All posts by Vitas Consult

Career Development With Devex

Devex describes itself as the media platform for the global development community. For those in – or seeking entry to – that community Devex is a source of information of growing importance. Devex claims to have an audience of more than one million people engaged in the development sector, to have placed thousands of people into jobs through its important recruitment marketplace and to have contributed significantly to the sector’s business development through its role as an informed source of grant and contract opportunities.

Devex casts its net wide: it considers the development, health, humanitarian, and sustainability sector and professionals working within these fields to be part of its global network. There are now more than 900,000 registered members within this international development community – including development organisations, donor agencies, suppliers and aid workers. In all, Devex claims more than 1 million active users.

Using a range of tools Devex enables its user community to access a searchable database of over 700,000 professionals and a directory of more than 12,000 development organisations. It has become a leading source of information about projects being funded by agencies across the globe.

This is remarkable growth over a period of the 18 or so years since Raj Kumar, then a student at Harvard’s School of Government, converted the ideas behind Devex into a workable precursor as part of a student project. Kumar, now editor in chief of Devex, aims to provide for the development sector what Bloomberg and The Financial Times have for the financial markets: accurate, plentiful and searchable information.

For the professional engaged in their own career development Devex is a virtual ‘honey pot’. The clearing house of information on development projects provides the intelligence needed to anticipate where opportunities may exist in a few months time. Real time vacancy information pulls in the active job seeker, those coming to the end of existing contracts and aid professionals whose careers have stalled with their existing employers. Webinars on a range of career development topics (including networking, charting a global health career, STEM careers in the aid sector, etc.) provide added value for the serious career professional. A continually updated tender notification service offers leads for business development specialists, contractors and consultants.

Investment in international aid remains strong – the money in USAID’s budget was $15.4billion in 2018 rising to $39.3billion for fiscal 2019. Devex occupies a key role in staff sourcing and career development in this sector. Admittedly, Devex charges for certain premium services and prices access to more senior vacancies but, if you are in the aid sector or seeking to break into it your curriculum vitae should feature there and Devex should be a part of your career development toolkit.

Towards Digital Literacy?

Paul Gilster, in his 1997 book “Digital Literacydescribed digital literacy as the use and comprehension of information in the digital age. He also emphasised the importance of digital technologies as an “essential life skill”. Digital literacy is one of the core elements of digital citizenship. Digital literacy includes knowledge, skills, and behaviours involving the effective use of digital devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop PCs for purposes of communication, expression, collaboration and advocacy.

The growth in digital literacy needs to keep pace with the rapid acceleration in the population’s access to digital media. Recent research from Hootsuite and We Are Social tracks the explosive growth in Internet access and uptake to January 2017:

In “Headline” terms, the most startling findings of this collaborative, global research are that:

  • More than half the world’s population now uses a smartphone.
  • Almost two-thirds of the world’s population now has a mobile phone.
  • More than half of the world’s web traffic now comes from mobile phones.
  • More than half of all mobile connections around the world are now ‘broadband’.
  • More than one in five of the world’s population shopped online in the past 30 days

Internet use in Asia is poised to overtake the rest of the world. Asia has an estimated population of 4,148,177,672: 55.2% of the world’s population based on 2017 mid-year estimates[1]. Internet use data from  CNNIC[2], ITU[3], Facebook, and other trustworthy sources indicates that 1,938,075,631 Asians (or 46.7% of the population of Asia) were users at the end of June 2017.

It is no longer the case that the poorest countries will necessarily have populations without access to the Internet. If we take a deeper dive into the available data for just one country in Asia we can see the phenomenal rise in Internet access by comparison with other indicators. The nation of Cambodia was recently ranked[4] 106th in the world by reference to Gross Domestic Product. It is one of the poorest countries in Asia and long-term economic development remains a daunting challenge, inhibited by endemic corruption, limited human resources, high levels of income inequality, and poor job prospects. In 2012, approximately 2.66 million people lived on less than $1.20 per day, and 37% of Cambodian children under the age of 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition. More than 50% of the population is less than 25 years old. The population lacks education and productive skills, particularly in the impoverished countryside, which also lacks basic infrastructure. However, notwithstanding all these challenges, 25.6% of the population of Cambodia have Internet access[5] and one quarter of the population of the country’s population are Facebook subscribers[6]. However,such figures serve only to obscure widespread variations in access: in the capital city, Phnom Penh, Internet upload speeds are commonly faster than those available in most of the UK whilst in much of rural Cambodia, by comparison, Internet access is simply an unmet aspiration. The danger of Cambodia remaining a country with deep digital access chasms is clear.

Whilst digital technologies have spread rapidly in much of the world, “digital dividends”— that is, the broader development benefits obtained from using these technologies — have lagged behind[7]. In many instances, digital technologies have boosted growth, expanded opportunities, and improved service delivery. Yet their aggregate impact has fallen short and is unevenly distributed. For digital technologies to benefit everyone everywhere requires closing the remaining digital divide, especially in Internet access. But greater digital adoption will not be enough. To get the most out of the digital revolution, countries also need to work on the “analogue complements”. One of the three most important of these complements concerns adapting workers’ skills to the demands of the new economy.

The non-profit sector was, arguably, first in the field of digital literacy education. The ECDL Foundation is a well-established[8] international, non-profit organisation dedicated to raising digital competence standards in the workforce, education and society. The Foundation’s Certification programmes, delivered through an active network in more than 100 countries, enable individuals and organisations to assess, build and certify their competence in the use of computers and digital tools to the globally recognised European Computer Driving Licence standard, known as the International Computer Driving Licence outside Europe. The ICDL is the world’s leading computer skills certification. To date more than 15 million people have engaged with the programme, about 2.5 million ICDL tests are taken annually in over 100 countries, in more than 40 languages worldwide, through a network of over 24,000 ECDL Accredited Test Centres (ATCs). The Foundation’s certification programmes are designed, validated, and approved by academics and industry experts from around the world. There is a continual development programme in place to ensure that the range of certification programmes remain in line with market needs and technological advancements. An Online Essentials Base Module[9] sets out essential concepts and skills relating to web browsing, effective information search, online communication and e-mail.

