ARTICLES AND LINKS
Here are a few of our favourtite articles . For more articles By Sue Drinnan, read her blog
Sue Drinnan: 10 elements to earning the right to lead
So, do you walk the talk?
Ask yourself how those you lead would answer the following questions about you, from rarely (1) to almost always (10). Better yet, ask them. Then discuss it. Nobody’s perfect, and the questions have nested, unspoken, moving parts to them. They are designed to start deep conversations. Not a quick fix it like patching a tire.
1. Builds trust, mutual consistent respect and support for the team. Inspires and motivates us. Can listen. Only interrupts when necessary.
2. Communicates what's right and what's wrong about what’s happening, so that we know where we stand at work. No surprises. We can all answer where we are headed, why, how we are all going to get there and how I personally fit into the picture.
3. Recognises our strengths and gives us the work we need to stretch us, and is happiest when we are successful and happy. Shows appreciation for kindness as well as performance.
4. Asks how we think we might do it better and genuinely considers our ideas. Isn’t scared of looking ignorant.
5. Admits mistakes and can say sorry, authentically. Makes it ok for us to admit our mistakes so that we bring them up sooner. Not fun, but we all learn from and benefit from getting onto a blooper fast, before it grows.
6. Delivers. When a promise is made, it is treated very seriously. Like appointment times: each one is a promise. Models it, because it is part of being respectful.
7. Has the guts to set limits and say no in a skilled and informative way which leaves the other’s dignity intact and with a satisfactory understanding of why.
8. Is trustworthy. Integrity is still there, even when nobody is looking.
9. Is emotionally resilient and stable and can handle feedback, good and bad. Is working on getting better.
10. Is smart. Can spell. Stays fit and eats right.
Inspired by Jack and Suzy Wlech and Brent beshore.
Sue Drinnan: Embedding coaching skills in the workplace
Essential Elements of a Successful Organisational Coaching Skills Program
Summary of an article by Grant and Hartley1 on practical strategies organisations can use to more effectively embed and sustain leadership coaching skills in the workplace following participation by executives and managers in a coaching skills development program. This scorecard can assist in a go/no go decision on organisational readiness to implement a coaching skill program into the organisational culture and to prioritise factors that contribute to successful leadership development.
Global HR leaders are increasingly delivering coaching skills programs in their professional development to facilitate the adoption of coaching competencies. Research shows that coaching can increase goal attainment, solution-focused thinking, develop greater change readiness and leadership resilience (Grant 2009). The authors worked with the fifth largest bank in the world (over 52,000 employees), where 3000 leaders completed the ‘Leader as Coach’ program. The authors found eight key factors which increase the likelihood of successfully embedding coaching skills in the workplace.
Research has shown that while coaching skills are one of the more powerful leadership competencies, this vital skill comes naturally only to a few (Goleman, 2000). Worker resilience must be strengthened to protect from burnout and to better handle relentless change and economic pressure to do ever more with less. Gen Y and Z are demanding a new style of leadership and if their present organisation/manager won’t coach them, they will find somebody else who will.
With increasing demands being placed on workers, organisational leaders must become more competent at engaging, inspiring and listening to their talent than ever before. A tool is needed to assist the HR decision maker to assess both if a coaching skills program has the required elements to realize a substantive shift in coaching competencies and to asses gaps in present organisational receptivity that can be redressed to assure the investment delivers on the expected changes in organisational culture.
All too often, organisations invest effort and money into developing the coaching skills of their leaders and managers only to find that, despite initial high levels of enthusiasm, they fail to adapt the taught coaching skills to their workplace.
How do we transfer skills mastered in the classroom into the workplace?
Such transfers are difficult enough with technical skills. It’s even more challenging with highly personal thinking habits such as knowing when to challenge the coachee instead of telling the answer, how to re-create trust, or how to expose unspoken concerns or hopes for example. Coaching skills are not superficial techniques which can be wedged into any conversation. Students require time to integrate the skills seamlessly into their own style with repeated, live practice and patience from the organisational perspective.
