CorporateCoach eNewsletter

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Web site: /coaching

Editor: Richard Winfield,

Welcome to this issue of CorporateCoach – a free newsletter for senior executives and teams in organisations interested in using coaching to improve corporate performance. Please share it with colleagues and contacts who will benefit from reading it.

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HOT NEWS 1: September sees the opening of our first regional corporate coaching centre – in Victoria Square, Birmingham.

Over the last twenty years we have delivered our services on companies' own premises, and we still welcome the opportunity to visit and get a real feel for the work environment. But our recent research has shown that senior executives would prefer to make the trip off-site, where they are free of interruptions and can be anonymous. So, starting with Birmingham, we are introducing city centre and out of town facilities.

Our executive coaching package comprises a monthly one and a half hour development session, telephone support and an introductory one day skills workshop. Single sessions are available as tasters or when there is an urgent issue to confront.

The structured, outcomes-led process guides individuals – and teams – through their own business challenges, clarifies issues, examines limiting beliefs and generates solutions with a compelling course of action.

For full details check out our corporate coaching package.

More news: Hot News 2 and Hot News 3

Issue No. 5 August 2001


  1. Editorial: The inner game of Zap
  2. Coaching notes: Who should we be coaching?
  3. Tools notes: The Inner Game of Work
  4. Book review: Zapp! The lightning of empowerment
  5. Technical tips: Recruitment

1.     Editorial: The inner game of Zap

Our reviews of the Inner Game books in July generated a lot of interest that led to us discovering another book by Tim Gallwey. The Inner Game of Work was published last year and not only applies Gallwey's theory to work but introduces several more ideas. I describe these in this issue's Tools Notes

Alan Branagh, who joins us this month is yet another Inner Game practitioner, having studied with Sir John Whitmore at Performance Consultants. There seems to be something going on here!

When I decided to review my old favourite Zapp! The Lightning of Empowerment I did not expect to discover that my friend and ex-colleague Damian Zikakis had registered as his web address. Damian may be found in our photo gallery "building sensitivity, co-ordination and co-operation" in Vaille, Colorado.

It is less than two years since Damian rang me to ask whether I thought he could do what I do. I introduced him to Coach University. Next thing I knew, he had become its CFO! He is now a fully qualified corporate coach, and we are pleased to welcome him.

2.     Coaching notes: Who should we be coaching?

Who should we be coaching and what?s in it for us?

With budget under scrutiny it is easy to understand why the questions on the mind of many prospective clients are:

  • Who should we be coaching?
  • What will it deliver for my business?

A survey of senior executives of 25 bluechip organisations, designed to assess the effectiveness of coaching as a management development tool was recently quoted in the Journal of Management Development. It revealed an across-the-board consensus of UK senior executives that coaching was one of the most powerful strategic and tactical weapons open to businesses today because of its ability to enhance areas of executive expertise that were already at a high level and to establish skills that were previously absent or weak.

The same survey quoted a respondent who recommended that UK executives learn from the US "where people are actually often proud to admit that they are being coached because they see it as indicating the importance their employer attaches to them. In the US it is taken for granted that performance will improve significantly as a result of coaching, although certainly it is also accepted that deep-rooted negative attitudes and behaviours will take time – perhaps several months – to shift."

In my career in the pharmaceutical industry, where technical skills and business acumen must work hand in hand, I have seen numerous examples of the value of coaching. There are abundant courses on which to learn technical skills and conferences to keep up to date in this fast moving industry. However the kind of learning which puts all this expertise to best use is an unconscious process.

Those managers who coach can give important feedback and training. A specialist coach provides a structured, outcomes led process to create outstanding performance – both improving the performance of the executive and demonstrating a process (s)he can use with their team.

We can learn a lot about coaching from parents 'teaching' children to ride a bike. We support them when they start, we encourage, we reduce risks where we can, but we do not teach the highly intricate balance required while pushing alternate pedals. The process rapidly becomes an unconscious skill and this is when we are at our most effective.

Can we still learn like this as adults? Well, yes. Most of us learned to drive a car and now do so with little thought about much of the process, our awareness, importantly, being directed at what is around us.

I experienced a direct example of the speed of unconcious learning over the weekend, when I injured my right hand to the point that I couldn?t even lift a kettle without excruciating pain. Initially I found my concious mind telling me to use the other hand. Rapidly, however, my left hand became dominant for all activities – no thought required!