ECDL Foundation has also endorsed 14 targeted programmes[10], which are designed and created by other organisations for specific groups. These programmes often address specific digital literacy requirements or demands in a particular country, while still adhering to the high standard of quality in content and operation set by the Foundation. The Foundation also encourages and supports their national partners to provide digital literacy education to meet humanitarian and social needs. Here are two examples:

  • In autumn 2016, the Austrian Computer Society (OCG) realised that the refugee crisis demanded quick and un-bureaucratic action to help refugees and asylum seekers. Therefore, it launched the project, ‘OCG Cares’, aiming at providing those who had to leave their homes with ICT and language skills. After a strategic meeting of all stakeholders in December 2015, 22 refugees started their crossover courses in IT & German, with the aim to prepare for the ECDL Base certification tests by summer.
  • The Dzikwa Trust Fund, or simply Dzikwa for short, was established as a legal entity and began operations in Zimbabwe in September 2002. The underlying purpose of the society is to empower Zimbabwean orphans and give them a chance to lead a fulfilling life. It seeks to give the children long-term help, in their own community, in order to guarantee their basic education and general welfare. The ICDL project started in April 2015 and in August 2015, the first ICDL lessons and exams were taken.

The Mozilla Foundation, a Californian not-for-profit enterprise, is also committed to developing the ability of all to make use of the Internet. To that end they have developed and published, in English, a range of free learning activities[11] created by teachers, educators and technologists for individuals and groups of adults and teenagers. These include short, activity based, off line teaching and learning resources covering topics such as Internet Health, Web Literacy Basics, Privacy Basics: Protect Your Data at beginner level.

The importance of digital literacy is, of course, increasingly recognised by national governments. As Nagy K Hanna has written[12]: “Digital technologies have been transforming the global economy. Yet many countries have yet to experience the full developmental benefits of digital technologies, such as inclusive and sustainable growth, improved governance, and responsive service delivery. Given the magnitude of change in competitive advantage that digital technologies can confer on adopters, the risks of slow or poor adoption of these innovations can be dire for industries, governments, individuals, and nations.” Drawing on his significant humanitarian development experience, Hanna argues that one of the most important “analogue support mechanisms” that must be put in place to secure the benefits of digital transformation is “substantial investment in organisational capabilities, process innovation, and institutional learning. Best practice suggests that every dollar invested in ICT should be matched with a $4 or $5 investment in process improvement, training, change management, etc.”

In research undertaken for the Indian government, KPMG found that the number of Indian net surfers would rise by at least 50 million annually from 2014 to 2019. This equates to almost the entire population of South Africa gaining Internet access in each of these six years. On this basis KPMG confidently predict that India will have at least 560 million Internet users by the end of 2019. Without suitable training there is little likelihood that new users will be able to gain most benefit from access to the digital age so the government is funding specialist educational programmes through gram panchayats[13] (local elder councils).

The private sector is also active in education for digital literacy. Google’s “Digital Skills Programme for Africa” offers 89 courses through an online portal, and Google works with 14 training partners covering more than 20 African countries to offer face-to-face training. In March 2017, Google disclosed that it had trained one million Africans in digital skills in just eleven months. Recognising that digital literacy can drive economic development; Google has set itself new targets in 2017 including the provision of offline versions of its online training materials, increasingly in Hausa, Swahili and IsiZulu, to better reach individuals and businesses in low access areas where it is unable to hold physical training sessions.

The private sector is, of course, keenly aware that the growth in Internet access creates multiple potential markets. Microsoft’s digital literacy programme[14] aims to help the learner develop a fundamental understanding of computers. The courses equip the new user with the essential skills needed to begin computing with confidence, be more productive at home and at work, stay safe online, use technology to complement their lifestyle, and consider careers where they can put their skills to work. The five courses within the programme use examples and simulations from Windows 8 and Microsoft Office 2013.

Microsoft provides an Instructor’s Manual including ideas for adapting the digital literacy programme to different learning environments and for different learner needs. It includes sample syllabi, practice problems and exercises, and information to guide classroom discussions. It also covers classroom setup details including hardware, software, and Internet connection requirements and recommendations. The programme is certificated[15] on “an honour basis”, but without verification.

References

[1] Using figures from the United Nations – Population Division and local official sources.

[2] China Internet Network Information Center

[3] International Telecommunication Union

[4] CIA’s “World Factbook”

[5] According to the ITU (June 2017)

[6] Facebook

[7] According to the World Bank’s “World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends” published in May 2016. See: http://www.worldbank.org/en/publication/wdr2016

[8] In 1995, the Council of European Professional Informatics Societies (CEPIS) created a task force, supported by the European Commission through the ESPRIT research programme, to examine how to raise the levels of digital literacy throughout Europe. The new certification programme was launched as the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) in Sweden in August 1996.

[9] See: http://ecdl.org/about-ecdl/online-essentials

[10] See: http://ecdl.org/about-ecdl/endorsed-programmes

[11] See: https://learning.mozilla.org/en-US/activities

[12] See: http://blogs.worldbank.org/ic4d/how-can-developing-countries-make-most-digital-revolution and “Mastering Digital Transformation” (Emerald, 2016)

[13] Gram panchayats are the cornerstone of local self-government organisation in India.

[14] https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/DigitalLiteracy This is available currently in 13 languages including Arabic, English, French, German, Hindi, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Simplified Chinese and Vietnamese.

[15] There is a 30-question multiple-choice assessment for each course that provides students with a personalised Learning Plan. Certification is intended for the learner alone and not as a verified attestation of competence for employment selection purposes.

Leadership: What We Know – Part 2

The world of job analysis was overturned in the 1970s when McClelland began using a competency focus to understand the requirements of a particular role or job. It wasn’t McClelland’s intention to generalise but the publication of a 1982 book by his colleague, Richard Boyatzis, led to an explosion of interest in managerial competency frameworks. In the UK, particularly, this facilitated the growth of the Management Charter Initiative and competency-based learning and development. Over decades these approaches have progressively influenced practice in, particularly, Australia, New Zealand and the development of craft, technical, apprenticeship and managerial development internationally.

In the management domain, a strong argument can be made that most competency frameworks have identified four clusters of capability. The first of these is concerned with intrapersonal skills and includes growing awareness of and the application of emotional intelligence, as we now know it. The second focus is on the interpersonal skills of relationship building and the third is concerned with business skills. Finally, it has become widely accepted that there is a fourth leadership skillset that concerns vision, strategy (both allied to and using the business skills mentioned earlier) and building and motivating an engaged, high-performing team of people. It is helpful to consider that this four-stage model is developmental. The development of intrapersonal skills typically takes place during the pre-teen years and may be followed by the application of these capabilities interpersonally in the late teens and beyond. Business understanding and competency may be more amenable to formal teaching and coaching, action learning and other experiential methods of development can be used, powerfully, to enable the association of the first, second and third focus areas. Finally, leadership skills may or may not be added to the individual’s toolkit. It has generally become accepted that this developmental model also represents a trainability continuum. The first cluster of intrapersonal capabilities is not highly trainable – their very nature often warrants highly individualised approaches to learning. The second cluster is also less easily trained and may require considerable investment in experiential learning, feedback and coaching. The third cluster certainly includes a body of knowledge that can be relatively easily defined and may include core professional understanding plus organisational and wider business expertise that can be sector-specific or related to the maturity, complexity, type and/or scale of the business. Here we see the curriculum of the typical MBA. Applied leadership skills frequently develop later and the design of appropriately engaging developmental experiences provides the opportunity for great innovation and creativity.

