CoachStation: Coaching, Mentoring and Leadership Support

The Importance of Leadership Support in Coaching

Personal and professional development is critical to the ongoing success and growth for any leader. There are many aspects that will make this development even more effective and sustainable, particularly when participating in coaching. High on this list of attributes is the support the person being coached receives from their immediate leader. Support of people as they participate in development programs really does matter. I recently met with a very senior leader in an organisation – let’s call him Jack. Our discussion covered many areas of relevance, including the fact that I had been coaching various members of Jack’s team for different periods over the last 2 years. During the conversation we were reviewing the traits, potential and attitudes of several of his leaders. At one stage he asked if I knew one of his leadership team in particular? The answer is yes…in fact, quite well, as I had just finished a coaching program of 8 months with him! I couldn’t help but be disappointed that this was not known to Jack. To be fair, a recent structural change meant that Read more about The Importance of Leadership Support in Coaching[…]

Leadership: Setting Standards and Expectations

One of the biggest challenges for managers who are learning to lead is developing the ability to set expectations and standards and then hold people accountable to these expectations. Understanding the benefits and why to apply a model such as the one highlighted in this blog is relatively simple, however application, consistency and follow-through can be a challenge for many. Many years ago I was introduced to a model titled SOI assisting to set expectations and assess performance. The model title is an acronym which stands for Standards – Observations – Impact and has been a simple, yet vital tool in my development and that of others in my coaching and leadership development roles. The SOI model has become inherently part of how I think and work with others. Through practice and application it has become an unconscious process focused on ensuring people are clear on what is required; measurement against those objectives; and discussions as to why they are important. Throughout this time and as my exposure and experience increased, I recognised that there were a couple of elements missing in the model that when Read more about Leadership: Setting Standards and Expectations[…]

CoachStation: Reflection on Purpose

Know Your History, Purpose and Direction

Why do you do what you do? Understanding your purpose, what motivates you and most importantly using this knowledge to advantage is key to your success, both professionally and personally.   My eldest daughter, Maddy, is currently in year 9. One of her elective subjects this year is Business and as part of the curriculum Maddy was asked to interview a business owner to better understand why, how and what was required to set up the business. I am proud that she chose our business for many reasons. Firstly, it is an opportunity for Maddy to fully understand what I do and why I do it. This is important for any parent and child but possibly even more so as I work from home and I do sometimes wonder if our daughters find what I do a bit of a mystery! This has provided an opportunity for us to spend time together with purpose, but with a different context than much of the rest of our relationship, which has been fun. Finally, it has forced me to think about and clearly Read more about Know Your History, Purpose and Direction[…]

CoachStation: Contact Centre Case Study

Steve Riddle was engaged in early 2013 to provide consulting, leadership and people development services and produce a report summarising the strengths and areas for improvement that existed at that time. The approach to undertake this review, prepare the report and provide recommendations was to engage stakeholders at all levels of the business including the contact centre, hardship, complaints teams and relevant people external to the centre. The original consultation period and subsequent review occurred between April and June 2013. A highly consultative and holistic approach was taken to review and examine various areas of the business, as highlighted in this document. Background The contact centre industry has been a key focus and part of business structure for many medium and large organisations for over 30 years. When designed and functioning correctly the centre acts as a hub for existing customers and potential clients to seek additional information; purchase or apply for new business; seek clarification regarding existing products; and often most importantly, act as a single point of customer contact, in an efficient and cost-effective manner. In recent years Read more about CoachStation: Contact Centre Case Study[…]

CoachStation: Future Leaders

Leadership, Politics and Private Enterprise

No matter your political predisposition, country of birth or current location, many of us have seen a dearth of good effective leaders in political circles.   It is not only in private enterprise that we have had the misfortune to see in recent years businesses ignore risk management, develop poor internal cultures and force us to question the value of salaries for some of the most prominent of CEO’s. Unfortunately this is apparent within politics also, particularly in Australia. This is not a blog about political allegiance but rather a side-note to the need for political parties and individual politicians to start to develop a leadership mindset that is consistent with expectations and capabilities of the best organisations. Consistent with this ideal, Labor politician Bob Carr recently made a few interesting points on the ABC Lateline tv show that are worth highlighting. I think we’ve got to take leadership training, tutoring, nurturing, more seriously than we do and every organisation in Australian society you’ve got a commitment to train, to coach, to mentor political leadership. Only the political parties think Read more about Leadership, Politics and Private Enterprise[…]

