters
  • Refusing to engage in a televised debate

However, can anyone really articulate her vision for where she wanted to take the country? (I would suggest that a “Hard Brexit” is another tactic, rather than a vision, and the manifesto was hardly compelling)

When life get’s messy, sometimes a vision of where you are heading is the only tactic that makes sense. Sadly, “Make America great again” is a very good example of this, IMHO.

I speak to many entrepreneurs who have become so bogged down in tactics that they have forgotten the reason they started the business in the first place. They’ve forgotten what gap they were trying to fill in the market, what difference they were trying to make, and what the values were that made them stand out. They have totally forgotten their vision.

In an age where information is everywhere, the courage and commitment to communicate a clear vision, that appeals to your own values and those of your target market, may be the best tactic of all.

It’s a risk, and a strong vision will alienate some, but leadership and entrepreneurship is always a risk. That’s why they are called leaders.

Life coaching for leaders is about integrity rather than popularity

Perhaps one of the skills I spend longest developing within the leaders I coach is the ability to maintain integrity.

To make sure that your actions align with your beliefs as much as possible, even if it makes you unpopular.

Whilst this won’t always make business sense, it does make personal sense, and that is why I am a life coach and not a business coach. I’ll never work with a client who is prepared to sacrifice personal integrity for business success.

The thing about popularity and money is that you can get it back. You can’t get integrity back. Once it is broken, it is broken forever.

I don’t expect anyone to maintain integrity forever. (I myself chose to break a very public promise when I decided to end my first marriage.) But I do expect people to consider the consequences of such a decision heavily.

As leader of the conservative party, Theresa May has changed her view on Brexit in order to lead the party.

I don’t expect this is a decision that she has taken lightly, but I do think that it is a decision that may affect her credibility to lead.

Perhaps the reason that integrity can be so important in business and politics is that it provides certainty. And that was the one thing that Theresa May was unable to give to the voters after her change of heart over Brexit.

What our your views on why Theresa May lost the election? Disagree with the points I have made here? Please share in the comments.