Sunday, 25 August 2013

#Coaching The #STAR Model & Competency Based Recruitment

Part 3 of our series on coaching looks at the STAR model, which is a 4 step model which focuses on the future. It provides a framework for assessing the current situation, defining what changes you want or need to make, how these will be actioned and how you will review success.

Are You a Star in the Making?

The model is question based at each stage.

(What problem are you trying to solve?)
  • What is the specific situation?
  • What is causing difficulty?
  • What is happening now?
  • What are you doing now that is not having a positive impact?
  • What thoughts are on your mind?
  • What reaction do you want from others?
(What do you want to achieve?)
  • What would you like to be different – what are the deadlines?
  • What is the desired end state?
  • What are the success measures?
  • Are they achievable? By when?
(What is your plan?)
  • What can you do to change the situation?
  • What are the options?
  • Are there alternatives?
  • Which are most practical?
  • How & When?
  • How can you ensure you have stakeholder support?
(How do you know if you are successful?)
  • What is the desired result?
  • How will your review success?
  • How do you want to feel as a result?

Using our earlier example of Iam Capable from the “Coaching– How Do you Make it Happen” post

“You manage a large team of mixed capability. One of your team members Iam Capable requests a career development discussion with you. He is worried about the lack of career progression and thinks he has to move teams to achieve the stretch and challenge he seeks.”

Now using the STAR model:

S – The situation is that Iam Capable feels there is a lack of opportunities - his perception is that promotions are awarded to “favourites”. He is sceptical about whether there are going to be career progression opportunities for him and he feels his career is stagnating. He has applied for a promotion before, but not even been selected at the first stage of the process. You know that promotions are competency based.

T - The target is for him to be selected for the initial stage of the promotion process. Ideally this will be in the next round of promotions, which you know to be in 6 months time. You also recognise, that whilst capable, he has skills gaps compared to his peer group. Together you devise a focused skills competency development plan, with the targeted delivery date of 5 months. You discuss with him that these timeframes are a stretch target and that the required full competency development might not be possible in these timeframes. You make him aware of a further round of promotions and reassure him that he is “on your radar”.

A – There are a number of actions you could take to achieve accelerated development – coaching, mentoring, e-learning, classroom training or a blended approach. Alternatively you could move him to another team to ensure he gains the knowledge. Together you evaluate the options. Due to work priorities a team move is not possible. You opt for a mentor who will help him focus on his strengths, give him the confidence he needs and help raise his profile. It’s a partnership approach - Iam Capable (is indeed capable of a promotion!) and he now needs to work with his mentor, driving that relationship, taking the ownership for developing his skills.

R – the review is whether he is successful in progressing to the initial stages of the selection process either in 6 months time or in the following round. The ultimate measure is if he is successful at interview – which will be down to his self confidence and the developmental opportunities he has undertaken. You want to be regarded as a manager who develops their staff and for your areas to be regarded as a placement of choice, due to the career opportunities they afford.

The STAR model is also a tool commonly used by government departments and the public sector for competency based job application processes. For competency based recruitment give thought to how you can demonstrate:
  1. What was the problem?
  2. What did you need to do?
  3. How did you plan?
  4. What did success look like?

#Authentic #Leadership - "I believe..."

Leadership is a very individual thing and means different things to different people. Part 3 of our leadership series follows our earlier blog posts on #Leadership Styles and #Situational Leadership, we are now exploring the issue of authenticity.
Authentic Leadership - what face do you show others?
All the research is very clear, whatever the preferred or adopted leadership style - leadership should be authentic. This builds trust and inspires others to follow.

So what does authentic leadership look like?

Elements of Authentic Leadership

Self Awareness:
  • Be genuine
  • Understand your emotions
  • Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses
  • What are you personal values? Live them, ensuring your actions match your words
  • Openly share your "mistakes" to drive learning
  • Show the real you, not the face you feel you should show or the one that everyone expects
Lead with Heart:
  • Recognise the contributions of others
  • Celebrate successes, through building a sense of "community"
  • Demonstrate emotion and empathy
  • Connect with others
  • Demonstrate vulnerability - this does not equate to failure
  • Be honest
  • Give thought to any implications your decisions may have
  • Consider the long term view/direction - be visionary and imaginative, encouraging others to follow
  • Encourage others to engage with the vision by appealing to shared aspirations and values
  • Innovate
  • Big picture view - focus externally as well as internally to drive continual improvement
Build Relationships:
  • Build rapport
  • Understand the drivers of others and any underlying emotion across the organisation
  • Demonstrate a genuine interest in others
  • Foster collaboration and be regarded as a trusted business partner of choice
Business Goals:
  • Put business goals ahead of your own to ensure success - its not about power, personal success or ego
  • Create a decision making culture, where others feel genuinely empowered

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

#Coaching Part 2 How Do You Make It Happen?