CoachStation: Questions and Leadership

Questions and Leadership – How They Influence Decisions and Actions

  The ability to ask the right questions using an approach that is trusted and accepted is one of the great leadership skills. It can lead to greater clarity, direction, understanding and comfort. I was in a Skype meeting with a colleague of mine based in Ontario earlier in the week and we were discussing many things. One of the key themes that we deliberated over was the need to ask and answer ‘the right’ questions, that leads to a result that has clarity and can direct to effective and meaningful action. Let me delve a little further to explain what I mean. As a coach and consultant I am required to help change or improve something, either for an individual client, team or organisation. This is what I do and seems quite clear. However, one of the key challenges that arise is when I am engaged for a purpose that is poorly understood and is not clearly articulated with any depth. This can sound like, “We know something needs to change, but we have not thought through how you Read more about Questions and Leadership – How They Influence Decisions and Actions[…]

Leading Customer Experience Management

Providing a level of customer experience that ensures your customers ‘feel’ the difference between your business and competitors is crucial to success. A key element to be able to make this a reality rather than a pipe-dream is how many of your employees and particularly leaders ‘live the reality’. Discussing customer experience (CE) as a core part of business culture genuinely reinforces the messages – but not if this is felt by a few, not the many. Effective business leaders should always know that they are building a culture and understanding with all employees that the customer matters. This cannot be achieved through empty words, sound bites or a shallow attempt at driving a customer-centric organisation. CE can be incredibly complex and very simple at the same time. I wonder whether the proliferation of data and new technology is being used to best advantage. Whether we accept the implications of technology and the modern version of customer experience goes a long way to building a customer-centric culture. Taking meaningful steps based on a company-wide strategy that is reinforced through leadership, Read more about Leading Customer Experience Management[…]

CoachStation: Leadership

Roles, Structure and Instinct…Be Like a Bee

In my front garden is a small bush. As we enter the early stages of Spring, it has come into full bloom. The plant is covered in bunches of small, white, delicate flowers. I can see the bush from my office and often enjoy the view of our garden. Under my office window is a bench seat that I made last year using the original wood from a patio that we pulled down in our backyard. It is one of my favourite places to sit. One beautiful Spring day last week I was sitting on the bench watching the bees, literally hundreds of them, flitting from flower to flower. I watched them for 20 minutes or so working very studiously collecting nectar and doing what bees do….and it got me thinking. How different are our businesses and organisations, the expectations of tasks and designated roles to that required of bees? I imagine if I followed the bees back to their hives and was able to peer into the inner workings that I would not see: Ineffective meetings being held with Read more about Roles, Structure and Instinct…Be Like a Bee[…]

CoachStation: Building Leadership

The Current Challenge Of Leadership

People-oriented issues are the biggest factors impacting business success in 2012. A recent report by the business group, SixSeconds, titled The 2012 Workplace Issues Report: Insights On The People Side of Performance seeks to identify the key challenges in the workplace today. The report details the results of a global survey which explores top issues as well as employee attitudes and the role of emotional intelligence in solving those key issues. The findings collate 775 responses from leaders and employees worldwide, representing various levels of employment, industries and sectors. There are many interesting results and data-sets stemming from the survey, all providing depth to the importance of people-related leadership activities. 58% of survey respondents list ‘Leadership’ as the biggest ‘people-side’ issue in their organisation. Additionally, the survey highlights key words that identify fundamental areas of concern for business. The views of the respondents were summarised in the most frequently used words collated from the verbatim comments. In order, they were: Retention Talent Leadership Communication Fascinating results, with these trends and themes entrenched even more soundly in a few of my Read more about The Current Challenge Of Leadership[…]

At Last We’re Engaged – Leading Your Team (Part 2)

Is employee engagement relevant in today‘s workforce? Earlier this week I wrote the first part of this blog relating to Employee Engagement. In part two I examine some of the leadership themes, highlights and a few statistics supporting the relevance and importance of engaging employees. A leader‘s ability to consistently demonstrate and apply relational skills has a direct correlation to the level of engagement an individual may feel. Providing genuine leadership is key. There appears to be a gap between what employees state is occurring and what leaders feel they are applying in reality. Data and surveys continually reflect the discrepancy between what leaders believe is occurring and what their team members state. This is often reflected in frequency and quality of the levels of engagement through formal and informal communication, coaching and development opportunities. There are many leadership traits and skills identified in various books and literature. However, a handful of values-based attributes are identified consistently towards the top of the ‘criticality-list‘ i.e. they are identified as a deal-breaker for many employees. Over the past 5 years I have Read more about At Last We’re Engaged – Leading Your Team (Part 2)[…]

