A Coaching Model Created by Ali Farahani
(Leadership Coach, AUSTRIA)
My clients are young IT technologists who are the future leaders or are new in their leadership role, at all levels, from team leaders up to C-level executives (CIxO). When it comes to fulfilling their role as specialists, they’re geniuses. However, when trusted with leadership responsibilities, the same traits leave them vulnerable, making them less preferable for leadership positions. But why? The answer lies in their brand.
Traditionally, IT executives branded themselves as service-providers, not leaders. Their focus is on performance and pleasing others rather than their image, publicity, and politics. When confronted with critics, their posture is a defensive one. They believe only in the light side of the force: honesty, fairness, passiveness, friendship, and team spirit. They avoid conflicts or being aggressive. When attacked, their posture is defensive, and their first instinct is to survive, just like prey, a lovely bunny.
It is a challenging world out there. Competition is increasing, resources are scarce, and margins are shrinking. In such an environment, only executives with a predatory mindset can survive. Predators don’t hesitate to use the dark side of the force. Power attracts power. Predators only partner with other predators. Predators don’t partner with prey; they eat them. Service-providers are prey. Lion or bunny, which one a non-IT executive will pick a partner?
You don’t need to become a predator to be a leader. Just stop reacting like prey and act as a protector. A protector is an elevated being. She uses the light side of the force to inspire loyalty, promote creativity & growth, and uses the dark side of the force, if necessary, to enforce compliance, hold all sides accountable, and protect core values. What is her secret? She deploys her logic and emotional intelligence to masterfully maneuver in highly political, predatory, and competitive environments. Such a person stands out of the crowd and becomes the influential leader that others follow willingly, with admiration, confidence, and trust. Such a leader is truly an elevated leader.
Coaching Model: ElevateiT
You’re a technologist and want to become a team leader. You are a capable manager applying for higher leadership positions. You’re having difficulties communicating your strategies and getting approval from the board of directors. You don’t get the recognition you deserve. Your peers don’t see you as a leader. In all these situations, you need to re-brand yourself as an elevated leader.
Change is hard and does not happen overnight. However, once you let go of your old habits, you’ll see, with self-awareness, smart planning, real commitment, and proper support, your natural powers will lift you to the highest pick of success. It will be a fundamental and instantaneous transformation.
Our coaching relationship will be a transformative journey. The intention is to empower you by changing your mindset around leadership identity, conflict, risk-taking, power, influence, warfare, and sociopolitical games. The goal is to re-define your brand.
Using the elevation workbook, we’ll look at the secrets of elevated leaders, identify your current leadership style, and define your future style. Next, we’ll elevate your style by identifying the gap between the old and the new. With that clarity, you’ll lay out SMART goals and action plans. By committing yourself to that plan, you’ll secure your success.
Your current situation is like gravity, and you’re like that Hot Air Balloon. Your ability to elevate beyond your current state is phenomenal.
Through a set of powerful assessments, we’ll build an inventory of priceless insights about you, your strength, and your situation, insights that are essential for your success.
You – The Leader
- Know your learning style (Education Planner.org)
- Discover your strengths (Gallup)
- Discover what drives you (Tony Robbins)
- Discover your people skills (Mindtools )
- Discover your current leadership style (Mindtools)
- What makes you a unique individual?
- What makes your heart sing? What aspires you?
- How do you see yourself as a leader?
- How do others see you as a leader?
- What do you value, and what drives you?
iT – The Situation
- Fit-Gap Analysis of your life (Tony Robbins )
- Fit-Gap Analysis of your work (AlFa)
- Expected leadership competencies required by your organization
- What is your current situation?
- What is it that bothers you most?
- How do your direct reports perceive you as a leader?
- What’s the senior management opinion about you?
- How your peers describe you?
To set you up for success, we must be clear about your ultimate goal. Between here and there, you may require defining some smaller goals, each leading to the next.
Plotting your path to success will provide us with your transformation blueprint.
Through a process of self-learning and coaching sessions, you’ll get the awareness around your future brand, required skills set, and design your SMARTgoals.
Learn iT what leadership style you prefer?
- Commonleadership styles (Mindtools) – self-study
- Wolf leadership style (Tina Nunno) – self-study or blended coaching
Define iT what is your elevated leadership brand?
