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January 2013

The Coaching Leader

"The glue that holds all relationships together -- including the relationship between the leader and the led is trust, and trust is based on integrity."

… Brian Tracy (b. 1944) US author and motivational speaker 

Leadership and coaching have gone hand in hand for a long time. This is understandable as the idea of coaching stems from the sports domain where the coach was also seen as the key leader of the team. The idea of coaching beyond the sporting domain has become prevalent in recent times finding its way into life coaching and, more importantly for this article, organisations.

With leaders faced with ever-increasing change, complexity, pressure and stress, many organisations now engage a variety of organisational coaches to develop leaders, enhance resilience, build teams and generally improve performance. There is now a clear trend for people in leadership and management roles to also act as coaches. For many this is not just as simple as doing a two day coaching skills program and getting on with it.

To understand the challenge becoming a coach creates for many people, it is useful to look at a key difference between a sporting team and a business or similar organisation. This difference relates to the reason for the organisation's existence. For a sporting team, the reason it exists and its goals will tend to be very clear and limited to a specific domain. They will basically want to win the premiership or be top of the table in some way. The team may recognise they have some way to go and set their goals lower initially, but the end game will most likely be the same. It is fairly easy to see why the players, coaches, support staff and supporters have a clear sense of success and failure.

Business and community leaders face a different challenge. On the surface their organisations' reasons for existence and goals may be clear but the domains in which they operate tend to be significantly more varied and complex. Added to that is the wide variety of reasons why those who are part of such organisations are involved with them. In other words, there is often a greater complexity to the raison d'etre and goals of business and community organisations.

The key to effective leadership in an organisation is the capacity to create and maintain willing followers who cooperate to achieve meaningful goals. The challenge is the added complexity involved.

Effectively leading this expansive complexity requires significant abilities in the areas of relating, creating meaning, developing direction, gaining commitment in order to achieve success. These are domains in which good coaches excel. Accordingly there are many parallels between the domains of organisational coaching and leadership. The key difference between the two lies in whose agenda is important.

In coaching, the coach clearly works to serve the needs of their client, which are hopefully aligned with the needs of the organisation. The needs in the coaching domain are defined by the client. The leader’s agenda is more their own and that of their organisation. This difference implies that there is a significantly increased role for the ability to influence others when leading rather than coaching. Yet the way of being and skills of a coach clearly can be applied to leadership and the challenges of complexity and so on.

This distinction sets up what it means to be a Coaching Leader.

The Coaching Leader is one who possesses the way of being of a coach and who uses the skills of a coach to influence others and so creates and maintains willing followers who cooperate to achieve meaningful goals.

This emerging need for leaders to be coaches is starting to blossom around the world and is being seen by some as the next wave of management development.

If you are interested in finding out more then Jacqui and our American colleague, Denver Hudson, will be presenting a webinar, "The Coaching Leader", at the HR.com virtual conference, Developing Organizational Leadership Capabilities, to be held on Tuesday January 29th between 7.30 and 8.30am AEDT.

This is proving to be a popular topic as, at the time of writing this e-zine, well over three hundred people had already enrolled to attend!

Click here for more details of how you can listen in.

We invite you to explore more articles on being human in the articles section of our web site.

Pause for Possibility

"The man who is too old to learn was probably always too old to learn."

… Henry S. Haskins

Given our topic this month, we would like to invite you to reflect on your leadership style.

  • How well do you create meaning for those you lead?
  • How clear are the shared goals?
  • How do you ensure commitment to those goals?
  • How successful do you and your followers feel?

We invite you to challenge the assumptions you make when you first answer these questions and go beyond what first comes to mind. Good luck and write to us if you want to explore your answers further!

If you are on FaceBook you might like to check out the Pause for Possibilities Project where Jacqui speaks about the "bucket tree"! Just click here.

Something New

Starting soon, we are going to offer the opportunity to be part of some online conversations to learn more about the ontological approach and its application.

