Executives and supervisors, more than other individuals, need to be able to measure outcome sand gauge their performance against relevant metrics. There are often references to KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and data presented by management information systems. However, it’s important to remember that high performance requires more than technical capability. Once we get past this level, superior results are dependent on competencies. In other words, it is the type of approach someone adopts that has the biggest effect on outcomes. These differences are reflected in how well individuals analyze information, monitor activities, influence others and deliver results.
Rapid change and increasing complexity makes it more difficult to maintain the awareness required for exceptional performance. This is one reason why executive coaching techniques focus on the specific issues that have most impact. The process helps identify individual strengths and also areas for improvement. Sometimes the challenge is to identify options and decide on the best approach. The coach can act as a ‘sounding board’ who will listen to ideas and challenge a manager’s thinking. One useful executive coaching technique is to apply a checklist that covers issues, options, implications and actions. Working through the four steps can help clarify how best to proceed.
There are a range of different coaching models. However, some of the best are also the most straight-forward. For example, the ABC Model focuses on A – Attention to the Situation – what is the activity that is creating a problem? Then we look at B – Beliefs and thinking that relate to the context – what thoughts are generated in this particular situation? Finally, we have C – The Consequences of the thinking – what feelings and emotion does this situation (and the thinking) generate? …how does this response affect performance?
Being clear on the way thinking and mindset affects outcomes helps develop an executive coaching methodology that helps resolve problems and enables managers and leaders to make real progress. The most effective approaches recognize that it’s important to identify issues affecting someone’s mindset and assumptions. It’s not sufficient to simply accept the problem ‘as described’ and then set goals and work out the key steps. Very often, there are obstacles that arise because of assumptions that are being made, or problems arising because of interpersonal issues. This means, for example, that the problems arising because of poor relationship management skills need to be resolved before progress can be made in other areas.
Quite often, to create insight and help identify alternative ways of handling situations, we can make use advanced coaching tools and techniques. These can include 360 degree feedback and work preference profiling. Taken together, the two techniques can be very effective in highlighting how energy is being directed and what effect current behavior has on other people. One of the benefits of a 360 review is that it helps clarify the expectations of other people. When feedback is supported by written comments, it is possible to identify situations where strengths were evident (or an alternative approach would have been more effective).
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