9Jan/140

Coaching Great Leaders: Find Your Mojo and Find Success!

Posted by Marshall Goldsmith

By Marshall Goldsmith

In my work, the most frequent question I hear is: What is the one quality that differentiates truly successful people from everyone else? My answer is always the same: Successful people spend a large part of their lives engaging in activities that simultaneously provide meaning and happiness. In other words, truly successful people have Mojo. Because the only person who can define meaning and happiness for you is you, I've recently written a book to help people to define and achieve Mojo.

Mojo is that moment when we do something powerful, purposeful, and positiveand the rest of the world recognizes it. To me, Mojo is about achieving two simple goals—loving what you do and showing it—and it plays a vital role in our pursuit of happiness and meaning. These goals are what govern my operational definition, which is: Mojo is that positive spirit toward what we are doing now that starts from the inside and radiates to the outside. Our Mojo is evident when the good feelings we have toward what we are doing come from inside us and are apparent for everyone else to see. There is no gap between the positive way we perceive ourselves-what we are doing-and how we are perceived by others.

There's something I haven't brought up yet and it may be the most critical piece of advice within this article: You should not feel obligated do any of this alone! If you want to improve your performance at almost anything, your odds of success improve considerably the moment you enlist someone else to help you.

I know this from personal experience, because for several years I have enlisted the help of a friend, Jim Moore, in achieving my own personal goals. Every day, no matter where either of us is in the world, we try to connect on the phone so Jim can ask me a series of questions. They're important day-to-day lifestyle questions such as "Did you say or do anything nice for Lyda [my wife]?" "How much do you weigh?" or "How many minutes did you write?" Jim happens to be an esteemed expert in leadership development, but his qualifications for this ritual rest more on the fact that he's a friend who's genuinely interested in helping me and will always make himself available for our daily phone call.

The process is incredibly simple. At the end of each day, Jim asks me twenty-four questions (the number has changed over time as my goals shift between maintaining my weight and being nicer to my family). Each question has to be answered with a yes, no, or a number. I record the results on an Excel spreadsheet and at the end of the week get an assessment of how well I'm sticking to my objectives. (I return the favor by asking Jim a series of questions about what matters to him.)

The results are astonishing. After the first eighteen months of adhering to this ritual, Jim and I both weighed exactly what we wanted to weigh, exercised more, and got more done (and I was nicer to my wife). As an experiment, we quit for about a year to see what would happen. Each of us put the weight back on and did not achieve nearly as much-a result that was both predictable, depressing, and sent us rushing to back to the program, where we resumed hitting our targets immediately. I was never unhappy, but my life seems happier and more meaningful to me when I use this process.

(To see my ‘daily questions,' Jim's daily questions, and get an article describing this process, go to MojoTheBook.com.)

The lesson is clear: we don't just have to rely on self-help!

This article first appeared in Business Coaching Worldwide (June Issue 2010, Volume 6, Issue 1). Copyright © 2012 WABC Coaches Inc. All rights reserved.

 Marshall Goldsmith, MBA, PhD, is a world authority on helping successful leaders achieve positive, lasting behavioral change. His executive coaching expertise has been highlighted in Forbes, Fast Company, and Business Week. He is the WSJ and NYT best-selling author of What Got You Here Won't Get You There (Hyperion, 2007). His most recent book is Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, and How to Get It Back If You Lose It. Learn more about Marshall in the WABC Coach Directory. Contact Marshall.
If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.
25Sep/130

You Can’t Win at Golf with Just One Club: Coaching Leaders for Today’s Complex Business World, by Ellen Samiec and Scott Campbell

Posted by WABC

Imagine this scene: Tiger Woods arrives for the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, Georgia with only a driver in his golf bag. When asked, "Where are your other clubs?" he replies, "Well, my driver is my favourite club, and I figured I could just use it for all my shots."

As ridiculous as this sounds, many executives and business leaders use the same logic when leading their organizations or business units; they utilize a single approach to leadership--typically "command & control." While business coaches usually try to shake these leaders loose from relying on a commanding approach, they too frequently fall prey to the same underlying assumption: there is one right way to lead that will work in all situations. Not surprisingly, the leadership style usually suggested as the replacement for commanding is coaching.