CoachStation: Employee Engagement

At Last We're Engaged – Leading Your Team (Part 1)

Is employee engagement relevant in today‘s workforce? I would suggest more significant than ever with the ‘war for talent‘ escalating, technology providing a seemingly endless stream of information and contact with new job opportunities being more accessible than ever. What is employee engagement? Simply, it is how well an employee is fully involved in his or her role and the desire in meeting business interests, outcomes and goals. Employee Engagement is the extent to which employee commitment, both emotional and intellectual, exists relative to accomplishing the work, mission, and vision of the organisation. Engagement can be seen as a heightened level of ownership where each employee wants to do whatever they can for the benefit of their internal and external customers, and for the success of the organization as a whole…Thus engagement is distinctively different from employee satisfaction, motivation and organisational culture. (1) Although employee engagement has strong alignment to emotional connection and the level of commitment an employee applies to their work setting, clearly there are other variables and contributors. Whilst acknowledging the myriad influences, the key focus of Read more about At Last We're Engaged – Leading Your Team (Part 1)[…]

CoachStation: Developing Leaders

Efficiency and Effectiveness – Leadership Impact

Are you efficient and effective in all that you do? I’m not, however a recent experience has taught me more about myself and the importance of these two attributes . Self-reflection, taking into account the many factors that influence us all is important for growth. Taking time to reflect provides a platform for improvement and awareness about what is going well and what you would like to change about who you are and what you do. In my most recent role as a senior leader within a global organisation I had many responsibilities and tasks assigned to my position. I was also in the fortunate situation where, for most of my tenure, I had a high degree of flexibility and freedom in my direction and subsequently, that of my team. Last year there was a leadership change within my team, which had its pros and cons. I had been through leadership change many times before. However, in this instance I did find there was less opportunity to genuinely contribute my ideas and I felt significantly less valued and comfortable in Read more about Efficiency and Effectiveness – Leadership Impact[…]

CoachStation: Learn To Lead

Development and Training – Same, Same: Maybe Not?

Are learning, training and development the same thing? The short answer is no, however training is one avenue to learning and development. Why does defining the difference matter – aren’t I really just splitting hairs? Now, that is the interesting question!! Having worked with many varied people and business cultures and recognising the similarities and differences, it is clear to me that many managers think training and development are the same thing. I have seen examples where a manager has sent one of their team to training to ‘rectify’ a skill gap and behaviour. Attending the training did not make the difference expected by the manager, so he sent the employee back on the 2-day training course at the next available opportunity. Of course, there was no change as a result. When this manager attempted to send the same employee a third time, I felt it necessary to intervene and ask the pertinent questions to broaden the manager’s thinking and related actions. I have written about this before, however it continues to surprise me that people in leadership roles too Read more about Development and Training – Same, Same: Maybe Not?[…]

How Important Is Reading To Development and Leadership?

In one of those coincidental yet surprisingly common situations, I have been engaged in several scenarios regarding the importance of reading in recent weeks. As a keen reader, this stimulated thought regarding my current situation and what has led me to where I am today – do I believe there is a link? I recently left permanent employment to focus my time and energy full-time on a consulting business I have been developing for the past two years. As with most small business owners, I am keen to succeed for my own reasons (making a difference, ego, challenging myself etc.) as much as external factors such as earning an income and supporting my family. I was keen to investigate how much I have learned through what I have read as opposed to what I have done. How does reading assist in people development and is there a link to leadership capability? What has led me to this point? It is certainly a timing factor, with opportunity, networks and experience all colliding this year. It has an encouragement element, with my Read more about How Important Is Reading To Development and Leadership?[…]

360 View in 360 Words: Leaders Are Born AND Made

Some months ago I read a post written by Colleen Sharen titled, Leaders Are Born, Not Made. I have continued to think through this question, particularly as I have changed my views somewhat over the years. I felt it appropriate to provide further insight into this question of leadership, based on my response to the original blog. It appears Colleen hit the right note to stimulate thought and some controversy based on the various responses from other readers that were posted in response. My belief is that leaders can be taught and developed, however there is a ‘minimum’ requirement that must exist to start with i.e. emotional intelligence, intelligence, physical, personality along with other skills, traits, behaviours and attributes. What I am interested to discover (and I continue to look for this when developing and working with newer and more experienced leaders) is to what degree is the nature versus nurture argument a reality. The follow up comments in the blog generally agreed that leaders are made and born. This is consistent with my view, however I wonder why we Read more about 360 View in 360 Words: Leaders Are Born AND Made[…]

