Articles on Personal and Executive Coaching

The following divs were originally published in the College of Executive Coaching Newsletter.


The Value of Emotional Intelligence Coaching

By Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., MCC

One of the biggest reasons people seek coaching is greater success at work and in their personal life. What leads to great success in one's career and personal life? A growing body of evidence says that emotional intelligence makes the difference.

The good news for coaches is that best-selling author Daniel Goleman, in both his new book, Primal Leadership, and in his recent Harvard Business Review divs, is telling our prospective clients that coaching is a powerful method to develop emotional intelligence and thereby cultivate greater success. Goleman says in his newest book that a "coach helps you discover your dreams, understand your strengths and gaps and your impact on others, and guides you through the steps in your learning plan."

Here is some of the evidence, which suggests that emotional intelligence coaching will result in a high return on investment for our clients:

The prominent search firm Egon Zehnder International analyzed career success in 515 senior executives. Seventy-four percent of the highest performing executives were also very high in emotional intelligence.

Optimism is an important emotional intelligence competency. Salespeople at Met Life who scored high on a test of "learned optimism" sold 37 percent more life insurance in their first two years than those who scored low on learned optimism. (Seligman, 1990)

Deficits in emotional intelligence are the primary cause of career derailment. Research at the Center for Creative Leadership found that being low in the following emotional intelligence competencies strongly contributed to career crashes: managing change, team work relations and interpersonal relations.

Three hundred senior executives from fifteen global companies were surveyed to identify what were the critical factors that contributed to their superior success. The factors that were found to contribute to their success were six emotional intelligence competencies: influence, team leadership, organizational awareness, self-confidence, achievement drive, and leadership (Spencer, L.M., Jr., 1997).

The United States Air Force found that the most successful recruiters scored highest in the emotional intelligence competencies of assertiveness, empathy, happiness, and emotional self-awareness. The Air Force found that when they added emotional intelligence screening to their selection process these new recruiters were 300 percent more effective than the average prior recruiters -- resulting in an immediate $3 million in annual savings. (Military Recruiting Report, submitted to Congress, 1/30/98).

In coaching we are often helping leaders, managers and other individuals work more effectively with others. By helping our clients develop their emotional intelligence competencies in themselves they prime good feelings in those around them. Highly emotional intelligent people bring out the best in people around them. As coaches, it is our joy to help bring out the best of our client's potential.


Interview with Relly Nadler, Psy.D., MCC., Executive Coach, Leadership Consultant and Author

By Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., MCC

Jeff Auerbach: Relly, you've been called one of the best coaches in the country. I think our readers will want to hear about how you got started. How did you get involved with coaching?

Relly Nadler: Actually I got started by working for Outward Bound Schools doing corporate teambuilding programs. Then in 1986 I came to Santa Barbara to start my own teambuilding company and begin my practice as a psychologist.

I started doing executive coaching full-time in 1993. At that time, my partner and I had a consulting engagement with EDS on leadership development. We designed a series of trainings around Peter Senge's and Stephen Covey's work. We incorporated a large coaching component in that engagement.

We found that coaching was a natural service for us to provide. Executive coaching allowed me to capitalize on the training that I had completed to become a licensed psychologist.

Jeff Auerbach: Were there training programs available to you to help you transition from a psychologist role to an executive coach?

Relly Nadler: No, there weren't. I had to create my own models as there was not much written about executive coaching then. I searched for tools that were applied and value-added for executives.

Jeff Auerbach: What is your coaching company's focus?

Relly Nadler: We focus on enhancing business objectives by developing leaders, teams and organizations to better manage change and their human resources. We also facilitates executive retreats, team building ropes courses programs, and do traditional organizational development and consulting.

Jeff Auerbach: How often do you usually meet with your clients?

Relly Nadler: I usually see executives on their site twice a month, although some of the coaching sessions are conducted over the telephone. We currently have coaching engagements at six different companies totaling around 35 clients. The usual length of time we see clients is for about a year, although we have some follow-up coaching contacts for over three years.