Coaching is a great way to accelerate learning and development in the workplace and also in our personal lives.

Invest Some Time in Coaching - Be The Best You Can Be

 Having explored what coaching is and some different coaching styles
  • how do you start

  • how do you just make it happen?

My advice would be via some coaching models. Pick one you think will work best and give it a go in a real life work (or non work) example.

One of the most commonly used simple and effective coaching models is the GROW model, which is detailed below:
 I        Issue – What is the issue?
·         What is important to you right now?
·         What is your most important priority?

G        Goal – What are you trying to achieve?
·         Where do you want to be in x time?
·         What outcome are you looking for in this situation?

R         Reality – Where are you now in relation to your goal?
·         What have you tried so far, what has and hasn’t worked?
·         What is preventing you right now from achieving your outcome?

O         Options – What could you do?
·         If time, money and resource were no object what could you try?
·         What else could you try that could help you?

W        Will – What specific action will you take next?
·         What specifically could you do next time and when?
·         How confident do you feel that this will help you achieve your outcome?

Using GROW think of the coaching exercise like a journey:
  • where do you want to go (on holiday)
  • where are you now (in a busy office!)
  • what do you need to do to make it happen (sort out the logistics)
  • how do you get there (...well that's all in the planning bit)
A good way of thinking about the GROW Model is to think about how you'd plan a journey. First, you decide where you are going (the goal), and establish where you currently are (your current reality).
You then explore various routes (the options) to your destination. In the final step, establishing the will, you ensure that you're committed to making the journey, and are prepared for the obstacles that you could meet on the way.
In its traditional application, the GROW Model assumes that the coach is not an expert in the "client's" situation. This means that the coach must act as a facilitator, helping the client select the best options, and not offering advice or direction.
When leaders coach their team members, or act as mentors to them, this may or may not apply. On one hand, it's more powerful for people to draw conclusions for themselves, rather than having these conclusions thrust upon them. On the other hand, as a team leader, you'll often have expert knowledge to offer. Also, it's your job to guide team members to make decisions that are best for your organization.
- See more at:

They key is to ask the right questions, ensuring they are open questions and and use active listening skills. Take time to listen and digest what is being said. Don't feel you have to be talking all the time. Think PUSH & PULL and pull the information from the other person, rather than feeling under pressure to come up with all the answers yourself.

You don't need to be a people manager to use this technique. If you have regular meeting with your people manager or team leader you could suggest that you both try this technique to help drive your personal development.

An example of using the GROW model in practice:

You manage a large team of mixed capability. One of your team members Iam Capable requests a career development discussion with you. He is worried about the lack of career progression and thinks he has to move teams to achieve the stretch and challenge he seeks.

  • I - You discuss with Iam Capable the issue that is bothering him - he feels there is a lack of opportunities
  • G - The goal is for him to feel motivated, not seek a new role and to provide him with stretch and challenge 
  • R - you were completely unaware of how Iam Capable felt - now that you know you can do something about it
  • O - you establish a development plan for Iam Capable enabling him to take on new stretching pieces of work and gain the recognition he is seeking
  • W - you agree to sit down in 3 months and review his progress against the plan. You are on hand for 1-1's to provide any support he needs with his new responsibilities.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Flexing Your #Leadership Style to Achieve Results & Develop #Capability

This post explores situational leadership and builds on Part 1 "Leadership Styles - Which Are You?" Part 2 of our leadership series explores how and when to use some of these leadership styles.  

Don't get trapped in one leadership style - branch out and flex your style

What is Situational Leadership?

Situational leadership theory was developed by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard in the 1970’s, entitled "Life Cycle Theory of Leadership” and is often known as Hersey and Blanchard’s situational leadership. The following blog post is based on their research.

So what is it all about?
  • In a nutshell Hersey & Blanchard believed that successful leaders are flexible and adapt their leadership style according to the “development maturity” of the individual or group they are leading. 
  • Leadership approach also varies according to the task that needs to be accomplished. 
  • They identified four leadership styles and four development maturity levels.

Leadership Styles:

They identified four main leadership behaviours:
  • L1: Telling/Directing - is characterised by one-way communication in which the leader defines the roles of the individual or group and provides the what, how, why, when and where to do the task.
  • L2: Selling/Coaching - while the leader is still providing the direction, he or she is now using two-way communication and providing the required support to ensure engagement and buy-in.
  • L3: Participating/Supporting - shared decision-making about how the task is to be accomplished, less task focused and more relationship based.
  • L4: Delegating - the leader is still involved in the decision making and monitors progress, but passes the responsibility for delivery to the individual or group.

Development Maturity levels:
  • In summary there are 4 development maturity levels D1 – D4, as described below. 
  • Development maturity levels are also task-specific, in that an individual might be skilled, confident and motivated in their job (D4), but could have a development maturity level of D1 when asked to perform a task requiring skills and competencies they don’t yet have. 

Very capable and confident:
Capable but unwilling:
Unable but willing:
Unable and insecure:
·  They are experienced at the task, with high confidence and strong skills. They are comfortable with their own ability to do it well.
·   They are able and willing to not only do the task, but to take responsibility for the task.
·  They are capable of working autonomously
· They are experienced and able to do the task but lack the confidence or the willingness to take on responsibility.

·    They are unable to take on responsibility for the task.
·    However, they are willing to work at the task but don’t have the skills to complete it successfully.
·    They are a novice but enthusiastic.

·  They still lack the specific knowledge, skills or confidence required for the task.
·  They are unable and unwilling to do or to take responsibility for the task. ("The honeymoon is over")
·  They often need to be pushed to take the task on
Most appropriate leadership style to adopt

Examples to illustrate the point:

Example 1 – Not tailoring your leadership style to match the development maturity of your team:

You are asked to take on new responsibilities, to ensure a business critical project delivers on time. In the short-term your work will be covered by an experienced development maturity (D4) level colleague. He or she is very capable, confident and motivated and relishes the stretch and challenge that covering your portfolio will provide.

However you have high control needs and so provide your colleague with detailed “to do” lists and instructions, in-line with someone of development maturity level D1 capability. You behave in the L1 Telling/Directing leadership style, when what is actually required is the L4 Delegating leadership style.

The work gets completed to the required standard but your colleague does not feel trusted, respected or empowered. Your working relationship suffers and what was previously a high relationship approach now deteriorates

Example 2 – Effective flexing of your leadership style to develop capability in others:

You are promoted to a managerial position, which involves leading and managing a new team. The team is highly motivated and broadly capable (in line with D3 capability). You are reassured that they appear to have the required inherent capability, but sometimes lack the confidence to deliver.  

You decide to flex your leadership style and adopt the L3 Participating/Supporting leadership style. You coach the team through the business objectives, building a relationship with them and allowing them to participate in the decision making process.

The team relationship with you continues to grow and strengthen, business goals are successfully delivered and achieved. Your team is developed through your coaching approach and you build a culture of collaborative working. You are recognised as valuing the opinions of your team.  

Monday, 12 August 2013

#Coaching Part 1 - What Type Of #Coach Are You?

Coaching  is an invaluable tool in developing teams and high performance in the workplace.  There is no right or wrong style. The key thing as a people manager is to actively develop your teams, by whatever means works best.

Accelerate Your Growth Through Coaching

Following on from our recent blog posts on self assessment and coaching versus mentoring I thought it would be helpful to explore some different coaching styles  

  • Are you an accomplished coach? If so, what type of coaching style do you adopt? Do you flex this style according to the individual?
  • Do you want to gain coaching skills and experience? What style do you aspire to?

Coaching Styles:
Key Influencer – a dominant figure who leads by example and who inspires others. This coaching style is typical of someone with influence, persona and charisma.

Visionary – this can be the most frustrating of coaching styles for recipients. The coach sees the big picture and enthusiastically talks about their vision - to them it is all crystal clear! However often the result is that recipients lack specific direction, as they have failed to understand the vision or keep up with the pace. This style is most effective when the vision is communicated, but time is taken to check team or individual understanding.

Hands On – common in the workplace, coaching on how to actually complete the specifics of a task e.g. step by step.

Hands Off – sometimes called “coaching on the run” e.g. telling someone where to find the information but then leaving them to figure it out themselves. A hands off coach is happy to help, after the individual or team has first tried the task themselves.

Formal and Structured – more “tell” in nature commonly used when there is little time to get the message across or in safety situations e.g. police, military.

Relaxed and Informal - being available when support and guidance is required. The coach understands individual or team strengths and plays an active role and ownership remains with the individual.

Collaborative – an group or team come together to support each other and set goals. Individuals feel "obliged" to follow through and deliver for the sake of the group so as not to lose credibility.

Following soon some coaching models that you might find helpful in developing others