YQ 2014 Issue 08
g n i h c a o The C Issue...
In this edition...
Sister act. Coaching and therapy are closely related, but the differences are more than skin deep, says Derek Draper.
On the couch. Diageo’s HR chief Leanne Wood shares her coaching strategy, mentoring tips and favoured tipple.
The nitty-gritty. Shelley Winter on how to measure and maximise the return from your coaching investment.
Stuck in the middle. Cher Hill on why it pays to provide coaching support to emerging leaders.
The aha moment. What’s really going on during those crucial moments of insight? Neil Jacobs outlines the latest brain science.
Organisational change. Coaching has proven benefits at an individual level, says Georgia Samolada. Why not extend these to the whole organisation?
Coaching has gone global. But how do local preoccupations differ?
Great expectations. Coaching is the best way to empower the new mums in your company, argue Tiffany Scotton and Natalie Livings.
Who’s keeping tabs on your coach? Claire FitzGerald, Phil Whichello and Jonathan Bloom investigate.
Moving on. Elaine Saad on how coaching can help leaders as they look for their next challenge.
Coaching the coach. Dominic Cottone on some of the hardest and best lessons he’s learned from coaches – and tricky coachees – over the years.
Mr Motivator. Don Minnick on the art of overcoming resistance to change.
Outside of the box. Joanna Bleau hits zen by combining meditation and mindfulness with coaching; Jennifer Purdon and Ginevra Drinka have advice on how to tackle a mental block.
Fittingly, YQ8 – The Coaching Issue marks a transition within YSC. We would like to thank Gurnek Bains, now Chairman of the Board for YSC, for his editorial insights and leadership over the past four years as the Executive Editor for YQ. We would also like to thank Sam Gilpin, who has handed over his editorial duties to take on a role in Singapore leading our Southeast Asia and China business. We appreciate the support that Jane Lewis has given our team as she coached us through this transition. It takes a full team to produce the content in each issue of YQ and we would like to acknowledge everyone who has contributed to our past and current issues – thank you for your time and energy. Editor: Rob Morris Consultant editor: Jane Lewis Assistant editors: Neil Jacobs, Mellissa Ferrier & Donald Minnick Production executive: Nicola Graham Graphic design: Simon Fincham Additional support: Fiona Page Feedback: please send feedback including ideas for future articles to firstname.lastname@example.org Subscribe: for a complimentary subscription to YQ, please register your details at www.ysc.com/yq
Welcome to YQ by Rob Morris
About us... At YSC our mission is to release the power of people. We do this by combining industry leading psychological insight with a thorough understanding of our clients’ business needs. We work with clients across their entire talent lifecycles including: recruitment, induction, development, the identification of potential, internal selection, role change, measurement and departure. Our key client offerings include 1:1 assessment, team development, executive coaching, organisational consulting and the measurement of change.
In response to the tumultuous world around us, it seems we are in a state of constant transition. Just when you think you’ve figured it out, when you’ve found some veneer of stability, something jolts you back into the reality of change. It can be daunting to go it alone, and many leaders are choosing to navigate these waters with support. In this issue of YQ we explore the field of Coaching, which has not only become a valued support structure for executives, but also a necessary skill for leaders to develop at all levels. From our point of view, coaching is about helping others succeed through the power of conversation. It goes well beyond day-to-day issues. It embraces listening, challenging, supporting and exploring different perspectives. It can include concrete advice and even instruction, but the best coaching helps the executive being coached (‘the coachee’) learn as they go. Great coaching amounts to a dialogue in which the leader encourages learning and confidence in the coachee. As you will see in the following thought pieces, the field is both vast and, at times, quite confusing. Whereas coaching was once stigmatised as an intervention for problem people, it now suffers more from a lack of coherence around what it is and who should be doing it. As Derek Draper explores the similarities and differences between coaching and therapy, he attempts to create some order in what he calls a ‘fuzzy space’. A longstanding challenge in the field of coaching has been articulating the return on investment (ROI), which can be sizeable when
engaging in external coaching services. To help understand this issue better, Shelley Winter describes a recently published coaching effectiveness study performed in partnership between YSC and Dr. Anthony Grant of the University of Sydney. Importantly, we believe coaching in business is not the privilege of therapists, gurus and spiritual leaders. In fact, the most important coach in your organisation is you – the leaders and managers of people charged with growing talent, improving performance, and delivering business results. It is with this in mind that we bring you ‘On the Couch’ with Leanne Wood, HRD for Diageo. She merges the perspectives of the coach, coachee, line manager, and facilitator of coaching programmes to enable the development of a coaching culture in her business. Leveraging our global reach, we have assembled current thinking from around the world on the many topics that you might have questions, including: neuroscience, outplacement/transitions, emerging talent, group and organisation development, and maternity coaching. We hope to stimulate your thinking, generate new insights, and answer some of your questions. But of course, if we’ve done our job, you’ll have new, more contemporary questions after reading, and we’ve provided some references to help you search for answers.
Rob Morris, Head of Thought Leadership for YSC T: +1 (0)212 661 9888 / email@example.com
Coach or therapist?
by Derek Draper
How are therapy and coaching different? We know it when we see it, says Derek Draper.
When reviewing the many articles and papers about the relationship between psychotherapy and coaching, I was reminded of the old phrase that someone once uttered – “I don’t recall who” – when asked to define some contested term. It’s hard to give a precise definition, he said, or words to that effect, but “I know it when I see it”.
Defining terms The key difficulty with comparing coaching and therapy (which for the purposes of this article I mean to include counselling and clinical psychology) is that neither
The literature also contains one pithy contribution, from Bresser and Wilson (2010), who suggest that counselling is about distress, therapy about damage and coaching about desire. Many coaches and therapists would object to some or all of these distinctions, claiming that ‘their’ coaching or therapy doesn’t work like that. This imprecision is what led Van Kessel (2006) to conclude that we were dealing with ‘fuzzy space’. Nonetheless, we can all differentiate each enterprise from the other ‘when we see it’. How come? Whatever the definitional difficulties, it seems to me that, overarching all the various modalities and approaches within both fields, there are three essential differences between them. More fertile, maybe, are the similarities, but I will leave those until the end.
Differences and distinctions First, then, the differences. Coaching (if we define this as executive rather than life coaching), is about work. According to a 2009 HBR Research Report, almost all (97%) of coaching is begun to explicitly address a client’s professional activities, rather than their personal life. It is often carried out in alliance with a coachee’s line manager and/ or HR business partner, and it usually has defined goals linked to clearly identified developmental needs. So undoubtedly
• A focus on the future rather than the past. • Accountability to others as well as the client. • The treatment of the ‘normal’ vs. the pathological. • The relative directive nature of each • Whether a stated goal or contract is in place. • Being time limited or open-ended.
Being a better me More fluid boundaries
The quality of the relationship
Focus on work
Being a different me Very rigid boundaries Focus on symptom s or the ‘meaning of life’
endeavour has an agreed upon definition for itself. So identifying differences is like eating at a moveable feast. Still, we could rehearse the distinctions most usually cited:
Exploration of childhood Using the relationship in the room
coaching has, as its raison d’être, improved performance at work. Therapy, in contrast, has multiple meanings and purposes, from addressing a discrete clinical symptom to examining the existential. A second clear difference is that, in coaching, the relationship with the client is less prescribed and rigid. Almost all therapies, even person-centred ones, involve some distance between the therapist and the ‘person behind the therapist’. In coaching, open disclosure about the coach’s professional life, and their personal character is ubiquitous. Indeed, few if any coaches would be hired if they attempted to hide behind the blank slate of traditional psychoanalysis. I often meet my coachees, once the process is over, for a drink or lunch and sometimes stay in touch for years. I would never do that with a psychotherapy patient. Lastly, therapy, essentially, starts from a shared sense that the person wants to change something about who they are, or how they act, on a core, fundamental level. They want to become a ‘better person’ in one form or another. Coaching, I think, is subtly but profoundly different. It doesn’t seek to change the client as a person, but to show how the existing person can better interact with the world of work. Of course, even this line may
sometimes be temporarily crossed. But it surely marks where the centre of gravity of each endeavour lies. As someone who coaches senior business leaders, but also has a small psychotherapy practice, I will often find myself saying in a coaching session, “Now, if this was therapy, we might go down that road, and it’s something for you to think about, but we should probably focus on how this applies at work” – or words to that effect.
The influence of childhood There are two other areas that deserve consideration, although they are more subject to debate, as they crop up in some therapies and coaching approaches but not all. The first is the importance of understanding and addressing childhood factors. After a recent meaningful session, a client brought to the attention of Robert Sharrock, one of our co-CEOs, a Graham Greene quote: “There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in”. My own coaching approach certainly considers how childhood experiences may have helped shape the man or woman before me today. Almost always, significant events or dynamics from the past are reflected in current key development needs. Finding and facing up to these invariably results in a breakthrough. 05
When I carried out an informal survey of YSC’s coaching faculty, many non-clinicians expressed concerns that they might not be properly trained to consider this. I am not so sure. Anyone psychologically-minded, who has read some key books in the area (I suggest some below), might find this less daunting than it appears. One caveat: Obviously childhood or other damage that is having a clinical manifestation needs to be referred out. Even the most ‘un-psychological’ of coaches needs to feel confident they can spot depression, anxiety etc. and have somewhere trusted to refer people on to.
He goes on to quote Bluckert, (2006), “the very dynamics occurring in the coaching relationship may be a mirror image of clients’ experiences in their workplace relationships and they may be completely unaware of it”.
Therapist, reveal thyself?