Also, we are doing some exciting leadership training at three companies where the focus is on developing "Star Performers" using the competencies of Emotional Intelligence. I'm certified, like you are Jeff, in the Goleman and Hay Group Emotional Competence Inventory and have found it an excellent addition to my coaching.

Jeff Auerbach: Can you give us an example of one of your favorite tools you use with executives?

Relly Nadler: Sure, one of the common weaknesses I found in most organizations is a lack of accountability. Leaders often say what they want to see happen but don't follow-up well especially when things fall though the cracks.

One weekend I was out running, and I started thinking of a CFO I worked with, who decided to get involved in an initiative that was unraveling just at the right time to turn it around.

I began thinking of leadership as a dance of stepping in and then out, and then in again, like when I learned the cha cha as a child dancing with my sister. The appropriate step at the right time is critical and there is a natural rhythm to it that a good leader understands. It is easier to step out when you know will be stepping back in when necessary.

I came up with the "Leadership Two Step", which is a tool I teach in the Field Techniques of Executive Coaching class, for the College of Executive Coaching.

I have executives rate themselves on these four steps and it differentiates quite well what areas they need to work on. It provides an easy metaphor that gives them a basic leadership protocol. Here is what the steps entail:

  1. Step In: Set the vision, systems and structure, clarify expectations, identify the deliverables and timetable, encourage and motivate.
  2. Step out: Leave people alone and let them come to you if they have questions. Empower encourage them to use their own best judgment. Redirect them to others, if necessary rather becoming their answer person.
  3. Step in:
    A. If it's going well - Support and acknowledge people, spread the news, codify what is working well to replicate in other endeavors.
    B. If it's not going well - "Right the ship". Understand what is the key issue. Make a decision quickly after getting their input. Reiterate the vision and deliverables.
  4. Step out: Leave people alone and let them come to you if they have questions. Empower encourage them to use their own best judgment. Redirect them to others, if necessary rather becoming their answer person.
Here are some examples:

I had one executive who quickly assessed that he is not able to step out, which had consequences for him of not empowering his people and overburdening himself. He said, "The only way I can step out is to go on vacation." We worked on his ability to step out and restrain himself from taking their thunder.

Another executive, a president of an organization, found that when he stepped in when it was not going well he did so in a irritable and cutting manner that offended many people. He realized that was hurting his credibility and understood that he had to rein in how he stepped in and what he said when things weren't going well. He also used the "Leadership Two Step" as guide to tell him when to get back in the picture to make sure his vision was being implemented effectively.

Jeff Auerbach: Relly, thanks that is a tool that coaches can get a lot of mileage from. One last question, what is most exciting about coaching for you?

Relly Nadler: What I like is making difference for people and organizations, similar to what I did when I was in private practice. Now the systems are a lot greater and I feel I can really support organizations improving their performance.

I like having a window into different organizations and industries and enjoy the challenges coaching presents. We are at an exciting crossroads in the coaching field and I am glad to be a part of it.

Jeff Auerbach: Thank you, Relly.


New Coaching Assessment Report Helps Your Clients Lead More Effectively — In Their Personal Life And In Their Career

By Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., MPEC

Both individuals and organizations are increasingly turning to coaches to foster the development of individual competence and success. Moreover, leadership, whether in one's own life, or in the life of an organization, is a frequent focus of coaching. From Oprah Winfrey to the Harvard Business Review, your potential clients are hearing about the value of coaching. The result? The demand for coaching is growing.

Fortunately, tools to assist coaches are becoming more available too. Just this month the new "Spectrum Coaching Report for Leaders", based on a shortened version of the California Psychological InventoryÔ has become available. This new tool, based on the Center for Creative Leadership'sÔ research of 5,600 managers and executives, is just one example of the increasingly sophisticated tools available to graduate level coaches.

What are the competencies of leadership? How will coaching help our clients' unleash their fullest potential?

Warren Bennis wrote in "On Becoming a Leader" (1994):

"Leaders are people who are able to express themselves fully … they know who they are, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and how to fully deploy their strengths and compensate for their weaknesses. They also know what they want, why they want it, and how to communicate what they want to others, in order to gain their cooperation and support. Finally they know how to achieve their goals."