The truth is, there is no one right way to lead! Relying on any one approach is like trying to win at golf with just one club.

In our book, 5-D Leadership: Key Dimensions for Leading in the Real World (Davies-Black, 2005), we define effective leadership as "achieving desired results through people's willing participation." Through our experience and research, we have concluded that there are five key leadership approaches--what we term Leadership Dimensions--which effective leaders use to respond to the demands of today's complex business world.

What follows in this article is an overview of these Five Dimensions. Readers can refer to the chart at the end of the article for a convenient summary of the definition, strategic objectives, and appropriate contexts for each of the five Dimensions.

Dimension # 1 - Commanding: Taking Charge
As mentioned above, business coaches and leadership experts have been proclaiming the end of the Commanding era in business leadership for at least fifteen years.

However, there is a danger in this dismissal. There are times when Commanding is not only acceptable, it's desirable. In certain contexts, business coaches may actually need to assist their clients in developing the skills and perspectives needed to "command" effectively.

We define Commanding as taking charge and seeking immediate compliance to quickly effect a desired result. The primary context in which this Dimension is needed is a genuine crisis, particularly in turnaround situations or tragedies. In these circumstances, the need for quick decisions, combined with employee insecurities, call for a Commanding approach.

New York mayor Rudy Giuliani's remarkable leadership during the days and weeks following 9/11 are a powerful testament to the benefits of a Commanding approach during difficult days. Giuliani had, in fact, been at his lowest ebb in opinion polls just prior to the attack on the Twin Towers. His reputation was salvaged (to the point of winning Time magazine's Person of the Year award for 2001) due to his strong leadership in its aftermath. His efficiency, aura of authority, rapid decision making, inspirational words, and compassionate actions towards the victims and their families fit perfectly the needs and demands of the moment. The strength of his Commanding approach allayed people's fears, renewed their hope, and gave them an emotional anchor in the days following the terrorist attacks.

When circumstances are dire--during turnarounds and tragedies--people look for Commanders. As Faye Wattleton of the Center for Gender Equality says, "The only safe ship in a storm is leadership."

Nonetheless, it is quite common to find leaders over-relying on Commanding, using it in non-crisis contexts. The result is significant damage to morale, retention, and peak performance. It is therefore critical that leaders, and business coaches who work with them, be aware of the four other Leadership Dimensions and the contexts in which they are appropriate.

Dimension # 2 - Visioning: Pointing the Way
While you can command short-term compliance, you can't command ongoing commitment. One of the most powerful approaches for fostering lasting commitment to excellence is through the skilled use of the Visioning Dimension. As Peter Senge says, "Few, if any, forces are as powerful in human affairs as shared vision."

Visioning is defined as creating and effectively communicating a clear and compelling picture of a worthwhile vision for the group. While visioning is needed in many different business contexts, it is particularly important in times of organizational change.

The story of Jan Carlzon's leadership at the helm of Scandinavian Airline Systems (SAS) in the 1980's is a notable illustration of the Visioning dimension of leadership and its positive impact on staff morale, productivity, and company profitability. Carlzon employed a variety of means to create a new passion around the vision of delivering outstanding customer service each and every time a passenger had contact with the airline. In a single year, SAS employees turned a $20 million loss into a $54 million profit! The airline went on to garner several awards in the 1980s. In Carlzon's own words, "The new energy at SAS was the result of 20,000 employees all striving toward a single goal every day" (Carlzon 1987, 27). That is the power of shared vision.

Dimension # 3 - Enrolling: Getting Buy-In
Margaret Wheatley states, "People only support what they create." As a Leadership Dimension, Enrolling involves creating buy-in and commitment by genuinely seeking input and/or employing democratic decision making processes. A skilled use of Enrolling fosters high degrees of employee commitment and leads to high quality decision making and production.

The recent history of Harley-Davidson provides a powerful example of the benefits of Enrolling. While a Commanding approach--driven by its (then) CEO, Vaughan Beals--had brought the company back from the brink of bankruptcy, Enrolling sustained and improved its performance in recent years. Richard Teerlink, Beal's successor, understood the limitations of a Commanding approach when not facing a crisis, and led instead with an Enrolling emphasis.

