A Consultant’s Delight
At this time last year I wrote about my aches and pains following a week of skiing amongst the millions of trees in Vermont. I am experiencing those same aches and pains as I write now after my annual skiing trip, this time to the steep slopes of Val Thorens in France.
At this time last year, I also told you in my blog (20th March, 2010) about a company called Sabretooth Capital Partners, a new hedge fund based in New York. Its founders, Craig Perry and Erez Kalir, contacted me after reading my Harvard Business Review article, ‘How the Best of the Best Get Better and Better’. Erez and Craig are high achievers who set their sights on building an organisation that would set new standards in an industry with a reputation for big egos and questionable behaviours.
They have recently celebrated their second anniversary and another successful year. In fact, they have been so successful that they have just featured in their industry’s high profile publication, Institutional Investor, as “a new generation of managers who will help the hedge fund industry reclaim its greatness” (link to article). This is the highest acclaim imaginable and richly deserved.
Working with Craig and Erez over the past two years has been a consultant’s delight. Their humility, candour, receptiveness, curiosity, passion and commitment to strive for continual improvement has been stimulating, refreshing and exhilarating for me.
However, coaching high achievers is not easy. I published a study in Consulting Psychology Journal a few years ago (link to article) which showed that high achievers want a coach who is credible, challenging, flexible and who adds value quickly. They want a relationship with their coach which is built on total trust and mutual respect. They are sponges for new information and need to feel they are working with cutting-edge data. These high achievers also have an insatiable appetite for feedback and the coach is an important source of this. They are demanding and fast-paced so that the coach should always be striving to stay one step ahead.
I have had to try to deliver all of these things to the Sabretooth guys. It’s why I love working with people like them.