We are currently establishing a series of newsletters that cover the basics of the ontological approach to coaching. Following each newsletter, we will host a free panel conversation for people who are interested in exploring these ideas beyond what is written. We are also looking at hosting further weekly conversations where we look at how those ideas apply to the areas of accountability, leadership and transformation. Places in these conversations will be limited as we want those involved to be able to actively participate in the conversation.

More details to follow...

Some Plugs

Webinar: The Coaching Leader

How to lead engagement, accountability and productivity through coaching.

Jacqui and our American colleague, Denver Hudson, will be presenting a webinar, "The Coaching Leader", at the HR.com virtual conference, Developing Organizational Leadership Capabilities, to be held on Tuesday January 29th between 7.30 and 8.30am AEDT.

This webinar poses the question and explores some answers as to “How coaching applies to leading?” This webinar highlights the importance of "The Coaching Leader", looks at the parallels between leading and coaching and includes some practical coaching applications that can be readily applied to leadership.

This highly practical session will offer you new perspectives on leading others as well as easy to apply coaching tools designed to increase engagement, foster accountability and boost productivity that you can use straight away.

Jacqui and Denver will share with you a paradigm shifting coaching approach to leading that allows you to pinpoint fundamental causes of disengagement, unreliability and low productivity. They will then share some ideas about how to create the conditions that cultivate enjoyment, responsibility and achievement.

A number of people enquired about the process for participating in our upcoming complimentary “The Coaching Leader” webinar being hosted by HR.com. Here's how you do it.

If you are not a member of www.HR.com - it’s free to join! Just click here and you will be taken to the page that details our webinar.

At the top right of the page is a bright green “Sign Up Now! It’s FREE!” button. That’s where you click on to register on HR.com. You can log in through your Facebook or LinkedIn accounts if you have one.

You can put in the bare minimum or create a comprehensive profile! It’s up to you!

Once you have registered on the site you can then click on this link again.

There you’ll find a link “Register for the Virtual Conference to obtain schedule and webcast registration information.”

A couple more steps…

You then click a button to register for the event and scroll down to pick our webinar event “The Coaching Leader: How to Lead Engagement, Accountability & Productivity through Coaching” which is scheduled in Eastern Time (ET) on Monday January 28 3.30-4.30pm (Tuesday 29 January 07.30-08.30am AEDST in Melbourne). Please account for this in your own time zone.

Click the blue “Register Now” button to attend the webinar. Some people have received their confirmation email from this step others need to continue. I recommend you follow these steps to be sure.

You’ll then need to use the red button to ENTER THE EVENT find “The Coaching Leader” webinar and click the black “Attend Webcast” button. This will provide you with unique details for your entry to the webinar.

Save all these details and allow yourself plenty of time to log in to the webinar if you are a first time user as it can take a while for the software to load initially.

We know there are a few steps to get on the dance floor - we promise it will be well worth it!

Public Workshop: Solving the Accountability Puzzle.

Do you find that:

  • You have concerns about some or all of your co-workers' capabilities and contributions;
  • People around you do not do what they say they will do and yet no-one seems to do anything about them, or if someone does take action to address their shortcomings, it makes no difference;
  • People avoid making commitments to you; or
  • Some people seem to do most of the work?

If these situations sound familiar to you, then you are not alone. They are common problems arising from poor organisational accountability.

Accountability continues to be a recurring theme in our work. Indeed we believe that accountability, along with engagement and productivity, form the big three areas of concerns within organisations today.

Creating a "culture of accountability" is NOT about creating a culture of punishment. When correctly understood and applied, accountability not only creates greater efficiency and therefore productivity, it provides for reduced stress and better working relationships.

Our 2012 accountability workshops have been fantastic and a great success and we will be running our next “Solving the Accountability Puzzle” workshop in March 2013.

This workshop is designed to give you a straight-forward and practical approach to addressing your accountability concerns and is ONLY $125.75 inclusive of booking fees and GST. This is remarkable value for a half-day workshop.

The workshop is on Wednesday 6th March between 8:30am & 12:30pm. Due to the highly interactive nature of the session, seating is limited, so get in quick!

You can find more information and check out what attendees at previous sessions have had to say about their experience by visiting our web site page on accountability.