In late 1988, Harley's senior management team began a number of initiatives designed to elicit the ideas, concerns, complaints, and dreams of all its employees. In the early 1990s, a "Joint Partnership" committee was created between management and the unions to foster continuous improvement at the company. The ensuing results at Harley--sustained profits and renewed market leadership throughout the 1990s--speak to the power of Enrolling.

Teerlink later stated, "I myself didn't have a plan for the company in my back pocket. I only knew that capturing the ideas of our people--all the people at Harley--was critical to our future success" (Teerlink 2000, 5).

Dimension # 4 - Relating: Creating Harmony
We define Relating as creating and sustaining strong relationships (1) between you and individual staff members, and (2) between staff members themselves. The goal of Relating is the creation of harmonious working relationships characterized by mutual trust, respect, and goodwill. The use of this Dimension has tremendous positive payoffs for both the leader and the organization.

Mike Abrashoff's leadership as Commander of the USS Benfold, an awe-inspiring, guided-missile Naval destroyer, provides an outstanding example of the skillful use and practical benefits of the Relating Dimension. Although a Naval destroyer may be an unexpected setting for this Dimension, under his leadership in the latter half of the 1990s the Benfold went from having one of the worst retention rates in the Navy to 100% re-enlistment, and having one of the worst states of combat readiness to winning the coveted Spokane Trophy for best combat readiness in the fleet. Abrashoff attributes much of this success to the emphasis he placed on his personal relationship with the crew and attending to relationships between crewmembers. Abrashoff demonstrated a skilled use of the Relating Dimension in numerous ways, including:

learning the names, family history, and personal story of every one of his 310 crewmembers
instilling a sense of each member's personal importance to him, regardless of rank
attending to issues of harmonious crew relationships and potential discrimination against women and minorities

Positive relationships are the lubricant that keeps the "work-engine" turning smoothly. The Relating Dimension is the approach that creates and sustains those relationships.

Dimension # 5 - Coaching: Developing People
The Coaching Dimension focuses on developing an individual's potential and performance while aligning the individual's goals and values with those of the organization.

One of our colleagues, Carole Cameron, recently described to us the positive outcome of having a manager (Phil Geldart) who was adept at coaching during her tenure at Nestl Canada. Here is Carole's assessment of Phil's impact on her and the organization:

The lessons I learned from Phil greatly allowed me to develop my skills as a trainer and deepened my confidence to move my career forward in the Performance Development Department. What I experienced in being coached was typical for all his staff. Phil always focused on developing his people.Phil not only enhanced the lives and careers of his direct reports, he also used his coaching style to help create a corporate culture that was founded in respect for the individual and a commitment to the development and strengthening of others. When Phil left Nest he left behind him a seamless succession in his own department, and an organization with a solid leadership base.

Conclusion

Just as great golfers use all the clubs at their disposal, great leaders use all five Leadership Dimensions at their disposal--the choice of Dimension is governed by the context and desired outcomes they want to achieve. The masterful use of all five Dimensions is critical to achieving desired results through people's willing participation.

The Five Leadership Dimensions


Sources:

Carlzon, Jan. 1987. Moments of Truth. New York: Harper Perennial.
Teerlink, Richard. July 2000. "Harley's Leadership U-Turn." Harvard Business Review 78:4, 43-48.

 

 

Ellen Samiec is the Director of Coaching for 5D Leadership. She works with executives and business leaders across Canada, the United States and Australia, helping them leverage their strengths to overcome challenges and achieve breakthrough results. Read more about Ellen in the WABC Coach Directory. Ellen may be reached by email at Ellen@5DLeadership.com.
Scott Campbell, Director of Training for 5D Leadership, is an international speaker, author and consultant whose clients include Nike, IBM, General Electric and Proctor & Gamble. Scott may be reached by email at Scott@5DLeadership.com.Ellen and Scott are co-authors of 5-D Leadership (Davies-Black Publishing, Oct. 2005).

This article first appeared in Business Coaching Worldwide (February Issue 2005, Volume 1, Issue 4). Copyright 2011 WABC Coaches Inc. All rights reserved.

