Just Enough Anxiety: A Powerful and Practical Tool for Executive Coaches
By Robert Rosen
One of your key challenges as an executive coach is to help your clients make the right choices that get them and their organizations where they want to go. The challenge has multiple steps. First, you must help your clients get comfortable with the idea of being coached. Next, you must gain their confidence and maintain their attention even though they are immersed, entangled and possibly overwhelmed in their day-to-day business activities. Finally, you must keep them moving through the gap between their current reality and their desired outcome, while acknowledging their successes along the way. Throughout the process, you must turn up the heat or back off as needed, especially at critical choice points. You must create just enough anxiety for your client to move forward in productive ways.
I base this conclusion on my 30 years of work as a psychologist, entrepreneur and CEO adviser/coach, and on my interviews with nearly 300 top business leaders. I know from personal experience that conquering this coaching challenge is possible only when I'm able to create just enough anxiety for my clients—as well as within myself.
The right level of anxiety is a powerful force and a practical tool for growth for both clients and coaches.
Let's face it: Anxiety is a fact of life. How we use it makes all the difference. If we let it be overwhelming, it will turn to panic. If we deny or run from it, complacency will rule. But if we use the right level of anxiety in a positive way, we can turn that anxiety into a powerful life force. We can tap into the hidden driver of business success.
What is just enough anxiety? It is the emotional charge that tells us we're ready to take action, our signal for learning and growth. Within an organization, just enough anxiety unleashes human energy and creates hope and momentum to move across the gap from where we are to where we want to be.
In contrast, too much anxiety is wrapped in negative thinking and causes people to resist, attack or avoid its source to ease the pain they feel. It creates discomfort, frustration and wasted movement, or no movement at all. On the other hand, too little anxiety, which arises from an unrealistic belief that all is well and an unfounded expectation that the good times will continue unabated, leads to complacency, boredom and stagnation.
Creating just enough anxiety involves balancing on a continuum between too little and too much anxiety, over time and as circumstances change. The continual movement toward the center maximizes learning, creativity, achievement and performance, no matter what is happening. This healthy range of anxiety differs from person to person, company to company and time to time. No one-size-fits-all definition of anxiety applies to every situation.
As a coach, you need to continually assess your clients' level of anxiety and help them realize the appropriate level of anxiety that will enable them to take the next step toward their goals. And you need to keep your own balance as well.
How does someone acquire an optimum level of anxiety? The first step is to develop two key attributes-an open mind and an open heart. The second step is to live comfortably within three paradoxes: realistic optimism, constructive impatience and confident humility. Here's how.
To develop an open mind...
- Strengthen self-awareness by being fully present in each moment, learning to recognize and replace self-defeating thoughts and beliefs and cultivating self-confidence.
- Commit to lifelong learning by being willing to not know, developing insatiable curiosity and seeking out new challenges.
- Practice non-attachment by embracing the unknown, admitting what can and cannot be controlled and taking inventory of what matters most in life.
To develop an open heart...
- Be emotionally honest by managing and expressing emotions in healthy ways, befriending anxiety and becoming comfortable with competing emotions.
- Deepen empathy and compassion by being sensitive to what people feel and need in the midst of change, looking at things from diverse perspectives and seeing the good in others.
- Become emotionally resilient by finding the positive in each experience, keeping the bigger picture in mind and learning ways to mediate high anxiety.
An open mind provides the freedom to grow and change. An open heart provides the energy required to do so. Together they enable an individual to cross the gap between "here" and "there"-the vortex where change takes place. People with an open mind and open heart are able to create just enough anxiety within themselves to master three key paradoxes that inspire top performance in others.
We all live with paradox. For instance, I'm a strong, competent, ambitious person who likes to control my own destiny. But I'm also sensitive and have a strong desire to make deep, intimate connections. And I'm no stranger to feeling humble, confused or vulnerable.
I kept these "hard" and "soft" sides of myself separate for years. Like many people in business, I showed only half of who I am to the world. The rest I kept hidden or shared only with close friends and family. I often felt like one person on the inside and another on the outside. But I came to realize that not bringing my full self into my business relationships limited my effectiveness.
Over time, as I've applied what I've learned from top leaders and my own experience, I have embraced the entirety of who I am in both my personal life and my business. Now, as I coach clients, I strive to apply the three key leadership paradoxes that I've found are essential in creating just enough anxiety for others. To coach with realistic optimism, I acknowledge my clients' current reality while remaining optimistic about their potential future. To coach with constructive impatience, I push clients to stretch beyond their comfort zone to reach defined goals while giving them the support they need to get there. To coach with confident humility, I believe in my own capabilities while remaining open to learning from my clients.
Yes, coaching others to success is a challenge. But there is great satisfaction in helping people get from where they are to where they want to be.
Your client's success story is your success story. It means you have generated just enough anxiety inside yourself and have helped your client create the right level of anxiety. It means you have each turned your anxiety into productive energy. Both you and your client have effectively modulated your own anxiety levels by keeping an open mind and an open heart and living with realistic optimism, constructive impatience and confident humility.
How close are you to being a coach with just enough anxiety (JEA)? Use the tool below to find out.
Are You a JEA Coach?
Instructions: Rate yourself on the extent to which you demonstrate the following behaviors, beliefs and attitudes.
3=A lot of the time
___I value and seek change.
___I am comfortable with uncertainty.
___I use anxiety as a positive force for growth.
___I engender hope and optimism in others.
___I take calculated risks in my life.
___I treat failure as a learning opportunity.
___I demonstrate adaptability and collaboration at work.
___I use conflict to find more effective solutions.
___I face tough issues with confidence.
___I trust myself and others to think flexibly.
___I am constantly scanning my environment.
___I am adept at managing my emotions.
___I understand the emotions of others.
___I am able to energize myself and others.
___I maintain a positive attitude in the midst of adversity.
___People describe me as honest and authentic.
___My passion inspires people to do their best.
___I readily help others handle change and uncertainty.
___I challenge people to outperform themselves.
___I pride myself in knowing my strengths and shortcomings.
Results: Add up your score and compare it to the results below. Focus on your lowest scores to strengthen your JEA coaching skills.
- 62 - 72: You are a strong JEA coach.
- 51 - 61: You are moving in the right direction to become a JEA coach.
- 40 - 50: You need to step up your game to become a JEA coach.
- 39 or below: You have a lot of work to do to become a JEA coach.
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Coaching Contributes to the Development of a New Profession
By Linda J. Lord
His name is Paul Foster. He is revolutionizing a profession. He describes his practice as "a business advisory firm," an accounting firm working on a differentiation strategy in the business advisory industry. His focus is on small business owners, farmers and professionals with gross revenues up to $5 million who are looking to grow, are pro-technology and who have the desire and opportunity to differentiate themselves in their markets.
A few months prior to meeting Linda in June 2006, Paul attended his annual conference for Ran One, which focused on the concept of accountants being coaches for their business clients. Recognizing that his firm is also his first client, he determined a need to have his own coach as a means of growing his business as well as for learning and understanding more about coaching skills by experiencing them firsthand.