Organisations may apply important nuances to the four clusters. One recent global client wanted to highlight the importance of leaders demonstrating, in their early careers, that they are ‘personally well-functioning’ and able to ‘operate effectively and to adapt to challenge, ambiguity and change’. The second cluster may be expressed in terms of the individual’s ability to make things happen through others by applying their interpersonal capabilities: outcomes rather than latent behavioural skills may be most evident in the descriptions of these competences.

Business skills need to be expressed in terms that are easily understood in the leader’s sector and, whilst there is some ongoing public and private sector business practice convergence, these two organisational spheres are clearly not the same in every respect. Similarities and differences need to be captured in descriptions of competences that resonate with the users of any framework of competences.

The extent to which the fourth cluster will have a strong future orientation will depend upon a number of factors including the maturity of the sector and the various changing and challenging opportunities and constraints the organisation faces.

Whilst the nuances are important, there is little evidence to suggest that the fourfold taxonomy of competences is less than comprehensive or has been superseded. When,  in 2001, Jim Collins published his groundbreaking book, “Good To Great”, a rare example of a business book based on actual research, Collins –  and his team – were able to conclude that leaders that took charge and improved organisational performance scored well on the four competences outlined above and had two other qualities. First, they were modest and humble, as opposed to self-dramatizing and self-promoting and, second, they were phenomenally persistent.

A question arises concerning the way in which leaders influence organisational performance. (They certainly do so: Joyce, Nohria and Roberson (2003) showed that CEOs account for about 14% of the variance in firm performance.) Leaders appear, through their personality, to influence the culture and the dynamics of their senior teams.

It was long thought that managerial incompetence was largely about managers not having the “right stuff”. Recent research shows that it is more to do with managers having the “wrong stuff”: some kind of “personality defect”. Leslie and Van Velsor (1996) summarised the results of reputable research and found that failed managers typically had poor interpersonal skills (they were insensitive, arrogant, cold, aloof and overly ambitious); they were unable to get work done (because they betrayed trust or didn’t follow through, for example); they were unable to build a team and they were unable to make a transition following a promotion. The associations with the four clusters are very clear.

References

Boyatzis, Richard E., “The Competent Manager: A Model for Effective Performance” Wiley, ISBN: 978-0-471-09031-1

Collins, Jim C, “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t”, William Collins, October 2001, ISBN: 978-0-06-662099-2

Nohria, Nitin, William F. Joyce, and Bruce Roberson. “What Really Works.” Harvard Business Review 81, no. 7 (July 2003).

Leslie, J.B. and Van Velsor, E. (1996). A look at derailment today: North America and Europe. Greensboro, NC: Center for Creative Leadership.

Leadership: What We Know – Part 1


The British General Election campaign in May 2017 was dominated by discussion about the character of the leadership ‘offer’ being made by party leaders May and Corbyn. May’s commitment was to provide “strong and stable leadership”, whilst Corbyn was widely associated with a more collegiate style of leadership. This projection of a promised brand of leadership is not uncommon in election campaigns but it tends to beg the question: “what exactly do we know about leadership?

The reality is that, despite the importance of the subject, we securely know relatively little about it and many opposing positions can be honestly taken on leadership effectiveness. This is problematic for at least two reasons. First, because leadership is the key to organisational effectiveness, with good leadership, organisations effectively and efficiently deliver what is needed and those within them enjoy well being and a sense of aligned engagement. Second, and more importantly from a moral and ethical perspective, bad leaders create havoc and misery that sometimes blights generations and entire countries for years.

The complexity of the relationship between leaders and their followers is certainly one reason for our general lack of secure knowledge. It is also true that mountains of paper have been piled up and many writers have drained deep wells of ink with scant regard for evidence and, sometimes, an overwhelming  desire to sell yet another “airport book”. Even where evidence-based studies have been completed with rigour, over a period that warrants our attention, it has often been perfectly possible to draw divergent conclusions about what was really happening in the research!

Leadership does not, of course, occur in a vacuum. There are those who would argue that leadership in society generally is of less consequence than other forces of greater magnitude and influence than human control. Opposing this view would be those who would argue that, at important junctures in history, human leadership emerges and does indeed result in critical change.

Taking this second view as a starting point we can begin to understand the likely importance of two aspects of human personality. The first concerns how the individual sees themselves (their ‘identity’) and the second how others see the individual. Various tools commonly used in leadership development have these twin perceptions at their heart. 360° feedback, done well, effectively brings together these perceptions; a well managed Development Centre achieves more with greater reliability and the Johari window is a tool that brings together these twin perceptions.

A person’s ‘identity’ is hard to identify and work with. Recent reports suggest that the analysis of social media data combined with other aspects of the ‘electronic fingerprint’ being left by many people can provide clues to how a person sees themselves. The potential misuse of accumulated data of this type is clearly evident.

Reputation, on the other hand, can be examined in a range of ways. Generally, assessments will distinguish between impressions created when an individual is at their best and an alternative and related impression created when that same individual is at their worst. Leaders with well-developed social skills will frequently be adept at masking the dark side impressions. However, the ability to keep the mask on over a sustained period is rare and our ‘dark side’ tendencies typically emerge over time. Trust is often eroded in line with the mask slipping and people becoming more aware of the darker side of an individual. The gateway to many opportunities in life is reputation, as many leaders explicitly or implicitly recognise.

Simple frequency analysis has gradually allowed us to understand which leadership characteristics (we might dub them ‘leadership virtues’) are most important to the led. In order of importance they are: integrity, decisiveness, competence and vision. Because integrity is the most important virtue it follows that the single most important question we can ask of potential leaders is this: “Can we trust you not to abuse the privilege of authority?”

A significant meta-analysis shows that from trust in leadership there springs improved job performance; job satisfaction and organisational commitment (Dirks and Ferrin, 2002).