It is this last area of relationship that brings us to the maybe more fertile question of what these sister endeavours have in common. Despite the multi-million dollar scale of today’s coaching industry and the faith placed in it by the vast majority of large businesses, there is little definitive evidence – or agreement – about what works best. An exception was a recent, if small-scale, study undertaken by YSC in alliance with Sydney University on a coaching programme for executives at Sinclair Knight Merz. This found real improvements in performance, leadership skills and resilience, as outlined in Shelley Winter’s article on the ROI of coaching.
The second area that permeates more than separates both disciplines relates to the use of the coach or therapist, and their responses in the room. The key debate in psychoanalysis has always been about the extent to which the therapist’s own feelings should be spoken of. Spinelli (2007) states that: ‘While coaches are usually quite capable in addressing their client’s relationship to self and to external others such as members of the client’s organisation… the value in exploring the impact upon the client of the coach’s own presence as an ‘other’… often passes coaches by or is actively minimised by them. Indeed, for many coaches this focus provokes deep unease and is often perceived as being too close to, or entering into, the terrain of therapy’.
I often meet my coachees, once the process is over, for a drink or lunch and sometimes stay in touch for years. I would never do that with a psychotherapy patient.
Again, some coaches may feel unqualified to venture into this territory but they needn’t. It is really about awareness, empathy and constructive challenge, three of every coach’s essential tools, and, again, there are some great books to assist development in this area.
There is more research about what works in the field of psychotherapy, but it would seem highly applicable to coaching too. In their seminal book ‘The Heart and Soul of Change’ Mark Hubble et al (2005) conclude that, if you take out relative strengths of clients, the largest factor in successful outcomes is the quality of the dyadic relationship: its warmth, affirming nature, and how much it encourages the trying out of new ideas. This factor matters more than twice as much as the particular model that the therapist is following. Given the larger diversity in therapy models to coaching ones, it is likely that the effect of the relationship in coaching is even greater. One final thought. Freud wrote of the ‘narcissism of small differences’, and I think the idea has some validity within both
professions – there certainly seem to be 57 varieties of each. Between the two there are, as I have attempted to demonstrate, real differences. But do these maybe mask an underlying overlap? In the HBR study I mentioned earlier there is a fascinating statistic. If you recall, 97% of coaching hires are about the professional not the personal. However, in 76% of cases, those coaches admit that once it starts, the coaching does go on to address personal issues too. Similarly it is a rare therapist indeed who isn’t working to a clear goal, whether stated or implied, and seeking to make a real practical difference. Maybe, for all the posturing about difference, and whether we style ourselves coach or therapist, in practice we invariably end up being a bit of both. Derek Draper is a Managing Consultant, based in YSC’s London office. T: +44 (0)20 7520 5555 / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Psychology of Executive Coaching: Theory and Application – Bruce Peltier Coaching Your Employees – HBR Relationality: From Attachment to Intersubjectivity – Stephen A. Mitchell The Drama of Being a Child – Alice Miller They **** You Up – Oliver James
The Bottom Line: Measuring your Return on Investment
by Shelley Winter
Will your executive coaching programme really pay dividends? Here Shelley Winter explores the latest research – and outlines the steps that YSC is taking to demonstrate the qualitative and quantitative benefits of coaching. As the coaching industry continues to grow rapidly as an unregulated profession – becoming an increasingly popular medium for leadership development – coaches and their clients are under pressure to establish the validity of these services, and measure their return on investment (ROI). This is all the more important given the role coaching is playing as a support to executives in times of organisational change: not only helping them manage their own performance, but supporting their efforts to lead others through change and uncertainty.
Human behaviour is complex, as is the financial performance of an organisation, so establishing a causal link between the two is fraught with difficulties. Dr Anthony Grant (2012) suggests it is for that reason efforts to demonstrate and report financial ROI of coaching have resulted in such a broad range of results – ranging from 221% to 788% ROI. He suggests that instead of focusing on the commercials, looking to the evidence of important workplace variables, such as wellbeing and workplace engagement, can help the industry capture the impact of coaching.
Historically, executive coaching benefits have been measured through client feedback, perceptions from the business, case studies or anecdotal evidence. More recently, empirical studies are starting to appear in the academic literature, demonstrating evidence of coaching effectiveness on a range of non-financial dimensions, including: resilience, wellbeing, hope, hardiness, insight and goal attainment. However, the majority of these studies on coaching didn’t take place in the workplace. Clearly, as an industry we 07
still have some way to go to establish the benefits of coaching on work performance or organisational behaviour. As a provider of coaching services, YSC evaluates every coaching programme using an effectiveness survey to understand the links between the inputs, learning and outcomes of personal development through coaching. We have designed this feedback survey to gain an honest view of the experience for all those involved (coachee, coach and line manager), to identify the business impact of the coaching, and to gain some insight on the return on investment. Whilst these evaluations give us some data for individual programmes, we wanted to take the evaluation a step further – and measure the impact of executive coaching, both qualitatively and quantitatively, in a controlled study.
Human behaviour is complex, as is financial performance, so establishing a causal link between the two is difficult.
Coaching effectiveness study As change becomes a constant in the corporate world, coaching is increasingly used as a change methodology. In a first study of its kind, YSC partnered with Dr Anthony Grant of the University of Sydney to conduct a coaching effectiveness study with a key global client. In 2012, YSC provided this client with an Executive Coaching Programme for 31 of its senior global leaders during a period of organisational change. The coaching programme consisted of a qualitative 360 degree feedback survey, four coaching sessions and a four (or five) way meeting with coach, coachee, manager, internal mentor and HR partner. The coaches facilitated goal-setting with the leaders to choose business-relevant and personally meaningful goals to work toward during the programme. YSC and Dr Grant worked together to carry out pre and post coaching measures across a range of variables using psychometrically-validated scales and questionnaires. To ensure the study was objective, coaches were not shown the measures and did not know what variables would be measured. The results were compelling. At the conclusion of the programme, Grant (2013) reported statistically significant increases in goal attainment, solution-focused thinking, ability to deal with change, leadership self-efficacy (confidence) and resilience. Increases across all of these measures would undoubtedly boost the individual’s resources to manage change. Not only did they experience positive impact on workplace behaviours, the study also found that coaching had a positive impact on other areas, such as their work-life balance and family relationships. It gave them a clearer sense of values and purpose, and resulted in decreased stress levels. With so many personal and professional variables affected by the coaching programme, it is easy to extrapolate the benefits for the business. More detail on this study can be found in Journal of Change Management, July 2013.
Beyond the individual… Whilst initial research efforts have focused on individual benefits derived from coaching, new research is emerging that explores the impact of coaching on groups, teams or systems, to assess it as a conduit for organisational change. Interested in the effects of coaching on organisational measures such as collaboration, communication and relationships, Dr Sean O’Connor (in press) has investigated what he terms the ‘ripple effect’ of coaching, using social network analysis. His results indicate that, as well as experiencing increases in their psychological well-being, there were benefits to the recipients’ transformational leadership behaviours and the quality of communications with those around them. For example, if a leader is being coached and, as a result, changes the way he or she interacts with others, colleagues would experience that – and therefore
How to increase the ROI of your executive coaching programme... Take a baseline. Starting
coaching programmes with a form of 360 degree feedback provides the client and the coach with a rich base of behavioural feedback from which to set goals.
Embed the learning. Starting
experience their workplace differently. The positive impact would then, in turn, affect their interactions with others creating a ripple effect of enhanced working experiences. Importantly, the difference in transformational leadership measures was identified by others, not via self-report, showing that change intentions were translated into actual changed perceptions of these leaders and their behaviour. Interestingly, change in well-being in others was strongly related to the individual’s closeness to the coached individual. This research indicates that the ROI is not solely experienced by the individual coached, but that the impact is extended somewhat to surrounding colleagues. Further research on this ripple effect may aid in the selection of individuals to participate in coaching programmes. (For example, identifying and investing in the coaching of those individuals who are known ‘connectors’ in the organisation may maximise your ROI).
The future The initial individual and organisational results for executive coaching are promising, but there is clearly a need for further empirical study to examine what leads to an effective coaching engagement. As the coaching profession continues to mature and move toward regulation, buyers of coaching services should ask questions around measurement and coaching effectiveness. It is only when these questions are asked that those who provide coaching services will move to demonstrate their effectiveness. Shelley Winter is a Director, based in YSC’s Sydney office. T: +61 (0)2 9252 3332 / email@example.com
YSC would like to thank and acknowledge Sinclair Knight Merz for enabling this research to take place and to Dr Anthony Grant for co-leading and publishing the aforementioned study.
and finishing coaching programmes with 3 or 4-way meetings with line manager and HR sponsor embeds the learning and change intentions into workplace conversations.
Triangulate goals. Ensuring line managers are involved in goal-setting helps to ensure goals are aligned with organisation strategy and are businessrelevant – while still ensuring your client chooses goals that are personally meaningful.
Pass the baton. Setting up an
internal mentor during, or at the end of, the coaching programme, is an easy way to keep up the focus and support individuals in their change intentions.
Choosing the right measures of change is not only important to evaluate the impact of coaching, but there is the added benefit that people pay attention to what is being measured and such attention supports behavioural change. 09
THE AHA MOMENT!
A PERSPECTIVE FROM NEUROSCIENCE
Those flashing moments of clarity when we have a new insight are crucial to personal growth. Here Neil Jacobs outlines the latest brain science – and shows how to prepare the ground for fertile breakthroughs. There is something very satisfying about witnessing ‘the aha moment’ in coaching – the split second when an individual reaches a significant new insight or realisation, unlocking the very issue which just seconds before they had viewed as insurmountable. In the blink of an eye, they have moved from a position of being stuck to finding an answer or a way forward. It’s the crossword equivalent of getting the answer to 3 Down after hours of intense brain-racking.
AN EXAMPLE... A number of years ago, I was coaching a senior executive for whom confidence was a major issue. At times he would be plagued by deep self-limiting beliefs, but he also had an uncanny knack of alienating his colleagues with his arrogance. At the start of the coaching engagement, we explored a range of themes relating to confidence including the antecedents from his childhood and the situational nature of his confidence.
by Neil Jacobs 10
In one coaching session, I drew a model on the flipchart from Transactional Analysis
WHY DOES THE AHA MOMENT MATTER?
New insights and self-discoveries are pivotal to personal growth. Once an individual has reached a deeper level of self-awareness, their manager or coach can work with them on developing and practising different behaviours. Suddenly the individual can see a different way
ahead. Often when the aha moment comes, there’s an understanding of what they need to do and how they can translate their new insight into actions to enhance their leadership. The aha moment often gives people the energy and courage to overcome their fears and whatever has been holding them back.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE AHA MOMENT?
Given the significance of those breakthrough moments, it would be helpful to know what happens in those all-important seconds, so we can create the conditions to maximise the likelihood of the aha moment. A body of research from neuroscience and neuropsychology examining insights and brain functioning has provided us with an explanation. The aha moment is preceded by alpha band brain activity where we move into a quiet, relaxed and internalised state. Next, there is a spike of gamma wave activity as new neural pathways are created and the new insight is born. This reinforces the
anecdotal experience of having the Eureka moment in the shower. The breakthrough often comes when you unfocus. This resting position is a precursor to the new insight. Mark Jung-Beeman has dedicated over twenty years to understanding what happens in our brains when we have an insight. Jung-Beeman, a leading cognitive neuroscientist, used Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI) and Electroencephalography (EEG) to scan people’s brains when they were solving word puzzles in a series of studies between 2004 and 2006. An initial study (JungBeeman et al, 2004) found a connection between problems solved using insight and activity in the anterior temporal lobe of the right hemisphere of the brain. This part of the brain is involved in integrating information that is distantly related. During that aha moment, the brain is forming new connections. Jung-Beeman and his colleagues also discovered that about one second prior to the aha moment, there is an increase in alpha band activity. This is the time when we go quiet and close out the world around us.
What feels like a sudden ‘got-it’ moment is actually the manifestation of the brain having already done some work at lightning speed to create new neural pathways and connections.
comprising three circles: Parent, Adult and Child. I asked him to think about his key stakeholders and classify them in the circles. Next, I asked him to categorise the way he responded to each grouping. After 30 seconds drawing some connecting lines, mainly between the Parent and Child circles, he stopped what he was doing. He put the cap back on the marker, moved away from the flipchart and sat down in his chair. He looked out the window, gazed into the distance and then a broad grin appeared on his face. “That’s it,” he said. “It’s all to do with my relationships, how well I know someone and whether people think I’m smart or an idiot.” This was the first time he had reached these insights.
•U se meditation, mindfulness and breathing methods to induce a state of calm, quiet and relaxation. •G ive encouragement and positive reinforcement.
A further study in 2006 found that the burst of gamma wave activity begins 0.3 seconds prior to the subject generating a response. What feels like a sudden ‘got-it’ moment is actually the manifestation of the brain having already done some work at lightning speed to create new neural pathways and connections.
OTHER ACTIVITIES ASSOCIATED WITH GETTING TO THE AHA MOMENT INCLUDE: •C ognitive restructuring: seeing a problem in a different way by reorganising our thoughts. •A positive mood. Researchers found a correlation between (1) positive mood and number of word problems solved and (2) positive mood and word problems solved using insight (Subramaniam et al, 2009). •M ind wandering: attending to internal thoughts when the mind drifts away from a task (Christoff et al, 2004). 12
CREATING THE CONDITIONS FOR THE AHA MOMENT Using the learning from neuroscience, there are a number of techniques a manager or coach can use in order to help individuals reach a new discovery: • Ask the type of powerful, stretching, thought-provoking questions that cause the individual to pause and reflect. • Create a relaxing and peaceful environment away from the hustle and bustle of organisational life. Consider having coaching conversations away from the office and at a time of day when the individual feels most energised and least stressed. • Provide and create plenty of space for self-reflection and time for the individual to ponder. This will require leaving room for silences and being comfortable with this. • Be prepared to move on from an issue when the individual appears to be stuck and revisit it later. • Ask reframing questions and use lateral thinking techniques to help the individual look at a problem from a different angle and see alternative perspectives.
Advances in science and technology have increased our understanding of what happens in the brain when we have an aha moment. But if we go back thousands of years to ancient Greece, both Socrates and Archimedes would also have had something to say on the subject. Socrates would have pointed to his quote ‘the unexamined life is not worth living’ and encouraged us all to spend time in reflection and exploration to reach new and deeper self-discoveries. Archimedes would have gone one better and told us his Eureka moment story – his exclamation as he got into the bath and realised that the buoyant force on a submerged object is equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by it – Archimedes’ Principle. Fast forward to today and we can give others a real gift by helping them reach the aha moment. Neil Jacobs is a Managing Director & Head of YSC North Americas, based in YSC’s New York office. T: +1 (0)212 661 9888 / firstname.lastname@example.org
REFERENCES Christoff, K., Ream, J.M. and Gabrieli, J.D.E. (2004) Cognitive and neural basis of spontaneous thought processes. Cortex, 40, 623–630. Jung-Beeman, M, Bowden, E.M., Haberman, J., Frymiare, J.L., Arambel-Liu, S., Greenblatt, R., Reber, P.J., & Kounios, J. (2004), Neural activity when people solve verbal problems with insight. PLoS Biology, 2, 500–510 Kounios, J., Frymiare, J.L., Bowden, E.M., Fleck, J.I., Subramaniam, K., Parrish, T.B., & Jung-Beeman, M. (2006). The prepared mind: Neural activity prior to problem presentation predicts subsequent solution by sudden insight. Psychological Science, 17, 882–890. Subramaniam, K., Kounios, J., Parrish, T.B. & JungBeeman, M. (2009). A brain mechanism for facilitation of insight by positive affect. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 21(3), 415–432.
International Perspectives: Americas – A major issue we coach around relates to
Around the world: Global perspectives on coaching Coaching is recognised globally as a means of unlocking the potential in people. To understand the challenges a bit better, we asked our team to describe the #1 coaching issue in their region – and how they work with their clients to address it.
emotional intelligence. When leaders drive themselves and others too hard, it can generate an ‘attention deficit’ climate – a fastpaced and frenetic environment that hinders strategic agility and innovation. Employee engagement suffers because people don’t feel heard and, in turn, productivity declines. We address these issues by helping leaders connect to their purpose. We show them how slowing down, reflecting and taking stock can lead to improved personal performance; and guide them towards connecting more deeply with people – encouraging them to become more empathetic listeners and more holistic coaches themselves. In many cases, this simply involves coaching them to ask more questions; moving them along the continuum from telling to inquiring. Success often takes the form of more transformational – visionary, relational and, at times, inspirational – leadership. In return, leaders reap higher levels of engagement from their teams, with correspondingly improved organisational performance. Tony Susa is a Senior Consultant, based in New York. email@example.com
China – Because of the strong Chinese (and Asian) cultural element of ‘saving face’ and challenging others only behind closed doors, Asian leaders, in group settings, are apt to listen carefully before offering an opinion and often wait to be asked. A perception can develop that they are not contributing enough and may be withholding information – even if they have valuable input. The impacts are numerous: decisions get made without their input and may be of lesser quality; others are deprived of learning from their experience and wisdom; and they may be perceived as lacking strength as a leader. In addressing these issues, it is important to understand the cultural differences between the coachee’s background and Western organisational culture. The coachee needs to recognise the impact and perceptions of their behaviour and adopt a more proactive and assertive style, while staying true to who they are. We encourage them to continue using influencing techniques they are comfortable with, but to expand their repertoire and to express their ideas more forcefully. Rhonda Gutenberg is a Managing Consultant, based in Shanghai. firstname.lastname@example.org
UK – In Europe, we are seeing different
Australia/New Zealand – We regularly
coach leaders who have transitioned into senior roles that require them to operate at a more strategic level. They often respond in a reactive way to events and have limited time for strategic thinking, planning or managing stakeholders. As a result, the people beneath them also operate at a sub-par level: relationships that should be fostered do not develop because the leader wants to be consulted on everything. We help leaders redefine their role and how they measure success; and to prioritise and manage upwards – they need to be aligned with their boss on what is important and to be comfortable saying, “I don’t know, but a member of my team does”. In this way, they help shape the company culture. We help them define what they need from their team, delegate well and manage from a distance, empowering those beneath them to do their jobs. Finally, in global organisations, some Australian leaders need to adjust what can be seen by their non-Australian peers as a rather laid back, ‘blokey’ style. Claire FitzGerald is a Managing Consultant, based in Melbourne. email@example.com
manifestations of leaders trying to create optimism and possibility – both for themselves and their followers – at a time when there is increasing pressure to do more with less time, ever-decreasing resources and difficult trading conditions. This context makes it easy for everyone to revert to directive, short-term and reactive behaviours, which are demotivating and ultimately constraining. At YSC, our coaches are working with leaders to dig beneath the surface of their behaviours (and to get beyond the emotions triggered by stakeholders who display these behaviours) to discover their natural strength of voice, integrity and authenticity. It is from this place that we are seeing leaders find the courage to say what needs to be said, to focus on only what matters, and to empower others to fulfill their capability. Phil Whichello is a Director, based in London. firstname.lastname@example.org
India – The number one coaching issue in India, by a long stretch, relates to improving one’s
ability to influence others. Leadership at the senior level involves getting things done without formal authority by mobilising the support of peers – a group sometimes seen as competitors. Existing norms and habits can reinforce behaviours that impede leaders from making this transition. Culturally, for example, it is often thought more appropriate to influence through formal channels and hierarchy, rather than informally. In addition, organisations typically reward individuals who take accountability and get things done early in their careers. The realisation that existing strengths may not be relevant to future success is difficult to accept. Yet it’s vital for the coachee to understand why they need to change and build new strengths. We help clients develop insight into these types of challenges, so that they may begin to resolve them. Most of our coaching sessions tend to focus on expanding the range of styles that will enhance a leader’s ability to gain buy-in and support from different kinds of people across the wider organisation. Mellissa Ferrier is a Senior Consultant, based in Mumbai. email@example.com
Latin America – Coaching in LatAm means
coaching in one of the fastest growing regions in the world. Many expectations are placed on leaders to both grow their business, and achieve greater impact worldwide. In most cases, the critical challenge for these especially charismatic coachees is to develop a deep sense of self-belief and give themselves permission to be free and without limitations. The real breakthrough for most is realising the power they have to crystalise amazing possibilities in the markets in which they operate. The challenge as a coach, therefore, is to dig deeper into their internal drivers, purpose and aspirations – to help them realise that they have already gained the right to unlock themselves as assertive global leaders. The impact these leaders could have, if they combined these mindset shifts with the right behavioural traits, opens up unlimited possibilities for this region. Cecilia Garcia is a Senior Consultant, based in Mexico City. firstname.lastname@example.org
Top Issues Globally • I nfluencing others: enhancing self-awareness, adapting one’s style without compromising personal values, and developing/articulating a shared vision. •L istening with empathy: asking more questions and staying curious longer, allowing leaders to develop better insight into their business and their people. • Navigating transitions: effectively navigating career, personal, and organisational change by adopting new habits and unlearning old patterns of behaviour. •L eading from a sense of purpose: gaining strength to stay the course in difficult business conditions by staying true to oneself while adapting appropriately to social norms, the external environment, and organisational change. •D eveloping a global mindset: improving global perspective by honing broader, enterprise-wide thinking that goes beyond one’s functional remit to see more possibilities.
Great Expectations: Maternity Coaching by Tiffany Scotton and Natalie Livings
The return to work after having a baby is a roller-coaster experience for many professional women. Strange, then, that most receive no guidance on managing this key transition. Tiffany Scotton and Natalie Livings argue that maternity coaching is in everyone’s interest – not least those of employers. 16
Fundal height, episiotomy, meconium, weaning…these words form a foreign language that new mothers necessarily come to learn. Advice on these is shared through a health practitioner or the new ‘mummy group’. But what about professional women who want to return to work after a period of time and reintegrate successfully, balancing motherhood with their future career? Where best for them to receive advice on the foreign challenges and feelings they will doubtless encounter? YSC’s maternity coaching offers a confidential, supportive – yet challenging – forum where professional women can anticipate and explore these issues in depth.
The big picture It’s hard to pick up a newspaper or business magazine without seeing yet another article about the low rates of representation of women in senior roles, be it in business or politics. The recently formed Abbott cabinet in Australia, for instance, has one woman out of 19 members (5%), and there are five women in the entire Abbott ministry (17%). This is not atypical worldwide.
to see that juggling work and life is achievable, and highlights any inefficient work practices. Focusing on what matters personally is likely to have a positive ripple effect for the teams below them. • Seamless transition back into the workplace: Maternity coaching helps individuals set up their replacement (and fellow team members) for success in their absence. It also helps clarify what they’ll require to start making a rapid contribution on their return. We also know that the cost of losing a professional woman is estimated at between three and five times her salary in terms of disruption to business, loss of experience and clients, and finding and training a replacement. Despite general agreement that things need to shift significantly, there has been very little real progress in recent years. A multitude of social, political, economic, cultural and personal factors combine to make this a complex and intractable issue. Equally, the optimum solutions are likely to be multi-faceted and multi-phased. One positive step in the right direction would be to support female talent before, and following, the period of maternity leave. So why would organisations invest over and above the existing (direct and indirect) costs associated with maternity leave? • Engagement and retention of key talent: Women offered maternity coaching typically feel more valued by their employers, furthering a sense of loyalty and a commitment to returning; as well as an openness to new possibilities. • Efficiency and productivity: Coaching at this time of great change – often characterised by competing demands and limited resources – can help individuals make thoughtful choices about where to invest their energy. It enables them
• Positions organisations as employers of choice in the market: Strong expressions of support for female talent, such as maternity coaching, tend to enhance an organisation’s brand – and send a powerful and positive message to other employees and potential recruits.
The development of YSC’S offering As working mothers and executive coaches themselves, Tiffany Scotton (Director, Sydney office) and Natalie Livings (Managing Consultant, Melbourne office) felt passionately about creating a maternity coaching offering to support YSC’s clients. Together with YSC’s global research team they undertook extensive desk research and then brought this to life through interviews with female returners. The challenges these women reported having faced were many and varied; regardless of the individuals’ job role, level, organisation and geographical location. They included issues such as:
• Feeling that they need to prove themselves all over again. • Making an early impact and gaining quick wins. • The challenge of finding a stimulating yet achievable role. • Feeling under-valued or peripheral.
•A fear of being too pushy or demanding in articulating their needs and boundaries. •S etting boundaries and managing expectations and perceptions without guilt. •A sense of being judged by others (friends, family, colleagues) for their choices. •R educed confidence due to feeling rusty and out of practice. •T empered drive and ambition due to changing priorities. •C oping with the ‘triple burden’ (business professional, mother, domestic responsibilities). •W orking in a two-way street (taking account of business needs too). •G uilt about not being present for their child(ren). YSC’s maternity coaches draw on deep experience in executive and transition coaching to guide women through this crucial career stage, deploying our intellectual capital in the area of Women in Leadership – and our best practice as psychologists – to understand what is unique about our female leaders and their needs. If organisations are to redress the gender imbalance in corporate life, they need to demonstrate – through their processes, practices and systems – that they value the contributions of a diverse workforce and are committed to flexible working. Maternity coaching is an impactful way of showing that commitment. Tiffany Scotton is a Director based in YSC’s Sydney office. T: +61 (0)2 9252 3332 / email@example.com. Natalie Livings is a Managing Consultant based in YSC’s Melbourne office. T: +61 (0)3 8679 4121 / firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information on Maternity Coaching or to discuss your specific needs please contact your local YSC team or visit www.ysc.com 17
Moving on by Elaine Saad
Outplacement services have been going since the 1960s. But have they kept pace with a changing world? Elaine Saad argues that a new approach is needed to support leaders as they look for their next challenge.
You sometimes hear people saying that losing a job is one of the best things that ever happened to them – it opened new doors and led to beneficial changes in their lives and careers. But no-one needs reminding what a crushing blow it can be to forfeit your income, routine and purpose unexpectedly. It is a bereavement of sorts that often leaves people feeling frustrated, unappreciated and lost.
personal insecurity that can be sparked by the shock of redundancy.
Recent turbulent economic times have magnified these anxieties – moving on to the next stage of a career seems harder, and questions of finance are more pressing. In one recent survey 78% of respondents noted that money was the first thing that sprang to mind when they were given notice – even if they were actually financially comfortable enough to weather the change. It speaks volumes for the deep feelings of
In an attempt, perhaps, to take the emotion out of a difficult situation (or to give a bigger strategic context to tough news) companies often resort to management-speak when letting people go. ‘Outplacement’, ‘offboarding’, ‘rightsizing’ are just some of the euphemisms that have stayed with us down the years. Mostly, they fool no-one. Indeed, they say a good deal about what we at YSC believe
People are asking deeper and more philosophical questions about themselves, what they want for the future and how to replace the job they left behind.
Peering beyond the euphemisms
is missing from the process. Namely, the human element: an opportunity for the individual concerned to reflect on what has happened, think about their current circumstances, take stock of their strengths and weaknesses, and move on productively to the next phase of their career. The idea behind YSC Futures is to plug that gap. Having coached and assessed over 30,000 leaders from a wide range of industries around the world, we’ve seen individuals at their best, and at their worst – when they’re thriving, and when they’re struggling. That experience puts us in a great position to help people ‘in transition’ begin their process of renewal.
Why bother? Having a duty of care for exiting employees is clearly a sound stance ethically. But some will argue that when budgets are tight companies are better off focusing their resources on those remaining. Yet it was recognised way back in the 1960s, when the first formal outplacement programmes were devised, that the way employers handle departures has a profound bearing on the morale of remaining staff. Redundancy situations are stressful for all involved, including ‘survivors’ – and the
Beyond that, there is the question of wider reputation. Executives are only human, after all, and word spreads. A person leaving a company feeling mistreated and disrespected could influence not just the opinion of their peers, but also that of clients and customers. All the more so given the viral powers of social media.
The industrialisation of outplacement The history of outplacement services closely mirrors that of the wider global economy. The very first services in the 1960s were established to offer a halfway house for executives between companies. They could use office facilities and research materials they couldn’t access at home, meet others in the same situation, take advice and get into training programmes. The past two decades have seen a substantial shift. Ironically, de-industrialisation has led to a more industrial approach to outplacement. As technological change led to big reductions in workforces around the world in the 1990s, the focus shifted to
mass redundancy programmes. The process became increasingly transactional. More recently, the growing use of the internet to deliver training and advice has accelerated this de-personalisation. Although many remote services are useful in terms of offering practical advice like résumé-writing or interview technique, people are often lucky to get just one session with a consultant.
And now for something completely different…. As things stand, the outplacement market is split between a handful of larger global players and smaller local boutiques. That has left a gap for the very specialised service that YSC can offer, using our deep expertise in psychology, assessment and coaching. Our consultants work with executives to help them:
• Identify and connect with their strengths, values and passions. • Benchmark their capabilities and understand their stretches.
• Take stock of their experiences and formulate their story for the future.
• Better understand how others see them as they explore new ventures.
• Leverage their networks.
Past – Reflecting
with the individual on what happened
Refocusing on what to do now
Preparing for the next move
The worst of the global recession is hopefully behind us. But volatility is likely to be the name of the game in the transition to a more healthy economy. With YSC Futures, we have developed a new approach to help savvy executives transition with meaning into the next phase of their professional lives. It’s not just about coaching someone. It’s about understanding what a person did in the past and how that experience can be valued and converted into new opportunities – whatever the future may hold.
Elaine Saad is a Managing Consultant & Head of YSC Brasil, based in YSC’s São Paulo office. T: +55 11 3521 7085 / email@example.com
People are asking deeper and more philosophical questions about how to replace the job they left behind.
way leavers are treated sends a powerful message to those left behind. It is difficult to fully engage with a company if you believe it was offhanded in its dealings with a former colleague.
We want to change… but we don’t want to change. Anyone who has ever assumed a coaching role becomes fascinated by that apparent paradox, says Don Minnick. Here he examines the intricacies involved in changing behaviours and explains how ‘motivational interviewing’ can overcome natural resistance. Pieces of the puzzle It is a useful exercise to think both about how people change and about why they don’t change more often – especially when the benefits of change are so obvious. In a situation when it may be in their best interest, it’s clear to everyone else why the change is needed and it’s apparent that what they are doing isn’t working, their failure to change doesn’t make logical sense.
CHANGEMEISTER: The art of motivating people to change
by Donald Minnick 20
Often, regardless of how hard we drive or push, we come face-to-face with a very natural part of all human interaction – resistance. In fact, resistance to change is a primary feature of all natural systems including organisations. Yet existing alongside it is a powerful dynamic for change. Feeling two ways about something is a common enough experience: ‘I want to and I don’t want to’. Indeed, feeling 100% clear about something that is important is probably more exceptional than normal. So how do we help individuals overcome their ambivalence about, and resistance to, change?
Bring on the motivator
EMPATHY. Connecting with the coachee
The last 20 years have produced a body of focused research on a dialogue option for stimulating change, known as ‘motivational interviewing’. At its heart, motivational interviewing is a particular kind of conversation about change that is collaborative, that honours the coachee’s autonomy and that is evocative – calling forth the individual’s own motivation and commitment to positive change. It’s a shared, goal-oriented method of communication that pays particular attention to the language of change. It is designed to strengthen a person’s motivation for, and movement toward, a particular goal by eliciting and exploring their own arguments for change. There is no better characterisation of this approach than the YSC tag line: ‘Releasing the power of people’.
Resistance to change is a primary feature of all natural systems, including organisations.
The lowdown on motivational interviewing Three factors are crucial:
SELF-EFFICACY. The likelihood that change
will occur is determined by the kind of interpersonal interaction the coach is able to create. Certain conditions trigger change and lead to its persistence. Ask a person how likely is it that he or she will succeed in making a particular change and the answer is a reasonably good predictor of the likelihood that actual change will occur. This is most often referred to as ‘selfefficacy’. People who believe that they are likely to change, do so. Ditto those whose coaches believe they are likely to change.
through accurate empathy, especially early on in the process, is a second essential ingredient. An empathetic coaching style seems to facilitate change and its absence may, in fact, deter it. Encouraging the client’s own expression of the disadvantages of the status quo and the advantages of the proposed change creates optimism for change and solidifies the intention to change.
others succeed at change occurs through the power of conversation. What kind of conversation? Certainly not one where the coach assumes an ‘expert’ role, confronting the client and imposing his or her own perspective. The process is underpinned by collaboration rather than confrontation. Donald Minnick is a Managing Consultant, based in YSC’s Houston office. T: +1 (0)281 589 8889 / firstname.lastname@example.org
CHANGE TALK. Finally, communicating in
a way that elicits the person’s own sense of the advantages of change – ‘change talk’ – is the building block and the magic of motivational interviewing. Helping
Motivational Interviewing: preparing people for change’ – William R. Miller & Stephen Rollnick; 2002, Guilford Press)
HOW DOES IT WORK IN PRACTICE? KEY STEPS IN THE PROCESS: 1. Develop discrepancy. Motivation for change occurs when people perceive a mismatch
between where they are and where they want to be. The coach works to develop this by helping clients explore discrepancies between current circumstances and behaviours, and their values and future goals. When individuals recognise this conflict, they are more likely to feel motivated to make important life changes. The coach encourages examination of how current behaviours may lead away from, rather than toward, important goals.
2. Eliciting and supporting ‘change talk’. Some themes to explore:
a. Disadvantages of the status quo: a reason for concern or discontent with how things are; the ‘not-so-good things’ about the current condition.
b. Advantages of change: recognition of the potential advantages for change; the ‘good things’ to be gained.
c. Intention to change: desire, willingness or commitment to change. d. Optimism about change: expressions of confidence and hope about one’s ability to change.
3. Tackling resistance. Resistance occurs when the client experiences a conflict between
their view of the ‘problem’ or the ‘solution’ and that of the coach – or when the client feels that their autonomy or freedom is being impinged upon. These experiences are often based in their ambivalence about change. The trick is to ‘roll with resistance’. Avoid any confrontation or challenge, especially early on in the relationship, and have the client define the problem and develop their own solutions. This leaves little room for them to resist. It’s hard to battle the plan when you’ve planned the battle. 21
On the Couch with... Leanne Wood HR Director
Appointed HR Director of Diageo in July 2013, Leanne Wood has 36,000 people under her care globally at the world’s premier drinks company. In former roles with the company, she was a leading architect of the Diageo Leadership Performance Programme (DLPP). Wood’s career has long combined an emphasis on talent with a strong strategic bent. After graduating from Cambridge with a degree in Economics and Law, she cut her teeth at the consulting group LEK, before deciding she’d rather get closer to the real action in business. There followed a stint with Allied Domecq, culminating in a finance management role at Dunkin’ Brands in the US. Following an MBA at INSEAD, Wood joined Diageo in 2000 and extended her global odyssey with senior HR positions in Africa, Asia and Ireland. The mother of four year old George, she now lives in London.
Diageo’s stated guiding purpose is ‘to celebrate life every day, everywhere’. It’s a good motto for a drinks company, but how does that permeate through to your work? Our purpose is certainly about celebrating, and it’s about life too. The aim is to bring the fullness of life to what we do – to celebrate what’s there and what can be achieved. Having a strong sense of purpose guides our ambition to be the best performing, most trusted and respected consumer goods company in the world. 22
Should an individual’s professional goals always be aligned to those of the organisation? How much room is there for mavericks? The link is purpose and values. We have all kinds of diverse people with very different styles. What unites them is finding meaning in a common purpose. I don’t think that limits the differences. We won’t compromise on our values or standards; but, if these are clear, it gives people the freedom to be themselves.
What practical steps can you take to shape your personal purpose to better match your professional purpose? Finding one’s own purpose often takes a great deal of self-reflection and requires deep personal understanding. For many, this can take several years to truly pin down. The role of the line manager is crucial in helping our people think about their own purpose, and how that can connect to Diageo. Once made, this connection and finding that all important common ground, can create tremendous possibility. How has working for Diageo changed the way you view the world and the way you work? Through Diageo I’ve had the opportunity to work in some incredibly diverse countries and experience some very different cultures… Asia, Africa and Ireland… my world view has certainly got a lot broader, while at the same time I feel a much greater sense of connection to Diageo and our people and I’ve appreciated that sense of owning a collective future. In each of the roles I’ve had with Diageo I’ve learned a lot, not only about the business but also about myself. I’ve been in countless situations which I have found incredibly challenging, a real push out of my comfort zone. I think these moves and being used to feeling uncomfortable have really shaped who I am and the way I work today. Are you ever daunted by the thought that, as HR Director
at Diageo, you have 36,000 individuals in your care? When I took on the job, I was trying to explain it to my son George. George is clear that my number 1 job is looking after him. I told him I’d got a new job and he said: “So your other job is looking after Diageo…” You certainly feel there is a huge responsibility – we really do care. But it’s an opportunity to help shape the future of our people as well as the business, and that’s incredibly exciting. You started out at Diageo as a Global Strategy Manager. At what point does strategy converge with HR? Our strategy guides the choices we make every day about our brands and markets. But one thing I’ve learned is that, in broad terms, there’s very little to separate one company’s stated strategy from another’s. What differentiates you is how you deliver on that strategy – and ultimately that is down to our people: their behaviours and how they perform. Is it really possible to measure talent? I’m passionate about the principle that everyone has potential and so we work hard with individuals to fulfil that, and help inform our judgment by working with YSC. It’s all about knowing our people and what they can bring. We don’t categorise people in terms of potential, but we do measure our performance as an organisation – in terms of developing talent – alongside financial and brand
performance. This planning includes a range of topics from succession planning and talent pools to capability building. How do you develop leaders across different cultures? How does the way leaders are coached in India, for instance, differ from the way they’re coached in Europe? We have a single leadership standard that applies everywhere. That doesn’t mean that leadership is identical – in fact we actively look for our leaders to develop their authenticity. And our Breakthrough Performance Coaching model, which we developed with YSC, is used everywhere. Diageo’s character is encapsulated by heritage, values, and the focus we put on leadership. Our Diageo Leadership Performance Programme is a very special part of bringing all of that together to support our leaders deliver great performance. What is your favourite Diageo product, and why? Johnnie Walker. The brand’s essence is ‘Keep Walking’ and that, for me, is about moving forward, progress and delivering your own future.