Alternatively you can go straight to EventBrite and register today.


The Monthly Diversion

As I approach another birthday, I couldn't resist a little dig at myself getting older. Please laugh at my expense! ...

The Perks of Getting Old

  • There is nothing left anymore to learn the hard way.
  • Things that you buy now won't wear out.
  • Your supply of brain cells is finally down to a manageable size.
  • You no longer think of the speed limit as a challenge.
  • Your investment in health insurance is finally paying off.
  • You can quit trying to hold in your stomach no matter who walks into the room.
  • Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can't remember them anyway.
  • You can sing along with elevator music.
  • Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the guy on the television.
  • Your eyes won't get too much worse.
  • Kidnappers are not very interested in you.
  • People call you at 9 p.m. and ask, "Did I wake you???? "
  • You can get into a heated argument about pension plans.
  • You can eat dinner at 4:00 in the afternoon.
  • In a hostage situation you are the most likely to be released first.
  • No one expects you to run -- anywhere.
  • You are no longer viewed as a hypochondriac.

Well, I feel better for getting all that out in the open anyway!


"If life were just, we would be born old and achieve youth about the time we'd saved enough to enjoy it."

… Jim Fiebig

Talking About Coach Training

The Coaching Leader

ANZIOur coach training program is not just for people wanting to become a professional coach. Currently, there is a very strong focus on leaders as coaches and this program is ideal for anyone who wants to move beyond the surface approach of attending a training session or two and dive into the depths to develop a highly constructive leadership style.

There are three obvious challenges for leaders in today's organisation:

Engagement, Accountability and Productivity.

A constructive leadership style leads to the creation and maintenance of willing followers. To do so, requires the application of the "Leadership Cycle". Based on Talking About's effective conversation model, the Leadership Cycle is focused on creating engagement and generating and managing commitments to ensure accountability. This leads to greater productivity and achievement demonstrating the value of the shared meaning and thereby closing the loop. Without this closure, leaders may be able to initially create willingness in their followers but struggle to maintain it. There are many parallels between coaching and leadership. Effective coaching requires high levels of trust, so does effective leadership. Effective coaching involves a good understanding of the human condition, so does effective leadership. Effective coaching involves a high level of expertise in communicating with others, so does leadership. The key difference between good leadership and good coaching lies in whose agenda is the most important. For a coach, it is their client's agenda. For leaders, it is their own agenda balanced to some degree with that of their followers. If you are someone who is attracted to the idea of leading others through the use of coaching techniques, then we can tailor the program to suit those needs. If you wish to undertake our Professional Coach Program with a view to becoming a "Coaching Leader", in addition to learning the ontological coaching skills and having the opportunity to gain a Professional Certification through ANZI Coaching, you will also learn how to be a constructive leader through:

  1. An understanding of the Human Synergistics circumplex and how this relates to leadership;
  2. A deeper understanding of how to create authority through trust and its role in influencing others;
  3. The differences between leading and managing people; and
  4. An understanding of the "Leadership Cycle" and how your patterns of being and conversation can support and nourish this cycle.

Finally, one of the great benefits of undertaking our program is that, in addition to all the learning, you get your own coach for the period of your enrollment in the program. Added together, we believe that this program can be the ideal way to develop you as a "coaching leader".

We are very proud of our program and the quality of the graduates we produce. So if you are interested in finding out more then we invite you to visit our web site or write to us at info@talkingabout.com.au.

Join Us Online

Do you want to explore some of these ideas in more depth? Then, we invite you to join our LinkedIn or Facebook group depending on your preference and share any insights you may have. You can find us on LinkedIn by clicking here or on Facebook by clicking here.

Want to Read More?

Since the formation of Talking About in 2005, we have published our e-zine every month. Before that, Chris wrote regular newsletters and e-zines with Gaia Consulting dating back to 1995. If you would like to explore more of Chris' ideas then you can access our e-zine archive and view any newsletter written since 2005 by clicking here or to look at all the articles Chris has written over the years simply click here.

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St Kilda Rd Central,
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Ph: +613 9504 3558

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