The tips below are insights gained following completion of the Leader as Coach Program by over 3000 professionals in the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA). The authors propose that organisational coaching skills programs will more effectively embed the competencies when as many as possible of the following eight factors are implemented.
1. Proven, evidence-based design
‘Once-and-Done’ style single workshops, minimal hours of practice or where the teacher spends more time talkingImportance of Follow upsFollow up sessions are often viewed as a burdensome expenditure. The cost of not providing follow-upsessions can greatly affect the ROI. The authors found the lack of such support can easily de-rail an entire leadership development program. than the student spends practicing do not support integration of coaching behaviours as well as do longer-term mentoring, feedback and integration of the desired habits (Grant 2012). The authors found the most success with programs which:
a) Are theoretically grounded and extremely practical
b) Use varied settings to diversify practice conditions
c) Provide cohesive group support ad follow up
d) Supply supervision as skills are progressively embedded
2. Program content includes live skills, performance and developmental coaching
Formal coaching sessions with explicit goals and a clear beginning and end are rare compared to the more likely in-the-moment coaching opportunities seized in the midst of a busy project. The program must also address the important distinctions between Skills Coaching (task), Performance Coaching (strategic approach to the work itself, over time), and Developmental Coaching (personal growth such as emotional/social competencies and effective relationships)
3. Ensure that the program is internally culturally relevant
For a coaching program to be integrated, the authors found it should align explicitly with the specific values/language and unique situations and challenges faced in the client organisation.
4. Use respected figures internal to the organisation as champions
The role modelling of desired behaviours by leaders is one of the most powerful influencers. Enthusiastic and consistent messaging about the importance of the program from respected figures (such as the CEO) send a clear signal that the organisation is serious about developing a positive, supportive culture. The value of such overt high-level support cannot be understated.
5. Use attraction rather than coercion
It is easy these days for people to justify not allocating the time needed for developmental activities. While the temptation is to mandate participation, the authors found that fostering attraction, rather than compelling attendance is a more successful strategy. Develop enthusiastic, influential early adopters in the initial stages and train them to carry their message and experiences to the workforce.
6. Monitor and evaluate: the Personal Case Study approach
The Personal Case Study approach (Grant, 2013) has the participants write about a leadership issue they are facing, rate how close they are to their goal of solving it and their and level of confidence in dealing with the issue. Participants re-rate themselves at the end providing data which will answer “Is the program actually working?”. The authors found a 40% increase in goal progression and a 70% increase in confidence in being able to deal with the issue.
7. Mobilise a competent HR team
Program success and longevity depend on the HR team’s professionalism and ability to champion this work. HR’s ability to manage the logistics of a complex program while keeping senior managers enthused are key factors in determining the successful implementation of a coaching program (Long, Ismail, & Amin, 2012).This is not an easy task and some organisations may not have the required HR capacity.
So how does one choose and implement a coaching skills program?
Like training for a marathon, strengthening coaching skills can’t be done in one workshop no matter how brilliantly it is designed. While powerful when done right, accept that coaching skill acquisition will be a slow process (months, not a day or two) and that the outcomes must be followed up and measured. Otherwise, to be blunt, it is a just another binder on the shelf and a waste of money.
Not all coaching programs can deliver (measured) results, and not all organisations are ready to embrace a leadership culture with a coach approach. The processes listed in this scorecard normalise and deepen effective leadership competencies (coaching specifically), and strengthen connection, engagement and loyalty to the workplace.
SCORECARD: ORGANISATIONAL READINESS FOR A COACHING SKILLS PROGRAM
If your organisation is considering a coaching skills program, here are some key factors that will each contribute to increasing the strength, penetration and durability of your program impact. Each will assist to more effectively transfer the coaching skills from the classroom into workplace leadership activities and habits which drive a healthier, more cohesive and productive organisational culture.
