Posts Tagged ‘business coaching’

‘And then she burst into tears!’

Monday, February 4th, 2013

The Director was describing his recent experience of being an In House coach at his high tech, world competitive company.   An intelligent and empathic man, he had been unable to manage the encounter according to the training materials and course, and his own expectations.  The experience had been really difficult. He was embarrassed for himself and his trainee.

 What about the trainee?  How did this emotional experience affect  her sense of professional competence, in this knowledge based, rather logical organisation?  Was it associated with feelings of shame? Had it made Learning and Development more obviously a risky activity? What had been touched that this coping strategy from her personal life had asserted itself in the coaching session?

 The attraction of an ‘In House’ coaching programme is evident.  Surely it should help spread that sector specific knowledge that makes the difference in today’s competitive markets?  It should be more productive than hiring external coaches, who will not understand the business as well as your own managers?  However, this case shows some of the unanticipated difficulties and it seems unlikely that the pilot will be extended.  Coaching is not training.  It is a powerful learning tool which engages a trainees experience and emotions. This, and its one to one nature which necessarily also involves the emotional responses of the coach, make it complex. With jobs and promotions on the line, feelings and expectations which are often not overtly expressed or even acknowledged will be in play.  However bright and concerned the individuals chosen to deliver In House coaching, they need more than a short course and a reference manual to be able to do so.  Without appropriate development and continuing support it is highly likely to go wrong. 

Sometimes it is better to hire the expert.  Talk to us today!  

 

Managing Turbulence

Monday, October 1st, 2012

 

 

 

 

The event feedback alerted me to the issue, particularly the comment that the participant would have liked more discussion about the emotions of the management dilemma being discussed.  However, the individual had enjoyed the discussion as it had been ‘an ideas session’ which ‘had played to my strengths’.  S/he also commented that there had only been 3 contributors to the discussion. 

 This report did not tally with my recollection of the event.  The video tape, (oh, the joys of psychological practices!), showed that much of the discussion had been about staff emotions and that all 5 people in the room had participated.

 What was going on?  What we see and understand is filtered by our life experience and knowledge.  We would, for example, anticipate that an expert would see more in a particular conversation than a novice.  But this was an intelligent senior manager with years of experience.  Could this filter have been a blind spot?  Blind spots serve a protective purpose in maintaining the status quo – particularly an individual’s world view and sense of self.  In change and turbulence a blind spot is more likely to come into play when the individual’s working world has changed and with it the ‘rules’ of winning.  This impacts both personal identity and professional life – the more senior the individual, the greater the risks associated with the change.    

 For the individual in this situation confusion, anxiety and frustration are the order of the day, which may just encourage a more determined repetition of the inappropriate behaviour.  Added management pressure to deliver the numbers merely ramps up the pressure and anxiety.  In this very common situation, when dealing with an otherwise high functioning and valued employee, the management  challenge is to help the individual recognise and stop this reactive and destructive cycle, and then to address those blind spots effectively (and acceptably).  All this must be done whilst keeping the manager functioning. What will your organisation achieve when managers perform without being fettered?

Talk to us today to ensure your senior staff are able to deliver even in turbulence.  

When do you have time to think? Agility vs Uncertainty

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Improve your thinking

 Reflective Space at the IQEQNetwork May 15th (8.30-10.30am, City of London).

Agility and Engagement vs. Uncertainty and Unknowing.  Turbulence creates uncertainty and unknowing: inspiring, engaging and supporting managers as they fight to keep the business on track.

IQEQNetwork inspires, engages and supports senior professionals responsible for staff and manager performance (COO, HRDs and others). We encourage a range of sector participation – from ‘extreme’ not for profits through ‘new’ technology sectors to more established organisations. The relaxed format, developed over the five years the network has been established, is valued by participants.  It allows the sharing of diverse opinions and experiences amongst senior peers, rather than the usual undifferentiated crowd. The output is published via various web platforms to ensure the learning from the meeting is not lost to the demands of work and life pressures.  The network will prove a valuable use of your time. A working group, there is no ‘talking at’ or ‘selling to’. The network operates under a set of house rules for confidentiality, and is facilitated to provide an enjoyable meeting with a productive outcome.  N.B: Whilst members sponsor us meetings are free – terms and conditions apply.  Numbers are limited.  Booking closes a week before each event. More information on event(at)iqeqnetwork.com

Revenge of the Organic Carbon Units?

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Robosigner sued!

Emerging news that the US Federal Housing Finance Agency is suing various banks caught our eye.  The cases allege that the banks systematically failed to follow both market regulations and their own procedures in approving mortgages in the run up to the credit crunch.  The resulting ‘bad’ loans were then guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, quasi-government agencies, and the FHFA is seeking to recover the billions the US tax payer lost.