If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.
8Aug/130

Where’s the Evidence? First Steps into the Literature By Dr. Annette Fillery-Travis

Research: Let's take a minute to reflect upon what that word means for us as coaches. Do we think of it as remote from practice, constrained by a set of rules and 'paradigms' that leave us cold, or is it a wonderful opportunity to explore, update and deepen our practice?

As a professional researcher and coach, I have supervised many coaching practitioners during their Masters degrees. Most have started their research with some trepidation and a sense that they were entering into another world, with a new vocabulary and a set of rules about which they knew little. It seems that we, as researchers, have done a good job of mystifying our trade!

Yet, as the coaching profession develops, we are becoming increasingly aware that we need to delineate coaching from other offers in the market; identify the real value we can bring to our clients; and be able to advise the buyers of coaching on which coaching interventions are fit for their purpose. To do this we need to have evidence of what works and how. In effect, we need a thorough grounding in both the theory and practice of what we do and the research which underpins it.

We should be happy therefore that the number of studies and research papers on coaching is steadily increasing. The first research article, which looked at 'coaching' as a discrete activity, was written in the 1930s and focused on coaching in a sales force. Publications then averaged one or two per decade until the 1980s when interest picked up. Since then, there has been a near exponential increase in publications. We now have specific journals for general interest coaching articles and research papers. There has also been a corresponding increase in Doctorate theses on coaching-related subjects. This does not, of course, include the vast range of books on coaching that draw heavily from the research. Although they are of great use to their readers, they generally do not report new research, but draw upon the established research literature. As a consequence, I have not included them in the figures. Within this wealth of text, the most popular type of article is descriptive reporting of a coaching intervention and single case studies, although there is a move to more empirical evaluations of case and group studies.

But are they of equal value and how do we know what is good research and what is not so good? How do we know what should influence our practice and our advice to clients?

One place to start when considering these issues is to identify the research question being asked and whether the evidence presented would convince you enough to change what you do, i.e., what is the purpose of the enquiry/research and the perspective from which it is being asked?

This is not a trivial question so it is worth working with an example. If I was to ask: Does coaching improve the performance of executives?

Then, assuming we are all agreed on what constitutes coaching (which may be a big assumption!), there are still two words in the question that have a variety of meanings depending upon your perspective—these are 'improve' and 'performance.'

From the perspective of an HR professional managing the coaching intervention 'improved performance' may mean:
a) An increase in the scores of the executives on 360 degree feedback
For the manager of the coachee, it may mean:
b) A 10 percent increase in sales
And from the viewpoint of the coach it may be:
c) The perceived satisfaction of the executives that they have addressed the issues identified in the coaching contract

Just from consideration of these three perspectives, I can identify three different ways of conducting this enquiry. For (a) I may consider 360 degree feedback before and after a coaching intervention; for (b) I may look at sales figure before and after; whereas for (c) a series of interviews with coaches after coaching would be one way of hearing their views. For the sales manager, the interviews with the coachees will be of limited value whereas the coach will find them highly informative.

Obviously these are simplifications, but they illustrate just how the particular perspective of the researcher and the end user will define the value of the answer and whether the research has fulfilled its purpose.

In a similar manner, a single case study can provide a rich picture of a particular intervention allowing a deep exploration of the context, attitudes and outcomes for the individuals concerned. But the purpose and perspective of the intervention may be highly specific to the case under investigation and have little to offer another organization in another context.

A reflection on the purpose and perspective of the research we access will often sort the wheat from the chaff and identify what has real value for us in our individual practice. It will nearly always also reveal a wealth of further questions. The old adage in this case is true—our answers only provide for further questions. It is at this point that many of us consider entering the field of enquiry ourselves and undertaking practitioner research. In my next column, I will talk about the real benefits both to practice and the profession of practitioner research.

If you would like to add your comments on this piece or would like to share your favorite research study (we do all have them) then please send them in, and I will be happy to add them to the 'Worth Reading List' below, which will be a consistent feature of this column.

Worth Reading
To get a general overview of the research into coaching and how it has evolved over the years, reading the following article is an excellent start. It is a free download from the web address included here.