So as coaches, how do we help our clients actualize Bennis's definition of leadership? Most of the professionals reading this newsletter have the skills to develop rapport and demonstrate active listening. You also probably have considerable experience helping client's deepen their self-understanding and examine their experiences for learning that will aid them both professionally and personally. However, the process of adapting your skills to a coaching process, with high achieving individuals, involves focused effort, and usually specific training.

Learning more about coaching techniques and how to combine the new assessment tools with your coaching approach will give you the skills to lead more effective and valuable coaching sessions.

The new Coaching Report for Leaders (available through Consulting Psychologist Press) examines five core performance areas of your client and then explores in further depth eighteen leadership characteristics. The five core performance areas are: 1) self-management; 2) organizational capabilities; 3) team building and teamwork; 4) problem solving; and 5) sustaining the vision.

Most assessments appropriate for coaching will indicate in what areas your client appears to have strengths. Strengths are important because once they are identified and capitalized on they allow your clients to soar. Strengths also can be used to help compensate for weaknesses. Some coaches only focus on deficits. In other words, "what is the gap between where the client is now and where they want to be?" Or, "what are the client's blindspots?" These are fundamental and critical coaching questions. Focusing on strengths however, can also be very productive. You get a lot of bang for the buck when you help your client bring to bear their strengths on their most important goals.

In terms of areas for development, one aspect I especially like about the new Coaching Report for Leaders is they use a "magnifying glass" icon to represent areas of potential development. The language the authors have adopted in the report for results that are in the "magnifying glass" category is, "look closely at this area because it may be a developmental need, in that your preferences, attitudes, and behaviors are considered to hamper effectiveness and /or be perceived by others negatively under most circumstances..." I find myself easily able to springboard off looking at that result on the assessment to be able to ask my client, "Would you like to take a closer look at this? I'm curious about what you were thinking about when you answered these questions? If you would like, this could be an area that we may be able to improve through our coaching work..."

This month we began to look at the new Coaching Report for Leaders, next month we will look at the Leadership Practice Inventoryä (Jossey-Bass) developed by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner.

(Editors Note: Training in how to incorporate this assessment into your coaching practice is covered in the two-day program, "How to Use Assessments in Coaching" through the College of Executive Coaching.)


"Coaching" Is A Hot Media Topic

By Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., MPEC

How many divs on coaching are hitting the pages of the U.S. and Canadian newspapers and magazines? I did a recent count of divs and found that there were a total of 171 news divs on coaching in 1999. In just the first four months of 2000 there were over 100 coaching news stories in the print media. Coverage has exploded in 2001 and 2002. On January 1st 2002, the College of Executive Coaching was covered in the Philadelphia Inquirer -- then in the next month the same story was carried in over 30 papers across the nation.

These are not flaky publications either. Coaching has recently been the subject of feature stories in: Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Fast Company, Health Magazine, Fortune, Investor's Business Daily, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, New York Post, and Newsweek. Coaching is even featured every week on Oprah Winfrey! Do you feel like you are finally in the right place at the right time?

Professionals that are making coaching the focus of their careers are moving ahead quickly – although there are still relatively few well-trained, graduate level coaches. Now, graduate level professional coaches are setting up their web sites, networking, completing training, enrolling clients and boosting their incomes.

The Fortune div "So You're a Player. Do You Need a Coach?" (2/21/00) quotes executives who praise coaching and researchers who argue the benefits of coach training.

Why is coaching growing so fast? Barry Mabry, a successful partner at Ernst and Young, who has worked with a coach for over a year, says, "I guess I need a coach the same way Tiger Woods needs a coach. Tiger Woods definitely knows how to play golf, but his coach is still probably the most important person in his life." The bottom line is people overwhelmingly love having a coach.

"Coaching is becoming a heavy industry. It's amazing!" says Warren Bennis, professor of business administration at the University of Southern California's business school.

Is there an emphasis in the media that coaches should be highly trained professionals? Yes. Bennis, the venerable business guru and researcher, believes highly trained professionals should lead in the coaching field. He reveals his opinion about untrained coaches — "I'm concerned about unlicensed people doing this." Although there is no "license" for coaching it's clear that adequate coach training is becoming more important to the public.