Linda had been coaching for a few years, but her coaching practice hadn't been as financially successful as she had anticipated. She actually initiated contact with Paul as a means of determining the viability of her practice. The timing was perfect for both business owners. Paul would provide the business advisory expertise and Linda would provide the coaching expertise.
Paul's desired result was to expedite the transition of his firm into a uniquely differentiated business advisory firm. He recognized that to accomplish his goal, he would need someone to hold his feet to the fire and to improve his time management skills. He also wanted to have the type of coaching experience that he could promote to his clients.
After several meetings, Paul expanded the coaching initiative to include his entire team.
This brought to light the fact that some team members no longer fit with Paul's vision for the firm. When it was discovered that one team member in particular was "the wrong person to have on our bus, Linda helped me transition him to the right bus."
Linda helped Paul realize that there were certain things he kept thinking he was going to do but never did. Together, Linda and Paul further developed the concept that "in order to grow businesses, you need to grow the owner."
After successfully implementing this concept in Paul's firm, Linda and Paul collaborated to successfully bring this model to other joint engagements.
The Value Delivered
"As for the return on investment, I believe it has been quite high," Paul comments. "The quality-of-life improvements are the most visible to me; as well as the clarity with respect to how to approach business owners and undertake changes in their business.
"We all know that accountants have historically been the most trusted advisors to small business owners. I also know that accountants are business owners themselves, and therefore often suffer from the same challenges as other industry professionals who are excellent technicians but lack the necessary leadership and management skills to operate their businesses productively.
"It is quite clear that the addition of a qualified coach can first assist the accounting practitioner to improve his business and understand the true value provided in the coaching and advisory relationship with the client. The coach and the accountant can then combine to utilize their complementary skills in growing the business clients of the accountant and have a reasonable chance of implementing positive change and growth of a permanent nature."
Linda also assisted Paul in the areas of website development, trademark application, conceptualization of the idea of providing business therapy services digitally and utilizing the Ranone toolbox. Perhaps most significant is the support Linda offered Paul in his effort to establish the thought leadership that has lead to the formation of a new profession - business therapy.
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GET THE EDGE
Coaching for Results: Behavior Change or Strategy Realization?
By Dave Ulrich
Coaching has become one of those catch-all phrases like strategy, quality or process. Because of its popularity, coaching has sometimes been misused. Those who use coaches sometimes are more excited about the prospect of being coached than about changing. To overcome such generalities and misuses, coaching needs to move from platitudes to greater professionalism.
Making coaching more professional requires clear definition of the desired results of coaching. Coaching is not merely about a process of finding someone with whom to confer, but should have clear results that define the outcome of the engagement. There are two general coaching results: behavior change and strategy realization.
Behavior change means that the executive being coached has behavioral predispositions that get in the way of being an effective executive. When specific behaviors are identified, examined and modified, coaches help executives change.
Strategy realization means that the executive being coached needs guidance in clarifying and focusing the business strategy to help the business achieve financial, customer or organization goals.
Coaching for Behavior Change
Changing behavior is not easy. Research shows that about 50 percent of an individual's values, attitudes and behaviors come from DNA and heritage; the other 50 percent are learned over time.1 An implication of the 50/50 nature/nurture, born/bred debate is that while the past sets conditions on our behavior, our behavior is not preconditioned. Any leader can modify behavior through effective coaching. Below are some of the hints for doing coaching that produces behavioral results.2
Know Why. Until there is a need for change, change will not occur. Once clients understand why they should change they are more likely to accept what they should change.
Collect Data. Often single events or observations from single individuals are episodes, not patterns. Coaching should be about patterns. Generally, people can identify their strengths more than their weaknesses; collecting data from more objective others can help clients better face reality. For instance, leadership 360s provide a marvelous source of data.
Prioritize. Not everything worth changing can or should be changed. In behavior coaching, it is critical to identify the one or two key behaviors that most need to be changed and that will have the most impact.
Be Behavioral. Abstract goals will result in abstract changes; specific behavioral goals will result in specific changes. Sometimes the results of interviews are generic, e.g., "she is not a good people person." In these cases, it is important to go deeper and identify specific behaviors that result in that conclusion. Deeper probes generally focus on situations: "Can you think of a situation where she treated people poorly? What specifically did she do? What could or should she have done differently?"
Focus on the Future More than the Past. Coaching is not therapy. In cognitive or psychoanalytic therapy, the therapist works to identify underlying causes of a behavior. Coaches do not need to be therapists to focus on behavior change. Behavior coaching identifies what behaviors are causing dysfunctions, then focuses on the future and how to promote different behaviors.
Go Public. Commitment goes up when we go public and become personally transparent with our intentions and desires. When an executive has identified an area to improve, it is helpful to share this commitment with others.
Find Support. It is hard to clap with one hand and it is hard to change by oneself. Almost every executive I have seen who has made behavioral change has had enormous support from trusted advisors, including assistants, non-work friends, spouses and children.
Start Small, Keep Going. Most large change starts with small steps. Once executives have picked a behavior that they want to change, I have found four "threes" a helpful way to embed the behavioral change:
- Three hours. In the next three hours, what can you do to exhibit the new behavior?
- Three days. In the next three days, what can you do to demonstrate sustained commitment to the new behavior?
- Three weeks. In the next three weeks, make sure that the new behavior change shows up in activities and relationships.
- Three months. After about three months of working on the new behavior, if you continue with it, it begins to become part of your identity and others treat you accordingly.
Learn. Learning should be less an event and more a natural process. The best learners are inquisitive, self-reflective and adaptive. They are constantly asking what works and what does not, then trying to put those insights into a future context. In time, coaches should be replaced by self-observation.
Follow-up. Finally, behavior coaching needs indicators of progress. Re-administering a 360, re-doing interviews, or debriefing the behavior change process enables an executive to monitor progress. If behavior change did not occur, the coach did not fulfill his or her assignment.
Coaching for behavior change changes behaviors. The end result is that the leader personalizes a new set of behaviors, and as learned behaviors become natural acts, leaders change their identities and reputations.
Coaching for Strategic Results
Strategic results coaching focuses more on helping the executive gain clarity about the results he or she hopes to accomplish and how to make them happen. It is less psychological and more organizational. It also builds on the philosophy of trust, relationship and collaboration, but focuses this philosophy on helping the executive clarify and reach goals.
In my strategy coaching, I have adapted the following steps depending on the situation:
Step 1: Clarify Your Business or Organization Strategy
Coaching in the context of strategy assures that the executive has a clear sense of what he or she is trying to accomplish and sets the criteria for being successful. A strategy is a succinct statement of what the executive hopes to accomplish and how resources will be applied to that purpose.
Step 2: Describe Your Personal Style
Every executive has a style, or way of getting things done. This style is based on dozens of choices about how the executive makes decisions, processes information, treats people and prefers working. Each style may be modified by identifying and changing behaviors that lead to the style.
