Seven Effective Personal Development Approaches Busy Executives Can Use


As a busy executive, you are always looking for ways to improve your efficiency at work. Every day, you face a myriad of responsibilities and staff needs, all of which pull you in different directions. The demands of the job are high, which means you need to learn how to destress and focus on the right things in order to become a more effective leader.

Personal development offers busy professionals a way to maximize their skills, as well as learn new ways to handle the pressures of their position. By learning new personal development techniques, you can become a better leader, as well as reach important goals more reliably.

Below, seven members of Forbes Coaches Council share some of the most valuable personal development techniques they typically recommend to busy executives. Here’s what they said:

1. Know Yourself

I recommend executives assess and understand their aptitude (in-born psychometrics), understand their attitude (work culture) and what I call their altitude, better known as emotional intelligence. This will help them understand where they’re coming from. It will also give them insight into their management style and hiring techniques. – Jacob M Engel, Yeda LLC/The Prosperous Leader

2. Positive Psychology

I would recommend a simple intervention that would improve burnout, emotional maturity, well-being, and engagement, such as positive psychology. Individuals who practice positive psychology attempt psychological interventions (e.g., meditation), which fosters positive attitudes and self-awareness. – Bonnie Ferrell, Change Leadership Consultant

3. Active Listening

Busy executives are better off actively listening to what is going on around them, rather than multitask and understand very little to nothing. The message to your staff is that their time does not matter and that there are more important things going on. It is more likely that neither is true. Instead, focus on improving your listening skills, which will always save you more time in the long run. – Randee Lehrer, Energrowth Coaching LLC

4. Conscious Leadership

Self-awareness is the No. 1 skill for busy executives. Being aware and able to understand the messaging (verbal and non-verbal) you send is critical to establishing credibility and influence. A leader’s ability to maximize the talent in the organization will be dependent on inclusion that creates engagement, as well as promotes innovation and performance excellence. This is conscious leadership. – Rosalie Chamberlain, Rosalie Chamberlain Consulting & Coaching

5. Awareness And Presence

I recommend developing awareness and presence. By observing how we operate in daily situations, we see our automatic reactivity. This enables developing our presence, in order to consider and creatively act based on clear intentions and commitments. Practicing awareness and presence builds our resilience, in order to create better results as we engage people and teams to resolve complex challenges. – Tom Hardison, Generative Leadership Group, LLC

Read more in Executive Presence: What Is It, Why You Need It And How To Get It
6. ‘Stop, Look And Listen’ Method

Executives directly benefit from using a “stop, look and listen” methodology. The goal is to be present, and to focus on the moment. This brings clarity, greater engagement and increased value. It doesn’t matter if the moment is engaging a team member or working on a tactical task. Stop multitasking, look to be in the moment, and listen to the speaker or your heart. – Tony Mickle, Big Box Coaching LLC

7. Identify Your Unique Executive Mission

Unearthing your unique, free-from-platitudes, executive mission is the most fundamental exercise in executive personal development work. Without this solid base of knowledge, you will simply not be able to benefit from additional personal development work as much as you could. – Tim Windhof, Windhof Communications – Career Services

Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only, fee-based organization comprised of leading business coaches and career coaches. Members are hand-selected by the Council’s selection committee. Find out if you qualify at


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