With our high level training and experience, we can continue to create a vibrant, rich, effective coaching field and enjoy a rewarding, challenging career.


What's Vision Got to Do With It?

By Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., MCC

Vision can save your life as well as enhancing your life and the lives of the people around you. Victor Frankl, a founding father of modern psychology, contended that a clear sense of vision is related to overcoming all odds. As Dr. Frankl struggled in the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp, he focused on what enabled some people to survive while most perished. He initially thought the determining factors were a combination of health, vitality, family background or intelligence. Ultimately he concluded that the most important factor for survival in the most challenging situation imaginable was a compelling vision – being convinced that there was something important to do.

What about in day-to-day life – in our personal life or in business – does vision matter? Children with a future-oriented role image do better in school and manage challenges more successfully according to according to researcher Benjamin Singer (see Alvin Toffler's "Learning for Tomorrow"). Organizations and teams with a clear vision surpass the performance of organizations without a clear vision (see A. Campbell and L. Nash in "A Sense of Mission").

Stephen R. Covey describes vision as the "manifestation of creative imagination and the primary motivation of human action. It's the ability to see beyond our present reality, to create, to invent what does not yet exist, to become what we are not yet are."

Creating your own vision and "working your vision" will have a significant impact on the way you use time. Helping your clients dream and craft their own personal vision underlies powerful coaching. As an example, reflect on people you know that have a compelling vision - consider friends and business leaders. How do they choose to use their time? What have they created? Vision, when exercised, is impressive and inspirational to others.

What will help you live the life you want – increased focus on time management, organization and efficiency – so that you feel more in control and more "on top of things"? Or would it be more effective to have increased focus on your vision and mission so that you have an inner compass that keeps you on track with your most important goals? Speed may often be important in business, but what is even more important in the long run is to know where you are going.

Clear vision supports us as we put first things first. Vision, which includes an integration of our values, guides us in mundane to important decision-making. For a peak performing individual or organization, every step is consciously or unconsciously checked for being on-vision or off-vision.

What is your vision? What are you focused on creating? In what ways are you helping your clients' develop their vision? What can you do this year to live your vision?


Dr. Sandra Foster Teaches Clients Five Key Skills

By Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., MCC

Many professionals ask me how they can incorporate their current skills into a successful coaching niche. One example of how a psychologist translated her strengths, training and experience into a highly compensated coaching niche is Sandra Foster, Ph.D.

Dr. Foster, after completing her Ph.D. at Stanford University, combined her post-graduate training in sports psychology with her experience working with successful business people in Silicon Valley. She capitalized on her strengths by creating her niche specialty as a performance enhancement coach.

Sandra Foster, a well-known consulting psychologist, performance coach and American Psychological Association leader, created a valuable five-step coaching approach.

  1. Clients are guided through a process of clarifying their sense of purpose – their vision of their work or avocation. With a clear sense of purpose, motivation can spring forth, as well as providing internal guidance for decision-making. Dr. Foster says, "Clients with a well-defined sense of purpose have both a path and a map."
  2. Facilitating the ability to focus on the task at hand is easier when there is a foundation of a clear purpose underlying the client's goals. Because the ability to focus is central to peak performance she teaches her clients techniques for centering, refocusing and maintaining attention to produce optimal results.
  3. Dr. Foster coaches her clients in methods of managing distractions. Distractions can either be internal (such as self-defeating thoughts) or external (such as difficult people or changes in the business climate). As a post-graduate level coach this is where our advanced skills in creating positive, realistic cognitions and managing stress are helpful. Moreover, the ability to foster communication skills is important and basics often considered outside what mental health professionals normally focus on, such as coaching time management skills, are found very valuable to coaching clients.
  4. She has a holistic approach that addresses the client's ability to monitor and control energy levels to produce peak performance. So as a coach, Dr. Foster includes in the coaching conversation discussions about exercise, sleep, and lifestyle, as they seem relevant.
  5. Finally Dr. Foster values the importance of nurturing the spirit in her coaching clients. By valuing the client's spiritual well being, and modeling a calm, centered demeanor, she promotes the attractiveness of creating a habit of reflection and centering.

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