Questions to address managerial style:
- What is your managerial identity? How are your known by others? How would you like to be known by others? What is your leadership brand?
- What are you managerial strengths and weaknesses?
- How do you generally treat others, make decisions, handle conflict, manage information?
Step 3: Define Stakeholders
Every executive gets work done through, with, and by others, termed stakeholders. These stakeholders may be identified by asking the executive who he or she must interact with to get the job done.
Questions to define stakeholders:
- Who must you interact with to reach your strategy?
- Who is affected by the work that you do?
- Who would you turn to in order to define your managerial style?
Step 4: Specify Goals for Each Stakeholder
Stakeholders have an interest in and impact on an executive's success. To reach a business strategy, each stakeholder must provide something.
Questions to specify stakeholder goals:
- In the next period of time (3, 6, 12, or 24 months), what do you want to accomplish with each stakeholder?
- What does each stakeholder contribute to your reaching your strategy?
Step 5: Prioritize Each Stakeholder and Goal
Executives need to prioritize stakeholders based on how central they are to achieving business strategy. Also, strategies are time-bound and the key stakeholders for the next three months may be different than the stakeholders for the succeeding, or preceding, three months.
Questions to prioritize stakeholders and goals:
- How important is each stakeholder for reaching your goal?
- Rate each stakeholder 0 to 10 for the next period of time
- Divide 100 points across the stakeholders to prioritize their impact on your strategies.
- Rank the stakeholders (from high to low) in terms of impact on your strategies
Step 6: Allocate Time
Where executives spend time communicates what matters most and sends signals to others about what they should do. Coaches can help leaders spend time wisely by focusing on what executives can and should do with each stakeholder.
Questions to help leaders allocate time:
- How much time in days do you think you should spend with each stakeholder given the priorities you have set?
- What specific behaviors and actions can you take with each stakeholder to accomplish your goals?
- How would these actions show up in your calendar? Remember that your calendar should probably be 30-40 percent unscheduled as events arise that merit attention, but the other 60-70 percent can be structured to ensure that you accomplish what matters most.
- How will you track your return on time invested?
Step 7: Determine Success
The desire to succeed turns into success once it is measured. Coaches help determine measures of success that executives can then track on their own.
Questions to help determine successful measures:
- How will you know you have succeeded in your overall strategy and in your goals with each stakeholder?
- How will you monitor your progress?
Coaching for results can focus on either behavior or strategy. Knowing one's own approach enables the coach to better align with the client to make sure that coaching works. As a result of good coaching, leaders develop personal brands that distinguish them for all stakeholders-employees, customers, investors and communities.
1 A review of this work was presented at 21st Annual SIOP (Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology), Dallas, Texas, April 2006, in a paper by Richard D. Arvey, Maria Rotundo, Wendy Johnson, Zhen Zhang, & Matt McGue entitled "Genetic and Environmental Components of Leadership Role Occupancy." The nature/nurture debate is also dealt with in:
Bouchard, Thomas J. Jr., David T. Lykken, Matthew McGue, Nancy L. Segal, & Auke Tellegen. 1990. "Sources of Human Psychological Differences: The Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart." Science, Oct 12: 223-228.
Harris, Judith Rich. 1998. The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do. New York: The Free Press.
Harris, Judith Rich. 1995. "Where Is the Child's Environment? A Group Socialization Theory of Development." Psychological Review. 102 (3), July: 458-489.
McGue, M., T., J. Bouchard, Jr., W. G. Iacono, & D. T. Lykken.1993. "Behavioral Genetics of Cognitive Ability: A Life-span Perspective." In Nature, Nurture, and Psychology, edited by R. Plomin & G. E. McClearn. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association: 59-76.
2 The list of behavior coaching tips come from observing, listening to, and learning from great colleagues who have been my mentors and advisors, including Wayne Brockbank, Ralph Christensen, Bob Eichinger, Marshall Goldsmith, Francis Hesselbein, Steve Kerr, Dale Lake, Paul McKinnon, Bonner Ritchie, Norm Smallwood, Paul Thompson, Warren Wilhelm, and Jack Zenger. It is difficult to attribute any one idea to any one person, but I am indebted to each of these colleagues for these ideas.
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Coaching in the Land of Gurus and Soothsayers
By Gopal Shrikanth
Take the highest per-capita ratio of gurus and soothsayers; add a liberal dose of retired corporate honchos who love to give free advice; spice it up with availability of cutting-edge gizmos for professionals; stir it up with families that determine financial priorities and you are very brave to call yourself a coach in a society where "coaching" is normally prescribed for drop-outs!
As in ancient Greece, Rome and China, India had its share of historical "royal coaches" like Krishna and Chanakya, whose wisdom is enshrined in the Gita and Arthashastra. These ancient "case studies" are still analyzed by MBAs and corporate leaders at business schools and research institutes.1
The ancient system of higher education across all trades was a form of apprenticeship known as the "Guru-Sishya" model. The philosophy behind this concept was that "nuances and finesse" were learned by patience, listening, observation and practice. There has been a systematic exchange of ideas between East and West on psychology, sociology and related topics at least from the 19th century. My grandfather, who graduated from Oxford in the 1920s, left behind a library of Western literature on such topics.
I'm not sure whether there is widespread awareness in the West that India has made such rapid strides over the last two decades in adopting and propagating Western management practices. Developed over the course of its quest to cater to global clients, India now boasts some of the world's highest concentrations of International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Capability Maturity Model (CMM), People Capability Maturity Model (PCMM), Six Sigma, Certified Quality Auditor (CQA) and Project Management Professional (PMP) certified trainers and professionals. Global organizations such as Franklin Covey, the Goldratt Institute, and the de Bono Group have a significant presence, offering certifications and training at local prices.
Executive Coaching in India
Let's now move on to the current status of executive coaching across different groups in India.
For decades, multinationals have leveraged their global learning programs, delivering from regional hubs such as Australia and the UK to develop local leaders. Development programs for teams were led by line- and human-resource managers who had attended a train-the-trainer program. In the recent past, the trend was to send high-performing executives to open-enrollment executive education programs at business schools in the US or to custom programs at business schools in India. In-house programs by Covey, de Bono and Bullet Proof Manager were organized for mid-level executives. Interestingly, multinational corporations (MNCs) currently rely on their global coaching partners to roll out executive coaching in India, who in turn engage Indian coaches! I would therefore encourage international coaches to leverage their contacts in India to explore local cost-effective solutions.
On the other hand, founder CEOs of family-owned corporations have for decades leveraged their alumnus links with global management gurus of Indian origin, such as Ram Charan, C.K. Prahalad and Vijay Govindarajan, while leveraging annual visits to India by gurus such as Marshall Goldsmith. Having gained from such interactions, most of these founders have sent their children to Ivy League business schools in the US to earn MBAs. Such companies will probably largely leverage professors from both US and Indian business schools for cost-effective and just-in-time solutions. Executive coaching assignments for direct reports (or even the next level) to CEO are likely to be won by established local experts with a business track record. Given that there are very few local coaches who are credentialed, this presents a huge opportunity for global English-speaking coaches who are willing to travel to India for short durations for organization-wide rollouts. Needless to say, the compensation for mid-level coaches is likely to be on par with US rates!