When one applies this analogy in the business setting it is easy to see the value that can be added to individual and team performance when concious 'tools' can become subconciously understood and used. How often do we see people 'working hard' after a training course to apply their learning? In the early days they may struggle consciously to change old habits, but so often they eventually return to their old behaviour.

Coaching will enable them to retain and apply the learning. Enhancement of the learning process through coaching makes this easy and delivers greater results for less effort. Coaching can help the unconscious deliver what is hard work for the conscious mind!

The expert executive coach will combine specialist skills in communication at conscious and unconscious levels to help clients identify direction and overcome obstacles on their path to success.

So who should we be coaching?

Coaching performs at all levels of an organisation, particularly in high performers and at the top where there are less role models and precedents, and maximum leverage can be achieved.

What is in it for the business?

Consider an executive earning 50,000; overheads increase this by two and a half times and the company makes a net profit of 10%. This means that at the margin the company needs a turnover of 1.25 million to cover his/her costs! An expensive asset to release for training courses, and certainly an asset that must perform at its maximum potential!

Coaching helps set better goals, and reach goals faster, make better decisions and improve relationships. An effective process for achieving business results and gain more for less.

It requires limited time, is work related and outcome oriented to make an executive more effective – or to remove blockages that frustrate performance. Minimum time input and maximum performance improvement.

The higher the pay, the more appropriate executive coaching becomes. Coaching at the top has the greatest leverage on corporate performance.

Tim Paget

HOT NEWS 2: Brefi Group expands regional coverage. Alan Branagh is to join with Tim Paget to service our South East clients, based on the M4 corridor, west of London. Alan has a background in customer services and IT, particularly in the high tech, CRM and dot-com start-up arenas. As well as NLP he has studied performance coaching with Sir John Whitmore of Performance Consultants.

And on an international front, Damian Zikakis becomes our first overseas associate. Damian has worked with Richard Winfield as both a colleague and a client and now joins as a USA-based coach. Damian is a Certified Public Accountant with over 20 years industrial experience and was most recently CFO of Coach University.

Damian gained his degree from the University of Michigan. While he was there he went out a few times with a girl and then moved on. Many years later he learned that the young lady had transmuted into – Madonna.

3.     Tools notes: The Inner Game of Work

The Inner Game of Work, published in 2000, is the best introduction to the Inner Game for business applications.

The first half of the book applies the Inner Game to business with some enlightening examples from corporate America. Tim Gallwey talks about change, the importance of focus and redefines work in terms of his triangle with the words performace, learning and enjoyment at the points. He stresses that these three are important and that, therefore, if enjoyment is decreased, performance is also decreased. This has obvious implications for many traditional work cultures.

If there is an over emphasis on performance at the expense of the other two – peformance will fall!!!!

As he says, "When either the learning or the enjoyment side is ignored, performance will suffer in the long run. When it does, management feels threatened and pushes even harder for performance. Learning and enjoyment diminish even further. A cycle ensues that prevents performance from ever reaching its potential."

How many organisations do you know where this should be emblazoned on every wall?

However, the interest of this latest book is that it moves beyond the Inner Game. He introduces the ideas of his executive friend "EF". These involve the concept of "mobility", the "STOP tool" and "thinking like the CEO of yourself".

From conformity to mobility

Tim Gallwey defines mobility as: "the ability to move or adapt, change or be changed. It also means the ability to reach one's objectives in a fulfilling manner – to reach goals at the right time and in a way we feel good about. Therefore, mobility is not only change but fulfilment and harmony with one's progress."

There are five elements of mobility:

  1. Grant yourself mobility, because you have it.
  2. Have the clearest possible picture of where you want to go.
  3. Be willing to make changes within your change (course correction).
  4. Keep your purpose clear. Keep your movement clear and direction synchronised.

Movement doesn't focus on what it can't control but moves by making changes in what it can control. Mobility is about conscious wisdom. It's not just about being in the flow, but about being very clear about where you are, where you are going, and why. In essence, it is about working consciously.

The STOP tool

Not all movement is mobility. The hard part is to remain conscious while working. The STOP tool is used to:

  • Stop,
  • Think,
  • Organise your thoughts, and
  • Proceed.

