1Oct/140

The Six Question Process: Coaching For Leaders

Posted by WABC

The Six Question Process:

Dr. Goldsmith explains, The Six-Question process for coaching. This approach works consistently well with senior executives and their teams to create alignment throughout the organization.

Marshall Goldsmith is a proud member of and partner with the WABC. In both 2011 and 2013 he was ranked as one of the Top Ten Business Thinkers in the World – and the highest ranking executive coach – at the biennial Thinkers 50 ceremony in London. He was also the recognized in 2011 as the World’s Most Influential Leadership Thinker. Dr. Goldsmith is the author or editor of 34 books, including the New York Times bestsellers, MOJO and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.

If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.
30Sep/140

What’s your story about the future? by Melinda Sinclair

Posted by WABC

Hurtling or dancing?

Hurtling towards a scary future. Or learning to dance on the edge with new possibilities. What comes to mind for you when you think about the future? Which of these two images best captures it for you?

These two images tell very different stories about our experience of moving to the future.  They both capture something real and true. And yet, which one we choose as the dominant story to live into can have a profound impact on our lives. To be intentional about the future we are shaping day by day, choice by choice and action by action, it is important that we reflect on our stories about the future and that we choose the story that we want to guide us carefully.

Future

Hurtling towards a scary future

There is little doubt that our world is changing faster and in more profound ways than any one of us can quite fathom. And this change is often experienced as moving us towards more complexity, confusion ambiguity, uncertainty, even chaos. The image of hurtling towards a scary future  (from a Sunday times headline of a few years ago) captures something of the sense of being “out of control” we experience at times as we deal with our world.

No matter what our role or place in life, we cannot escape the disconcerting impacts of change. As a leader in an organisation, as a parent supporting children to find their way in the world, as a professional trying to map out a career, or simply a human being trying to live a good live  - we all feel the turbulence. Sometimes we truly despair and fear the worst. Indeed, it often feels as if the best we can do is to brace ourselves as we’re hurtling out of control towards the cliff of a scary future.

Giving in to a sense of despair is the big danger inherent in this story about the future. It is a story of hopelessness and lack of control. When we succumb to the doom and gloom view inherent in this story, we essentially give up – or we implode. At best, we make our lives smaller and smaller. We hunker down to survive without even asking ourselves honestly “to what end”.

Dancing on the edge with new possibilities

The other image tells a much more positive and hopeful story. It evokes a sense of play and adventure, a sense of openness to what might come. Inserting the word “learning” into the story makes it not a passive process, but an intentional process we can actively participate in.

This second image is a play on a book title Dancing at the Edge. Competence, Culture and Organization in the 21st Century (by Maureen O’Hara and Graham Leicester, published in 2012 by the International Futures Forum.) Here’s short quote from the back cover of the book that speaks to the “subtle discipline required of ‘persons of tomorrow’:

“They are the people among us who inhabit the complex and messy problems of the 21st century in a more expansive way than their colleagues… They dance at the edge.”

The image of learning to dance at the edge contains no more certainty than the other image of hurtling towards the future.

The story does not dispute or deny that change is happening at an ever faster rate, or that some of what is happening  is truly scary. We’re still on that edge, and dancing there is risky.

The story inherent in our second image differs in at least two crucial ways, however, from the story in the first image. First, it holds open the frame that the future holds many possibilities that we could engage with, not just disaster. Second, it shifts us away from the sense of hopelessness and complete lack of control implicit in the first image towards a more intentional and active engagement. We are not just helpless passengers hurtling our way to a scary future; we can choose to learn how to be active players and dancers that engage with the many possibilities of the future.

Choosing our story

Our story about the future we live into is not neutral. It shapes our feelings about the future.  It helps shape our choices and our actions  – and in so doing, it helps shape the very future that’s coming into being around us.

So what is the future story you are living? How well does that story serve you?  What is the future story you would like to live into? And what will it take for you to step into that story?

If we want to be future smart, it is vital that we carefully consider the future story we’re living into and choose one that holds the greatest potential for good outcomes. This holds true in all contexts personally, professionally, organizationally and in all our broader communities.

The vital element is a willingness to learn, to cultivate in ourselves the mental frames and capacities that will give us the best chance to thrive tomorrow. And for us to encourage and support others – those we lead, parent, teach, coach – to cultivate these qualities in themselves.