Entrepreneurs, supported by private equity and/or venture capital, often realize the need for trusted advisors (to serve as sounding boards) and an executive coach (to help them handle day-to-day challenges in finance, marketing and human resources, and to regain control of their start-ups as they grow rapidly). Although this appears to be a clear case for local experts, there is a significant opportunity for global coaches as these start-ups expand into other geographies. For instance, web/tele-calls and face-to-face meetings in the US and Europe are likely to become the norm in the near future.
As for self-driven high-potential executives, they are likely to seek out specialized coaches to help them fill gaps, and may be most open to web/tele-coaching. Given the time difference between the US, UK, Australia and India, global coaches may be able to supplement their income from the comfort of their own homes. It is not uncommon to find such executives often missing company-sponsored group sessions deliberately.
Executive coaching seems set to boom in India over the next few years. The million dollar question: Are you getting ready for it?
Disclaimer: These are solely the personal views of the author and are not the findings of any scientific study.
1 See the Vedanta Cultural Foundation, page 3, Section Corporate Guru.
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Plain and Simple: Powerful Guidelines for Coaching in Troubled Times
By David Noer
A long-term client, whom I thought I knew well, surprised me by breaking down during a recent session. The tears and emotional anguish were in polar opposition to the conservative culture of his firm and his past rational, controlled behavioral pattern. We had previously worked on issues such as his interactions with his board, relationships with his subordinate vice presidents and a post-merger strategy. Now, as a result of the economic meltdown, his business was facing massive layoffs, his personal wealth had significantly eroded, the viability of his firm was uncertain and his past leadership was being openly questioned. The context of our coaching relationship had precipitously changed from "traditional" business issues to dealing with his sense of relevance, purpose and societal contribution. This wasn't an isolated incident. As the financial crisis deepens, I'm finding that the context of more and more of my coaching interactions is moving in this direction. Since many of my colleagues are also facing this change, I'll share four guidelines that have helped me help my clients in these troubled times.
1. Help is defined by the helpee, not the helper.
I learned this deceptively simple phrase from the late Pat Williams, (founder of the Pepperdine MSOD program) and, over the years, have increasingly come to appreciate its relevance to a coaching relationship. When a client is caught up in a crisis of purpose, competence and self-esteem, facts, figures, models, 360-degree feedback reports and flow charts don't help-in fact, they get in the way. The currency of the realm is feelings and emotions, not facts and figures. Logical analysis and rational planning may help the coach feel competent, but they will only make the coachee feel worse. Anyone who has had an argument with a significant other and attempted to defuse their emotional issues by logical analysis to prove that they "shouldn't feel that way" will understand that you don't solve a "heart" (emotions and feelings) problem with a "head" (data and logic) process.
In a coaching relationship, the more a client's "heart" issues are responded to by the coach's "head" solutions, the wider the empathy gap. What is necessary before helping the client move forward are the basic skills of empathetic listening, reflecting feelings and emotions, and the ability to form an authentic, nonjudgmental, helping relationship. I deal primarily with top managers, and including their family, I'm frequently the only one they feel they can open up to. In these unsettling times, we can often be of more service to our clients by simply giving them empathy rather than supplying them with our "scientific" tools.
2. Don't be compulsive about boundaries.
I once worked with a bright but inexperienced coach who lost a valuable client by, when in a very teachable moment, disengaging and indicating that the client needed to talk to a licensed clinical psychologist. Business coaches should not practice therapy; most are not licensed or trained, and that is not our business purpose. If we are doing our job correctly, we are, however, engaged in a client-centered helping relationship and that is, in itself, therapeutic. We don't have to be licensed clinicians to be good listeners, reflect feelings and emotions, and help our clients articulate debilitating feelings. It is essential to know and adhere to our limits, but it is also important that we don't let artificial boundaries limit our abilities to help our clients. Another Pat Williams saying is "...to meet your clients where they are, not where you want them to be." In a time of business discontinuity we need to have the skills to meet them in the messy and unpredictable world of uncertainty and personal doubt.
3. Don't be a solution in search of a problem.
Most business coaches have a favorite technique or approach. Whether it is a diagnostic tool, an analytical process or a structured behavioral rehearsal process, we all have preferred mental models that guide us. Unfortunately, I have found that, despite diagnostic evidence to the contrary, too many coaches become locked into a single technique.
I recently followed a coach into a textile manufacturing company. My client was the vice president of manufacturing and was facing a massive downsizing triggered by a strategic decision to move operations to China. What he needed was help in dealing with the layoff survivors and in teaching his managers to facilitate venting sessions and formulate a positive vision for the remaining work force. What his original displaced coach kept pushing was a 360-degree feedback process. No doubt 360-degree feedback would, at some point, be useful for this vice president, but given the current environment, it would at best be a distraction. In order to be relevant to our clients, we need the discipline to engage in a diagnostic process and the skills to have a contingent repertoire of coaching interventions.
4. Make the client an individual, not an organization.
Almost always, helping the individual client helps the organization in the long term. However, in the short term, as when the best solution for the client is to help them leave the organization, the connection is not so clear. I have very few iron-clad rules; however, one that has been of great help is to always contract with the person. I don't turn down assignments if my fee comes out of a "corporate" account, but I strongly prefer it come from the budget of the individual client and, if not, I make my costs very visible. In a time of restructuring, mergers, downsizing and financial crisis, most executive clients are examining their life and career goals. It is not possible to engage in an authentic helping relationship if the coach has divided loyalties between the organization and the individual client.
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Coaching Great Leaders
What to Avoid When Choosing a Successor
By Marshall Goldsmith
When evaluating our potential successors, we should first look at ourselves. Following are three classic mistakes leaders make when reviewing potential successors. All three can cloud our objectivity and diminish our ability to evaluate successors.
1. Why doesn't she act like me? As a rule successful human beings tend to "over-weight" our own strengths and "under-weight" our own weaknesses when evaluating others. The more successful we become, the more we can fall into the "superstition trap", which, simple stated, is, "I behave this way. I am a successful leader. Therefore, I must be a successful leader because I behave this way."
All successful leaders are successful because of many positive qualities and in spite of some behavior that needs improvement.
As a leader, take a hard look at your own strengths and challenges. Realize that you will have a natural tendency to forgive even large errors that resemble your weaknesses and to punish even small flaws that occur in your area of strength.
After making a list of your strengths and challenges, list the strengths and challenges of your potential successor. As hard as it may be, try to think like an objective outsider. Challenge yourself to recognize that the behavior that you feel is most important for the company may really be the behavior that is most important for you.
