Who gives you your Second Opinion?

Most of the one-on-one coaching I do with leaders is done virtually; we use the telephone, Skype, or web-based project management spaces. However I do fit in the travel necessary for face to face time with my customers as much as I can possibly do so, for without question, in-person conversation is the best tool a coach has, especially when that conversation plays out in their territory.

We set appointments ahead of time; I don’t drop in unannounced unless they ask me to (you can imagine those reasons.) Customers who have worked with me for a while have gotten very smart about how they capitalize on my visits. They know they can converse with me on the telephone easily and frequently, so when I am on their turf they will usually figure out how I can see something happening for myself, or meet someone they are considering forging a new partnership with. I will often meet candidates there for second or third round interviews” though I usually don’t know that until my next visit and see them again (or don’t).

In short, the leaders I’m coaching want a second opinion. They want to know what I think about something I will see happening (and as their coach they know I will tell them), or they want to watch the way another person will interact with me, customer to customer, professional to professional, or human being to human being.

Do leaders spring these ‘chance encounters’ on me? Only the first time; it triggers the next coaching conversation we’ll have. However I must tell you, as a leadership coach, I am very pleased that they did! It tells me I’m coaching a winner.

Who gives you your second opinions?

How do you go about getting those opinions?

When do you listen, and when do you go your own way?

How else do you follow up?

Leaders are bold. They are brave about what they initiate, and they are brave with how much risk they will take on. However leaders are not foolish; leaders are not careless. Leaders also thrive on input.

Great leaders balance their bravado with generous helpings of humility. It is the humility of asking questions which clarify what they see, and what they feel, even when they are very self-confident and instinctively will trust in their own intuition. It is the humility which keeps them learning, and keeps them open-minded, welcoming challenges that will take them through the mental gymnastics which strengthen their intellectual honesty and spiritual integrity.

Intellectual honesty is a woven-into my Aloha construct I learned from the legendary David Ogilvy (1911-1999) who said, “I admire people with first-class brains, because you cannot run a great advertising agency without brainy people. But brains are not enough unless they are combined with intellectual honesty.”

Talking Story addition from the archives:

What is intellectual honesty?

Thus great leaders will surround themselves with people who are also brave —brave enough to challenge them, and to give them those second opinions whether they ask for them or not. A coach like me is just one of those people, and you might be another” if you are, you are immensely valuable to them.

Let’s talk story.
Give me your second opinion!

Comment here, or via the tweet-conversation we have on Twitter @sayalakai.

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~ Originally published on Say “Alaka‘i” ~
Who gives you your Second Opinion?

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  1. says

    Hey Rosa,
    I liked the question you posed,
    “Who gives you your second opinions?
    How do you go about getting those opinions?
    When do you listen, and when do you go your own way?
    How else do you follow up?”
    I enjoy how it leaves it open for discussion and letting you decide your own path on answering them. It’s important to ensure each leader can get to the answers appropriately as well.
    What advice would you offer to ensure a leader answers these questions in the best way possible?

  2. says

    I’ve been thinking about your question William, and Sharon, I think your comment is very much in line with what my advice would be: I think leaders have to ask themselves about contextual influence when they consider the second opinions they will receive. People will often tell a leader what they believe he or she wants to hear versus “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”