As a counterweight to the focus on the individual leader and their personality, we also need to be aware of the context within which leadership is exercised. Those people that rise to the top of a university are likely to be characterised by a different cluster of talents, capabilities and personality traits than those that are in charge of a major league football club, for example. They may or may not have a talent for leadership. However, whilst leadership is circumstantial, Alberto Silva (2014) has asserted that “… groups choose as leaders only those people who they believe to have leadership skills, and people that do not possess leadership qualities will not be considered as leaders by any group in any circumstance.” It seems to be true that the characteristics associated with effective leadership are actually surprisingly similar across industries and cultures.

Hogan and Kaiser noted, in 2005, that leadership has tended to be defined in terms of influence exerted or in relation to the ratings given by more senior leaders. Hogan and Kaiser take the view that the litmus test of leadership should be this: does this person demonstrate that they build and maintain a group that performs well relative to its competition?

So, two key leadership questions emerging are these:

Can we trust this person not to abuse the privilege of authority?

Has this this person demonstrated that they will build and maintain a group that performs well relative to its competition? Alternatively*: Do we have enough evidence to show that they will build and maintain a group that will perform well relative to its competition?

*The second alternative question above may appear difficult to use. If this is the case, and the person being considered has no evident track record in this area, a good replacement question is this: “Does this person have basic knowledge about how to take a group of people and turn them into a high performing team?” Surprisingly, perhaps, this turns out to be a very effective differentiator!

Does talent management and leadership development where you are pay attention to these key questions?

 

References

Dirks KT, Ferrin DL., ” Trust in leadership: meta-analytic findings and implications for research and practice”. Journal of Appl Psychol. August 2002, 87(4): 611-28.

Hogan, Robert; Kaiser, Robert B. “What We Know About Leadership”, Review of General Psychology, Vol 9(2), Jun 2005, 169-180.

Silva A, “What Do We Really Know About Leadership?”. Journal of Business Studies Quarterly 2014, Volume 5, Number 4.

Information sharing, pathos and apologies

It is widely believed that leaders should share information with those they lead. The arguments to support this as ‘best practice’ draw widely on studies of staff engagement. These repeatedly show that, by explaining the connection between employees’ individual jobs and the organisation, leaders and managers can greatly increase employee satisfaction with their day-to-day work. The commitment to communication also rests on the belief that, whilst trust evolves, ebbs and flows it is essential to staff engagement and motivation. For leaders and managers, the evidence shows that employees who trust them are most likely to follow through on goals set. Trustworthy leaders and managers are also more likely to get a flow of honest feedback on the challenges their staff face: which is invaluable.

At the strategic level, as Alkhafaji stated (1997), “no matter how brilliant the strategy may be, unless the business team understands and accepts it, performance will suffer.”

The “terms” of understanding and acceptance depend on leaders being able to communicate relevant information credibly. Leaders typically base their own judgements on both hard data and softer information. Many will take the view that the data is easier to communicate than the softer information. Of course, what is easier for one leader to accomplish may be more challenging for another and track records certainly play a part in creating the foundations for each call to action. Agreeing, perhaps instinctively, with Aristotle, many leaders I have worked with know that credibility depends upon a rather subtle demonstration of competence, good intention and empathy.

Modern business communication has tended to elevate the attention paid to what Aristotle terms “logos”. This is often, and to a great extent rightly, associated with logic, the hard data and the apparent proofs of our case. Business leaders, perhaps because they are business leaders, will often avoid paying attention to “pathos” in their communication. However, as we will see, this failure to consider the emotional impact of communication can have catastrophic impact on how it is received and responded to. More generally,  and perhaps through a fear of being seen to be overly emotional, much business communication appears leaden, stilted and impassive: not the tinder that lights fires of commitment as Henry V did on the Feast of St Crispian. (As Richard Olivier explains so eloquently in his book “Inspirational Leadership”, 2007, ISBN: 978 1 905879 00 7).

The dangers of a failure to attend to engage emotionally with people are well illustrated by the response of the CEO of United Airlines to an airline-overbooking situation on April 9, 2017. This resulted in a fare-paying passenger being dragged bodily off an internal US flight. When the gruesome video footage went viral and the CEO, who had previously been named U.S. Communicator of the Year, failed to apologise he was widely criticised. In avoiding emotional response and failing to give a profound and heartfelt apology for the terrible manner in which the passenger had been treated on a United plane the CEO stoked fear. He did not appear to understand or to respond to the fact that relationships between United, its public, investors and actual and potential passengers were breaking down. His initial communication did not include an effective apology that would right these collapsing relationships. He did appreciate that passengers felt unsafe at the hands of United. Later attempts to correct the impression given were seen as too little and too late.

An example of a generally well-judged communication style that combined logic and emotional intelligence comes from Steve Jobs. Jobs appeared to completely understand the need to marry logos and pathos when sharing information with Apple’s market. His style was typically as calm, enthusiastic, and confident when launching high stake products as others might be in their living room. The author and Associate Professor of Management Garr Reynolds put it this way: “His style is conversational and his visuals are in perfect sync with his words. […] He is friendly, comfortable and confident (which makes others feel relaxed), and he exudes a level of passion and enthusiasm that is engaging without going over the top.” Sometimes this was no mean feat when the subject matter might have been a little dry!

In making the judgement call about the use of the hard data and the soft information, Blanes I Vidal and Moller (2007), call attention to the importance of the leader’s belief about the accuracy of the soft information available. When a leader strongly believes (and is self-confident about) her/his judgement about the available soft information she/he is more likely to share it and this, Vidal and Moller show, can increase the organisation’s surplus.

Conversely, Blanes I Vidal and Moller’s work suggests that information sharing can help to reduce the autocratic predisposition of self-confident leaders. Information sharing can help organisations to avoid overconfidence-driven courses of action. This happens because, when workers have access to information, for example about a possible merger, they are able to form opinions about its potential viability. Because this opinion affects their motivation, the leader can find themselves effectively constrained from pursuing courses of action that are unduly based on her/his ‘gut feeling’ or instincts.

This is not what is generally thought of when “the flow of honest feedback to the CEO” is being discussed but it can certainly be powerful.

References

Alkhafaji, A.F., 1997, Strategic Management: Formulation, Implementation and Control in a Dynamic Environment, New York: Haworth Press.

Blanes I Vidal, J., and M. Moller. 2007. “When Should Leaders Share Information with their Subordinates?” Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, 16, pp. 251-283.