2. Why doesn't he think like me? It is hard for successful leaders not to believe that their strategic thinking is the right strategic thinking. As you proceed in the succession process, you are going to have to let go. It can be very hard to watch your successor make decisions that are different than yours. It is especially tough since, as long as you are still the leader, you have the power to reverse the decisions.
Your successor is going to manage your organization in the future—not you. As hard as it may be, you have to let him or her begin to make a bigger and bigger difference in developing strategy.
As long as the organization will be headed in a positive general direction—and achieving results—try to recognize that your successor's different path may actually turn out to be a better path.
3. Why doesn't she respect and appreciate my friends? We all tend to over-value input from people that we personally like and respect and under-value that from people who we don't love as much. Face the fact that your successor may have different personal preferences than you. Your trusted advisors may not be hers.
Invariably when transition occurs, some of your friends may lose status or power and may end up leaving the company. This can be tough—both for them and for you.
Respect your successor enough to let her choose her own key advisers.
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A s k t h e E x p e r t
A regular column responding to readers' questions by sharing stories from the offbeat life of coach's coach Dr. Xavier Fink (his mother calls him Melvyn) as his colleagues interact at the sharp end of the business world.
Question: How do I balance my responsibilities as a manager with a budget with my personal development goals?
Answer: Very carefully!
Janet Schatzman 2009
Corporate Citzen, Dearly Departed
By Dr. Laurence S. Lyons
The phone rings just as I pour my cup. A chocolate-chip cookie smiles back at me.
It’s my friend Ruth, a bright, country marketing manager at a global gargantuan. In Ruth’s Fortune 500 world, "marketing" is defined as everything necessary to win business that the salespeople refuse to do. The greatest part of Ruth’s job is organizing the annual conference at which hundreds of clients are given a few days’ respite from doing any real work, plied with free food and expected to attend the jolly late-night contract-signing ceremonies.
Several unusual things have happened to Ruth and she’s called for my impartial advice.
"As you can imagine," she begins, "the conference venue represents my biggest expense. My marketing boss informs me that other countries in my region are struggling with budget. That’s no surprise as I know prices from our suppliers have risen this year more than we all expected. So my boss wants me to informally slash my spending by 15 percent. He says that I should do this to be a ‘good corporate citizen.’
"Well, it turns out that being a good corporate citizen is just what my behavioral coach put at the top of my development plan. She said my feedback suggests I can sometimes appear selfish and not project myself as a strong team player. Any behavior that proves I’m a good corporate citizen is exactly what I need to promote my personal reputation.
"So I get my people to do a little research. And guess what? We find this fantastic opportunity. A prestigious hotel chain is about to open a new conference center in our capital city in good time for our conference. They’ve made this great offer. We give them the kudos of being their first client, and they’ll let us have a 20 percent discount!
"If I cut this deal with the venue, I can go back to my boss with all the savings he’s asked for, and I’ll become a corporate angel. My coach says it’s a no-brainer. Everyone wins. What do you think?"
My brew has cooled. A mellow mocha aroma suffuses my office. The smile has disappeared.
"Just to check," I ask. "You’re good at your job and you’d like to continue doing it into the foreseeable future?"
"Of course," says Ruth. "This is the job I’ve always wanted to do. I want to give it my best. I’d like to keep doing it forever."
"Would you like to hear a textbook strategy for dealing with this situation?" I ask. Ruth says she would.
"If he won’t formally renegotiate your figures, send your boss the quotations that show how suppliers’ prices have risen. Attach a written request for a modest budget increase. That’s increase not decrease. Something small, like three percent, would sound good. Of course, he won’t agree, but that doesn’t matter. Your goal is to confirm his acceptance of your original figure within six weeks of starting this argument.
"Plan to spend your budget exactly. Neither over nor under. Your personal plan is to do exactly what you said you’d do at the start of the year.
"You’ll make certain you hit your budget on the nail by cutting a package deal with the venue. Include some performance bonus with a refundable deposit against next year. Of course you’ll drop a cryptic note to your local accounts people to let them know what you’ve done…."
I pause, as fire bursts from my handset.
"But you haven’t heard a word I’ve said," she protests. "That plan would make me the most selfish-looking person in the world! You obviously don’t understand the leadership side of this. My coach has told me it’s extremely important for me to be seen as a good corporate citizen. That has to be my number-one priority."
"Yes, of course," I respond calmly. "The plan I’ve outlined offers you the best chance of securing that.
"Also, I am sure you have a wonderful coach when it comes to interpersonal psychology," I add. "But this isn’t a family business. When you are convinced she fully understands the behavior of cost-center logic, please listen to her. Right now I suggest you listen to me."
"I’m sorry, Dr. Fink, what you say simply doesn’t make sense. I’m going with my common sense on this." Click.
Which I later find out she’d done. A year passes before Ruth calls again.
"I didn’t see it coming," she says. "It’s all so counter-intuitive. Things turned out the exact opposite to what I’d expected. We had a fantastic conference, in fact our best ever. I easily made all the savings. We came in 15 percent under our official target. My boss gave me a glass paperweight engraved with the words ‘Five Star Corporate Citizen Award.’ That was such a moving experience.
"I was doing fine until we got a new regional marketing manager. He takes one look at the figures and concludes that as I ended the year so wide off the mark, I must be useless at planning. As I’d overestimated by such a huge amount, he decides to cut my budget even further and transfer the saving to another country that really screwed up last year. My present funding is about two-thirds the previous figure. It’s hard to push back at this madness while my past performance looks so poor. There’s no way I can meet my numbers and deliver my program."
"You live in a crazy place where success gets penalized and failure rewarded," I muse. "You let your coach persuade you into pinning your career to a temporary market distortion. What will you do?" I ask.
"I have no choice but to quit," she says sadly. "I can’t commit to a program I know from the outset will fail."
As the perfect person in her ideal job, Ruth’s first duty as corporate citizen was her own survival. But now she’s gone. Ruthless are they who in the matrix live.
Copyright Laurence S. Lyons © 2009
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Coaching Models for Business Success
Working with Coaching Models*
By Dr. Sunny Stout Rostron
Coaching models help us to understand the coaching intervention from a systems perspective and to appreciate the need for "structure" in the interaction between coach and client. They offer flexibility and a structure for both the coaching conversation and the overall coaching journey.
Although models create a system within which coach and client work, it is essential that models are not experienced as either prescriptive or rigid. The coaching conversation is about the client, not the coach. If the model is too prescriptive, it means it is fulfilling the coach's agenda, rather than attempting to understand the client's issues.
This next series of articles surveys a cross-section of models that influence the work of business and executive coaches worldwide. I will highlight a variety of models, including circular, nested, four-quadrant and U-process models.
What Is a Coaching Model?
