Welcome to The Leadership Coach 2019. This is where we meet to exchange ideas on what makes leadership at all levels in an organisation really work.
Since this is a BLOG, my Guest Authors and I post articles and you comment or ask questions. That way we all learn something and make a daily progress on that big leadership transition journey. I started the Blog in 2016 and there are now over 160 articles for you to browse and enjoy.
Does that sound worthwhile? Does it seem like something you would like to be part of? Good news. To get behind this home page and to really get involved just sign up today. It’s FREE to subscribe. There’s lots going on inside, including the Coaches Toolkit which contains over 30 valuable Techniques, Templates, Tips & Tools. See you soon.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about longevity – its impact on the modern workplace, our leaders, our health. All thoughts prompted by a great book called The 100 Year Life by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott.
And it’s funny how, as I’ve allowed this particular thread
to lead me hither and thither, I’m increasingly struck by the sense that this
brave new world perhaps isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I embrace my inner “grumpy
old man” a little to easily, but bear with me.
Well being or being well?
As someone who works in learning, I’m very aware of our
propensity, as learning professionals, to be taken in by the latest “shiny”
thing, and I think it’s fair to say that wellbeing, mental health awareness,
mindfulness and resiliance training are the sparkly new kids on the block…
And whilst I’m unconvinced by the claimed benefits of these “interventions”(which, by the way, is something only the UN should do) there’s a serious question to be asked about why, it would seem, people are so unhappy? According to the Trading Economics website, the average weekly hours worked in the UK are 32 – so we aren’t working ourselves into an early grave – and whilst we’re being sombre, the suicide rate is at its lowest for 30 years according to the Samaritans.
Yet, all I hear is how stressed people are, how much they
have to do and how little time they have to do it in. So, clearly, there’s a disconnect somewhere.
The key question being – where? Which made me wonder if our problem is one of quantity
Have you ever heard or met “a Master in resolving conflicts”? No. Well, you might be one yourself.
Weare all Master of something
Like in every other aspect in life we can become experts in
any field, by doing something right for a long time, changing your wrongs into
rights to a point where you can give advice, create awareness, provide recommendations,
or even give instructions on subjects that we master.
When it comes to conflicts, especially in the working environment, a leader should not become a Master in resolving those conflicts but rather a Master in avoiding, stopping, reducing the possibilities for such conflicts to occur.
Now, please don’t get me wrong, they will always be conflicts but in the same way a leader is prepared to resolve them his concern should be creating a team environment where conflicts are less.
I had leaders who created conflicts and that is even worse.
They say it allowed different ideas to be known and keeps team on their feet.
In my opinion that could not be further away from the truth, such leaders are
only creating several momentums that will unavoidable end up in good valuable
members of the team to leave and restrain new eligible ones to join.
serious disagreement or argument if not handled on time, can linger to
the point that it blocks creativity, participation and obviously there goes
teamwork through the window. For me the biggest and most important part of
resolving any conflict is not in how good communicator you are as how great
listener you are.
When you really listen others is when the magic starts. The conflict might not be generated by what is being said but by what is not being said and in that case, if you are not paying attention you will always face the same issue no matter how well you think you handled it.
will also allow you to find the root cause and eliminate it once and for all
making you a real Master in resolving conflicts.
I grew up in a big family and our mother worked during the
day and at night she went to college. A
true example of dedication and passion for what she believed in. So, you can imagine that there was little
time for her to investigate what each of her 4 sons were passionate about. We
all went to baseball summer league, boy scouts, karate and were part of the swimming
team. I did not enjoy most of them but
staying at home in front of the television was not an option. My mom believed in hard work and if you were
not good at something, hard work would pay off.
And it did but I did not enjoy it. As I got older and started making my
own decisions, I did not pursue any of those activities. I only realised years
later the benefits of my mother pushing us to be dedicated to everything we
This time last month, the commemorations to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings were starting to be held. I found them moving, poignant and dignified. Most memorable were the remarks of those who had taken part, whose numbers, like the tides on the Normandy beaches, are ebbing away due to their age. Yet what astonishing and remarkable men and women they were. Never forgotten.
Unlike my 95-year old mother who was a WRN stationed in Weymouth during Operation Overlord, their memories have remained pin sharp and crystal clear. The understated manner in which they spoke about their experiences of the ferocity and horror of battle was humbling. There was no 21st century scream of “Me, me, me!”. Instead, their laser-like compassionate focus was on their comrades, especially those who were killed or injured.