“Post-truth”: Word Of The Year

The FT reports that Oxford Dictionaries has made “post-truth” its word of the year for 2016, citing a surge in the frequency of its use in the context of Britain’s EU referendum and the USA’s presidential election.

Dictionary compilers say that the word was probably first used in 1992 – though then it was used to mark the time when the truth was known – “post-truth” was the “after the truth was known” situation. In 2016 the word is coming to denote “circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”.

Truth is a comprehensive term that, in most of its nuances, implies accuracy and honesty. Truth is also the currency of our analytical mind. A tension has however been created both through our frequent use of “truth” to refer to the idea of being authentic (or “true to oneself”) and the now widely accepted qualifications that truth may be subjective or objective, relative or absolute. Thus, “truth” involves both the quality of faithfulness, fidelity, loyalty, sincerity, and veracity and that of “agreement with fact or reality”. We are increasingly confronted by the living reality that an individual may be sincere – and yet wrong – at the same time.

Trust is, however, an emotive “currency” of the heart. In organisational life it may be part of the foundations for the individual’s faith or belief in a mission or the value of the common good. Trust has both a prior evidential aspect (in that it is developed over times past) and yet it is also closely associated with expectations about the future (particularly the behaviour of another person). It may deliver an accompanying feeling of confidence and security depending on the degree of trust and the extent of the associated risk.

Without truth and trust built into the gears of the organisation it may grind to a halt. There is much discussion about the individual leader’s and manager’s trustworthiness. This is sometimes fuelled by the results of employee engagement surveys and, of course, a trustworthy leader/manager is of great value. Yet it is also true that employees want to be able to trust the whole managerial system. They want to believe in the organisation as a result of the quality of its leadership, its consistent application of sound managerial practices and the equity of its people systems. This type of systemic trust arises when all managers use the same management framework and are held accountable to and act consistently within the values, systems and practices of the organisation. It does not therefore rely exclusively on personalities or on individuals, who may be here today and gone tomorrow.

Organisational action planning to address poor trust scores identified through an employee survey sometimes focus too narrowly on the behaviours of leaders and managers and may overlook organisational design and work processes. This is shortsighted because each of these impact on the working environment for all employees.

Effective organisational design engenders trust by creating the conditions where there can be work clarity and relationship clarity. This good design passes the test of being easily and consistently explained and understood. It fundamentally enables managers and staff to be clear about how work is organised and delivered.

Systems of work are the organisation’s policies, procedures, forms and information and communication technologies. They operate all day, every day. They never take holidays – unlike managers. Some work processes may rankle initially and require improvement but when they are sound, known and repeated employees will eventually get used to them and follow them. There is rare skill in designing and implementing light systems that reinforce legislation, policies and what is valued in the organisation and embed required behaviours in processes. Almost anyone can create a heavy system that wastes time, creates confusion and burns money!

The recurring challenge in volatile, uncertain and complex environments is to hold to truth, build trust, grow leadership and use effective organisational design and work systems to engender engagement.

Distributed Leadership

Leadership teams in any organisation today typically face a volatile and uncertain operating environment and, consequently, need to be both high performing and adaptable. In this new √itas Consult series we will be exploring those characteristics of top teams that lead to high performance and adaptability.

In 2011 Roselinde Torres and Nneka Rimmer wrote[1]: “Top teams … must be more than just high performing. They also need to adapt and thrive, regardless of the turbulence they face.”

Roselinde Torres and her team at the Boston Consulting Group had undertaken research examining a possible association between a company’s performance versus its peers and the adaptive capacity of its senior-leadership team. They found a correlation between the two factors. They also found that employees enjoy a more emotionally rich and engaging experience when they are part of adaptive teams. Torres and Rimmer found that adaptive top leadership teams adhere to four operating principles (and these will form the focus of this short series of articles).

  1. Distributed Leadership. Torres and her team found that successful adaptive team leaders believe in the value of sharing leadership at the top and developing leaders at every level.

There may, of course, be a considerable gap between believing in the value of shared leadership and actually practicing it! In coaching I have noticed the importance of listening for indications that team members have similar understandings of their team’s main objectives and that they actually take steps to ensure a focus on collective goals. This can be demonstrated through their approach to managing the performance of their own team members.

It is frequently clear when team members are actively providing emotional and psychological strength to one another. This may occur through acts of encouragement or expressed recognition of other team members’ contributions and accomplishments. If this social support isn’t evident then a significant support for shared leadership is absent.

A third powerful support for shared leadership is in place when a team’s members have input into how the team carries out its purpose.

Carson et al. noted[2] that “When team members are able to speak up and get involved (they have voice), the likelihood that many of them will exercise leadership increases greatly. The opportunity for voice also facilitates shared leadership by strengthening both a common sense of direction and the potential for positive interpersonal support in a team. When teams are focused on collective goals (having a shared purpose), there is a greater sense of meaning and increased motivation for team members to both speak up and invest themselves in providing leadership to the team and to respond to the leadership of others. The motivation to participate and provide input toward achieving common goals and a common purpose can also be reinforced by an encouraging and supportive climate. When team members feel recognized and supported within their team (social support exists) they are more willing to share responsibility, cooperate, and commit to the team’s collective goals. Thus, these three dimensions work together to create an internal team environment that is characterised by a shared understanding about purpose and goals, a sense of recognition and importance, and high levels of involvement, challenge, and cooperation.”

104px-king_henry_v_from_npgRichard Olivier, writing about Shakespeare’s great leader, Henry V, notes that a 15th century king might be expected to move his Lords towards the achievement of a vision by laying that vision out, then announcing that he will sort out the strategy and only then telling his Lords what to do. Such a leader, thinking that their only way of maintaining their identification with a great project is not to share ownership, invariably cuts themselves off from the very support they need. For Henry V the temptation not to share leadership must have been strong: in Elizabethan times the monarch was considered to be touched by the divine. However, Henry V shares leadership generously and Olivier is able to write: “Henry V is wise enough to know that if he wants others to invest themselves in the project he has to share it with them. There is no more effective way of doing this than to get them involved in planning the next steps.”[3]

Sharing leadership at the top and developing leaders frequently go hand in hand. Not only so, but the most challenging decisions, programmes and changes often create exactly the opportunities needed to foster distributed leadership. When the U.S. pharmaceutical company, SmithKline Beckman, and the U.K. consumer products company, the Beecham Group, were engaged in merger planning, the leader of the Merger Management Committee, Robert Bauman, recognised this. “The best way to achieve management alignment was to have the Executive Management Committee work on a task together. The harder and more important the task, and the more integral its members felt the EMC was in accomplishing that task, the better the chances of them coming together.”[4]

As Jon R Katzenbach puts it: “team performance at the top is all about doing real work together”. “Real work”, as Katzenbach defines it, is not the same as open discussion, debate and the delegation of authority. Real work undertaken together is about the members of a leadership group applying different skills to produce a performance improvement that could not be achieved by any one member alone.