STOPs can be of any duration, maybe only for a few seconds. For example:

  • STOP before you speak
  • STOP at the begining of each work day
  • STOP at the end of each work day
  • STOP at the beginning and end of any work project
  • STOP to make a conscious change
  • STOP to address mistakes
  • STOP to correct miscommunication
  • STOP to learn or coach
  • STOP to rest

The inherent goal of mobility is to retain balance. Gallwey believes that a much better strategy than managing stress is building mobility. The greater the stability, the more pressure one can withstand without losing balance.

And a good signal that it is time for s STOP is when working just isn't fun anymore.

Think like a CEO

This concept is about taking back ownership for your life and your actions.

What is the value of your company – what are your inner resources, skills, emotions, humour etc? Now ask these questions: how much access do you have to each of these resources; how much access do you want; which of your resources have you developed and which have you ignored – and, finally, who is deciding how they will be used?

If you were CEO of yourself, how many shares would you still control? How many have been stolen? How many have been given away? And how many have you traded for shares in another? Have your trades increased your balance sheet? If not, then it is time to repossess some of those shares. And certainly worth investing in some development of your capital base.

Inner Game coaching

Gallwey claims that it is particularly difficult for consultants to become coaches. People who are paid to have answers do not always find it easy to learn the skills that allow the client to come up with his own answers. Learning to coach involves learning to learn and understanding the benefits of being coached.

A major part of coaching is to get into the shoes of the client and to ensure that (s)he keeps ownership of the problem. "Put yourself in the person's shoes and ask yourself the following questions: What am I thinking? What am I feeling? What do I want?" A well known second position strategy for NLP practitioners.

The coach's questions are geared to finding out information not for the purpose of recommending solutions; to help the clients think for themselves and find their own solutions.

Inner Game coaching can be divided into three conversations: a conversation for awareness, a conversation for choice and conversation for trust – to show more trust in the client's ability than the clients trust themselves.

The (Inner Game) coach:

  • Encourages acceptance of mobility.
  • Fosters a non-judgemental environment.
  • Provides learning/coaching tools as appropriate.
  • Provides another perspective and source of insight as needed.

Gallwey views coaching not so much as a process of adding as a process of subtracting or unlearning whatever is getting in the way of movement towards the client's desired goal; neither advice giving nor problem solving, but a process of facilitating their thinking while enhancing their own abilities to observe and learn.

If you want to know more, you will have to buy the book.

HOT NEWS 3: Training needs analysis upgraded. Our FREE management skills analysis announced in the July newsletter has been under continuous development and now includes an effective director exercise and comparison of your results with those of all other participants. Watch out for more to come.

If you would like to re-visit it at /feedback/, we would much appreciate your comments.

The site is shooting ahead and we are now in line for 4,000 distinct hosts a month.

4.     Book review: ZAPP! The Lightning of Empowerment

Zapp! is a great classic. I returned to it after five years and still found it fresh – and learned some very relevant lessons. I recommend it strongly.

It is one of a series of books by William C Byham of Development Dimensions International, which are written as stories. Indeed, you could consider Zapp! a 20th century fairy story with its castles and dragons.

It is a fable about a man called Joe Mode who can tansport himself into the 12th Dimension – a detective story in which he gradually gets to understand and apply empowerment in his Department N of the Normal Company in Normalburg, USA. Zapp! explores ways to build ownership, pride, and satisfaction into jobs by changing job content and supervision. Joe sees empowerment as a mysterious bolt of lightning 'Zapping' employees with energy and enthusiasm. Each chapter contains pages from Joe's notebook, summarising the key principles covered in the book.

At Normal, managers did the thinking, supervisors did the talking and employees did the doing.

One of Joe's staff, Ralph Rosco, invents a Ralpholator that enables him to travel into the 12th Dimension, in which he can see how much energy individuals are giving out or absorbing. Problems appear as dragons. He discovers that the environment and behaviour in Lucy Storm's Department Z are quite different from Department N. The book tells how he and Joe learn from Lucy and transform their own department.

In Lucy's department people move with purpose, they work with purpose; they talk with purpose. There is a quiet hustle and bustle throughout the place. As Joe learns what has to be done, he then has to learn how to get people to do it. If he tells them, this 'Sapps' them. If he asks or coaches them this 'Zapps' them. He has to learn to listen, and respond with empathy. Eventually he learns to ask for help in solving problems. For Joe, a supervisor who believed his job was to give orders and solve problems, this was a great challenge.

Joe learned that when you have been Zapped, you feel like:

  • Your job belongs to you.
  • You are responsible.
  • Your job counts for something.
  • You know where you stand.
  • You have some say in how things are done.
  • Your job is a part of who you are.
  • You have some control over your work.

