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Unlocking CEO Potential: Lionel Marumahoko's Transformation from Cocky 25-Year Old to Effective Executive

Lionel Marumahoko
CEO Coaching Int’l

Guest: Lionel Marumahoko, an action-oriented authority on emerging markets, global projects, and people management. Lionel developed his expertise over a 25-year career that included working as a senior executive for Coca-Cola in Africa.

Overview: Delegation and communication are two essential skills that young leaders often struggle to master. Working with a seasoned CEO coach can open a new CEO’s eyes to these blind spots sooner so that they can Make BIG Happen faster.

On today’s show, Lionel Marumahoko opens up about how coaching helped him grow from a cocky 25-year-old into an effective senior leader at one of the most respected brands in the world.

Lionel Marumahoko on managing the emotional side of change:
“My mandate was very straightforward in terms of computerizing the accounting system and everything else. And, given the expertise and experience I had, it was doable. In fact, the work was actually done in about six-to-eight months. I felt that I’d done an exceptional job. But the adoption rate was not there. The PAs were still using their typewriters in the finance department. They were still gravitating to cash books and journals. And what dawned on me was that I had to tackle this change from two sides: the physical side and the emotional side. One of the exercises that I did was get everyone to play solitaire on their computers. And that took away the fear that people had around computers, because in early ’90s, the good old days of MS-DOS, computers were really scary stuff. What I did was really spend time on the human, got them to play solitaire, spend more time talking to them. People got more excited about computers and then realized that this device was actually very friendly. And through that I was able to get them into the nuts and bolts of what needed to be done on the technical side and start moving away from the manual system.”

Lionel Marumahoko on how coaching revealed his blind spots:
“I’ll be the one to confess, I was very cocky. I was in my early twenties and full of myself. And because of that and because I was very efficient in what I did, I came across as rude. I came across as someone with a bad attitude because I was a straight shooter. I didn’t sugarcoat anything. And my coach told me I needed to lose the temper and lose the attitude, which didn’t make sense to me because what I was relaying to folks were facts. But my coach said I had to be able to embrace people and take them along with me. And so he asked me to lose the temper and have that self-awareness of how other people receive my message and how that was distracting us from developing a cohesive plan that moves forward. Hearing that was something I resisted initially, but when I started paying attention, I saw a lot of relationships working in my favor, and in favor of the company, and in favor of the agenda that we had set up.”

Lionel Marumahoko on improving situational leadership:
“Emotional intelligence is aligned with situational leadership. And situational leadership is underpinned by having self-awareness and knowing how your behavior triggers negative reactions in associates, customers, or stakeholders, and how it stops critical conversations. So if leaders are uninspired, their team’s performance won’t grow over time. If leaders find empathy too soft and weak, they will never understand why business-critical projects fail as people get more and more disengaged and lose sight of purpose. So for me, situational leadership is being able to adapt to a situation that is playing out and bringing the right level of leadership that is appropriate.”

Connect with Lionel Marumahoko on LinkedIn

How Coaching Leads to Making BIG Happen – Mark Moses, CEO and Founder of CEO Coaching International, reflects on how working with a coach can help you break through walls, shore up weaknesses, and identify the actionable, measurable steps that will lead to sustained personal and professional growth.

The 7 Biggest Leadership Mistakes CEOs Should Avoid – If you can stay clear of these seven CEO mistakes before they trip you up, your growth trajectory and your path to BIG will be that much smoother.

About CEO Coaching International

CEO Coaching International works with CEOs and their leadership teams to achieve extraordinary results quarter after quarter, year after year. Known globally for its success in coaching growth-focused entrepreneurs to meaningful exits, CEO Coaching International has coached more than 1,000 CEOs and entrepreneurs in more than 60 countries and 45 industries. The coaches at CEO Coaching International are former CEOs, presidents, or executives who have made BIG happen. The firm’s coaches have led double-digit sales and profit growth in businesses ranging in size from startups to over $10 billion, and many are founders that have led their companies through successful eight, nine, and ten-figure exits. Companies working with CEO Coaching International for two years or more have experienced an average EBITDA CAGR of 53.5% during their time as a client, more than three times the U.S. average, and a revenue CAGR of 26.2%, nearly twice the U.S. average.

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