A model represents a system with an implied process. It is a metaphor or analogy used to help visualize and describe the journey. Models systemically depict or represent a process that cannot be directly observed. In other words, a model represents more than what you see. If you can develop a model that encompasses the coaching conversation and the entire coaching intervention, you will begin to work with considerably greater ease within your practice. A coaching model is representative of what happens, or will happen, in the coaching conversation (micro) and in the overall coaching intervention or journey (macro). I recommend working with simple models that represent both the micro- and macro coaching interventions.
If you imagine that the model is the process you use to work with your client, it embodies all of your tools and techniques, including your question frameworks. A model is a simple representation of the journey that can encompass the skills, experience and expertise coach and client bring to the coaching conversation.
Which Models to Use?
The main purpose of this series is to introduce you to a variety of models, with examples of how to facilitate a coaching conversation using each one. The key principle I want to convey is that it is essential to adopt a structured approach to your coaching conversation. This does not mean that you cannot let the conversation grow and be explorative-I mean structure in a big-picture way. That is the beauty of any model: having the freedom to explore within each part of the model.
Purpose, Perspectives, Process Model
The Purpose, Perspectives, Process model (see Figure 1) was developed by David Lane of the Professional Development Foundation (PDF) and the Work-Based Learning Unit at London's Middlesex University (Lane and Corrie, 2006).
Purpose (Where Are We Going and Why?)
What is your purpose in working with the client? Where are you going with this client? What does the client want to achieve? Where do they want to go in their overall journey with you as their coach?
For example, one client working in the telecom industry said in our first session together, "I need your help because everybody in the organization distrusts me and I'm in a pretty senior position. What can I do about it? I'm highly respected by those subordinate to me in position and disliked and mistrusted by those superior or equal to me in position." As coach, your questions will relate to client purpose, i.e., "Where are we going, and what's the reason for going there?" It is usually better to ask a "what" question rather than a "why" question. For example, "Why are we going there?" sounds intrusive and can create a defensive posture on the part of the client. "What" questions help to create a bigger picture of the journey; "what" creates perspective. This client's purpose in this example was to "build alliances and trust with peers, colleagues and superiors throughout the organization."
Perspectives (What Will Inform Our Journey?)
What perspectives inform the journey for both coach and client? Both coach and client come in with their individual backgrounds, experience, expertise, culture, values, motivations and assumptions that drive behavior.
I recently had a call from a potential client who was a general manager in the energy industry. We chatted about his background, career and current job, and discussed his perspective in terms of his position within the organization, his style of leading and managing his team of people, and the impact of his age on his career prospects. Finally he said, "I have got as far as I can get with what I know now-and I need to know more, somehow."
We then discussed my perspective, i.e., what informs the way I work with clients, my experience and expertise. Based on our mutual perspectives, the client asked, "Would we have some kind of synchronicity or a match in order to work together?" He wanted to understand what models, tools and techniques I used as he wanted to create his own leadership development toolbox for his senior managers. He also wanted to understand how to handle mistakes: did I make them and what would my education, training and work experience bring to our conversation? In this first contracting conversation, we worked through the model like this:
Perspectives: How we might bring our two worlds together;
Purpose: What he ultimately wanted from the coaching experience; and
Process: How we would work together to achieve his outcomes.
Process (How Will We Get There?)
Using this model helped me to begin to understand the above client's needs, develop rapport, and identify not just his overall outcomes but a way to begin working together. At this stage of the model we contracted, set boundaries, agreed on confidentiality matters, outlined the fee paying process and initiated the formulation of a leadership development plan. We also agreed on timing (how often we would see each other and the individual client's line manager), and considered questions such as: What assessments would be useful for the individual client to complete? How would we debrief those profiles? We discussed potential coaching assignments and timing for the overall contract (including termination and exit possibilities if either party was unhappy) and explored how to obtain line manager approval. Finally, we set up a separate meeting to review the process with the line manager and the group HR director.
How Can This Model Help You?
This model can help you in three ways: to contract with the client, to structure the entire coaching journey and to guide your coaching conversation. Out of this specific conversation emerged the client's purpose, clarification about how our perspectives fit together to help him achieve this purpose, and the process within which we would work to achieve the outcomes desired.
This model can be used for the regular coaching conversations you have with your client. The client brings to the conversation a possible "menu" of topics to be discussed, or even just one particular topic. One of my clients in the media came to me one day saying, "My purpose today is to understand why I am sabotaging my best efforts to delegate to my senior managers" (purpose). As the coach, I wanted to understand all of the perspectives underlying the client's aim for this conversation (perspectives), as well as identify the various tools or techniques that could be used in the process.
The Coaching Conversation and the Coaching Journey
This model can represent the process for just one coaching conversation, but it can also represent the overall journey. For example, the client comes in with the purpose, "I would like to work with you; no one else will work with me as they find me too difficult." This client's purpose became to find a coach who would work with her, to help her to identify how she could not only develop the interpersonal skills to work successfully with others, but to demonstrate her new learning through visible behavior change at work. The coach's and the client's perspectives will be unique and different. In working with the client, you bring not just perspective, but your observations as to how this client seems to be working within the organizational system.
In terms of process, you may ask the client to do a range of assessment profiles, or you may shadow the client at work to experience how he or she facilitates meetings or interacts with customers, subordinates, superiors and colleagues.
Coach practitioners have a great deal of flexibility when working with coaching models. In my next column we will explore the use of the nested-levels model developed by New Ventures West (Weiss, 2004). I hope I have stimulated your appetite to further investigate coaching models.
*(Adapted from Business Coaching Wisdom and Experience, Unlocking the Secrets of Business Coaching. 2009. Knowledge Resources and Karnac.)
Kolb, D. 1984. Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Lane, D.A. and S. Corrie. 2001. The Modern Scientist-Practitioner: A Guide to Practice in Psychology. London: Routledge.
Stout Rostron, S. 2006. Interventions in the Coaching Conversation: Thinking, Feeling and Behaviour. Unpublished DProf dissertation. London: Middlesex University.
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Based on the Evidence
By Dr. Annette Fillery-Travis
Collaboration and Research—All for One and One for All
A student once asked me why she should do a literature review and my answer was "...to engage in a dialogue with your community and find out what they have uncovered. Once you have done your research, tell them what you have found." Dialogue and collaboration can extend throughout your research life into your practice, and I have been particularly struck by this over the last few months.
It began with the Global Coaching Convention (GCC) in the summer of 2008. The GCC provided us the opportunity to connect with a global community and test our ideas with each other about what was important and why. Then in October 2008, the Foundation of Coaching brought together coaching researchers from around the world as part of the International Coaching Research Forum. This event was generously sponsored by the Harnisch Foundation, and personally attended by its president Ruth Ann Harnisch. Carol Kauffman and Mary Wayne Bush co-chaired the two-day event. Sunny Stout Rostron facilitated a structured workshop to produce 100 research proposals for sharing within the coaching community.
At the Forum, we exchanged ideas, co-created research designs and collaborated, culminating in the creation of an excellent resource for any of us who are thinking of doing research and want some guidance on what to research and how to do it. Each proposal has an aim, identification of a possible methodology and potential outcomes. They are freely available on the Coaching Commons—the web-hub for the Foundation. Have a look, find something you want to do and go ahead with all our blessings (just let us know what you find out!).
