Monday, September 24, 2012

The "Right" Start

A change in management can quickly derail even the most productive teams as they attempt to understand how to work with the new leader. Most of the time the transition from "old" leader to "new" leader happens slowly. Even when the work remains unchanged, there is a recognized change in the environment. Folks need to understand the style of the new leader and what to expect.  Expectations need to be redefined and exchanged.  Most of the time, this learning occurs over time.

By implementing a structured, new leader assimilation process the transition of the new leader can be managed much more smoothly and productively.  It allows for the team to get to know and understand their new leader much faster and also provides the new leader with some critical information about his/her team.  

A new leader assimilation process usually consists of a custom plan, facilitated meetings, and targeted follow up. The result is a faster integration of the new leader into the organization.  A new leader assimilation process generally consists of the following:
  • Preparation and analysis
    • Understand strengths of new leader
    • Select facilitator/coach
    • Determine whether assessment/interviews will be needed
    • Understand the main mission/goals/experience of the team
    • Establish meeting goals
  • Facilitated meeting with team - By skilled facilitator/coach
    • New leader shares information about him/her self
    • Team members ask questions to learn about the leader
    • Team members are provided opportunity to share any concerns without the leader present (anonymity is preserved)
    • New leader is debriefed and meets with team to address questions and concerns to build understanding and alignment
  • Meetings with peers and manager
    • New leader meets with colleagues to gain insight on the culture, values, and priorities of the organization
    • Emphasis is to understand first, to act later
  • Follow up
    • New leader receives feedback and coaching from facilitator/coach
    • A specific 90 day plan is developed and implemented- including communication plans
    • Progress is monitored and measured
Without a new leader assimilation process, it can take a long time for the new leader to transition effectively.  In many cases s/he may never transition successfully.  Statistics show that the transition of leaders into new roles is not managed well by most organizations and that the failure rates of new leaders is very high.  When you are bringing in a new leader, be sure you are doing everything you can to manage the transition and set him/her up for success right from the start!!!

If you are interested in learning more about this process contact: or  or call us at 330 665-1865

A great resource book on this topic is: The First Ninety Days by Michael Watkins.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Do You Really Need A Coach?

Are you one of the many business owners or leaders wondering whether a coach is the right for you?   
The value of coaching has become widely accepted and coaches have become commonplace in US businesses. Successful senior executives rely on "confidants" to give them honest feedback - a critical element of good coaching.  Increasingly, they have invited executive coaches into their management meetings to make observations about group dynamics and their implication for performance improvement, strategic planning and organizational decision making.  Senior-level managers and small business owners who need highly efficient and creative performers and team members are using "business" or "growth" coaches. Career coaches are becoming a standard feature in the landscape of restructure, reorganization and mergers.

John Kotter,  professor of leadership at the Harvard Business School,  attributes the exponential growth in business coaching to the following: "As we move from 30 miles an hour to 70 to 120 to we go from driving straight down the road to making right turns and left turns to abandoning cars and getting on motorcycles...the whole game changes, and a lot of people are trying to keep up, learn how, not fall off."  He believes that coaches are helping leaders to stay on track and to "play the game" more effectively.

For the leader who is looking for a coach, a complicating factor is that there are so many types of coaches.  There are executive coaches, business coaches, career coaches, life coaches, and more...  And- the process, tools, resources and objectives can be very different for each "type".   The question may not be, do you need a coach, but instead what type of coach do you need.  Be sure when you are identifying a coach, that you select the tupe of coach most suited to your needs. 

What can you expect from a coach and how will you know if you have a competent coach?  If you are considering hiring a coach, then you should read the following attributes associated with competent coaches:

1) Builds Trust and Rapport

You and your coach don't have to be best friends.  Your coach must be able to perceive and appreciate the strengths, talents and unique gifts you bring to your work.

2) Listens, observes and analyzes

An effective coach is an excellent listener and observer.  The coach observes every gesture, tone, hesitation, choice of words, body language, motion, innuendo, tactic, decision.  A coaching session is not a casual "let's get together and chat." It can even be compared to receiving an MRI where you are viewed at every angle.  The effective coach will then closely analyze what s/he observes, help you to determine specific developmental or business objectives.

3) Provides insight and feedback

The effective coach will tell you clearly and precisely what s/he perceives about your behaviors and their effects on the situation or on others. The coach will choose one or two critical behaviors, skills or situations on which to focus- either changing,  improving, or enhancing.  A skilled coach will provide you with a different perspective or alternative views so that you can more clearly understand the impact of achieving the coaching objectives.

4) Encourages alternatives and options

The skillful coach will point out the potential outcomes of your current behaviors/actions/ plans. S/he will help you to consider possible options and the risks/benefits associated with them and help you as you develop your action plans.

5) Is honest and direct

The competent coach is not afraid to "push back" or to share developmental feedback.  S/he will encourage you to take action or make change, even when you resist. 

6) Can share a breadth of experience, skills and knowledge

 Look for a coach who has had business experience or who has coached others in similar  situations.  Does the coach have resources and tools?  Be sure the coach can help you to develop those skills you are lacking, provide input into the business challenges you face and is willing to coach you on where you can seek out information and answers. Coaches do not have all the answers, but they can help you to look in the right places.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

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