Leadership, Employee Engagement and Customer Service

I attended last years IQPC Customer Experience Management Conference in Sydney and thoroughly enjoyed the content. I learned a lot. There were many great speakers. Many of them focused on the what – meaning that I learned about tools, measurements, successes through data collection and customer platforms, amongst other aspects. I was invited to this year’s conference, including the opportunity to be a guest speaker during the opening day. I wanted to set a challenge to myself and the attendees with a pitch more aligned to the ‘how’: • How do we achieve improved customer service results? • How do we establish the right culture to balance employee, customer and business needs? • How do we use the extensive quantities of data available to real advantage? • How do we create employee engagement, empowerment and buy-in that means our customers feel the benefit? ============ My presentation was titled ‘Customer Experience Management from the Inside-Out‘ The core theme implies that if we want to genuinely positively impact customer experience and service standards, we must build a culture and understanding that the customer Read more about Leadership, Employee Engagement and Customer Service[…]

Leadership @Customer Experience Management Conference

This week I attended the IQPC Customer Experience Management Conference in Sydney. I was fortunate enough to be invited to be a guest speaker during the Focus Day on Monday and many other speakers have shared their thoughts and presentations over the three days. Although the conference theme was based around Customer Experience, there have been many great quotes and comments regarding leadership, business and culture that are worth sharing. This blog highlights a few of the key points that I felt were most relevant and resonated with my own values and passions. Thank you to all the speakers for sharing! How are you choosing to challenge what has been done previously? Don’t accept the reasonable reasons from the past. Our employees want to know their leaders and what they care about. Gordon Ballantyne, Telstra ============= Leadership cannot be outsourced to HR. Be disciplined: celebrate short-term but don’t forget your ultimate goal. Dirk Hofman, Nokia ============= The empowered customer is now in control of the business relationship. 90% of effort is used collecting and collating data and 10% actually using it – it should Read more about Leadership @Customer Experience Management Conference[…]

Developing and Empowering Leaders – Richard Branson (Part 1)

Richard Branson recently stated that coaching senior managers can be difficult for various reasons, not the least of which is the difficulty in finding an uninterrupted period of time to conduct and review. Branson and his senior leaders spend time together each year at his home on Necker Island to discuss the opportunities and challenges the Virgin business group and leaders currently face. I am certain this is a great opportunity to solve the business issues, share and learn from each other, however equally sure this is only part of the development story for individuals and future of the Virgin group and other companies in general. Sharing and learning from others is one aspect of coaching and leadership development, however knowing something or having additional information about a situation or about oneself does not equate to a change in behaviour or enhanced skill in application. The purpose of this blog is to draw upon and respond to a set of guidelines Richard Branson highlighted in a recent article in the Business Review Weekly magazine titled, 7 Rules For Managers, focusing Read more about Developing and Empowering Leaders – Richard Branson (Part 1)[…]

The Positive Impact Of Connecting

I recently read an outstanding article titled ‘The Why (and How) of Employee Engagement‘. It incorporates an interview with Kevin Kruse, entrepreneur and CEO of Kru Research and co-author, along with Rudy Karsan, of We: How to Increase Performance and Profits Through Full Engagement. I am particularly interested in this topic as it is often one of the key differences between those in charge who are managing and those who are leading. Employee engagement is a large topic with many inputs. On a one-to-one level or team level the connections made form part of the engagement story. There are many interesting points made in the article, notably the need to apply the same rigor and analysis to engagement as we would any other area of management by measuring its success, holding leaders accountable and examining employees’ motivation at work. (1) The leader who is effective in their role recognises that connection between people occurs through more than just the words used. A bond is formed that can be difficult to explain, but has many benefits, both for the people involved Read more about The Positive Impact Of Connecting[…]

CoachStation: Coaching and Leadership

Leadership Credibility: The Right To Lead?

A few questions that I have been recently pondering. How do you know that you have leadership credentials? What gives us the right to lead others? How do we know if our leadership is effective – how is leadership development success measured?   I had a coffee last week with Steve, someone who I was meeting with for the first time. Overall the meeting went well and we discussed many thoughts, concepts, real-life scenarios and philosophies regarding work culture and leadership. We covered background information and work history, along with discussion about values and motivations. Overall, it was a fantastic discussion and I felt a natural level of affiliation with Steve as we held many similar views. During our chat though, he asked a great question. Considering my passion for leadership development it is a great point – possibly the most relevant question to be asked and it is something that I have thought about since. What qualifications or credentials do I have that allow me to focus on leadership development? I explained that I have formal qualifications and regularly Read more about Leadership Credibility: The Right To Lead?[…]

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