Clearly, 100 research proposals do not represent a comprehensive research strategy for the field. This work will need to be done in the future, so that those interested in doing and/or funding research (organizations, professional bodies and individuals) will know what could provide the most impact without duplicating previous efforts.
All other disciplines and professions have research priorities that highlight their real needs from multiple perspectives. Let's take the coaching profession seriously and initiate a collaboration between professional bodies, major buyers and national/internal bodies on this task that would have real value for everyone.
While at the Forum, I was struck by the number of proposals that dealt with coaching within the organizational context, specifically, with the development of coaching cultures. In the UK, the coaching capability of organizations is a "hot topic." I can see evidence that it is also on the agenda in Europe and the US. The rise has been organic, as Frisch identifies in his pivotal work about "the emerging role of the internal coach,"1 and it is obvious, but not expected.
In the postmodern world, just-in-time learning, self-direction, self-efficacy and flexibility are prized capabilities and coaching is seen as an effective method of developing them. The question is: How do we embed coaching within organizations in a way that fits their culture, context and needs and achieves all (or most) of the benefits?
This is not a trivial question. Do we have information on best practice yet? How generic is it? What factors (training, support, buy-in, etc.) are critical, and which are merely nice to have? Does it matter which sector you are in? The list of questions seems endless and we need answers yesterday!
In my own work,2 I have mapped out some of the field through case studies. The biggest surprise was the use of coaching within manufacturing industries (in this case, a diesel-engine manufacturer). In recent years, the market shift in these industries has been so dramatic that the admonition "We cannot afford not to coach" rings especially true.
I was delighted to read the recent research coming out of the Ashridge Centre for Coaching and also sponsored by the Chartered Institute of Personal Development in the UK.3 They looked at ways coaching had been embedded in a range of organizations and identified three basic modes. I will leave you to delve into exactly what they were; however, I wanted to highlight the methodology they used. As we said last time, the controlled experimental trial cannot answer some of the more complex research questions. This is a case in point.
There was no hypothesis here to be tested, but an exploration or "finding out" that needed to happen. There were a range of perspectives at play from the internal coaches, finance directors and managers as well as employees, all of whom had a tale to tell that had to be respected. The researchers were also "in the thick of it," not disinterested observers, and the research process itself needed to be flexible as information came to light. Finally, the researchers were actively seeking to bring about change and wanted to be influenced by the results.
The methodology they chose was collaborative inquiry (akin to action research), in which the organizations being studied actively participate in the research and the resulting change. A multitude of instruments was used (questionnaires, case studies and literature review) to get a rich picture of what was happening within the organizations. This cooperative engagement meant that the results have a resonance with anyone in the field and a practicality that makes the research highly accessible and useful. In short, the research had impact upon practice even before it was fully reported.
So do not be a solitary researcher, but enjoy your inquiry by collaborating till you drop!
Definitely have a look at the research proposals on Coaching Commons to whet your appetite, but also look at the coaching section on the CIPD website—there is a great deal offered from this research sponsor!
1 Fisch, M.H. 2001. "The Emerging Role of the Internal Coach." Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research. 53, 4: 240-250.
2 Jarvis, J., D. Lane, and A. Fillery-Travis. 2006. The Case for Coaching: Making Evidence-based Decisions on Coaching. London: CIPD.
3 Knights, A. and A. Poppleton. 2008. Developing Coaching Capability in Organisations. London: CIPD.
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Thriving in Tough Times
Keeping the Right Things Right in Front of Your Eyes
By Holly G. Green
"Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Sometimes the answers are right in front of our eyes and we still miss them! How can that be? Perhaps we've overlooked, underappreciated or incorrectly assessed the situation. Whatever the case, there has never been a more important time to consider the factors that will ultimately determine success in your business.
We are all incredibly visual creatures and largely driven by that which is directly in front of us. Think about the things that capture your attention during the course of a typical day. Whether it is the distraction of your PDA or the hundreds of daily emails—now is the time to reevaluate what will be important a year from now and start putting the right things in front of you.
The power of suggestion is real, so make sure your clear goals or objectives are visible to you most of your day. Put them on your computer screen, carry them in your notebook, set up task reminders to ping you, write them on your whiteboard, post them in the lobby of your office or on a mirror at home... Do whatever works for you to stage your field of vision and set yourself up for success.
This does not mean that you can or should ignore email or reports, but rather that you begin to balance your time based on the significance of the task at hand. We are constantly getting pulled away from the valuable, vital and important tasks that may require a few moments of quiet to think or ponder possibilities by all the chatter going on around us. And everyone knows there is more chatter today than ever before.
It is easier to get the right things in front of you if you have taken the time to clarify your destination—where you want to be in a specific timeframe. So do it. Close your eyes and imagine what it will look like when you have gotten to where you want to go. Now write it down. Then consider what big steps you have to take to get there. Write down the big steps organized by time (the next three months, three to nine months, etc.) and use this list to determine how well you are making progress toward your ultimate goals.
Especially as we continue through tough economic times, pause for a few seconds every day and ask yourself: "Of all the things you do today, what will have an impact a year from now? Have I let the things that matter less stop me from doing what matters most?"
Now, more than ever, it is critical to carve out time to focus on the right things. Tough times tend to divert our energies even more than good times. We begin considering more possibilities out of fear, but this is exactly the opposite of what will serve you well! Focus your energies. Make real progress on key activities or initiatives. Deepen your client relationships. Surround yourself visually with what is important. You'll be amazed at how much of the chatter requires none of your attention if you just leave it alone and focus.
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Leading with Presence
Present as a Leader
By John Baldoni
Have you ever seen an executive scurry across the stage, head down, clutching a copy of his presentation, and on reaching the podium, immediately begin speaking? In doing this, the exec resembles a mouse seeking shelter more than a leader about to deliver an important message! Yet we see this kind of behavior all too often. What the speaker has failed to do is acknowledge the audience. Worse, he has failed to demonstrate leadership, the kind that emerges from personal presence.
From my experience in working with executives, it is typically not the presenter's fault; she has not been schooled in basic presentation skills. For many people, speaking in front of a live audience can be so terrifying that their single overriding wish is to get it over with as quickly as possible. I teach the presenters with whom I work the art of the "metaphorical handshake," i.e., to imagine introducing themselves to each person in the audience.
This is something you want to do when you take the stage in order to put the audience in a mood to listen to you. Even though they may be seated, they have a full agenda of things to think about from their work or home lives. As a leader, you cannot control what they are thinking, but you can, with your words and behavior, put people at ease and enable them to listen to you more attentively. That is a leadership statement. Following are three suggestions for accomplishing this:
- Make personal contact.
Look at your audience. Nod at people you know. Smile and relax your facial muscles. Some speakers like to wave at the audience, especially at people they recognize. Size up the audience as you reach the podium. Take a deep breath, pause, and look out at the group. Imagine you are a conductor. Your baton is your voice but before you raise it, you wait for a beat or two.
