leadership

Are Your Leaders Coaching? Or Are They Doing Something else entirely?

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 I often hear leaders today talk about the fact that they are coaching their staff. However, when I ask them more about their conversations, they are not in fact coaching, but often telling, teaching or mentoring their staff.

 Coaching is a very specific relationship, marked by a specific type of communication. According to an August 14, 2018 Harvard Business Review article by Julia Milner: “managers tend to think they’re coaching when they’re actually just telling their employees what to do.”

According to Sir John Whitmore, a leading figure in executive coaching, the definition of coaching is “unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.” When done right, coaching can also help with employee engagement; it is often more motivating to bring your expertise to a situation than to be told what to do.

An ongoing study on the topic that analysed more than 900 recorded evaluations of “coaching conversations,” showed that when many managers were asked to “coach,” they instead demonstrated a form of consulting. They provided the other person with advice or a solution. Regularly heard were comments like, “First you do this” or “Why don’t you try this?”

The author’s research looked specifically at how you can train people to be better coaches. The good news is that managers can improve their coaching skills in a short amount of time, but they do have to invest in learning how to coach in the first place.

The research looked specifically at how you can train people to be better coaches by focusing on analysing the following nine leadership coaching skills, based on the existing literature and practical experiences of leadership coaching:

· listening

· questioning

 giving feedback

· assisting with goal setting

· showing empathy

· letting the coachee arrive at their own solution

· recognizing and pointing out strengths

· providing structure

· encouraging a solution-focused approach

After a short training program aimed at teaching managers to improve coaching competencies, the result was a 40.2% increase in overall coaching ability ratings across all nine categories, on average.

Consider the key takeaways from this research:

1.   Be clear on what coaching is and what it isn’t.

2.   Let leaders practice coaching in a safe environment before working with their own teams.

3.   Invest in some form of training that includes time for participants to reflect on their coaching skills. Ask “what’s working” and “what can we do better?”

4.   Feedback from coaching experts in order to improve is helpful; how well are the coaching skills being applied.

5.   Consider regular peer coaching, in the presence of a coaching expert to provide a safe environment, and to facilitate discussions about how to overcome coaching challenges.

So, leaders take note. Coaching may not be what you thought. But real coaching leads to increased accountability and increased outcomes and problem solving. Coaching can be a significant opportunity for leaders and staff to embrace and coaching can be learned.

In designing an approach, consider the importance of learning effective coaching to ensure that leaders are not reinforcing poor coaching practices among themselves.

Wanting to create a coaching culture in your organisation? Send me an email at michelle@bakjacconsulting.com to discuss coach training for leadership.

Michelle Bakjac is an experienced Psychologist, Organisational Consultant, Coach, Speaker and Facilitator. As Director of Bakjac Consulting, she is a credentialed Coach with the International Coach Federation (ICF) and a member of Mental Toughness Partners and an MTQ48 accredited Mental Toughness practitioner. Michelle assists individuals and organisations to develop their Mental Toughness to improve performance, leadership, behaviour and wellbeing.

 

What Will Make Your Staff Reach For The Sky?

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I had such a great time presenting at the CPA Congress in Adelaide last week and met so many great people. In the afternoon session, I had the opportunity to sit in on a session with Zrinka Lovrencic from Great Place To Work. She facilitated a session on workplace culture and engagement and I thought I would share with you some of her insights.

Did you know that worldwide only 13% of employees are engaged at work? That’s a pretty shocking statistic.

In Australia, we are slightly better. 24% of Australians are engaged in their work (we are only 2nd world wide behind the USA), but 60% of staff are actively disengaged. That’s a big drain on productivity in the average workplace.

Another startling statistic from Zrinka’s research is that only 12% of CEOs globally believe they are driving the right culture in their organisation. So really, is it any surprise that only 13% of employees are engaged at work?

It seems that when it comes to employee engagement, staff don’t actually need Segway’s and ball pits and casual clothes day.

The 3 things that employees want in their work place are:

1)   To have PRIDE in what they do.

2)   ENJOY the people they work with.

3)   TRUST who they work for.

It’s not really rocket science at the end of the day is it? So why do so many workplaces really make it so much more complicated than it needs to be??

So how does an organisation create this culture?

To have PRIDE in what they do.

·        Develop – encourage personal and professional growth while nourishing unique talent.

·        Thank – recognise and express acknowledgment for achievement, intent and effort. Inform, advocate for and reward people in ways that are transparent and far thinking outside the box.

·        Care – Act on opportunities to support employees in balancing work and life and in responding to personal situations.

It was noted that if staff engagement is over 80%, sick leave usage falls to approximately 1 day per year. If staff engagement is under 20%, staff utilise their full sick leave and annual leave entitlements every year.

To ENJOY the people they work with.

Working together as a team

·        Hire  - focus on hiring for potential and cultural fit. Welcome in unique ways that integrate new hires and transfers into the family.

·        Celebrate – facilitate opportunities for people to engage in social interaction to encourage an atmosphere of camaraderie.

·        Share – Involve employees in the company’s efforts to contribute to the community.

To TRUST who they work for.

So as to achieve organisational objectives

·        Inspire – Bring meaning to people’s work by fostering personal pride, recognising and promoting your company’s unique culture and living and communicating the organisation’s mission.

·        Speak – communicate in a meaningful and accessible way with others and encourage them to do the same. (By the way, there is such a thing as too much communication)

·        Listen – cultivate an environment that invites and embraces employee involvement and input.

So do a quick checklist on the above against your organisation. Are the staff jumping for joy, or are they running for the hills?