Grant, Anthony M., and Michael J. Cavanagh. 2004. "Toward a Profession of Coaching: Sixty-five Years of Progress and Challenges for the Future." International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring Vol. 2, No. 1 (Spring): 1.
http://www.brookes.ac.uk/schools/education/ijebcm/home.html

This article first appeared in Business Coaching Worldwide (February 2008, Volume 4, Issue 1). Copyright © 2011 WABC Coaches Inc. All rights reserved.

If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.
22Nov/120

Global Gifts to Coaching Practitioners

By Dr. Sunny Stout Rostron

I have recently experienced some of the gifts offered to coaches worldwide to enable them to develop their discipline. These include practitioner research, international conferences, and research grants. This article discusses the importance of these gifts and how we can make good use of them.

Practitioner Research and Reflective Practice

What do we really know about how coaching works, exactly how well it works, and when it works best? In essence, not much. Our "knowledge" is based mainly on what coaches say they do, or on what they think makes sense-rather than on observation of what they really do, or on research into coaching outcomes experienced by individuals, teams, and organizations. As a coaching practitioner, it is essential to continually research your own practice, ultimately developing your own professional competence through reflective practice.

David Peterson (2009) suggests simple ways to do this. For example, try different techniques in your coaching, i.e., with alternate clients do a background interview that is only one third of your normal interview; see what happens and take notes on what you observe. Secondly, you can generate a list of experimental ideas for your coaching from reading about new techniques, new types of questions, or new processes. Try one new thing every coaching session and record your findings. Thirdly, you can ask your coaching participants what was the most effective thing you (as coach) did in the session, and why was it helpful.

Also ask what was the least effective thing, and why was it not helpful? Record your feedback, looking for patterns, and substitute new processes for the least effective things. Think about participating in coaching research studies, or finding clients from your own practice to participate in such studies. Most importantly, think critically about and read current coaching research, trying to incorporate findings into your own practice.The general characteristics of practitioner research are that (Fillery-Travis, 2009):

  • The research questions, aims, and outcomes are determined by the practitioners themselves;
  • The research is usually designed to have an immediate and direct benefit or impact;
  • The focus is on the practitioner's own practice and/or that of their immediate peers;
  • The research or enquiry is small scale and short term;
  • The process may be evaluative, descriptive, developmental, or analytical.

Coaching Conferences

Coaching in Medicine and Leadership

In late September 2009, I attended and spoke at the second International Harvard Coaching Conference on Coaching in Medicine and Leadership. Coaching has emerged as a competency dedicated to helping individuals grow, develop, and meet personal and professional goals while at the same time building personal and professional capacity and resilience. Although every year coaches are servicing a US$1.5 billion market, the most developed market segment is leadership coaching in organizations-less than 20 percent of professional coaches are from the mental health or medical fields. The Harvard conference was therefore a groundbreaking event, with lectures and workshops by world leaders in coaching and coaching research. There were three tracks: Overcoming the Immunity to Change; Coaching in Leadership-Theory and Practice; and Coaching in Health Care-Research and Application.

ICRF2 London: Measuring Results

In November I participated in the second International Coaching Research Forum (ICRF2) held in London, sponsored by the IES (UK Institute for Employment Studies) and the International Coaching Research Forum (ICRF). ICRF2: Measure for Measure looked specifically at how to design coaching measures and instruments, with the ultimate aim of discovering what makes coaching effective. Researchers from around the world met to discuss three major topic groups: process measures, outcome measures for executive/leadership coaching, and outcome measures for health, wellness, and life coaching. The format for each discussion was:

  1. Discussion of what inputs should be measured;
  2. Identification of aspects of the coaching process to be measured
  3. Identification of outcomes to measure, based on coaching purpose;
  4. Specific suggestions on how best to measure areas of greatest interest.

Critical issues in measurement and methodology were discussed, the biggest concerns relating to:

  1. How do we evaluate instruments and measures? What are the important considerations, such as reliability, validity (quantitative research), and trustworthiness (qualitative research)?
  2. How can we incorporate measures into our research? What are the issues and considerations in research design and methodology for incorporating measures and interpreting results?
  3. What qualitative research issues have arisen in recent coaching research?
  4. What are some of the most compelling coaching topics and challenges and how can they be measured?

A final report will be made available on the websites of both the International Coaching Research Forum and COMENSA (Coaches and Mentors of South Africa) early next year. All of the group forums were recorded, and key points from each discussion will be included in the final report.