- Acknowledge the audience.
Before you start speaking, comment on something that everyone in the audience may have in common. It may be the weather; it may be traffic. It may be a busy schedule. Put yourself in the audience's shoes and acknowledge their presence.
- Break the ice.
Effective presentations depend on connection. People want to know you, so you have to reveal yourself appropriately. No life stories please, but offer comments on the connection you feel to your audience. If you are comfortable telling a funny story, do so. If you are not, or if the mood is one of solemnity, then speak about the urgency of your message. These comments may seem ad lib, but you can script them in advance to deliver them as if they were off-the-cuff.
Of course, some skilled presenters actually do shake hands with audience members prior to taking the stage. They do it moments before the audience files in or as they take the stage. Politicians are adept at doing it. For a speaker, it is an energizing experience and also helps to break the ice with the audience.
Presenting effectively can be a huge challenge for many of us. But learning a few simple techniques about connecting with the audience can go a long way toward establishing a platform for confident delivery, and more importantly putting the audience in a mood to listen to you. Most importantly, it affirms your leadership strengths and gives people a reason to follow your lead.
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BUSINESS BOOK SUMMARIES
The Five Literacies of Global Leadership
What Authentic Leaders Know and You Need to Find Out
By: Richard Hames
Summary by Karen McHenry, Business Book Summaries
The pace of life has accelerated at an amazing rate over the last few centuries. Rapid technological advancement has completely changed the way businesses operate. Global borders have blurred and geography has little meaning. In this dynamic environment, the ways in which organizations approach leadership must also change.
In The Five Literacies of Global Leadership, Richard David Hames has authored a manifesto focused on a group of people intent on creating better futures and how this group is accomplishing that goal. In the book, the author describes the four tenets that "Five Literacies leaders" access to "learn their way" into better futures. Readers also learn about the five literacies of Networked Intelligence, Futuring, Deep Design, Strategic Navigation, and Brand Resonance. By utilizing these different mindsets and practices, today's business leaders can deal more effectively with the pressures arising from globalization.
Today's business environment is incredibly complex. We are more connected with one another than ever before. This unprecedented level of connectedness is motivating an evolution of worldview. Convergent technologies are also accelerating the speed at which new knowledge is diffused. Knowledge from different disciplines is merging like never before.
In light of all these changes, knowledge of the past related to capitalism and free markets is no longer adequate. Conventional approaches to leading and managing have become ineffective. Hames proposes that new institutions, frameworks, tools and techniques are urgently required. There are five key literacies that successful global leaders use: Networked Intelligence, Futuring, Strategic Navigation, Deep Design, and Brand Resonance.
Critical to the understanding of business ecosystems is the first literacy: networked intelligence. Networked intelligence is more than just monitoring information about particular classes of stakeholders. It is dynamic, inclusive, and transformative. Networked intelligence enables flexibility, speed of response, and adaptiveness, when those qualities are necessary to become and remain viable.
As far as the future is concerned, the magnitude of uncertainty can be overwhelming. There is accumulating evidence that society's current paradigms are incapable of resolving today's most pressing concerns. It is necessary to disrupt current ways of thinking in order to put these prejudices aside.
Strategic navigation, the third literacy, teaches leaders to look for signs of emerging hot topics. Strategic navigation has the potential to engage everyone across an enterprise, as well as people within the broader business ecosystem.
Deep design is a way of thinking about the way that leaders create, manage, and sustain relationships of all kinds. It is a new conceptual framework in which economic activity creates goods and services that generate ecological, social, and economic value. With deep design, waste is a thing of the past and human needs are balanced by nature's realities.
The idea of an individual or object absorbing and projecting more than just its own materiality is known as "brand resonance." The flow of innovative ideas and intellectual properties dominate today's markets. Just attracting attention is not sufficient. Companies also need to earn trust. Brand resonance is the most intelligent way of capturing both of these qualities. This means engaging collaboratively with customers.
The blurring of geographic boundaries demands an alternative belief system for leading. The future belongs to a very different kind of leader - one who can create and connect, who have compassion, who are story tellers and meaning makers. This new reality demands insightful thinking, purposeful dialogue, and collaborative action. It is well-suited for the skills of five literacies leaders.
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FROM THE EDITOR
The Future Holds Growth and Promise
By Sarah McArthur
Businesses and business coaches alike are entering unchartered territory globally. We have no choice but to forge ahead, following those whom we trust to lead us. As the Business Coaching Worldwide editor, I feel a strong sense of responsibility to readers to gather the most helpful, useful information I can find. My hope is that what you read in the pages of this eZine will help you navigate through these difficult times.
In this issue's feature, "Just Enough Anxiety," Robert Rosen explains how to turn anxiety into a powerful and practical tool. In his Get the Edge article, "Coaching for Results," Dave Ulrich explains two leadership coaching approaches. We have two Hot Topics this issue. In the first, Gopal "GD" Shrikanth explores challenges and opportunities for executive coaches in India. In the second, David Noer discusses guidelines for coaching in troubled times.
As always, Dr. Fink (aka Dr. Laurence S. Lyons) imparts a fascinating lesson for those in the workplace in his Ask the Expert column, and in his column, Coaching Great Leaders, Marshall Goldsmith gives us a little taste of his newest book, Succession: Are You Ready? In her column, Coaching Models for Business Success, Dr. Sunny Stout Rostron explores "Working with Coaching Models," and in Leadership Presence, a new column by John Baldoni, we learn about presenting as a leader. In her column, Based on the Evidence, Dr. Annette Fillery-Travis describes the exchange of ideas, and we introduce another new column, Thriving in Tough Times, by Holly G. Green. Finally, in her Success Story, Linda J. Lord explores coaching as both a process and a relationship.
I hope you enjoy this issue of Business Coaching Worldwide. If there is a subject you are interested in reading about, please send Letters to the Editor. We'd love to hear from you!
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Forget Your Weaknesses by Adrian Furnham
Bravo! An excellent article that I agree with whole heartedly!
This article is spot-on. It is practically my mantra. Focusing on the things you enjoy and are good at makes everything else fall into place and flow a lot easier. I think everyone can agree that focusing on your weaknesses in an unproductive way will only lead to misery and failure. Everyone is good at something (if not many things)and allowing that to lead you improves quality of life.
The Point of Coaching Circles ™ by Charles Brassard
Bravo!!! Très intelligent comme technique de coaching!
Cultural Intelligence: The Key to Global Leadership by Nerella Campigotto
This is an excellent article. Having been involved in many different activities across the communication spectrum over the past 35 years, I recognize the wisdom of Nerella's observations and advice. And it's well written! Thank you for making this article available to me.
Carol J. Sutton Cert. ConRes
What did you think about this issue? Were there any articles that stood out to you? Do you have a question you want us to answer? We want to hear from you!
We want to hear from you — send us your feedback!