Michelle Bakjac is an experienced Psychologist, Wellbeing Strategist, Leadership and Wellbeing Coach, Speaker and Facilitator. As Director of Bakjac Consulting, she is a credentialed Coach with the International Coach Federation (ICF) and a member of Mental Toughness Partners and an MTQ48 accredited Mental Toughness Practitioner.  Michelle assists individuals and organisations to develop their Mental Toughness to improve performance, leadership, behaviour and wellbeing.  You can find her at www.bakjacconsulting.com or michelle@bakjacconsulting.com

 

How Can Leaders Develop Their Teams Growth Mindset?

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One of the roles of a leader is to “create more leaders, not more followers”.

On so many occasions, I witness leaders within organisations “telling” their staff what to do and how to do it, rather than empowering staff to make their own choices, experience their own mistakes (and learn from them) and take accountability and responsibility. Instead they are often led by the nose so they are never able to make an independent decision with confidence.

What I also regularly observe is that when leaders provide feedback and praise, what they often do is reward “ability” rather than reward “effort”. But what does this do to the mindset of their staff?

I was reading Carol Dweck’s famous book “Mindset” again last night and one of the experiments she conducted and explains in her book resonated with me. She posed the question, “If people have such potential to achieve, how can they gain faith in their potential?”

The issue is that when we praise ability in order to convey that they “have what it takes”, we keep people focused on a fixed mindset. It’s recognised that people with a fixed mindset already focus too much on their ability: The issue posed is whether this kind of praise actually encourages people. To find out, Dweck conducted a study.

Dweck took hundreds of students and gave each student a set of 10 fairly difficult problems from a nonverbal IQ test.

When finished – the students were praised.

The first group were told– “Wow, you must be really smart at this”

The second group were told – “”Wow, You must have worked really hard” (they were not made to believe they had a special gift, they were praised for doing what it takes to succeed).

Both groups were exactly equal to begin with. However right after the praise, they began to differ.

The ability praise pushed students right into the fixed mindset. In fact, when they were given a challenging new task to perform which they could learn from – they rejected the opportunity. They didn’t want to do anything which could expose their flaws and call their talent into question.

In contrast, when students were praised for effort, 90% wanted the challenging new task that they could learn from.

Next, the students were given some hard new problems, which they did not do so well on. The ability students now thought they were not that smart after all. If success had meant they were intelligent, then less than success meant they were deficient.

But – the effort students simply thought that difficult meant they had to “apply more effort”. They didn’t see it as a failure, and they didn’t think it reflected on their intellect.

Now what about their enjoyment when completing the problems? After the initial success, everyone loved the problems. But after the more difficult problems, the ability students said it wasn’t fun anymore. However… the effort students still loved the problems and many of them in fact said the harder problems were the most fun.

Dweck then looked at the student’s performance. After the experience with difficult tasks, the performance of the ability-praised students plummeted, even after they were given more of the easier problems. They had lost faith in their ability. However the effort students showed better and better performance. They basically used the hard problems to sharpen their skills, so when they returned to the easier ones, they were way ahead.

Since this was an IQ test, Dweck actually concludes that you might say praising ability lowered the student’s IQs and that praising their effort raised them.

Given these insights, how could you utilise this knowledge as a leader with your staff?

Want to know more about praising effort so as to develop a growth mindset and mental toughness in your team. Send me an email at michelle@bakjacconsulting.com to enquire about building your team’s potential.

Michelle Bakjac is an experienced Psychologist, Wellbeing Strategist, Coach, Speaker and Facilitator. As Director of Bakjac Consulting, she is a credentialed Coach with the International Coach Federation (ICF) and a member of Mental Toughness Partners and an MTQ48 accredited Mental Toughness practitioner. Michelle assists individuals and organisations to develop their Mental Toughness to improve performance, leadership, behaviour and wellbeing. You can find her at www.bakjacconsulting.com or michelle@bakjacconsulting.com

Actions You Can Take Every Day To Build Confidence As A Leader

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Last week I facilitated a full day session on Mental Toughness for leadership with over 50 senior leaders in a large organisation.

The Managers all completed an MTQ48 (psychometric assessment to measure Mental Toughness) to gain a complete picture of their overall Mental Toughness as well as their ratings on each of the 4Cs of Control, Commitment, Challenge and Confidence.

It really was a great session, but I must admit my favourite exercise of the day was asking the team to separate into groups of 4 and 5 and consider the Confidence C. Their task was to first think of all they could do to build their own confidence and second of all, what they could do to build the confidence of members of their team. What we ended up with was a fantastic list of opportunities.

When they had finished with their lists, I asked them how many of these really great opportunities they actually carried out on a day to day basis. They admitted it was not as many as they would have liked.

Have a look down the list they came up with. How many do you engage in as an individual or as a leader on a daily basis? For example, do you undertake the simple exercise of reflection? Do you sit in a quiet spot at the end of the day and reflect on what went well, what you are proud of and what your team achieved? If not, why not?

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Want to know more about improving your Mental Toughness and your Confidence C? Send me an email at michelle@bakjacconsulting.com to enquire about training and coaching to build strategies to enhance Mental Toughness.

Michelle Bakjac is an experienced Psychologist, Organisational Consultant, Coach, Speaker and Facilitator. As Director of Bakjac Consulting, she is a credentialed Coach with the International Coach Federation (ICF) and a member of Mental Toughness Partners and an MTQ48 accredited Mental Toughness practitioner.  Michelle assists individuals and organisations to develop their Mental Toughness to improve performance, leadership, behaviour and wellbeing.  You can find her at www.bakjacconsulting.com or michelle@bakjacconsulting.com