When Dana Deasy became vice president and CIO of the Americas for Siemens in 1999, he harbored no illusions that the job would be easy. His main responsibility has been coordinating the efforts of 22 CIOs across North and South America who don\u2019t report to him. Those CIOs are under pressure to put the interests of their own operating unit or region first. They equate anything corporate with overhead, intervention and loss of control. The CIOs all insist their business units are unique. After all, they point out, Siemens is a conglomerate of more than 14 independent and wildly diverse operating units. Deasy knew that to lead this bunch toward collaboration, common solutions and economies of scale, he\u2019d have to be more coach than emperor.Deasy had spent plenty of time on the other side of the corporate fence, most recently as a divisional CIO at General Motors. "It was my job to do the very same thing CIOs are doing to me today: to try to convey to corporate my view on why we needed to be unique," he recalls. His experiences, both good and bad, as a business unit CIO shaped his coaching strategies, which are designed to address the operating unit CIOs\u2019 inherent skepticism of all things corporate.Coaching Tip 1: ListenPeople can\u2019t be coached effectively if they don\u2019t believe they\u2019re being understood. Therefore Deasy contends that the number-one skill of an effective leader is the ability to genuinely listen?and to do so with a great deal of empathy. "They really have to believe that you\u2019re relating to them, that you really are understanding their situation, their problem," he says. "You can\u2019t just sit there and say, Yeah, yeah, yeah, but now let me tell you what I need you to do."As CIO of GM\u2019s locomotive group, Deasy felt frustrated when corporate types would seemingly ask for his opinion because they needed to include it in their documentation and check his name off a list, not because they were really going to take his perspective into consideration. He vowed he\u2019d never do that to someone else if he ever went corporate.Coaching Tip 2: Be HonestIt\u2019s important to acknowledge the natural tension in the corporate-divisional relationship. Deasy doesn\u2019t try to pretend that he\u2019s some sort of corporate Santa Claus. "I don\u2019t think there\u2019s anything wrong with an effective coach standing right up front and saying, Let me tell you where we\u2019re going to have problems, conflicts, fundamental disagreements. And let me tell how I think we can establish some guidelines on how we\u2019ll work through this and always respect each other\u2019s point of view," he says.Before launching into a difficult discussion with an operating unit CIO, Deasy warns him that they\u2019re about to have a conversation that\u2019s going to cause tension. "I want you to consider doing something that will give you a feeling that you\u2019re going to lose control," he tells the CIO. "You\u2019re going to be asked to be assimilated into something larger, and you may not see at first the financial value of doing so." That sort of honesty helps diffuse the tension, increasing the likelihood that the divisional CIO will be able to move beyond an emotional response and focus on the business issue at hand.Coaching Tip 3: Avoid Power PlaysDeasy says it\u2019s tempting to just say, Come on guys, enough of this nonsense, we\u2019re just going to do this. But playing the corporate power card is a risky proposition. "If you play that card, you can work as hard as you want to reestablish credibility, but you\u2019ll probably never get it back completely," he says.Coaching Tip 4: Create TrustThe people you\u2019re trying to coach won\u2019t be inclined to listen or respect your point of view unless they\u2019re convinced you truly have their best interests at heart. "Yes, you\u2019re trying to do what\u2019s best for the corporation as a whole, but if they really believe you are their trusted adviser, they will be willing to listen and be coached," says Deasy. On the other hand, "if they believe you have a hidden agenda, they\u2019re going to fight you all the way." To that end, soliciting input from coachees before you make decisions is essential to creating an environment of trust.After three years on the job, Deasy knows he\u2019s making progress gaining the CIOs\u2019 trust because it no longer takes weeks to convince them to get together to bounce around an idea. Now most agree to meet for a discussion after just one or two phone calls?and are willing to listen to each other and work together when they do convene. Perhaps more telling, the CIOs are now calling him more often to confide and ask his advice on sensitive topics.Coaching Tip 5: Represent Rather than JudgeAnother way to convince coachees you\u2019re on their side is to make a concerted effort to represent their point of view at the corporate level?even if you disagree. Deasy, whose office is in New York City, sometimes takes votes from CIOs on topics before he goes to corporate meetings, and he often shows divisional CIOs the materials he\u2019s planning to present before he heads off to corporate headquarters in Munich, Germany. Later, he\u2019ll share with them minutes of the meetings so that they can rest assured their views were presented, their voices heard as part of the larger corporate discussion.Deasy finds that the CIOs are willing to listen if they think he really has empathy for their point of view, even if he\u2019s telling them they\u2019re likely to get nowhere or create more problems for themselves if they proceed as planned. He also coaches the CIOs on how to work with other executives by asking them the sorts of questions they can expect to hear when they take a proposal to the board.Coaching Tip 6: Know When to Go over Their HeadBecause the divisional CIOs don\u2019t report to Deasy, he can\u2019t fire someone for refusing to go along with what\u2019s best for the entire company. But he goes over their head if he has to. In Latin America, a group of CIOs agreed to seek a single vendor for a common desktop-laptop contract for the whole region; all also agreed to go with the winning vendor. Then one country CIO wavered when his preferred vendor didn\u2019t come out on top. When this threatened to unravel the whole deal, Deasy took up the issue with senior management. "I had to escalate it in pure business terms, showing that if this country continued to go off on its own, we couldn\u2019t get the volume and the economies of scale in our purchasing, and therefore for the whole of Siemens it would cause financial harm," Deasy says. Management agreed, and the recalcitrant CIO abided by the regional contract.Coaching Tip 7: Know When to Take a LossDeasy has learned that it\u2019s often not worth the effort?and even counterproductive?to try to win over someone who\u2019s really balking on an issue. Forcing an unwilling participant to take part in a discussion generally drags down the rest of the group. "All it takes is one operating company to be reluctant and it can take the positive energy right out of an idea," says Deasy. "Then you end up going away with no common solution."In the past, when Deasy twisted arms to get people to participate in discussions, he ended up with reluctant observers instead of active participants. He once tried to get all five of the largest U.S. business units\u2019 CIOs to agree on a common operating system for desktop help desks. One already thought his was best-in-class and didn\u2019t want to participate. Deasy insisted, but having the CIO in the group proved detrimental. For every 10 reasons Deasy gave for moving to the common operating system, the CIO provided 10 reasons why it was a bad idea. The CIO never bought into the concept, and Deasy wound up with a suboptimal agreement with the other four. In hindsight, Deasy thinks he could\u2019ve convinced the other four to do what he was recommending if he hadn\u2019t tried to go after all five. "I should\u2019ve said if I can get four to participate, that\u2019s probably remarkable," he says.Coaching Tip 8: Apply a Full-Court PressDeasy is quick to share credit for the harmony and agreement he does achieve with his staff of five directors and 32 employees. These direct reports do a lot of coaching work by having initial conversations with the divisional CIOs that pave the way for corporate initiatives. Once the CIOs have time to mull things over, Deasy closes the deal.For Deasy, effective leadership in an environment in which you don\u2019t have direct control comes down to listening, cultivating trust and having integrity. "It\u2019s the only way you can effectively succeed?other than if you\u2019re purely so damned smart that they\u2019re going to want to use you because you just intellectually have something they need," Deasy says. "This CIO world is too complex and too diverse today to be too damned smart in everything."