During the last four weeks, I have re-read many articles written about the commemorations. What struck me most powerfully was the vocabulary used to describe the behaviours, motives and values of the soldiers, sailors and pilots. (Pleasingly, due recognition is now being paid to the countless women involved, many working covertly behind enemy lines or diligently in logistical activities, such as Mum.) These words resonated strongly with me. They bear repeating, so here in a random order is a selection:
Honest Intentions is one of my Quick Coaching Tools. They are exactly what the title suggests. Short snippets of coaching tips, tools and ideas for you to use on a just-in-time basis. Use them as an update and to refresh your coaching practice and professionalism. You could call it coaching in a hurry!
The political leadership question is back on the agenda again. In June 2017 we had a General Election in the UK. I published an article at that time, ‘Leadership: Your Vote Counts’, inviting readers to decide which of our would-be political leaders best matched eleven business leader characteristics.
The winner of that Election was Theresa May of the Conservative Party, albeit it with a reduced majority. Since then she has struggled to implement the result of our 2016 National Referendum and take the UK out of the European Union. Mrs May resigned in early June and since then there has been frenzied activity in the Conservative Party to select a new leader. This person will not only be the leader of the Party, they will also be our new Prime Minister. Are you with me so far?
The initial selection process was in the hands of 313 Conservative Members of Parliament (MPs). They took ten initial candidates down to two. In the final stage the Conservative Party membership select a Leader and Prime Minister from the final two. As I write, there are estimated to be 160,000 paid up members who are participating in this final selection. Who will they select to be the new resident of that famous address: 10 Downing Street?
For this election I’ve come up with a different set of characteristics with which to judge the political leadership capability of our two candidates. I looked at research on the political leadership characteristics of two of our most notable post-war Prime Ministers: Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher. This is not just a random choice on my part. A YouGov survey of the greatest Prime Ministers since 1945 conducted in May 2019 placed Margaret Thatcher number one with 21% of the votes just ahead of Winston Churchill with 19%. Read more to see what I discovered …..
Rapport is one of my Quick Coaching Tools. They are exactly what the
title suggests. Short snippets of coaching tips, tools and ideas for you to use
on a just-in-time basis. Use them as an update and to refresh your coaching
practice and professionalism. You could call it coaching in a hurry!
The last time I blogged, I introduced you to “The 100 Year Life” a fantastic book, introducing a brave new world of longevity. Its theme being, that today’s youth can expect to live beyond 100 years of age – the key word there being expect – which in turn means our current three stage model of education, work, retire, is outdated.
The aim of my last missive was to ask how this impacts on our current leaders and what they need to do in order to flex their style and fit this new world order, focusing on an increase in empathy, the introduction of “strategic altruism” and the application of “beginners mind” to their thinking – if you missed it here’s a link.
But what about those who find themselves at the beginning of this journey? Can you imagine being an 18 year old faced with the prospect of living for another 80+ years? How do you even begin to think about planning to prepare for that?
A leadership transition may initially seem a complex and scary prospect;
but in reality, with the right planning and coaching support, it can turn into
an extremely rewarding and satisfying experience.
You knew you had to say ‘yes’ to the promotion you were offered. You
realise there are loads of variables and interconnectivities to be dealt with. Top
of your list will probably be assessing and understanding the people,
performance and leadership issues. Your aim is to have maximum impact in your
new role in the shortest possible time. Quick wins is a recurring theme for a
leadership transition. You need to understand the new culture, at the same time
remain objectively detached from how things have always been done. You will
have a whole new set of stakeholders to get to know. Who are they? What are
their issues and expectations? Most notable of course is your new boss. The
hiring manager. They have a personal stake in your leadership transition.
You may be moving to a new geographic location and away from your normal
network of contacts and support. You may be taking responsibility for
functional areas you have no previous experienced of yourself. For example,
finance, commercial, HR, etc.
During your transition you will be moving along the leadership pipeline.
For example, from leader of leaders to functional leader or from functional
leader to business leader. With this comes the need to change how you see your
role as a leader (Work Values). To reassess how you allocate your discretionary
time to new and different leadership tasks (Time Application). This will mean
stopping doing some of the leadership tasks that brought you success and made
you a hero in your last job. More of the same is not always what is needed. You
will find yourself delegating leadership tasks that may have been core to your
previous role. And there will be new leader competencies for you to adopt and
deploy (Skills). Welcome to the wonderful world of leadership transition.
Over recent years the majority of my one-to-one work has been coaching
for leadership transition. For the last half of 2018 I had the privilege of
working with James Wroe. I was supporting him in his transition from Head of
Marine Operations North Europe in Rotterdam to Head of Liner Operations Asia
Pacific in Singapore. A functional leader to a business leader role transition.
In this article I ask James to share his leadership transition experience and the role that coaching played. James has offered to write an article later in the year about his experience coaching new direct reports as they complete their leadership transitions.