How important is coaching/ mentorship in the overall spectrum of leadership development? We’re believers in the 70:20:10 rule. 70% is learned through working opportunities, 20% through mentoring and coaching, and 10% through formal learning. What, in your view, is the difference between a coach and psychotherapist? Great coaching is about setting a fantastic goal and understanding what it takes as an individual to achieve that goal. It’s not a remedial thing, but an opportunity to grow. Coaching isn’t about fixing, it’s about enabling. And between a coach and a mentor? A mentor will bring the benefit of wisdom. Coaches are wise too! But coaching isn’t about giving people the answers: it’s about asking the questions. Who have been the most important mentors in your own life? Within Diageo there have been several who have offered perspective and encouragement. But I also look 23
. to family and friends. I had two amazing grandmothers whose approach to life made a great impression. They were both strong women who were each the bedrocks of their worlds; they had resilience and courage. What are the ideal character traits a coach should have? Anyone can be a good coach if they’re prepared to listen, challenge and focus on the success of the coachee. Our belief is that every one of our employees can coach. It’s our job to equip them to do it. Are some people uncoachable? I don’t think there’s such a thing as an uncoachable person. But there needs to be a desire. It’s not easy if someone isn’t fully engaged with the process. We will persevere, but the best coaching is created in partnership between the coach and coachee.
Do good coachees invariably make great coaches? If you’ve benefited from great coaching, you have a view of the difference it makes. It helps to know what’s possible. But there’s still a lot to learn as a coach. Which management thinker do you rate most highly? I’d recommend Gurnek Bains’ book on Meaning – I read it at a real turning point in my career and it fundamentally impacted my beliefs about the kind of place we want Diageo to be. And, more recently, James Allen on repeatability and how you build simplicity into bringing strategy to life in action.* You studied Economics and Law at Cambridge. Whatever happened to that lawyer? Before university I was convinced I wanted to be a lawyer – getting to the bottom
of an issue always sounded fun. Then I did work experience and didn’t really enjoy it. I think if I’d had experience of business I might have chosen it earlier. But no-one in my family had a corporate background: my father was a customs officer; my grandfather was a painter and decorator. Are you more an artist, or a scientist? Artist. I like creativity, making connections that bring new insights. It’s a good way of looking at a problem or an opportunity before you give it more practical input. What would your 16 year-old self make of you now? She wouldn’t have predicted the course my life has taken – the different experiences around the world would blow her mind a bit. Moving to Asia on my own, travelling to places like
Coaching isn’t about giving people the answers. It’s about asking the questions.
Laos and Cambodia would have excited that 16-year-old. I hope she’d think I’d given my best. Do you have a burning ambition to fulfil outside work? Being a good Mum. Which work of fiction do you find yourself continually returning to? ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’, which had a massive impact on me as a teenager. The wisdom that Atticus Finch brought to his view of right and wrong was a guiding light on how to live out principles. I bought it for George on his first Christmas, because it brought such a lot of things to life for me. Needless to say we haven’t read it yet! Do you have a strategy for dealing with dark nights of the soul? ‘Keep Walking’, one foot in front of the other. What is the most important lesson that life has taught you? To appreciate what we have – and everything that’s formed us. My parents set huge store by education and that has set the course of my life. I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had and what they’ve resulted in. Leanne Wood spoke to Jane Lewis, YQ’s Consultant Editor.
*Meaning Inc: the Blueprint for Business Success in the 21st Century, by Gurnek Bains Repeatability: Build Enduring Businesses for a World of Constant Change, by Chris Zook and James Allen
Stuck in the middle
by Cher Hill
Companies may be missing a trick if they skimp on providing meaningful coaching support for emerging leaders, suggests Cher Hill.
In many organisations, access to coaching tends to be either confined to those at the most senior levels where the stakes are perceived to be highest, or targeted towards high potentials and graduates where organisational rewards appear most obvious. Sandwiched in the middle is a population of managers who are often left to figure things out for themselves as they transition into their first level leadership role. In response to a 2006 CIPD-sponsored leadership survey, 80% of leaders rated transition anxiety second only to dealing with divorce. Yet the quality of support received is variable, determined in the most part by the skills, attitudes and availability of their immediate bosses. 25
And whilst a focus on cost efficiency is fuelling a rise in internal coaching by line managers (Ridler Report 2013), leadership surveys continue to imply that there remains a significant gap between the demand for support from new or transitioning leaders and its actual provision by organisations.
The complexities of being ‘in the middle’ Individuals in the middle tranche of a business are often the people responsible for converting high-level strategy into action. Companies are becoming leaner; managers are consistently being asked to do more – to create, innovate and be agile agents of change – while still developing talent beneath them and hitting critical deadlines. For some, the current climate provides a real opportunity to break through existing moulds and shine. But others, indeed whole layers of organisations, can become frozen in times of such ambiguity and redaction. Many middle managers simply don’t understand what ‘great’ looks like at the next level – and beyond. As a consequence, it can be very challenging
for people to prepare for leadership, or even to decide whether it is something they genuinely aspire to. They face steep challenges in their work while often receiving minimal coaching or mentoring, and can feel a sense of powerlessness as a result. The transition can also be extremely daunting. It can be as much about how you ‘show up’ in your new world in your first 6 months as what you ‘do’. Being armed with a good dose of self-awareness and a real ‘under the skin’ level of understanding of the role is critical and buys time to work through the adjustment.
The case for coaching • The challenge and often the reason for hiring external coaches is that the leadership behaviours associated with yesterday’s performance may not be what is required for tomorrow’s growth. • Traditionally, emerging leaders will have had a stronger emphasis placed on developing their technical competence than their leadership capability. This may be an understandable consequence of increasingly strong regulatory environments, but the impact is twofold:
In studies that compare coaching effectiveness across levels, the strongest impact on performance is often seen in middle managers and their direct reports.
– It makes it more difficult for strong people leaders to emerge. – The opportunity to ‘dip one’s toe in’ and get leadership exposure earlyon is limited. •T here is no such thing as ‘the natural leader’, only a combination of core qualities (usually in various states of consciousness and development) which pre-dispose the individual towards being a strong leader. Coaching can help individuals grow their self-awareness of such qualities and bridge the gap between theory and practice. •N ewly promoted leaders can feel pushed and, at worst, are actively discouraged to carve out time to reflect on their leadership. Particularly when on unsure ground, a coach can help them create the space for those more reflective conversations, where they can be open and honest and their thinking or their approach be constructively challenged. In short, coaching can give a sharp focus on where to best direct development. • I n studies that compare coaching effectiveness across levels, the strongest impact on performance is often seen in middle managers and their direct reports. Individuals at this level are typically at their most malleable and receptive in their thirst for development and support. •T he cost of not doing it. When leadership appointments fail, or the transition is not managed effectively, the organisation can suffer due to additional recruitment costs, loss of productivity and general disruption to teams. A gap in expectations vs. the in-role reality; changes in business direction and senior leadership; an overreliance on previously successful skills and mindsets; the struggle to navigate and succeed in a new culture; and neglecting to quickly forge relationships with key stakeholders can all lead to failure in a new leadership role.
It’s all about the timing... A new leader ideally needs support through several phases: in advance of the role transition – so that barriers to success and collaborative strategies for overcoming them can be identified ahead of time – and during the first 6-9 months post appointment, when the individual can assess the real-time impact of their leadership.
…and the delivery Although there are obvious commercial and contextual drivers for using the coaching skills of internal managers, a number of cautionary points should be noted. The manager as coach needs to be skilled and empathetic in building the coaching relationship; they should be aware of the power relationship. It is paramount, although arguably very difficult, to draw clear boundaries between their role as performance manager and their role as coach*.
Do the coaching needs of emerging leaders differ to those of senior executives? With a reported 50% of individuals in financial services being under the age of 35, emerging leaders – or today’s ‘Gen-Yers’ – perhaps have a greater need to identify their core drivers and sense of purpose at work. Leadership transition coaching therefore needs to place a spotlight on helping individuals both understand and bring to the fore their sense of identity, distinctiveness and meaning to their leadership – a challenge not unique to this population! However, their desire for connectivity, in combination with their technical savviness, gives rise to a greater openness to using virtual or remote methods (i.e. telephone, VC, Skype)
for connecting, albeit once the coaching relationship has been established. Coaching at the mid-level is typically more ‘tool’ and content driven – anchored to a number of familiar challenges that come with a step up: commercial and strategic judgement; managing change; influencing with impact, to name just a few. Executive coaching, by contrast, tends to take on a more transformational element – helping individuals understand who they are, why they are like that and how this influences their behaviours and responses. In our experience, coaching at the mid-level needs to combine both elements of these approaches – engaging with the ‘below the surface’ dynamics of the coachee and understanding them within their context, at the same time as equipping them with the skills and framework necessary for on-going success.
As a result, interventions using external coaches, who intellectually and culturally really ‘get’ what the individual’s landscape looks and feels like – and who can more objectively balance the organisation’s and coachee’s goals, and translate what it takes to operate at the next level up – often lead to a higher return on investment. Cher Hill is a View Client Director, based in YSC’s London office. T: +44 (0)20 7520 5555 / email@example.com *International Coaching Psychology Review Vol. 8 No. 2 September 2013 pages 18–39.
