The Importance of Role Models in Business Coaching by Daniel Tuma

Posted by WABC

Members of the Czechoslovakian Chamber of Business Coaches, WABC certified business coaches, often speak about the importance of role models and personal examples in business coaching, especially in applying coaching to leadership and management. In the following paragraphs I would like to present some of my ideas regarding this complex topic.


A role model, example or natural authority of big-name personalities accompany us throughout the life span. Intentionally or unintentionally, consciously or unconsciously, we tend to follow them. As developmental psychologists proved, parents are not the only role models that influence our behavior in later life. The so-called role models that we follow belong to our lives naturally. Well-known artists, successful entrepreneurs, show-business stars, sportsmen or influential authors become role models for almost every adolescent or teenager. We tend to follow models that attract our attention and reflect our dreams and goals. In puberty and adolescence, we dream about life and professional goals and compare them to the achievements of our heroes. Moreover, the culture we live in shapes our expectations, goals and life values. For those who identify with successful business people self-development becomes a central task.


Interestingly, when we asked a few young people, who are students of Made in Czechoslovakia coaching programs and who show a certain degree of business talent, who their role models were or which big-name personality they identified with, many of those young Czechs and Slovaks named our internationally famous models like Paulina Porizkova, Karolina Kurkova or Petra Nemcova or sportsmen such as Martina Navratilova, Ivan Lendl or Jaromir Jagr. As can be seen, young business–oriented people compare business success to the success of famous celebrities or respected sportsmen. Physical strength and beautiful looks are somehow synonymous with success. Greek kalokagathia, the ancient educational goal and outcome of successful socialization, is not only an example of beauty and physical strength, but also of mental health, wisdom and spiritual richness. Its essence is based on authenticity, individualistic critical thinking, multi-perspective and interdisciplinary education, skills development and ethical discipline. People with developed personality are not only intellectually attractive but also influence others in terms of ambition, hard work and creativity. For instance, the achievements of Vaclav Havel or Madeleine Albright, politicians who both have Czech origin, confirm my assumption that successful business people do not regularly compare themselves with others, but follow their values and go their own, unique way. Comparing ourselves with others and evaluating ourselves in relation to our peers or colleagues does not help our self-development. Constant thinking about what we have not achieved yet and what others have does not help either. Searching for what we do not know or what we are not capable of, skilled at or aware of does not serve anything. This does not motivate us. In contrast, successful business people are aware of the need for commitment to believing in their own way without comparing themselves with others. Competent business people commit to an idea that they will create and develop products or concepts that reflect their values and social welfare. If later they become business or leadership icons, it is because they fulfilled their commitment to becoming authentic and original personalities who are aware of the importance of fidelity.


Fidelity plays a crucial role in following any role models and dreams. The psychologist Erikson stated that fidelity is being developed and acquired in adolescence as a key life skill emerging from developmental conflict between identity and confusion. In this age we build a sense of complexity of life. Is it not interesting that it is the role model which plays a crucial role in this age? Role models shape ideas about the way to success and welfare. They show young people what can be achieved. They make them stay focused and committed. Therefore, having a role model is a very important part of personality development. Lack of role models means lack of examples, and meaningful and internalized goals.


Later, for instance, role models may play an important role in leading a team. A leader should somehow be a role model for his or her subordinates. In the context of business coaching, a role model may play an important role in establishing rapport between a client and his or her business coach. If a coach is not perceived by his client as an integrated and inspirational personality, the full success of change and reaching the stated goal cannot be achieved. It is not a question of inequality or disrespect. I am not saying that a business coach should be superior to his or her client. I am only suggesting that all of us probably want to be accompanied by smart people; we all need challenges and role models that inspire us and help us grow. That is why the importance of personality examples and role models in business coaching is inevitable. It gives meaning and purpose to our actions and behavior. For instance, when coaching a leader we should understand his or her role models and know the personalities he or she admires. Also, we should be able to offer our own example, which should be an example of integrated and holistic personality. Therefore, business coaches must work on themselves constantly and be aware of the fact that it is mainly their personality that makes the change for their client. Tomas Bata once said: “There is no financial crisis, there is only a crisis of morality” and: “To lead does not mean to control others, it means to overpower one’s own inner personality”.


Consequently, self-management, self-reflection and courage to accept ourselves are important business coaching competencies. A business coach must challenge his clients to have courage to take responsibility for choosing particular interpretations, giving meanings to his actions and decisions, including personality change or developing social responsiveness. In other words, being able to support others’ development requires being aware of one’s Self. A business coach may be considered as a role model that should inspire clients and teach them that the need for development (e.g. understanding one’s Self and personality) gives us freedom to make decisions, increases creativity and supports autonomy and inner stability.


The better we know ourselves, the more we are able to understand others and help them. In a democratic system, business coaching should also contribute to building democracy and ethics. My own role model, a former president and renowned philosopher Vaclav Havel, once said: “Democracy allows those, who do not have good faith, to do almost everything, but ties the hands of those who have great respect for it”. I think that business coaches may help clients to work with tied hands but with deeper responsibility, respect and business commitment for the growth of democratic society and freedom.