At the very highest level of team engagement I would expect to find participants using language that suggests an interdependent community. This is what Todd Hybels discovers as a young leader and later discusses with his father, Bill:

“Community is more than just working with other people. It’s doing life deeply with one another as we serve together. And there’s a huge difference between the two.”[5]

That’s highly distributed leadership.


[1] “The Five Traits of Highly Adaptive Leadership Teams”, Boston Consulting Group: https://www.bcgperspectives.com/content/articles/leadership_organization_design_five_traits_of_highly_adaptive_leadership_teams/ Sourced 2 November 2016. In this article the authors discuss “The Value of Adaptive Advantage” research undertaken by the BCG Strategy Institute. The research showed that the more adaptive companies are, the more financial gains that company generates. They also consistently outperform their industry peers and sustain superior performance over time.

[2] Carson, J. B, Tesluk, P. E., & Marrone, J. A. (2007). Shared leadership in team: An investigation of antecedent conditions and performance. Academy of Management Journal, 50, 5, 1217-1234.

[3] Olivier, R., (2002) “Inspirational Leadership: Henry V and the Muse of Fire – Timeless Insights from Shakespeare’s Greatest Leader, p.47

[4] Bauman, R. P. et al., (1997) “From Promise to Performance: Journey of Transformation at SmithKline Beecham”, p. 35

[5] Hybels, B., (2002) “Courageous Leadership”, p.74

Development Planning & Snakes

In this article we explore some factors that may help to explain why some people create and then actively work on development plans and others don’t! In the course of the discussion we will be looking at the role of snakes in shaping our understanding of the topic!

Generally, the aims of personal development planning are, first, to document a process of self-analysis, personal reflection and honest appraisal of strengths and weaknesses and then to help the individual to “take charge” of their own learning and development. The process of taking charge is usually encouraged through documenting a plan that typically lays out goals, timelines, interim achievements and the methods of goal achievement. 

Commonly a plan will outline areas of learning and development activity that are reasonably considered likely to enable the individual to either acquire new or develop existing skills and behavioural attributes. The end goal may, helpfully, be rather precisely identified and the whole process is often aiming at enhancing performance, addressing anticipated changes in a current role or laying out a developmental pathway towards a future role.

What is considered relevant content in the planning process – and the content of the plan itself – will clearly be influenced by the purpose to which the plan will be put. Development planning of this type is now, of course, widely used in educational, relationship, leadership and career contexts.

When the purpose of the plan is personal, an individual may want to retain to himself or herself the function of assessor of improvement or of regression. Where some validation of objective improvement is needed that will require assessment using standard criteria. These might include goals or benchmarks that define the end-points, strategies or plans for reaching goals, measurement, and assessment of progress, levels or stages that define milestones along a development path, and a feedback system to provide information on changes.

Much practice in this area has been influenced by psychologist Albert Bandura’s work – and here come the snakes! Bandura, investigating the fear and behaviours of people afraid of snakes, found that those who believed that the snake would not hurt them and/or that they would be able to manage the situation with the snake and to control their own rising fear would, in fact, succeed. This self-efficacy belief enabled the phobic individual to manage both their fear and their own behaviour.

According to Bandura, self-efficacy, or the individual’s belief in his or her own abilities to deal with various situations, can play a role not only in how people feel about themselves – but also whether or not an individual successfully achieves their goals in life. Indeed, since Bandura published his seminal 1977 paper, “Self-Efficacy: Toward a Unifying Theory of Behavioral Change[i],” the subject has become one of the most studied topics in psychology.

But why has self-efficacy become such an important topic? As Bandura and other researchers have demonstrated, self-efficacy can have an impact on everything from psychological states to behaviour to motivation.

Bandura’s research on success in reaching goals suggested that self-efficacy best explains why people with the same level of knowledge and skills get very different results. According to Bandura this self-confidence functions as a powerful predictor of success because it enables those who have it to expect to succeed; it allows these people to take risks and set themselves challenging goals; it motivates them to keep trying if at first they don’t succeed, and, it helps them control emotions and fears when the going gets tough.

Coaches will be familiar with such people and also with those who lack this self-confidence. It is in the context of working with this second group that it can be helpful considering the four major sources of self-efficacy, according to Bandura. Each source provides an inventive coach with an indication of ways in which self-efficacy might be strengthened:

  1. Mastery Experiences

“The most effective way of developing a strong sense of efficacy is through mastery experiences,” Bandura explained. Performing a task successfully strengthens our sense of self-efficacy. However, failing to adequately deal with a task or challenge can undermine and weaken self-efficacy. Bandura’s perspective underlines the importance of providing clients with opportunities to practice in a “safe” and reasonably supportive environment and not necessarily “biting off” too much at the beginning of the development process.

  1. Social Modeling

Witnessing other people successfully completing a task is another important source of self-efficacy. According to Bandura, “Seeing people similar to oneself succeed by sustained effort raises observers’ beliefs that they too possess the capabilities to master comparable activities to succeed.” The key features of this observation relate, of course, to the phrases “similar to oneself” and “sustained effort”.

  1. Social Persuasion

Bandura also asserted that people could be persuaded to believe that they have the skills and capabilities to succeed. Consider a time when someone said something positive and encouraging that helped you achieve a goal. Getting verbal encouragement from others helps people overcome self-doubt and instead focus on giving their best effort to the task at hand. Whilst this is by no means universally true, it is my experience as a coach that many leaders rarely receive encouragement and that this, where appropriate, can be a very valuable coaching input.

  1. Psychological Responses

Our own responses and emotional reactions to situations also play an important role in self-efficacy. Moods, emotional states, physical reactions, and stress levels can all impact how a person feels about their personal abilities in a particular situation. A person who becomes extremely nervous before speaking in public may develop a weak sense of self-efficacy in these situations. The coach can serve to assist a client really understand particular situations through sensitive questioning and by helping their client to put a single experience into an appropriate context. Doing so can help the individual pay attention to the totality of their experience and prepare for subsequent opportunities in a more rounded and holistic way.

As Bandura notes “it is not the sheer intensity of emotional and physical reactions that is important but rather how they are perceived and interpreted.” A coach who helps to bring these perceptions to the surface and to understand what truly was happening on that prior occasion can facilitate invaluable learning for the next time.

[i] Bandura A. Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review. 1977; 84, 191-215.

Coach Selection

Selecting and appointing an executive coach is an important task. It involves the commitment of significant resources (time and money) to meet a given developmental requirement. The relationship between the business leader and the coach will be a vital factor contributing to or degrading the return on the investment made. So, in order to achieve the best “chemistry” and levels of coaching effectiveness the following aspects of potential coaches should be carefully considered:

Appropriate level of coaching experience. Different levels of coaching experience may be required, depending on the complexity of the issues being addressed, as well as the seniority of the individual. For example, the level of experience and skill-set of a coach needed to provide career coaching for a junior manager would be different from those needed when a business leader is being coached. To ascertain their level of experience, it is often helpful to ask prospective coaches about how many hours of coaching they have delivered, how many coaching assignments they have delivered, what kinds of issues they have coached individuals concerning, and at what level of seniority they usually work.

Relevant business/industry experience. An interesting, and debatable, criterion when selecting a coach is whether to look for candidates with relevant business experience (for example of a particular job, organisation or an industry sector). Opinions differ as to whether this is a necessary requirement. Most people would agree that coaches do need strong understanding of organisational dynamics and business. However, direct experience of a particular industry or organisation is unlikely to be a necessary requirement for a person to be an effective coach. (It might be if a mentor is being sought). It is important to remember that, while the coach should have a sound knowledge of business, their real contribution is their ability to help individuals learn and develop. Relevant experience can be useful in establishing credibility with the individual(s) being coached. The competence and credibility of the coach is a major part in the process of winning over the individual and creating a good working relationship.

Others argue that hiring a coach on the basis of specific experience can be counterproductive. This argument states that one of the main benefits of using external coaches is their neutrality and objectivity. They can uncover limiting beliefs, values and assumptions that may be obstructing the strategic objectives of the individual and of the organisation. Coaches should be hired for their ability to help someone see opportunities for improvements in performance as well as practical ways to help them make changes.

References. Talking to previous clients of the coach is a good way of finding out about their style and skills, as well as how effective they were in producing the desired results. A good coach should always be able to supply references and it’s important to check them early on in the process to accurately establish their credentials, experience and ability to deliver.

Background of the coach. Coaches come from a variety of different professional backgrounds. Examples include HR, occupational psychology, training and development, sports psychology and management development. Naturally, these different backgrounds will mean that the coaches may bring some very different experience and skills to the coaching relationship.

Supervision. Supervision is a formal, independent process of reflection and review to enable the practitioner to increase their self-awareness, develop their competence and critique their work with their client (Lane 2002) [1]. Professor Mike van Oudtshoorn and Professor David Lane from the International Centre for the Study of Coaching (ICSC)/ Professional Development Foundation suggest a number of benefits that supervision can deliver. The CIPD and Bath Consulting, in an extensive study of supervision summarised in Arney (2006) [2], explained the context for supervision. As investment in coaching has grown, so too has the need to find ways of quality assuring the services being provided, to develop and sustain the coaches who are delivering them, and to find ways of drawing out the organisational learning from the many coaching conversations taking place in the organisation.

As Hawkins and Schwenk (2006) [3] explain, supervision is critical to effective coaching:

  • It offers protection to clients – cases are discussed with trained professionals who are able to identify areas of potential concern and offer advice or referral to specialist support if appropriate.
  • It offers coaches the opportunity to reflect on their work and gain insights to improve their interventions.
  • It offers coaches the opportunity to identify their own personal strengths and weaknesses as a coach in order to realistically judge what limitations to set with respect to the type of work they undertake.
  • It offers coaches the opportunity to learn from peers who have had similar cases and experiences to further develop their skills as a coach.
  • It offers coaches the opportunity to keep up to date with professional developments in the field and to continually work to increase their competency as a coach.

Breadth of tools, techniques, models. Coaches should have an extensive ‘kit bag’ of tools and techniques that they use in different situations and with different clients. Coaches should be able to clearly describe their favoured approaches, but it is worth being cautious about coaches who push particular models and are unable or unwilling to flex their approach to suit a particular individual/organisation. Good coaches will use models, techniques and frameworks from a wide range of theoretical backgrounds, including organisational theory, occupational psychology, psychometrics, learning and counselling.

Coaches should be able to encourage reflective learning and change, and they should be able to describe how they do this during the selection process.

Understanding of boundaries and approach to referral. Good coaches understand the boundaries of their expertise. This means that a coach should not knowingly accept an individual into a coaching programme if they need specialist support beyond the competence of the coach or the resources available. If this situation does arise, the coach should encourage the individual to seek appropriate support from a qualified professional. It is essential that coaches understand their own limitations and can see when their methods/techniques are not able to address an individual’s needs. Buckley has advised and consulted extensively on this sensitive topic. For a summary of his approach, see Buckley (2006) [4].

Relevant training. Coaches should be able to demonstrate that they are competent in the provision of coaching services.

The training of coaches should be fit for purpose. There is definitely a place for short introductory courses, but, as with any discipline, expertise will vary depending on the length of the course, level of qualification, depth of study, practical experience of delivery and extent of supervision and support received while studying.

There are now a number of different training routes for coaches, and new professionals have a wide range of options to choose from. Specific coaching qualifications, ranging from master’s level to short courses, are being offered by institutions right across the world. Understandably, a qualification that is specific to ‘coaching’ would seem like the most relevant qualification for a coach to have. However, remember that these qualifications have only been available relatively recently and therefore the majority of professionals delivering coaching services may not possess one of these newer qualifications. In such cases it’s important to consider other formal qualifications and experience.

It is also worth noting that if a coach is being employed for the specific transfer of skills (for example skills-based coaching on presentation skills), they should be able to demonstrate that they have those skills and have the ability to impart them.