GCC Rainbow Convention-Cape Town 2010

These recent conferences have implications for all coaches worldwide, and particularly for the work being carried out by the Global Coaching Community (GCC), an international dialogue aimed at furthering the development of coaching. The GCC's last convention took place in Ireland in July 2008 and produced the momentous Dublin Declaration on Coaching. The declaration was supported by recommendations from the GCC's ten working groups, and has been endorsed by organizations and individuals representing over 15,000 coaches around the world.

It is now South Africa's turn to host this pivotal event and help take the dialogue forward, and so the GCC Rainbow Convention will be held in Cape Town during 10-16 October 2010. The convention will showcase the results of pioneering practitioner research being undertaken by "pods" of coaches around South Africa. It will also continue the development work undertaken by the GCC's ten working groups, as well as host specialist workshops on aspects of coaching practice.

Grants from the Institute of Coaching

Another boost to the professional development of coaching practitioners is an endowment of US$2,000,000 from the Harnisch Foundation to the Institute of Coaching based at Harvard Medical School/McLean Hospital. The Institute is able to translate this generous endowment into grants totaling US$100,000 per year to fund rigorous research into coaching, thereby helping develop the scientific foundation and professional knowledge base of the field.The Institute offers four types of grant, with deadlines for applications on the first day of February, May, August, and November each year:

  1. Graduate student fellowships of up to US$10,000 for high-quality research projects. To qualify, applicants must be Masters or Doctoral candidates looking for financial support for dissertation research on coaching.
  2. Research project grants of up to US$40,000 annually for individuals who would like to conduct empirical research in coaching.
  3. Research publication grants of up to US$5,000 to assist with the writing, editing, and publication of coaching research in  peer-reviewed journals.
  4. Travel awards to cover travel expenses related to presenting coaching research at the annual Harvard Coaching Conference.

Please visit http://www.instituteofcoaching.org/ to learn more about the Institute's various grants, membership programs, current research, and publications  and for information on the recent Harvard Conference. As a Founding Fellow of the Institute of Coaching and a member of its Research Advisory Board, I am keen that all practitioner researchers in coaching are aware of these research grants. It is crucial that we begin to build the body of knowledge on what is working and what still needs work within the discipline of business coaching worldwide.

How Can You Play a Part in the Development of the Field?

Our goal in developing reflective research and enquiry is to make a substantial contribution to the emerging practice of coaching worldwide (Stout Rostron, 2009). Your gift to our emerging discipline is to play a practical part. For example, you can:

  • Participate in WABC activities to develop the field;
  • Offer to participate in coaching research studies (see box below);
  • Continue to develop your own reflective practice;
  • Write up your own cases studies for coaching journals;
  • Apply for a research grant for one of your studies through the Institute of Coaching;
  • Attend conferences and stay abreast of current research practice.

This article first appeared in Business Coaching Worldwide (June Issue 2010, Volume 6, Issue 1). Copyright © 2012 WABC Coaches Inc. All rights reserved.

References

Fillery-Travis, A. (2009). Practitioner Research Workshop, GCC Rainbow Convention, notes.Peterson, D. (In press). "Executive Coaching: A Critical Review and Recommendation for Advancing the Practice." In Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, edited by S. Zedeck. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Stout Rostron, S. (2009). Business Coaching Wisdom and Practice: Unlocking the Secrets of Business Coaching. Johannesburg: Knowledge Resources. Available from http://www.kr.co.za/.Wilkins, N. (2009). "Countdown to the GCC Rainbow Convention!"COMENSAnews, November. Available from http://www.comensa.org.za/.


1Hawkins, P. and Shohet, R. (2007) Supervision in the Helping Professions.United Kingdom: Open University Press.

 Dr. Sunny Stout Rostron, DProf, MA is an executive coach and consultant with a wide range of experience in leadership and management development, business strategy and executive coaching. The author of six books, including Business Coaching Wisdom and Practice: Unlocking the Secrets of Business Coaching(2009), Sunny is Director of the Manthano Institute of Learning (Pty) Ltd and founding president of COMENSA (Coaches and Mentors of South Africa). More about Sunny in the WABC Coach Directory. Contact Sunny.

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