With all your years of coaching, what have you found is the number one obstacle to change?
Ego. I am not dealing with all humans, I am dealing with a small subset of humans who are people running large corporations. These people are great achievers and they are used to winning. And they try to win and be right and present themselves in a positive way, because that is what you need to do to become a success. The problem is when you get to the top, you have to quit doing that. One of the great leaders I have ever met is Alan Mulally, the CEO of Ford. He said, "Leadership is not about me. It's about them." And that is hard. For a great achiever, everything is about me; for a great leader, everything is about them. It's a very hard transition--making a transition from a great individual achiever, a smart person, who is successful in their own right, usually technically competent at something, and then gets promoted higher up.
From an interview with Marshall Goldsmith: