Critical Success Factor: Stakeholder involvement
Marshall Goldsmith suggests in the book The Art and Practice of Leadership Coaching on how to effectively involve key stakeholders as follow:
1. “let go of the past”
Both the client and stakeholders need to focus on the future and the opportunity for the client to make positive change. “What happened in the past happened. It cannot be changed. By focusing on a future, that can get better.”
2. “Be helpful and supportive, not cynical, sarcastic or judgmental”
Be open minded and give the client a chance to make changes. Create supportive environment that encourage positive changes and withhold the blame.
3. “Tell the truth”
Be honest in the feedback whether it’s the initial assessment or the follow up assessment. This coaching process requires time, effort and resources from various parties. The purpose of this process is to identify the strengths and areas of improvement so the client can develop himself/herself to be more effective as a leader. Sugar coating the facts is not going to be helpful to anybody in the process.
4. “Pick something to improve yourself”
Take this opportunity to reflect and create a development plan for yourself. We can always learn from other people. This helps create a learning environment and reduce the negative incidents that will hinder the client’s development.
Assessment is the next step in the coaching process. MLQ is used to collect data on client’s current leadership capacity. The data is used as a baseline to gauge client’s progress later on in the process.
After the client has carefully reviewed the report, engage him/her in conversations to help him/her understand the report.
- What are the leadership behaviors you rated yourself high that…
- you already knew were your strengths?
- you did not previously consider as your stengths?
- What are the leadership behaviors you rated yourself low that…
- you already knew were your areas of improvement?
- you did not previously consider as your areas of improvement?
- What behaviors in the Transactional or Nonleadership category could you exhibit less frequently?
- What leadership behaviors did you rate yourself higher than others rated you?
- How can you be a more effective leader with your followers/subordinates?
- How can you be a more effective leader with your peers?
- What leadership behaviors could you exhibit more frequently to influence those who are higher up in the organization?
- What stands out and challenges your perspective on your leadership?
Development is the final step in the coaching process. This is where coaching actually happens to facilitate the changes previously identified. At the beginning of the development, the coach and the client agree on key objectives to be developed, setting a few SMART objectives:
Specific behaviors are two to three behaviors agreed by the client and his/her stakeholders.
The use of MLQ assessment provides an advantage because it’s not only measurable but also based on many years of research. A valid assessment tool like the MLQ assists in making the information gather process more effective as the stakeholders who are involved can more objectively rate the client based on the model.
Focusing on a few key behaviors that would make the most positive impact to the client’s performance is key. It’s important to be realistic here. As outlined in the book The Art and Practice of Leadership Coaching by Howard Morgan that it’s better to have impactful outcomes and sustainable changes from 2-3 behaviors than less impactful 5-6 behaviors. If the client is able to achieve and sustain the objectives set, then he/she can move on to the next set of behaviors.
The objectives should be relevant to the client as well as his/her organization. The objective must be relevant to the role and the situation the client is in.
The objectives should also be time limited, as eventually the coaching engagement will end whether the time set is for six months, one year or even two years.
As the development and the coaching process continues, the coach and the client can set up structure for regular follow-ups or even a formal MLQ assessment as a pulse check periodically to gauge whether the client is now more or less effective based on those key behaviors identified.
Alternative to the SMART framework, the coach can engage the client using coaching techniques like visualization and GROW model.
Dealing with Homeostasis
Kimsey-House, Henry defines Homeostasis in the book Co-Active Coaching:
Changing Business Transforming Lives as
A natural, often subconscious resistance to change.
It usually occurs during the coaching process where the client is fully aware that the old beliefs/behaviors is not going to get him/her to where he/she wants to be and is trying to create a new structure/routine and habits based on the new beliefs. The client unconsciously opts to fall back to the comfort zone of his/her familiar old self even though he/she is aware that it will not get him/her the desired outcomes. He also suggests that it’s important the client is aware of this backslide and so he/she doesn’t perceive the himself/herself as a failure to make the required change. In addition to the individual self-resistance, he also suggests that there is a system resistance as well. Hence, it’s important to properly involve the key stakeholders. The coach can support his/her client to tackle this challenge by creating awareness of this tendency to backslide and providing necessary support to help the client move forward.
- When you made progress, how did you feel?
- When you fell back, how did you feel?
- What was your internal dialogue when the backslide happened?
- How can you see this backslide in a positive light?
- What do you feel/think you have control?
- What have you learned from this experience (of backsliding)?
- In this reality (of backsliding), what do you see yourself doing to move forward?
Wrap up and Next Steps
Once the coaching engagement comes to an end, focus on identifying the change occurred, objectives met and the impact it has on the client, the stakeholders and the organization. In addition, the coach can help the client identify the next steps e.g. how to continue this positive momentum, how to sustain the change and how to apply what he/she has learned to help others etc.
- What are the lessons learned?
- What is your key takeaway?
- What are the things you will continue doing?
- From your coaching experience, what are the things you can do to help others develop?
- Base on your improvement/development, what ideas do you have for yourself going forward?
Transformational Leadership Model can be used to support leadership coaching. By using MLQ assessment, the stakeholders are provided with a standard tool that assists them in providing consistent and objective feedback. The assessment tool also allows for the coach and the client to objectively measure client’s development progress.
The Transformational Leadership Model and the MLQ assessment are proven to be effective based on various research publications. They are also readily available for coaches and consultants who might be interested in adopting the model and the tool (http://www.mindgarden.com)
Chemers, Martin M. An integrative theory of leadership New York: Psychology Press, 1997. Print.
Bennis, Warren On Becoming a Leader New York: Basic Books, 2009. Print.
Bass, Bernard M. The Bass Handbook of Leadership: Theory, Research, and Managerial Applications New York: Free Press, 2008. Print.
Bass, Bernard M. and Riggio, Ronald E. Transformational Leadership New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2008. Print.
Morgan, Howard The Art and Practice of Leadership Coaching: 50 Top Executive Coaches Reveal Their Secret New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2005. Print.
Bass, Bernard M. and Avolio, Bruce J. MLQ for Leadership assessment and development Mindgarden, n.d. Web. April 16 2013.
Kimsey-House, Henry & Karen, Sandahl, Phillip and Withworth Laura Co-Active Coaching Changing Business Transforming Lives Boston: Nicholas Brealey, 2011. Print.