Other qualities/personal characteristics. The best coaches are those who give honest, realistic, challenging feedback, are good listeners and suggest good ideas for action. Beyond looking for specific qualifications, experience and knowledge, it is important to look for coaches who have certain qualities, skills or personal characteristics that are critical to successful coaching. Different qualities may be needed depending on the specific individual, the problems being tackled and the organisational context. However, it is widely agreed that there are some general skills that characterise effective coaches. These include:

  • self-awareness and self-knowledge
  • clear and effective communication skills (verbal and non-verbal)
  • relationship-building skills (including ability to establish rapport)
  • flexibility of approach
  • listening and questioning skills
  • ability to design an effective coaching process
  • ability to assist goal development and setting, including giving feedback
  • ability to motivate
  • ability to encourage new perspectives
  • ability to assist in making sense of a situation
  • ability to identify significant patterns of thinking and behaving
  • ability to challenge and give feedback
  • ability to establish trust and respect
  • ability to facilitate depth of understanding
  • ability to promote action
  • ability to build resilience

Danger signs. The following characteristics may identify a coach that could prove a problem. It is worth being very cautious about selecting any coach that:

  • can’t explain the model or models they use
  • names individual clients
  • can’t say what they can do, and what they can’t
  • does not know who they would not coach
  • has no experience in organisational settings (for example only has a therapeutic background)
  • has only done outplacement work
  • takes credit for past coaching results – ‘I fixed this guy’
  • sees coaching as a ‘power trip’
  • uses a strictly counselling approach (coaching is not counselling)

[1] LANE, D. (2002) The emergent coaching models. European Mentoring and Coaching Council Conference EMCC9.

[2] ARNEY, E. (2006) Guiding vision. Coaching at Work. Vol 1, No 7, November/December. pp 34–36.

[3] HAWKINS, P. and SCHWENK, G. (2006) Coaching supervision: maximising the potential of coaching [online]. Change agenda. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

[4] BUCKLEY, A. (2006) How to recognise when a client is mentally unwell. Coaching at Work. Vol 1, No 7, November/December. pp 54–55.

[5] BERGLAS, S. (2002) The very real dangers of executive coaching. Harvard Business Review. June. pp 86–92.

Third Sector Managerial Coaching

“Coaching managers” are managers who coach their team members in a work context. The person being coached is sometimes referred to as the coachee. Effective coaching, according to Hunt and Weintraub, ‘is much more powerful and useful than merely providing feedback to someone with a performance problem’ (2002:2).

Yet the role of the coaching manager is, according to Cox et al., Bachkirova and Clutterbuck, ‘the most difficult and controversial coaching role’ (2010) and the most problematic according to Bresser (2011). Managers may be reluctant or sceptical about the coaching manager role if they have not been coached themselves (Ladyshewsky, 2010). On the other hand, if a manager has had a positive experience of being coached, they are more likely to want their team members to experience coaching and to want to develop their own coaching skills (Knights and Poppleton, 2007).

Given that the relationship between coach and coachee is not just of significant importance but is actually the critical success factor in coaching (according to Bluckert 2005), where a manager has an existing strong relationship that enhances the prospect of success if they progressively adopt a coaching style.

In the Third Sector there are numerous tools that can help a manager take more of a managerial coaching approach. Bridgespan, for example, have a free on-line diagnostic survey that helps managers and leaders to identify those leadership development activities already in place and to think about how to step up to the next level.

The results from this survey frequently kick-start the flywheel and can help bolster a a culture of development. To keep things moving forward managers can then:

Meet with each of their direct reports during the year to discuss progress against their goals. Managers may not want to create something new: in which case they might use existing review meetings within which they are used to discussing progress against other goals. This existing framework can easily absorb a “progress against development goals” topic.

Development of people can sometimes be seen as an optional, “nice to do” process. If that’s the case managers may need an accountability framework. A coaching manager will want to ensure that they multiply their time investment by ensuring that their direct reports have development goals in their annual performance agreements. Then, at key points in the year, these will need effective review and an end year evaluation. This business-like approach is a powerful way for a leader to make clear that development is part of a leader’s and a manager’s job.

Of course, the coaching manager should expect to be ready to coach and counsel those struggling with developing their staff. The well timed follow up after managers have had discussions with their team members to see how it went and to provide advice for the future is often key to setting expectations. (You might bring in an outside coach to run a session for the entire leadership team on this topic).

Having established these accountabilities discussing the performance and potential of staff members becomes an easier conversation to have and, if a 9 Box Performance/Potential Matrix is used, the provides a great framework.

This annual review is helpfully put into context if it is possible to start the discussion with a perspective on where the organisation is going and what the likely leadership and other capability requirements will be in three years or so. This meeting may also help the top team to develop a common view of the key positions that will probably become vacant in that timescale.

The Nine Box Performance/Potential Grid or Matrix
The Nine Box Performance/Potential Grid or Matrix

The coaching manager will need to ensure that the top team using the 9 Box Performance/Potential Matrix agree on what constitutes “high potential,” for example. It’s good to calibrate judgements by first discussing a few individuals whom the top team know really well. Once you’ve established a rough set of standards and benchmarks, the senior team can plot their direct reports on the performance-potential matrix. Time spent in focused discussion on the outliers is invariably a good investment. Who stand out clearly as future leaders? Where do you face problems? Who are the excellent individual contributors that you need to retain and develop? Pick a small number of future leaders to focus on for development discussions, and charge each senior leader with the collaborative development of a plan with the individuals and for them.

Leadership teams get better at this each time they do it. Before long, your top team will be talking about more staff and about how to move individuals from the upper left to the upper right of the performance-potential matrix. You’ll soon increase the number of individuals whom your top team should focus on from a few to many.

THenschelTom Henschel grooms senior leaders and executive teams. An internationally recognised expert in the field of workplace communications and self-presentation, he has helped hundreds of executives achieve The Look & Sound of Leadership™. He provides excellent 15 minute case study-based podcasts of huge value to any manager wanting to adopt a coaching approach. √itas Consult recommend these for starters:

  • Coaching your people: A fifteen minute crash course in managerial (or leadership) coaching, tutored by one of the world’s most respected coaches.
  • Leading through delegation: Learn the three steps of effective delegation (in under 15 minutes) and discover how to inject coaching into the mix, for greater success in getting the job done and developing your people.
  • Coaching versus therapy: Both interventions share certain features and yet also differ. An experienced, professional coach explains how and why.
  • Thinking errors: A thinking error is a pattern of thoughts that aren’t true. But we believe them. And since it’s a pattern, it repeats itself. Usually for years. Thinking errors tend to lead to bad outcomes. The coach explains how a thinking error was handicapping a client’s work.
  • Assertion: Rosa’s main coaching goal was to become more assertive. Her boss, her teammates and her direct reports all wanted her to manage more boldly, share her wisdom sooner, and speak up when she saw things going awry. But Rosa was very uncomfortable asserting herself. Find out how her coach helped Rosa speak her truth.

Need advice about managerial coaching? Contact √itas Consult.