The case has been rumbling for a while, with attention initially on how the banks foreclosed using the same inadequate approach, which we mentioned back in October 2010.   At that time we asked what was the purpose of management in such organisations?  Machines would be simpler to employ, less troublesome to manage. 

Now it would seem that the malaise was deeper, perhaps revealing a cynical disregard for the customer in the chase for short term advantage? If so the cynicism would seem to have been less than smart on the part of the banks’ Boards, as one of the customers they ‘turned over’ was a powerful government agency.  Such customers, backed with legal as well as market power, tend to hit back hard.   

Our premise still stands – management matters, and it is the Board that ultimately sets the standard.  Was this a sin of commission rather than omission?  It will be interesting to see the resolution of these cases, and the resulting impact on the regulation of financial markets and the banks.  

 Talk to us, in confidence and without obligation about helping your managers develop the competence and confidence to manage effectively.  Solutions that engage, motivate and fit around, rather than disrupt the business.

 (from October 2010) So, why use people?

The news that Wells Fargo management used ‘robo’ signers to approve mortgage foreclosures caught our eye*.  Also in the frame for similar practices are JP Morgan Chase and GMAC Mortgage (Ally Bank).  The Wells Fargo VP of Loan Documentation giving evidence in a Florida lawsuit said she only checked if her name and title were correct on the documents.  She also signed affadavits stating she had “personal knowledge of the facts regarding the sums of money which are due and owing to Wells Fargo”.  These were used in foreclosure proceeding.  This is gold for the lawyers who are challenging the bank foreclosures.

This information raises intriguing questions, not least what is the purpose of managers in such institutions? Does the process manage the manager or does the manager add some value by managing?  And even if the (automated?) process worked as designed (aka those affavdavits), then the fact that the lawyers are able to make hay with it, shows a management failure.  Was the organisational effort to deal with the historically challenging volume of foreclosures such that sight was lost of treating customers (and thus the market) with proper respect?  Where were the supervisory and audit functions in the organisations?

What we find most confusing of all is that if all that was required from management was a signature, why didn’t they use an automatic signature machine?  After all why pay people, and put up with all that unpredictability and emotion?

Talk to us, in confidence and without obligation about helping your managers develop the competence and confidence to manage effectively.  Solutions that engage, motivate and fit around, rather than disrupt the business.

* See www.ft.com 14/10/10

 

‘The Great Leader’ theory of Management?

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Illustration: Truth and Lie

When very able, driven entrepreneurs succeed in establishing businesses, a management structure develops over time that supports their strengths and covers their weaknesses.   The employed individuals who succeed in these unusual management structures are, by definition, comfortable within the culture, however autocratic it may be.  Employees who challenge will be eased out more or less subtly, or leave.  

Given market stability, an autocratic structure often works very well – organisational success shows that it is adaptive for the particular market.  Command and control has the virtue of a defined hierarchy which enables quick decisions, and the ability to apply resources quickly.  However, in changing markets it is less suited.  The weaknesses are that same hierarchical decision tree, the lack of internal challenge and loss of touch with reality, and the consequent stifling of innovation.  Most entrepreneurial organisations reach their ‘natural’ limit when they are successful enough to require formal capital.  This usually occasions the provision of more ‘professional’ management by the funders, with skill sets suited to growing a larger organisation, with the founder retained on some form of earn out.

What happens when an organisation manages to grow beyond this ‘natural’ limit with the founder and team intact? Without innovation and consequent long term competitive advantage it is difficult to see how it could avoid a crisis. 

News Corps’ problems seem both significant and multiplying at an alarming rate.  A management culture is being exposed where competitive advantage seems to have been based on short term (criminal?) ruthless  behaviour.  Was the nadir of this in the UK the exposure of Fraser Brown’s illness?  Compare this with the treatment of Ivan Cameron.  Or are there still more depths to plumb?

The Fourth Estate now takes delight in exposing stories long held back by fear of retribution.  And as New Corps are discovering, thanks to the internet, what would in the recent past have stayed as a regional issue is impacting their global business.  In the US shareholders are reacting to the evident weaknesses in management and worry about the delivery of promised benefits from the promised takeover of BSkyB.  Whilst this story appears to have resonance with Maxwell and even Trollop’s Melmotte,  there is little doubt that the ‘The Great Leader’ theory of management is being cruelly exposed.

Talk to us, in confidence and without obligation about helping your managers develop the competence and confidence to manage effectively.  Solutions that engage, motivate and fit around, rather than disrupt the business.

                                                                                                                                                                    

  • Archives

  • Tags