Weak, or not executed = 1 As strong as it can be = 10
Goleman, D. (2000). Leadership that gets results. Harvard Business Review, March-April, 70 90.
Grant, A. M., Curtayne, L., & Burton, G. (2009). Executive coaching enhances goal attainment, resilience and workplace well-being: A randomised controlled study. Journal of Positive Psychology, 4, 396407. doi:10.1080/17439760902992456
Grant, A. M. (2012). Australian coaches’ views on coaching supervision: A study with implications for Australian coach education, training and practice. International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, 10(2), 1733. Retrieved from http://businessbrookes.ac.uk/commercial/work/iccld/ijebcm/documents/vol10issue2-paper-02.pdf
Grant, A. M. (2013). Can research really inform coaching practice? Paper presented at the International Coach Federation conference, March 2013, Sydney, Australia.
Long, C. S., Ismail, W. K. W., & Amin, S. M. (2012). The role of change agent as mediator in the relationship between HR competencies and organizational performance. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 24, 2019_2033. doi:10.1080/09585192.2012.725080
Sue Drinnan: Nearly two-thirds of CEOs do not receive outside leadership advice – but nearly all want it.
A Stanford University/Miles Group survey1 released in August 2013, asked 200 CEOs, board directors, and senior executives how they receive and view leadership advice. Two-thirds of CEOs don’t receive any outside advice on their leadership skills, but nearly all believe it would be beneficial. Both CEO and non-CEO participants appreciate the importance of neutral third party assessment, perspectives and feedback, yet almost half of the non-CEO senior executives in the survey are not receiving any.
• 66% of CEOs do not receive coaching or leadership advice from outside consultants or coaches, while 100% of them stated that they are receptive to making changes based on feedback.
• 80% of directors said that their CEO is receptive to coaching.
• 78% of CEOs who are accessing coaching said it was their own decision to receive coaching and 21% said that coaching was the board chair’s idea.
• 60% of CEOs responded that the progress they are making in their coaching sessions is kept between themselves and their coach. Only a third said that this information is shared with the board of directors.
• 43% of CEOs rated “conflict management skills” the biggest area of concern for their own personal development.
• Board directors say the areas that their CEOs need to work on are “mentoring skills/developing internal talent” and “sharing leadership/delegation skills.
How is coaching presently applied?
The paper states that being in an executive leadership role, especially that of the CEO, does not mean the person is at the peak of their capability curve. Yet somehow there is still an expectation (for all, including the CEO) that once a CEO, the person should suddenly have all the answers.
Tips for strengthening top leaders
Effective coaching is now being perceived less as ‘remedial’ and more for improving top performance the way elite athletes use a coach. Similarly, finding the right coach2 is pivotal. Strategically-minded HR executives who have earned the respect and trust of the CEO will provide great value by assisting the CEO to find the right match for his/her specific development needs. Setting up the right type of 360 feedback report is vital to quantitatively assess the right strategic leadership presence and competencies needed to successfully drive organisational strategy. We suggest metrics include:
• Sharing Leadership/Delegation - This is a great marker of the degree of confidence the CEO has in his/her reports, be it founded on real data or the CEO’s intuition. A strong coach2 will address alignment between facts, fears, beliefs and assumptions the CEO is using when sharing leadership and delegating.
• Conflict Management - This is a universally uncomfortable topic, even for experts. When leaders have no skin in the game, most can stay calm and objective. But if the issue threatens a personal value or need (including credibility, worth, etc.), the ability to use objective, rational executive brain functions can go off line (takes 400 milliseconds to be ‘internally hijacked’). Once triggered, the brain is reduced to navigating with the equivalent of a blank screen, snarling wolf or sprinting antelope making the decisions! Mastering insight into the true competing needs at stake and staying compassionate yet emotionally separate takes ample in-the-moment feedback and encouragement to restore or establish a healthy, productive team.
