CorporateCoach eNewsletter

Issue No. 39, 15th December 2003


  1. Editorial: Monkey business
  2. Coaching notes: Coaching competencies

1.     Editorial: Monkey business

Richard Winfield - editor and principal consultant

I was talking to Lorna Sheldon this week about presentation skills training. She explained that one of her exercises was to ask her students to prepare a PowerPoint presentation without words. They could use pictures and symbols only.

I was delighted, as my experience is that, powerful as PowerPoint is, it has had a poor effect on many presentations.

I started to think of what I had used when giving presentations and was reminded of a talk I gave to a divisional conference in Atlanta, Georgia, using a stuffed monkey.

Monkeys are an important symbol in discussing delegation and empowerment. Indeed, I gave one of my clients a monkey on a recent assignment. It is so easy, when someone comes into your office with a problem for you to take it on board and agree to solve it. This is known as picking up someone else's monkey. The little problems that effectively stop you from performing at your optimum efficiency. It is well described in Ken Blanchard's excellent book in the One Minute Manager series, which features in our list of core recommendations.

Blanchard describes the four simple rules from the One Minute Manager to pass these Monkeys back to the appropriate keeper and reduce the burden on yourself. If you haven't got a monkey to hand, then you can download a flash card. Make it up with two sides so that when you show it to your monkey holder, there is an equivalent set of messages facing you: -

  • Do you really need me to make this decision?
  • Do I need to be involved in this decision?
  • What help do you need to make this decision?

Many managers love to get involved in problem solving. It stimulates the mind and demonstrates their 'superior' competence. However, it inhibits learning by junior staff and can lead to a degree of dependence.

Do you have a monkey strategy? How do you decide when and how to share ownership for someone's monkey?



As the New Year approaches, now is a good time to work through Seven Ways to Figure out What You Want™.

Although primarily aimed at individuals, 'Seven Ways' is a creative resource that can be used by teams to generate new solutions to old problems. Exercises cover:

  • Starting small
  • Deciding what you don't want
  • Making your wishes come true
  • Scoring your life
  • Using the time remaining
  • Paying attention to your senses
  • Following your joy

Why not purchase Seven Ways to Figure out What You Want™ at £9.99 (approximately $13.00) and immediately download it?

2.    Coaching notes: Coaching competencies

It is a long time since we have reviewed what coaching is about. The international body for setting standards is the International Coach Federation. Two studies by the International Coach Federation have defined basic coaching competencies and executive coaching competencies.

Not only are these relevant to coaches, but they also provide a useful check list when selecting a coach to work in your organisation.

Basic coaching competencies

  • Meet ethical guidelines of the profession
  • Ability to establish a coaching agreement
  • Ability to establish an intimate and trusting relationship with the client
  • Ability to express active listening
  • Ability to ask powerful questions
  • Ability to be a direct communicator
  • Ability to create and raise the client's awareness
  • Ability to design and create action plans and action behaviours
  • Ability to develop plans and establish goals with the client
  • Ability to manage the client's progress and hold him/her responsible for action

The core of coaching is building rapport, asking powerful questions and setting goals.

Executive coaching competencies

Executive coaches need additional competencies including a unique combination of maturity, professional skills and human qualities, such as:

  • A firm grounding in business knowledge and competencies
  • Thorough understanding of the world of the executive leader
  • A broad understanding of leadership and leadership development
  • Knowledge of systems dynamics (organisation and community)
  • Knowledge of the framework of adult development
  • High standards of personal and professional ethics
  • Highly developed communication proficiency allowing them to operate in the executive's environment
  • Advanced coaching skills and capabilities
  • Stature and reputation that gains respect
  • A commitment to lifelong learning similar to the leader him/herself

Brefi Group focuses on Corporate Coaching. Corporate coaching is executive coaching undertaken within the context of an organisation's vision, mission, values – and strategy. By working within an organisation as well as with individuals, corporate coaching extracts the synergy that is greater than the sum of the parts.

Corporate coaches work with individual executives and with teams, we facilitate strategy meetings and act as mentors to boards of directors. At Brefi Group, we like to measure results against an organisation's objectives and external benchmarks such as the IoD and MCI competencies.


We aim to make the Brefi Group web site the premier developmental site for teams and individuals in organisations, so do please send us your suggestions and requests for further development. And let us know what you think of this newsletter, and comment on the content.

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Copyright 2003 all rights reserved.

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Brefi Group is a change management organisation that provides corporate coaching, consultancy, facilitation and training. Be sure to visit the Brefi Group web site at

We hope you enjoyed this issue of CorporateCoach. If you would like to learn more about how we can work together, then please contact me, Richard Winfield:

Telephone: 08450 678 222, or +44 (0) 121 704 2006 (international)