What does good look like?

January 15, 2013

thumbs upFor the past two weeks I’ve been working with two executive teams that have been struggling in getting sustainable change with their people.  Sound familiar?  In one case it was determined to be the professional confidence in them to hold others accountable for behavior that would control the activity they needed to achieve results.  The challenge was that the individuals being coached did not understand what the activity looked like, in other words, they had no idea what good looked like. In the other case, it had to do with building a relationship with another internal team in which conflict had arisen in the past.  Regardless, leadership needs to emerge.   The broken team and individual relationships between team members was hurting customer impact and business outcomes.

In the first scenario it was about coaching peers and subordinates to a higher performance in order to achieve sustainable results after the leaders interaction had ended.  Have you ever been there? In your mind you have  explained what it is you want done with clear expectations, people nod in agreement, ask few questions, and  you are convinced they got it.  So you walk away; when you return, almost zero progress has been made.   In fact, one executive commented to me, “John, why do I have all the dummies reporting to me?”   Hmmmm… allow me to dig a little deeper.

Briefly allow me to remind you of a few coaching fundamentals.  When coaching or developing talent for any task or activity there are six steps or sectors that are involved when working with people.  If we buy into servant leadership where our major role is to help, verse control people we will intentionally work through all six sectors. Now understand all sectors will not be given equal time and effort.  Clearly it depends on the urgency of the situation or on the task or activity that has been assigned. The following list is from Bartell & Bartell, the executive profiling organization that is our assessment specialist, who do all of our scientific work with executives and executive teams.

The six sectors or steps are as follows:

Instruction or telling step

Advising or coaching step

Partnering step

Empowering/delegating step

Self-Initiation step

Adjustment or “raise the bar” step

Note:  The above 6 sectors are from Bartell & Bartell. LLC. Leadership Alignment Index Assessment

What I have discovered is that many senior executives (including myself) fly by sector two, the advising and coaching step, mainly due to time constraints and assumptions.  Ahh…here seems to be the heart of the issue of noncompliance and perceived poor results.  The challenge is at this step we must slow down and follow the coaching wheel that has 5 steps with constant feedback and back loops until the person we are coaching has demonstrated understanding rather than just the nod of the head; claiming understanding.  Think of the 5 steps below as a wheel with loop backs at every step:

Demonstrate or tell

Do it for them…show them

Do it with them…force involvement and action

Have them do with only your observation

Give feedback and loop back to the necessary 4 steps immediately above

Coaching is so important in establishing Level 5 leadership.  If your team is struggling, we can help put the above process in context for you.  We can scientifically measure which sector is most challenging for any individual on your team or look at an over-all team weakness and help your team refine its ability to coach and achieve the business outcomes.  This is the new Dale Carnegie and how we work with executive teams to help our clients achieve extradinary results.

Coaching points: (A) The higher we work with teams within your organization the greater the impact on your business.  (B) The above 5 coaching steps can be done in minutes (coaching a simple task like assigning a team) or over months (coaching a complex issue like running a town hall meeting).  (C) Sector two coaching allows us to be helpful rather than perceived as controlling, the core attitude of Level 5 Leadership.

Human Relations Principle of the Week:

Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.

Dale Carnegie

Photo credit: investorsedgeuniversity.com

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