• Team Building - Deepening the sense of team loyalty, commitment and cohesiveness is not something one can set out to do the way we improve push-ups: simply by doing more push-ups! Team building takes time and can only be earned thought trust, self-management (modelled consistently by the leader), understanding others and remaining strategically clear and calm. These can be interesting areas to coach when the coachee has been successful to this point without having had to develop these habits (yet). Dominant leaders tend to alter their approach only once they see proof (however it’s defined) from a trusted source that a change is needed, and that it has a direct line of sight to the What’s-In-It-For-Me (WIIFM).
• Mentoring - While there is some informal/internal mentoring going on, Professor Larcker says it is common practice to steer away from coaching the uncomfortable areas of subpar emotional intelligence and leadership styles. Few coaches and mentors are very good at delivering difficult feedback in a way that leaves a hard driving self-assured CEO, who is convinced everything is going well, clear on why he or she needs to change, how to go about it, and motivated to push through the social discomfort and extra concentration required when shifting thinking habits and belief systems. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. The key is to find out what is most convincing, valued and motivating to the student!
Summary of Research Results
• Shortage of advice being delivered at the top
• CEOs are the ones looking to be coached
• Coaching “progress” is largely kept private
• How to handle conflict ranks as highest area of concern for CEOs
• Boards are eager for CEOs to improve talent development
David F. Larcker, James Irvin Miller Professor at the Stanford Law School and Morgan Stanley Director of the Center for Leadership Development and Research at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, who led the research team.
Stephen Miles CEO, The Miles Group, renowned authority in global leadership development.
Here is a checklist to make sure the bases are covered:
1. Is performance success for the CEO and other executives clearly defined and visible?
2. What tools will you use to measure to what degree the CEO is performing at the level the organisation requires? (types of 360 feedback and other types of metrics)
3. How will you determine the requirements1 in a coach which will predict a close fit with the executive’s learning needs? Anyone can claim to be an executive coach
Brent Beshore: “Not being an idiot is a sustainable competitive advantage"
A 16-point cheat-sheet for life that works and that everybody can use, such as use impeccable grammar and take responsibility. How about “Not being an idiot is a sustainable competitive advantage.” Read Article
Brent’s 12 practices are also excellent reminders to keep doing the evidently correct thing, but frames in an atypically concise manner. “Hurt people hurt people”… so true in the workplace and elsewhere. Read Article
Jack Welch: 10 resolutions to make it a very good year
if you're a leader big or small don’t just go into work and improvise around the latest mess, but to go into work every day knowing HOW you're going to lead and what actions need to be taken. Otherwise, why would anyone follow you? Anybody can react and do the easy stuff. Read Article
Simon Sinek: Learn about the WHY HOW AND WHAT that made Apple so successful
Define your own cause, your belief that shapes the naturally occurring pattern that explains how great leaders inspire others.
Dan Gilbert: Learn why and how happiness is something we invent
Happiness is not something that happens to us, or based on how well our lives are going. It is not even real. It is just something we make up and in so doing, create the story of our lives. Enjoy his many funny and startling examples of proof that life is not all that it seems. View The TED Talk
Barry Schwartz: Schwartz on the paradox of choice
Barry Schwartz: crushes the most basic American assumption: that more choice Is Better. Nope. Schwartz shows too much choice is paralyzing, leads to indecisiveness and makes us less happy with what we do have. A great talk if you want to question unspoken rules and what we think we know to be true. View The TED Talk
Brené Brown: Brene Brown on vulnerability
Sharing deep insight from her research on connection and belonging which are essential to workplace engagement and the antidote to shame. She dissolves the myth that vulnerability is a weakness. The reality is that vulnerability is the clearest path to courage and meaningful relationships. View the TED Talk
In her RSA talk, she addresses perfectionism, scarcity and blame in a new and very important way. Important for leaders in command and control cultures to see this. View the talk on YouTube