Daniel Tuma, CBC

Business coach, psychologist and organizational counselor managing the Made in Czechoslovakia company, the first company in Central Europe with WABC accreditation for training program in business coaching.

Academic guarantor and author of many workshops,

trainings and coaching programs regarding business psychology, organizational psychology, emotional intelligence, socio-psycho pathology in the workplace and leading positions.

He is specialized in highly influential top-management assessment and in mediating conflicts on the highest business level.


If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.

Business Coaching as a Way to Build Economic Welfare of Society by Daniel Tuma

Posted by WABC

In the world, well-known Czech and Slovak products and business successes do not only include hand-made crystal glass and design art pieces such as those from the La Svit company, or the application of biological and technological research into healthcare fields such as nanotechnology, Dr. Holy’s HIV research or Dr. Pomahac’s plastic surgery development.



Czech and Slovak products and their business successes have something in common in the coaching sense. All business successes of Eset, Avast, Elmarco, Petrof, Walmark or Skoda emerged from a decision to commit. To commit to an idea of business growth and therefore to build economic welfare.

Despite the fact that what make us suffer the most is hope, in business, only to hope is not the best business strategy.

To commit requires not only to hope, but also to have courage and strong belief that I am able to reach my goals and make a product I believe in because of its character, contribution and benefit for society.

And as the research findings of the Made in Czechoslovakia company and other respected scientists show, there are variables that are linked to performance and therefore, logically, to business growth. They are, for instance, work satisfaction, organizational identification,

generalized self-efficacy or locus of control, to name a few. Based on previously mentioned assumptions and scientific research, at Made in Czechoslovakia we believe that business coaching should work with, develop and cover the so-called “Magic 7” areas.

The Magic 7 may be determined as follows for Business:

1) Organizational identification and commitment

2) Work satisfaction

3) Leadership and authority

4) Quality of relationships in the workplace

5) Cooperation and competition

6) Business and personal self-confidence and self-esteem

7) Critical thinking


Business coaching should not only facilitate the process of organizational identification in general, but also in the individual meaning. Employees should be identified with the task value and the product itself. They should feel commitment and personal interest in fulfilling their working tasks. Also, the quality of relationships in the workplace means that an emotionally safe environment without gossiping, bossing around, stalking or any other unwanted socio-pathological problems helps workers to fully focus and contribute to cooperation and group cohesion. By facilitating the process of self-management, business coaches co-create inspirational environment in which a business person finds inner sources to increase his or her self-esteem and self-confidence. By questioning, business coaches stimulate critical thinking that helps facilitate a creative process. And because happiness is a question of one’s creativity, we, business coaches, may unintentionally influence very individual and fragile horizons. That is why our profession belongs to one of the most influential, powerful but also responsible arts.


The name “Magic 7” was influenced by the so-called Laterna Magica. Laterna Magica is not only known as the world’s very first multimedia theatre which won the first prize at the Expo 1958 in Brussels and which has attracted thousands of tourists to Prague ever since. It is also an old name for a wooden box with a candle inside, which lit a lens and projected small pictures behind it onto the wall in front of spectators in a magnified scale. It is not like in the allegory of the Plato’s Cave, which corresponds to the constructivist concept of the world. Laterna Magica is more like a method of coaching. In other words, in business caching we do the same. We work with one’s personality that may be considered as a psycho-plastic space which needs to have some of its areas lit and magnified to provide the observer/client with the wider picture and to be more aware of his or her inner sources, unanswered questions, or strengths.


The economic welfare of society mainly depends on a strong economy, the quality of products, working commitment, democratic thinking and moral maturity.

businessEconomic welfare can be influenced by our profession very much. We are the ones who work with people in business. We are the ones who provide them with comfort and safety to express their thoughts and values related to their work. We are the ones who can establish and manage developmental context. Therefore, we can influence the business a lot. And that goes hand in hand with the economic welfare of each society.



Daniel Tuma, CBC

Business coach, psychologist and organizational counselor managing the Made in Czechoslovakia company, the first company in Central Europe with WABC accreditation for training program in business coaching.

Academic guarantor and author of many workshops, trainings and coaching programs regarding business psychology, organizational psychology, emotional intelligence, socio-psycho pathology in the workplace and leading positions.

He is specialized in highly influential top-management assessment and in mediating conflicts on the highest business level.


If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.

Coaching Leaders: Understanding Complex Environments- by Dr Sunny Stout-Rostron


“The term complexity captures the greater levels of uncertainty, ambiguity, interdependences and interrelatedness that now characterize the environments in which organizations operate”

(Clarke, 2013:135).

Business coaches need to think systemically, and this article briefly looks at the importance of leaders taking decisions in alignment with the context of their organizational environment. At an individual level, leadership development in complex environments involves moving away from focusing on the structures and processes within the organization, to the behaviors required of leaders individually within the organization’s social system (Clarke, 2013:141).