YSC View Coaching supports Emerging Talent to transition across the key levels of leadership, focusing on the core areas of potential required to make such a transition a success. 27
Coaching & organisational change by Georgia Samolada
It is impossible to achieve change in organisations without helping individuals change first, argues Georgia Samolada.
These days, coaching is generally accepted as a ‘tool for change’ at an individual level – in fact, it is one of the most popular resources that organisations use to support senior executive development and facilitate behavioural change. Despite its demonstrated effectiveness at the individual level, however, coaching is rarely used to facilitate organisation-wide change. Why?
organisation’s goals. Yet, it seems obvious that if you align individual development goals with organisational performance goals, and multiply the effect by touching more people at once, then ‘wham!’ something very powerful can happen! In essence, you can create a movement – a collective effort to achieve something new or different that is critical to achieving organisational change.
It may be, in part, because coaching engagements are primarily focused on the needs of individuals rather than the
Most people can very easily name the problems that need to be addressed in their organisation, but they rarely see themselves
as contributors. In a similar vein, leaders are eager to ‘fix’ these issues, but are not often equipped to see how they are creating or sustaining the very problem they seek to change. It is therefore the critical role of coaches, HR professionals and leaders to build a bridge between individual behaviour and organisational performance in such a tangible and compelling way that individuals gain insight into how their behaviour enables or impedes the attainment of collective goals; and, in turn, how organisational norms and dynamics shape their own behaviours and assumptions. When this is done well, the results can be astounding.
Here are a few examples of how we make it work in practice...
Coaching is not the prerogative of consultants. In fact, more and more organisations are investing in coaching accreditations for their L&D professionals and their leaders. No matter what the organisational objectives are, the leadercoach is in the best position to engage, motivate, develop their people, and ultimately achieve improved performance. Organisations with coaching cultures not only have a stronger bench of talent, but they also develop more effective team and organisational learning processes – critical for sustaining growth in today’s market conditions.
Using coaching as a core element of leadership development programmes.
There are two forms this can take, and it is most effective to use both. First, people need to know ‘what good looks like’. Experienced coaches enable this by working on tangible issues linked to organisational goals, and
role-modelling what it looks and feels like to work with a coach. The second element is more explicit; it involves exposing leaders to models and key concepts around coaching and helping them find their own personal style through practice, exploration, and feedback. This can also take an ‘actionresearch’ form whereby participants try things out and then review and learn from their experience together with their peers.
Aligning personal purpose with organisational performance ambitions.
Coaching can also be used as a vehicle to help leaders identify their own personal sense of purpose and find ways of living this through their work. The aim is dual: to help them achieve a greater sense of self-fulfilment through their work; and to facilitate greater ownership of organisational ambitions. The coach helps the leader engage in a process of personal exploration and grapple with questions around motivation, meaning and sense of self. They then steer them towards a deeper understanding of the organisational purpose, values and performance objectives in order to identify the ‘sweet spot’ where personal and organisational purpose are in synergy. The outcome is a more genuine, engaging and ambitious leadership population that role-models behaviours congruent with the DNA of the business, in a way that is deeply personalised, to facilitate sustainable growth.
Supporting the top team and key talent as change catalysts in the organisation.
Coaching is also a powerful tool enabling leaders to explore the organisation’s future ambitions, the role they will play in shaping this future, and what personal shifts are needed to bring it about. Individual coaching in these cases goes hand in hand
If you align individual goals with organisational ones, then ‘wham!’ something very powerful can happen.
Embedding a coaching culture across the organisation to enhance performance.
with team coaching. Starting at the top, and gradually working through the organisation, teams work to align personal ambitions and objectives across organisational boundaries, and to ensure that these are in service of the whole system. Coaching is also offered to selected individuals across different functions and levels, who are seen as key influencers and catalysts for change. It gives them space to make sense of the change and their role in it, as well as to explore doubts and concerns, review experiences and take learnings as they go along. Regularly looking at themes emerging through the coaching across individuals and teams helps us understand where the potential barriers for organisational change lie. Coaching is still a very young discipline. Yet all of us who have been on the receiving end of it know it to be a powerful tool for awareness and change. As organisations get more savvy about managing their human capital, there seems to be an infinite possibility to use coaching in a more purposeful and systematic way. The result will be a more engaged and empowered workforce truly aligned, in a visceral way, with the organisation’s DNA and ambitions. Georgia Samolada is a Director, based in YSC’s London office. T: +44 (0)20 7520 5555 / firstname.lastname@example.org
important for the coach to understand the client in the context of their professional relationship, and to be able to reflect on themselves as part of that context. Essentially, the purpose is to allow coaches to review and reflect on their work – to enhance its quality and develop their coaching capability, so they can improve the value they bring both to the individuals they coach, and to the client organisation. Within YSC, it is expected that all coaches have regular supervision and this is also, increasingly, an expectation of our clients.
Coaches have needs too by Claire FitzGerald, Phil Whichello & Jonathan Bloom
Here Claire FitzGerald, Phil Whichello and Jonathan Bloom explore what coaching supervision is, and is not – and identify three common supervision dilemmas.
Coaching supervision is a relatively new practice, arising from the practice of supervision in counselling and psychotherapy. It has developed through recognition of the differences and similarities in the work of these professions. An important difference, however, is the systemic context in which coaching takes place. Relationships between coaches and their clients usually occur within complex organisational and professional contexts, as well as the wider family and social contexts of the client and coach. It is therefore
Bearing in mind that who we are as individuals is also how we coach, there are three main areas of focus: • Recognising and working with the impact of the coaching on the coach. • Developing the skills of the coach. • Ensuring ethical practice is maintained. A common misperception is that supervision mostly entails the supervisor passing on their expertise, as the ‘expert’. In fact, this role is about creating a space for the coach to explore issues in their coaching for themselves. A good metaphor might be that of the supervisor linking arms with the coach and wandering around a garden to examine it together.
What kinds of coaching dilemmas are taken to supervision? The specific issues taken to supervision are many and varied. How, for example, does a coach best work with a coachee who seems to want the coach to tell them what to do? What about the less-than-engaged coachee, who has not asked for coaching but is required to do it because he is on a leadership programme? What about the coach who constantly rescues her coachees? Or the coach who is overly reliant on models and tools?
1. Boundary issues: who knows what about whom? Line managers, regrettably, are often more honest with the coach than with the person they manage and it is quite common to supervise a coach who has a clearer, more accurate idea of the line manager’s views of the coachee, than the coachee does. This presents an ethical dilemma: should the coach tell the coachee what they know? What if the knowledge is that the line manager will shortly be sacking the coachee? The issue can often be avoided through having a meeting with both parties early in the coaching programme. This is standard YSC practice because as a coach we are in the service of both the individual coachee and the organisation (as represented by the line manager). The alignment of goals and expectations is crucial, and this conversation is a useful way to encourage transparency. There are similar ‘boundary’ issues when a coachee tells the coach they are planning on leaving the organisation, and would like to use the sessions to explore their transition into a challenging role in a new organisation. Supervision is helpful in exploring an appropriate response.
2. Bringing new insights to the relationship between a coach and coachee It often takes another person to notice some of the complicated dynamics of a coaching relationship. For example, a supervisor can frequently experience feelings that are being ‘disowned’, by the coach. In one case, a coach was describing their work with a coachee and the supervisor noticed that he was starting to feel very irritated with the coachee. It transpired the coachee often
‘forgot’ about sessions, or cancelled them at short notice, or turned up late. The coach had excused this on grounds that the coachee had a lot of pressure at work, was travelling a lot, and so on. Supervision helped her recognise that she was not as comfortable with the situation as she professed. In fact, she realised that she felt disrespected. The supervisor helped her to unpack her feelings and explore how she could broach the issue authentically with her coachee. Frequently, coaches use metaphors to describe their relationship with their coachee, e.g. “Every time I coach this manager, I feel like we are on a speeding train” or “Our conversations feel like ping-pong.” Metaphors are rich sources of exploration during supervision.
Think of it as the supervisor linking arms with the coach and wandering around a garden to examine it together.
Here are three common dilemmas that coaches often explore with their supervisors.
3. Managing unconscious, parallel processes Coaches must walk a fine line between being supportive and appropriately challenging of their clients. Remaining objectively empathetic is a goal, and this requires the coach to avoid the common pitfall we call
‘parallel process’ – when a problem faced by the coachee starts to play out in the coaching relationship, in part due to the coach taking on the emotions and feelings of the coachee. For example, one coach came to supervision saying that he was desperate to know how he could help a coachee resolve a dilemma. The coachee was unhappy in her role and in her organisation. She wanted to leave but felt stuck because a large financial bonus depended on her staying on for another two years. What could or should she do? The coach felt completely stuck. With the supervisor’s help, he realised he had become too enmeshed in the dilemma, and had somehow absorbed the difficult feelings being experienced. Observing the situation from a distance enabled him to explore possible ways forward. For example, on one occasion, the supervisor noticed that the coach sounded much less confident than usual. It emerged that during the previous coaching session, the coach had felt criticised by their coachee and in turn felt inadequate. The supervisor helped the coach to turn their attention back to their coachee: what was going on in the coachee’s world that might have made him want to criticise his coach? To cut a long story short, the coaching client had just been passed over for a job he thought he was more than capable of. So, psychologically, it was likely that the coachee was feeling inadequate and had ‘passed on’ (projected) the feeling in the form of an uncharacteristic criticism of their coach. Once the coach was able to see what had happened, she regained her equilibrium and was better able to support her coachee in the next session. Claire FitzGerald is a Managing Consultant, based in YSC’s Melbourne office. T: +61 (0)3 8679 4121 / email@example.com. Phil Whichello & Jonathan Bloom are both Directors, based in YSC’s London office. T: +44 (0)20 7520 5555 / firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com.