Future

The good news is that there is a rich conversation about this very issue, with lots of thoughtful wisdom about what we need to cultivate in ourselves to become more future smart. While there is no way to know what the future will bring, we can have a fair degree of confidence in at least some of the internal capacities we need to grow to be active dancers on the edge of possibilities. All it will take -  and I know that this is no small thing – is to be willing to be a learner in a whole new way.

We ARE shaping the future, whether we are aware of it or not. It is vital that we develop the skills and capabilities that will allow us to be shapers of a positive future, in the face of the tremendous change and challenge that the future presents us with. 

If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.
22Sep/140

Coaching leaders: the importance of values and motivation

by Dr Sunny Stout-Rostron

The critical value of business coaching is in helping individual executives to think clearly about the core issues which present challenges to them in their career, their organization, their job, and their daily working life.

The focus of the coaching conversation is to help leaders work towards achieving their desired outcomes. It is in this process of reflection – where coach and client reflect on the client’s experience –  that potential for learning and action emerges. The coach also explores with each client what it is that is holding back or preventing the client from achieving their goals. But, for the coach working with the business leader, what are some of the considerations in terms of their expertise and learning, particularly in understanding where the client is in their own leadership journey?

This raises an important question for executives: if goals are to be motivationally achieved, are they in alignment with the individual’s values, beliefs and feelings? Organizations often pay lip service to organizational values, and don’t necessarily create them as a synthesis of the core individual values which make up the culture of the organization. Ethical dilemmas can arise during the coaching process if the executive needs to make difficult choices which are incompatible with their own value system.

Motivational theories focus primarily on the individual’s needs and motivations. I have typically worked with coaching clients to help them understand more fully their intrinsic motivators (internal drivers such as values, beliefs, and feelings), and how to use extrinsic motivators (external drivers such as relationships, bonuses, the environment, and titles) to motivate their teams. If an individual’s goals are not in alignment with their own internal, intrinsic drivers, there will be difficulties for them in achieving those goals.

The coach’s intervention and questions help the client to discover their own motivators, and help both coach and client to identify whether the client’s personal, professional and organizational goals are in alignment. Richard Ryan (2013) talks about how a coach can support motivation for change. He asks, “What do people really need to flourish?” and explains that, “Not unlike a plant that needs water and sunlight to thrive, the human psyche has some nutrients that it needs to survive. It’s in our nature to flourish – to flourish is to develop, and to become fully functioning. But it requires nutrients, and those nutrients are the three conditions that facilitate intrinsic motivation:

  • Autonomy: manageable pressure, goal choice, strategy choice and task involvement.
  • Competence: optimal challenge, positive feedback, and informational rewards.
  • Relatedness: empathy, warmth, and acknowledgement of emotions” (Ryan, 2013).

If clients are to learn how to learn, they need to cultivate self-awareness through reflection on their experience, values, intrinsic drivers, the impact of these on others, the environment, and on their own future goals. The development of self-awareness is often implicit in the coaching relationship through the process of questions that develop critical reflection, and subsequent actions that develop practice. As a coach, or leader working with a coaching approach, you will be asking questions to help clients or direct reports to reflect, review and gain useable knowledge from their experience.

Learning, and particularly learning from experience, is one of the major components of the coaching conversation. Learning from experience implies an understanding of the language and content of the client’s story. The significance of the client’s story comes from both the structure of their telling it, and the interpretation and significance given to it. This indicates that helping your clients grow, develop and become who they want to be, requires asking for their best thinking, rather than sharing yours (Stout-Rostron, 2014: 26-28).

 

References

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

Ryan, R.M. (2013). Self-determination. Notes compiled by Stout-Rostron, S., from presentation to Coaching in Leadership and Healthcare Conference 2013, Harvard / McLean Medical School, Cambridge, MA, 28 September.

 

 

Sunny Stout-Rostron, DProf, MA Sunny Stout Rouston

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.
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4Jun/140

Teaching Leaders What To Stop: Making Destructive Comments

Posted by Marshall Goldsmith

In Marshall Goldsmith's video blog, "Teaching Leaders What to Stop:  Making Destructive Comments," he discusses the positive effect of leaders avoiding negative language.  View his video below to learn more!

Marshall Goldsmith is a proud member of and partner with the WABC.  In both 2011 and 2013 he was ranked as one of the Top Ten Business Thinkers in the World – and the highest ranking executive coach – at the biennial Thinkers 50 ceremony in London.  He was also the recognized in 2011 as the World’s Most Influential Leadership Thinker.  Dr. Goldsmith is the author or editor of 34 books, including the New York Times bestsellers, MOJO and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.
If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.