However, as Joe's workforce becomes empowered it does not become a productive workforce. It loses focus. Next Joe had to learn to set up controls and to understand about situational control. Overcontrol Sapps people; abandoning control Sapps people, but a boss who uses situational control Zapps his people! People only respond negatively to controls when they are inappropriate for the situation.

Joe learned to establish:

  • Key result areas (the direction we want to go)
  • Measurement (a way to know we're moving in the right direction)
  • Goal (something to tell us if we're there yet)

Now Joe had a productive group – but next he discovered that his improved production and quality were causing problems elsewhere in the organisation. As his people produced more and more, and better and better Ramadrams piled up in Department O, but there was a shortage of Dooverdogs (Reader, I hope you are following me here!). So Joe learned to evolve his controls with a new key result area, measurment and goal.

Instead of still measuring increases in output, he set up measures for on-time delivery, to deliver exactly the kind of output needed by Department O within ten minutes of when they needed it.

Finally, Joe learned to coach and empower his teams.

He learns a few things that boost the voltage of Zapp Teams:

  • Give the team a say in who works on the team.
  • Establish a mission for the team.
  • Provide time and places for the team to meet.
  • Provide technical training at "the teachable moment".
  • Provide "people" skills for interacting, solving problems, making decisions, and taking action.

So, "Joe Mode – Supervisor", decides to change his title to:

"Joe Mode – Group Leader".

Read this lovely little book – and use Joe's notebook notes as your own check list. It should be in every resource library and given out as part of an individual's development programme.

You may click here to buy Zapp! The Lightning of Empowerment. Or visit our books site for more ideas and recommendations.

5.     Technical tips: Recruiting – Decide what you want them to do

Too many search assignments, both internally & externally sourced, begin without a clear understanding of true needs of the job. This only adds frustration, wasted time, and inaccuracy to an already difficult process. Under these circumstances there's little likelihood of finding a top candidate. In an economy when every hiring decision suddenly becomes very important, it's critical to get it right at the start.

Throw out the job description!

Misunderstanding job needs is a classic recruiting problem. Ninety percent of most hiring assignments begin with only the traditional job description as a guide.

These job descriptions should be thrown away. Never again should they be discussed, viewed, or used as a template to define a job or to find a candidate to fill the role. This list of skills, duties, responsibilities, qualifications and required experience at best describes basic competency. It certainly doesn't describe what a person taking the job is expected to do.

If you want to hire competent people, describe what they have to do every day to achieve average performance. If you want to hire superior people, describe what superior people do every day to achieve superior performance.

Traditional job descriptions are over-weighted with too much emphasis on having skills, experience, and academic training.

The best candidates generally have less experience than the traditionalists require – but balance this with an overabundance of traits like insight, leadership skills, desire, potential and ability to learn.

While use of traditional skills and experience-based job descriptions will eliminate the bottom-third of the candidate pool, it will also often eliminate the top-third in the process.

Actually recruiters know this, but few do much about it. Line managers are a little better, but most still put up with using outdated hiring techniques.

Some recruiters try in vain to convince their line manager clients that the best candidates don't need the pedigree described in the job specification, but if they offer nothing as a substitute the pleadings then go unheard, and the typical recruiter settles in for a war of attrition – knowing that no candidate will really ever meet the specification as advertised. Then it's just more and more resumes, with the goal of tiring the manager out soon enough to eventually settle upon a candidate. The recruiter is thus viewed as a necessary evil – an expensive resource providing a service that is slow, frustrating, ineffective, yet vitally important.

A better way

There is a better way. It involves asking clients a simple question: "What does the person taking this job need to do in order to be considered successful?"

Let's take some examples:

  • Average performance for a telemarketing person at a call centre is 50 calls per day: convincing 30% to sign-up for the catalogue, and getting 10% to purchase at least 100 in goods or services. Superior performance is 50% above this.
    It's not 2-3 years of telemarketing experience, good communication skills, and at least 2 years of college.
  • For a developer it's writing efficient code to create a spider in six weeks – not 3 years of Java.
  • For a CEO, it's turning around a troubled division to generate profit in 12 months – not an MBA and five years as a general manager in the consumer products industry.

Sound simple? It is. But it's also revolutionary. Give it a try. Who knows – you might just find yourself knocking down more of those moving targets .

Michael Skirving

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