Coaching the coach Lessons from a reformed coaching imposter by Dominic Cottone I learned the hard way how to coach executives, says Dominic Cottone. In my earlier years, I relied on a few textbooks, articles, and my wits to get me by. But as I learned more about myself and about how others like to be coached, I realised it wasn’t so simple. Here are some of the hardest – and best – lessons I’ve learned from years of working one-on-one with executives. Can the canned. You show up with a report, a 360, and a development plan, and inform your coachee of the structure of the coaching process. But too much structure can feel restrictive to some folks, so always open it up to the coachee in your initial session. Ask how they respond to coaching and what type of structure they’ve envisioned. Tailor your approach accordingly. Facilitate, don’t force. You may hope to resolve every issue your coachee discusses with you. But rather than taking a directive approach, ask questions that generate self-discovery. Draw out observations. Help them glean new insights that lead to selfconstructed problem resolution. 32
Part strength, part development. Most leaders have a difficult time focusing on their strengths: they think they’re already leveraging them, so why bother talking about it? It’s important you take a balanced approach. Help them understand how their strengths and areas of development are actually interdependent. Understand their role. You don’t need to know every detail of what a Finance Director does, but you should have a good basic understanding of your coachee’s strategic priorities and daily activities. How did they get into the role? What are they trying to achieve? What are their blockers to success?
Trust and be trusted. Everyone establishes trust differently. But if you don’t get to know your coachee well, you might as well coach a cardboard box. Learn what motivates and inspires them. They won’t always like what you have to say – they will push back, or maybe even abruptly end conversations. Stay the course. You should know when to challenge and when to back off – and you must always do both with confidence. Know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em. Sometimes, no matter what you do and how hard you try, you just won’t be able to get results with your coachee. It might be chemistry, misunderstanding,
How to handle the ‘difficult’ coachee...
Some suggested responses to those who are less than thrilled to be sitting in your office. “I don’t need coaching. I’m only here because I was told I had no choice.” The issue. Their competence has gotten them this far in life, so their attitude tends to be, ‘why fix something that isn’t broken?’ The recommendation. Ask probing questions to get to the heart of why they believe they don’t need coaching. Maybe they’ve had a bad experience? Maybe they don’t agree with the people who organised it? Maybe they’re defensive about a 360 feedback? Don’t accept defeat in the moment. Challenge them to understand why their attitude may limit their growth. If they have to be there anyway, how could the time be spent productively? or simply a lack of time and focus. As a coach, you must know when to walk away and find alternative supporting mechanisms for your coachee. Celebrate the good times. At the beginning of your relationship, ask your coachee how they like to be celebrated and recognised. As you go on, celebrate their accomplishments and encourage them.
One final thing to ask: are you both enjoying the experience?
“I’ve never received negative feedback. Why must I be coached if I’m doing that well?” The issue. This person has been told since birth that they’re the golden child. They think coaching is for losers. The recommendation. Ask why they’ve never received constructive feedback. Are people intimidated to give it? Do they believe they have nothing to work on? Ask whether you can conduct stakeholder feedback to get a real picture of how others feel. Outline how great leaders like Abraham Lincoln embraced and benefited from coaching.
“I haven’t finished my coaching plan. And I haven’t read that article you sent me. And by the way, we will have to move our meeting out three months.” The issue. Your coachee might have every intention of investing in personal growth, but they’re refusing to make it a priority. The recommendation. Help them see what’s in it for them – and the consequences of not focusing time on themselves. You might need to set stronger ground rules for your relationship. Ask if they treat other relationships in a similar fashion? What happens when they do so?
“Everything is wrong, all of the time. No matter what I say or do, it’s not going to change” The issue. The eternal pessimist. The sceptical victim who perceives a gigantic, company-wide conspiracy to derail their leadership contributions. The recommendation. Confirm and reconfirm confidentiality. Listen intently and give them space to share their perspective; many just want to be heard. Once they’ve vented, use anecdotes to show that change is possible. Dominic Cottone is a Managing Consultant, based in YSC’s Chicago office. T: +1 (0)312 477 0560 / firstname.lastname@example.org
COACHING OUTSIDE OF THE BOX: Applying lessons from related disciplines
The mindful coach by Joanna Bleau
1. Kindness: A deep belief in the innate goodness of others. Kindness makes space for the coachee to be human and flawed without feeling self-reproach, self-hatred or inadequacy. The coach takes on the mantle of a non-judgemental companion, helping the coachee notice and tune in to the best in him or herself. Profound warmth and genuine caring become powerful forces for a relationship where change can happen.
2. Compassion: A sincere understanding of the suffering, pain and loss inherent in learning and change, meaning that the coachee does not have to try to represent 34
themself well, to look good. The quality of honesty and integrity that rings through compassion allows space for fresh exploration. The particular strength of compassion is that the coach can drop the need to manufacture ‘a good outcome’ and simply be with the coachee, wherever they are. The exploration itself becomes the objective, with awareness and honest appraisal being results in themselves.
The freedom to be simultaneously amused and curious at oneself is an intrinsic part of learning.
I confess to being something of a convert about mindfulness, writes Joanna Bleau. I want to channel the lightness, openness and the sense of possibility that I experienced when starting on the path of meditation and mindfulness practice. Here are the four qualities that I apply to underpin mindful coaching.
3. Equanimity: Accepting things exactly as they are; neither drawn to, nor repelled, by them. With this mindset, the coach can let go of his own inner dialogue and chattering commentary on the client’s words – giving his whole, profound attention. Not enticed into approval or
disapproval, the coachee can allow themselves to peel back a few layers of awareness. In equanimity, the coach is witness to their own mind, just as they are to the coachee’s. This allows him to move towards the client, with increased support; or to move back, allowing more space.
4. Joy: Finding humour and contentment in our shared human experience. The coach creates an environment where freedom to be simultaneously amused and curious at oneself are welcome as an intrinsic part of learning. It is evident when the coachee can freely smile and let go of a habit or emotion that is getting in the way of change. Joy brings a quality of lightness and playfulness that enables the exploration of possibility – opening up the coachee to exciting new territory.
Joanna Bleau is a Director & Head of YSC Scotland, based in our Edinburgh office. T: +44 (0)131 228 7940 / email@example.com
Getting unstuck: The five paths of least resistance When we’re blocked on a project or problem, we have a tendency to put our heads down and focus even more – possibly aided by a double espresso. Far better to follow nature and take the path of least resistance, argue Jennifer Purdon and Ginevra Drinka. Here are five tips.
As the psychologist Stellan Ohlsson explains, you need to inhibit the wrong solutions first so the right ones that exist in your unconscious brain come to your attention. When your brain is in a quiet state, you notice new signals.
1. Start moving:
Set aside 2 to 10 minutes to work on your project, even if it’s to do some planning. Set an alarm so you’ll work on a deadline. The brain likes certainty, especially when you’re playing ‘beat the clock’. The writer Anne Lamont argues in her popular book about writing, ‘Bird by Bird’, for the need to let go and write those ‘shitty first drafts’ that lead to clarity, and sometimes brilliance, in the second and third. When the alarm goes off, review what you’ve accomplished and congratulate yourself. Remember, many baby steps add up to big, bold actions.
Get up from your desk and walk around. Or stretch. The change in position will change your perspective. By getting your blood flowing, you’ll transport more oxygen to your brain, which craves it to function well. Better yet, go exercise. Increased physical activity helps produce endorphins, the brain’s feelgood neurotransmitters. You will feel calmer and you’ll be able to think more clearly. The Mayo Clinic calls this physical activity ‘meditation in motion’.
2. Distract yourself: Further Reading:
Diamond Mind: A Psychology of Meditation by Rob Nairn Shambhala Publications, 1999 The Mindful Workplace: Developing Resilient Individuals and Resonant Organizations with MBSR by Michael Chaskalson Wiley-Blackwell, 2011 Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life by Steven C Hayes New Harbinger, 2005
by Jennifer Purdon & Ginevra Drinka
Give yourself permission to let your mind wander, avoiding as much external stimulation as possible. Or do a repetitive, solitary activity that you enjoy, such as chopping onions, pulling weeds or knitting. During your time out, think about anything else but the project that’s got you stymied.
3. Get tiny:
4. Fantasise: Pretend you’re someone else – a super hero, a figure from history or an individual you admire. Ask yourself, “What would this person do if he or she were in my shoes?” You also can fantasise by fast forwarding the clock. Imagine you’ve successfully achieved your goal. What does success
look like? Work backwards and imagine the process you used to get there.
5. Partner up: Ask for help from others not involved in your project, be it co-worker, friend or coach. Because they are not up close and personal with your problem, they’re not caught up in the details and drama and can see past your blind spots – unlocking new thinking, options and possibilities. Jennifer Purdon, Managing Consultant & Ginevra Drinka, Intern are both based in YSC’s New York office. T: +1 212 661 9888 / firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Further Reading Deep Learning: How the Mind Overrides Experience by Stellan Ohlsson. 2011 How to have more insights, www. psychologytoday.com/blog/yourbrain-work/201009/how-have-moreinsights, by David Rock, Psychology Today, September 5, 2010 Mindset, The New Psychology of Success, by Carol Dweck, 2006 The Path of Least Resistance: Learning to Become the Creative Force in Your Own Life, by Robert Fritz, 1989 Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long, by David Rock, 2009
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