Stakeholder Centered Coaching


There is tale of a yogi, who had spent years in a Himalayan cave on retreat. He was meditating for a long time. One day a traveller came by and, seeing the yogi, asked him what he was doing. “I am meditating on patience,” the yogi said.

“In that case” replied the traveller, “you can go to hell!”

To which the yogi angrily retorted, “you can go to hell!”[1]

Coming back to Leadership Development, we can see similarity in the behaviour of the yogi and a leader.

Let us assume that during the leadership development process leader and coach identify an area to improve the leadership effectiveness, namely listening. Coach works with the leader. Coach and leader meet from time to time. Leader learns a lot of tools and techniques, increases awareness on what to do and what not to do to listen carefully.

Following the coaching sessions, when the leader interrupts the conversation partner during a meeting.

Leader will realize that she was not listening. Furthermore people working with her will say, “She still doesn’t know how to listen”.

In fact: leader did not improve her listening skills.

This is what people around the leader (Stakeholders) see and perceive.

Perception is reality.

As long as the leader is not able to demonstrate improved skills within the environmentwhere she is acting, there will be hardly a leadership growth.

Leader may believe that she has improved, but in reality she did not.

The leader changes behaviors and perceptions through execution on the job.

Why to involve stakeholders in coaching process?

  • Stakeholders experience day to day the „behavior“, „leadership style“ of the leader.
  • Stakeholders want leader to be successful, so that they can succeed too.
  • Stakeholders want to help leader; they want to contribute in leadership effectiveness.

How to involve stakeholders in coaching process?

  • Use 360° assessments and conduct interviews with key stakeholders.
  • Work with stakeholders who want to see and believe in improvement in leader’s behavior.
  • Use Feed Forward with stakeholders developed by Marshall Goldsmith.

The test of the real improvement in leadership effectiveness is the life, the real environment itself where the leader acts daily, not in isolated coaching sessions. This is done best when we involve stakeholders.

What do you think? As you learn from me, I learn from you.

 

Leading Through Listening is the foundation based on which Ilker Demirel provides top executives and teams with effective business solutions and practical leadership applications that deliver measurable results for their specific organizational challenges. Ilker Demirel is an Executive Coach, Certified at Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching (MGSCC).

MGSCC profile

[1] I have taken this tale from the fantastic book about how meditation changes our body, mind and brain “Altering Traits” by Daniel Goleman and Richard J. Davidson.

 

Leadership effectiveness: how to be aware of our perception lens

Perception is edited observation“ David R. Hawkins

We demonstrate leadership in all our decisions, actions, and behavior. Our decisions are very much steered by the feelings we attach to our thoughts. The thoughts are generated by our assumptions, which are formed by beliefs, values. Whatever we see and perceive is the evidence of believes through behavior.

We filter out the behaviors or observed things on which we do not believe, wherefrom the statement, like „unbeliaveable“ may coming.

Our perception lenses are shaped by -among others- with family patterns, cultural values, environmental factors, religious trainings, all kind of conditioning, etc.  Consequently everyone has its own perception lens. 

Whatever is seen and observed is eventually relative. Human relationship is relative too. Also the communication is relative.

Everyone creates its own reality through its perception. So, perception is reality. Whether we like it or not.

The challenge is accepting/embracing the reality. That makes the difference for a leader.

In leadership development it is crucial to understand the components of our own perception lens and their impact on our behavior. Once we look at it have the clarity, we can take necessary action to work on changing the behavior or changing the believe.

Here is a small exercise you can make use of it as a leader for yourself or with your team. The idea is increasing the awareness…and having continuous dialog on it.

Beforehand: please create a trustful, respectful environment and ask for the permission of participants to run this personal, provoking exercise. People should feel safe.

I call this the  ladder of perception. Here are the steps:

  1. Identify a remarkable event, where a second person was involved. It does not matter whether positive, negative or neutral event. It works best with an event, where conflict was, but again, it does not matter, since the process is the same.
  2. What was this event? Just write down.
  3. What did you do? Just write down.
  4. What were your feelings, before you did something and during your action? Just write down.
  5. What were your thoughts at that time? Just write down.
  6. Wherefrom did those thoughts come? What did you assumed, so that you thought the way you think? Just write down.
  7. Why did you do this assumption? Just write down, like: I had this assumption, because …(here comes the belief)…

Now, invite yourself or your team to find a partner and share your findings.

What did you discover? What is determining your actions, behavior?