Cynefin: the decision-making framework

Snowden and Boone (2007) outline four different contexts in which managers operate as simple, complicated, complex, and chaotic. The Cynefin decision-making framework helps leaders determine the prevailing context within which they are operating, and explores how they can make appropriate choices and decisions to intervene (Figure 1). “Cynefin, pronounced ‘ku-nev-in’, is a Welsh word that signifies the multiple factors in our environment and our experience that influence us in ways we can never understand” (Snowden and Boone, 2007:70).

As coaches we need to help leaders learn to shift their decision-making styles according to the type of environment or context in which they are operating. The Cynefin framework can help to correctly identify the governing context, stay aware of danger signals, and avoid inappropriate actions, thereby helping managers to lead effectively in a variety of situations (Snowden and Boone, 2007:75).

Figure 1 The Cynefin decision-making framework


Source:        Snowden and Boone (2007:72)

The Cynefin framework has five domains: simple, complicated, complex, chaotic and disordered. Disorder is the state of not knowing what type of causality exists, and people will revert to their own comfort zone when making a decision (Stout-Rostron, 2014:105). The following four practices are useful for the business coach to help the leader make appropriate choices and decisions within their prevailing context.

Four practices: best, good, emergent and novel

Best practice (simple environment)

When working with a client in a simple environment where patterns are repeated and events are consistent, and we are dealing with fact-based management, the leader’s job would be to use best practice, communicating clearly and delegating – but with an understanding of the need for extensive, interactive communication.

Good practice (complicated environment)

In a more complicated environment which is the domain of experts, the leader would need to diagnose the problems in consultation with a series of experts, trying to discover the cause-and-effect of the problem, identifying one or more answers that might resolve the issue. In this instance it is important for the leader to create panels of experts and listen to conflicting advice.

Working with one client in a more complicated scenario means that there are a possible range of right answers. Snowden and Boone call this the realm of “known unknowns”. Whereas leaders in a simple environment must sense, categorize and respond, leaders in a complicated environment must sense, analyze and respond. Here good practice is needed.

Emergent practice (complex environment)

In a complex environment, there would be a great deal of flux and unpredictability with no right answers. There would be competing ideas, emergent rather than predictable patterns, and a need for creative and innovative problem-solving approaches. The leader would need to create an environment that would allow patterns to emerge, and to increase levels of interaction and communication. More important would be the need to open up discussion, allowing large group methods and encouraging dissent and diversity.

Novel practice (chaotic environment)

In a chaotic environment, there will be high turbulence with no clear-cut cause-and-effect, many unknowable’s, and many decisions to make with possibly no time to think. Tension will be high. The leaders’ job will be to look for what works instead of seeking the “right” answer, and to take immediate action to re-establish order. This may require a “command and control” type of leadership to begin with, moving into another style of leadership as the context changes. Clear and direct communication will be essential.

The Cynefin model explores working in differing environments where adaptability and systemic thinking are needed to help leaders make decisions within contexts and systems which are continually changing.



Clarke, N. (2013). Model of complexity leadership development. Human Resource Development International, 16(2):135–150.

Snowden, D.J., and Boone, M.E. (2007). A leader’s framework for decision making. Harvard Business Review, 85(11):69–76.

Stout-Rostron, S. (2014). Leadership Coaching for Results: Cutting-edge practices for coach and client, Randburg, South Africa: Knowres.

Sunny Stout-Rostron, DProf, MA

Sunny’s interest in the WABC is based on its dedication to the development of business coaches. Like the WABC, she believes business coaching to be a developing profession in its own right. Business coaches can feel isolated, and the WABC enables them to connect in terms of practice, standards and ethics. Sunny has been coaching internationally for over 25 years, working with executive leaders and their teams. As a qualified Coach Supervisor, and Founding President of Coaches and Mentors of South Africa (COMENSA), she is passionate about developing the knowledge base for coaching through teaching, research and practice. This has meant helping to create several Masters programs for business coaching in South Africa. Sunny regularly works with coaches and clients in the UK, Europe, USA, South Africa and Australia.  She is the author of six books, including the recently published Leadership Coaching for Results: Cutting-edge practices for coach and client (Knowres, 2014).

If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.

The Success Delusion: Coaching For Leaders

Posted by Marshall Goldsmith

Is your past success inhibiting you future Success? Dr. Goldsmith tells us about, The Success Delusion. He discusses how the same belief in ourselves that has helped us become successful, can delude us into thinking that we do not need to change.

The Marshall Goldsmith Thinkers50 Video Blog and accompanying written articles incorporate learnings from my 38 years of experience with top executives, as well as material from my previous research, articles, and books, including What Got You Here Won't Get You There, MOJO, and Coaching for Leadership. Later in the series, you'll learn about my exciting new research on engagement and my upcoming book Triggers.

If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.