Our Approach to Coaching
Leadership is about engaging others to pursue and realize intended outcomes. This involves addressing a wide variety of complex opportunities and challenges, and interacting with individuals who have diverse views and personalities.
The leaders who do this well are versatile: they continuously expand their repertoire of leadership skills and behaviours in order to respond to different situations and people. They are tenacious learners: they figure out what they need to know and learn it. They recognize that over time and in different situations, the requisite leadership skills shift as the organization’s environment changes and as they progress through the organization: from individual contributor to first-time leader, from functional leader to general manager, and from executive to CEO.
Coaching helps leaders to accelerate and focus this learning, to:
Increase self-awareness, through objective data and insights, how their own personality characteristics shape their leadership skills and behaviours – strengths and limitations.
Fine-tune their leadership skills – what to keep doing, what to change, and how.
Sustain momentum until the modified behaviours become second nature.
In sum, coaching provides a systematic way to step back, obtain data, reflect, set goals, try out new approaches, refine and recalibrate.
Our combined 50 years of experience in coaching, plus research by academic scholars, has shown that coaching is effective as a stand-alone intervention or as an integral companion to a leadership development program.
Most recently, a 2020 study by the Center for Creative Leadership found that leaders, bosses and staff report that of leaders who engaged in coaching:
77-86% increased self-awareness
81-87% strengthened relationship skills
82-92% expanded efforts in developing others
80% enhanced their communications skills
89% reported increased clarity in how to manage through the turbulence, how to foster resilience for themselves and their team, while remaining focused on delivering the organization’s goals.
All of these improvements impacted teams, direct reports, colleagues, and the organization in terms of productivity, goal attainment, and engagement. (At ccl.org, see Coaching for Leaders: Why Executives Need Support, Especially in Times of Disruption, Andre Kell, The Center for Creative Leadership, Greensboro, NC, 2020)
We see coaching as a partnership in which our role is to bring a neutral, nonjudgmental, evidence-based framework -- to listen with compassion while challenging a client to stretch and grow. We help our clients take stock of how they’re doing, clarify their personal leadership characteristics, how those shape behaviors that work well and not-so-well, identify which to modify and how, and help to sustain momentum as they practice new behaviours. Our clients' role is to participate, reflect on the data and insights, examine the impact of their leadership, and commit to goals they set.
Coaching engagements vary depending on the situation and the client. A short engagement, 3 to 5 hours, would involve debriefing a leader’s 360, connecting it to the client’s experience, and helping the client to identify specific actions to take.
A longer engagement would focus on helping the client to expand his/her leadership skills for a potential promotion, or to address current challenges. It would typically involve 10 to 18 hours over 6 to 12 months, and might consist of:
Initial meeting.The client’s story: where been, where headed, current situation, and immediate goals.
1 to 3 Personality Inventories, selected for the client’s particular situation. We are certified in over 17 psychometric inventories.
A Multi-rater feedback and/or interviews with colleagues, boss, team and others.
A debrief meeting for personality inventories (and multi-rater feedback if included).
A meeting to refine goals, craft a plan and agree on immediate actions.
Subsequent meetings at regular intervals, and on-demand until initial goals are achieved.
We start by listening to the client’s story: where the client has been, where headed, current situation, and immediate goals. We select established psychometric assessments, relative to the client’s particular situation, to help the client get an objective read on his/her personality characteristics relative to leading and working. We may, with the client’s concurrence, supplement that with multi-rater (360) feedback from colleagues, team, boss and others. The objective is to develop a picture of why and how the client achieves results.
We then help the client to clarify his/her leadership behaviours (strengths and challenge areas), set goals, and outline a concrete plan to achieve them. We meet regularly to discuss progress and formulate ways to maintain momentum. Once goals are achieved, we either help the client to develop additional goals, or conclude the assignment. Currently in 2020, we meet with clients face to face via online services, and will meet in person once the current epidemic is under control.
Together we bring over 50 years of experience working inside organizations from Wall Street to the Arts, training and coaching leaders in public and private sectors in Canada and the US, including:
Foundation CEOs, Vice-presidents and directors
Muncipal CAOs, Commissioners, directors and leaders.
Accounting firm partners and CEOs.
Pharmaceutical CEOs, executives and managers.
High-Tech Investment Research CEO and leaders.
Arts Organizations and Museums Executive Directors, Directors and leaders.
Information Technology Vice-Presidents, Managing Directors and leaders.
Federal ADMs and leaders.
HR Vice-Presidents and Directors