What can we do? How to deal with our perception lenses?

Have a dialog, dialog and the process is the key. That creates awareness, builds new culture.

If you liked it, give it a try; share it with your community.

 

 

Listening

ListeningWhy listening makes you a better leader and and increases the self-confidence our your colleagues, empowers your teams?

Let us imagine that someone is coming to us with a problem.

And we are listening.

What may happen with us is to check in our database/thoughts (values, beliefs, experiences..) whether we had similar problem as she and what were the consequences of that problem in our case. Everything what she says is internally interpreted, evaluated by us.

With this information we get very much involved in the conversation and we sympathize with her.

This moment can be a good sign for not listening. Yes, this is not listening; it is the start of dealing with ourself, with our thoughts.  If the problem is not fitting into our „list“ of „advices“ we get irritated. Irritation comes from fear and we feel out of control.

What is out of control?

So, what to do not to fall into the trap of „being out of control“?

  1. create an intention to be curios.
  2. be courageous to explore new territories.
  3. and, „see“ that you are at no time out of control, since there is NO control at all

What do we do when we listen?

  1. We listen what she says,
  2. We listen to the tone of what she says,
  3. We listen to our heart, body what it says, without judging

We do this by letting go of the desire to stabilize, control the life, which is continuously changing.

This way of listening supports your colleague. She sees the problem with clarity, which gives her more confidence to solve it. She gains more trust towards you as a leader.

You as a leader have proven again your trust to your colleague, that she can solve problems and by listening you have learned a lot more about yourself as a leader.

You have extended your new areas to discover.

„Great leader have great teams“ is no more an illusion once your intention is stronger than your fear.

 

Agile Transformation is a Cultural Transformation

For good reasons many organizations have chosen to go through  an „agile transformation“ while using Scrum as a framework for complex product development processes.

This transformation is a journey and impacting the way of working, the behavior.

With the positive attitude, enthusiasm  and the genuine commitment from both top and down the transformation starts very well. After a while -even in the development teams the transformation shows the expected results- at wider range in the company the transformations slows, even more the transformation becomes something for „development only“. Old behaviors comes back and it starts limiting the growing space of agile teams. As a result the progress of those teams reach a „plateau“, where they do not grow anymore and even worse it may start to shrink. Shrinking becomes  visible with less employe engagement and lack of trust between the teams and disconnect towards higher management.

Those may be the warning signs „lost energy“ (hard: money/cash; soft: internal cohesion) caused by frictions, which require everyone to think and act. In other words: transformation is most likely going to fail and it will be only a „change“: framework is adapted but the behavior remains the same as before.

What could be the reasons for that?

Agile Transformation is a „Cultural Transformation“. Why? Scrum is giving a framework and asking to change the way of working and embracing the following values: commitment, focus, courage, openness and respect. Those values are positive and everyone agrees on the importance.

Values are „real values“, if they are lived daily by demonstrating them with behavior and taken as a „decision criteria“. Printing them with large letters and putting everywhere does not help, if the behavior is not reflecting the value itself. As the culture is developed by behavior, the transformation we are looking for is cultural transformation: moving from the old towards a new one.

If the mentioned values are not lived or they can not be lived due to „potentially limiting“ values in an organization (like: hierarchy, blame, micro-management), then the envisioned agile transformation will have hard time to flourish.

7-LevelsLet us take the Seven Levels Of Consciousness of Richard Barrett (Barrett Values Centre) and map the Scrum Values. Respect level 2, Focus level 3, Courage level 4, Commitment and Openness level 5. Even if it’s possible to act on different level of organizational consciousness at the same time, the challenge will be the following: if the organization has not mastered the level 1 (financial stability) and level 2 (positive relationships) due to e.g. potentially limiting values of blame and micro-management, it will be challenging to have working „openness and commitment“. We often hear: „we have given the people all the freedom, but they are not taking responsibility“. Why? Good question: why people are hesitant…?

What could be a way to go?

No matter whether you are in the transformation process or just about to start it:

  1. TRPCoach everyone in the company The Responsibility Process® created by Christopher Avery: „which mental state we are choosing when we face a problem/upset“, to learn how to take responsibility.
  2. Measure your culture, yes it is measurable (Values Centre). Share the results with employees and take actions and commit to change the culture.
  3. Support everyone with appropriate coaching during their personal transformation.

Here is the challenge: this is a personal transformation. It requires personal commitment. Organizations do not transform, transform people do!