- By exploring your unique strengths, current and preferred leadership style, we'll define all the competencies that you'll need to shape your elevated brand
Design iT SMART Goals
- What needs changing?
- What skills do you need?
- What needs improving?
- Howtheysupport your ultimate goal?
- What are the SMART actions that’ll lead you to them?
- What are your priorities?
- What is possible?
- What could support you?
You’ve defined your new leadership brand; how wonderful! Though there is a catch.
Your old brand is still with you. iT is part of you – that is to say, your current brand is a representation of beliefs you hold about yourself, your abilities, your situation, your role, your organization, and others. They shape your perspective and govern your actions.
No matter how committed you are and how SMART your goal is, if your beliefs and perspectives are not aligned with your new goals, you’ll go nowhere.
If you consciously stop doing things that are not working for you, you’ll see that whatever you truly desire will manifest itself effortlessly.
Through a due-diligent coaching process, we’ll identify and reframe those limiting perspectives using ICA’s FlipIt framework.
Now that you’ve defined your goals, planned the SMARTest way of reaching them, and elevated your perspectives, you’re ready to execute the plan.
Executing a plan good is as important as having a good plan.
Your brand manifests itself through your behavior. Your SMART actions, designed to help you do just that. In reality, no design is perfect. People, situations, and even you may not cooperate. If left unattended, it leads to stagnation.
By closely observing the effectiveness of your actions, you’ll stay conscious about your direction.
- Keep track of your actions – be accountable
Your actions are limited, but your ability to respond is unlimited. Through self-assessment and coaching conversation, you’ll adapt your plan and goals in response to the new situation.
Imagine how your peers, direct reports, and upper management would feel if you suddenly start behaving differently. iT may confuse them and affect your plans.
Communicate your brand to get the support and cooperation of others. Your success depends on iT
- Prepare your talking points though coaching conversation and role play
As a leader, you need a support team. People who are aligned with your values and hold the same sentiments. It would be best if you have them everywhere: in low and high places, inside and outside the organization. You need people who’ll help you market your brand. Who promote you and protect your image. These people are a crucial part of your brand, and therefore you need to choose them wisely. Together we’ll identify your support team, their competencies, and roles.
It’s easy to lose sight of your goals as you get entangled with actions.
Being in action is the key to moving forward, yet it drags your energy. And energy is what you need to stay in action. This is a winding-up spiral that leads to no action.
To cross the finish line, you need to stay focused.
Recognizing your progress and acknowledging yourself for achieving smaller goals provides you with a new energy source. Now vitalized, you have no difficulty honing in on your goals and get them done.
- Recognize your success by journaling your progress
Sometimes, fear keeps us from crossing the finish line. Let’s say you’re piloting an air balloon. You’ve come a long way, and the landing site is just a few meters away. Suddenly, doubt creeps in: “What if I miss the spot? What if the wind’s direction change? What if my ground team can’t catch the cord?”. You’ll lose your self-confidence, and so you fail; a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Owning your success by reflecting on the choices and decisions that have led you to this joyful moment will reinforce your belief that you can succeed – no matter what.
- Use mindfulness meditation
Congratulations! Your commitment to self-empowerment has finally paid off. You’ve done iT. It is time for you to bask in your success. You deserve iT.
- Looking back, what are you most proud of yourself? What are you grateful for?
- What did you learn about yourself and your journey? How do you think you can use iT?
- How would you like to celebrate your success?
- Looking forward, what’s the next celebration point?
From the book “The Wolf in CIO’s Clothing”
Workbook of Elevation explains the ElevateiT coaching model in more detail. In addition to a welcome package, coaching agreement, and ICF Code of Ethics. It contains resources, worksheets, action planning, and journaling sections. The intention is to provide a flexible support structure for both coach and client.
The DISC Assessment
Emotional Intelligence Self-Assessment
What’s your leadership style?
Wheel of Life
Wheel of Work – AlFa
S.M.A.R.T: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound
Leadership Styles – Choosing the Right Approach for the Situation
Leadership Style Matrix – Choosing the Best Leadership Style
The Wolf in CIO’s Clothing – A Machiavellian Strategy for Successful IT Leadership– Gartner 2015
Using Coach Accountable platform
Refer to the workbook of Elevation for more details