The Power of Objective Coaching

Telling the truth is hard sometimes in business. Why? Because one person’s truth isn’t automatically another’s. It may be problematic as it requires a rethinking of a current decision. When it comes to leadership development it may mean unwinding the story we’ve told ourselves about who we are in life and work. This dilemma is what makes coaching interesting and its success highly variable. Coaching done well brings in an objective view of reality and gets through denial and disbelief quickly and on to growth and course correction.

Internal coaches and mentors exist and are amazing when they practice coaching without ego, manipulation or projecting their way onto the other. However, this is rare. Organizations know the value of coaching as it the best way to take expectations shared in training and achieve real growth and change. Many external coaches rely overly on their experience and intuition. Some may conduct 360 degree surveys or interviews to gather some about how the employee conducts themselves at work. The data is still relatively thin on “why” someone is doing what their doing, so when it comes to coaching employees to improve they fall back on what worked for them or other past successful leaders they’ve worked closely with. Coaches ultimately need to inspire a need to change and/or grow in a specific direction and then help shape the path to reach a modified behavior, a different response to stress, fostering a stronger network, developing a new skill or knowledge, or charting a new career path. Employees/people change when a) they feel respected and trusted, b) see themselves as others do, c) perceive the benefits of changing are valuable and superior than the status quo, and d) see a path to get there and e) have encouragement and support from their manager and HR.

Career Authority’s approach to coaching brings this together in an elegant system. We designed a highly objective, fact-based approach called FlightPath™. We rely on our assessment to paint an accurate picture of the employee’s reputation at work and its causes. Let me illustrate what I mean.

Our assessment includes: 1) Competencies needed for organizational effectiveness, 2) Hogan Personality Inventory (reputation), 3) Hogan Development Survey (derailers under stress), 4) Hogan Motives, Values, Preferences, 5) Network and 6) Experience. Since each profession requires a different profile of these “assets” our platform reveals the targets from these assessment results based on the selected profession. Think about it, someone in Finance is going to need a different profile as compared to a Operations pro.

FlightPath™ starts by revealing the fit with competencies required for the position selected, for example Operations Manager. In the image below we see four priority competencies: Learning Agility, Influencing Others, Collaboration and Decision-Making; and the blue plot is the individual leaving opportunities in all four with the largest in Learning Agility.

We drill further with help from the Hogan Assessment and for Operations Manager the priorities to focus on are: Ambition, Adjustment, Interpersonal Sensitivity and Prudence. Looking at the light blue bar in relation to the gray target zone there are opportunities to turn up Ambition and Adjustment and slight moderation of Interpersonal Sensitivity and a generous reduction of Prudence. Low ambition contributes to someone following rather than leading. Low Adjustment results in low confidence and thin-skinned with feedback. High levels of Interpersonal Sensitivity leads to reluctance to communicate information that others may find objectionable. High Prudence leads to a rigid adherence to past-practice and policy making them resist adopting new practices, and contributes to low learning agility.

FlightPath™ allows individuals to explore other career options for a closer fit – very useful for individuals in early career. When we see significant gaps, our philosophy is to support them, if they are motivated, to do the hard work to develop. The gaps are addressable with a clear sense of what is driving them which we facilitate with information like what’s shown below.

With this deeper view of why they exhibit high prudence, we can see that they operate with a strong drive for mastery or perfection, they are reliant on authority figures and very risk averse. This is preventing agility and being able to size up an opportunity and owning a response in a timely manner. Once we’ve zeroed in on the cause we provide action-oriented frameworks to reengineer their thought process and behaviors.

To bring an opportunity for development into being we follow a personal change model. We dig into stressful circumstances, the interior attitudes and beliefs, desired behaviors instead of old habits and consequences.

This is one facet of how we bring objectivity to coaching and accelerating individual development. In future posts I will share other facets that includes: understanding stress responses, motives and leveraging 360° feedback.

If you’d like help with someone in your organization ranging from individual contributors to SVPs let us know. Some great times to bring us in are:

  • People leader in a key role that has something ‘rattling’ in their approach that holds them back
  • Someone that you are getting ready for a bigger role or just promoted
  • Individual contributor promoted to manager
  • Part of onboarding
  • Someone that’s talented but you’re not sure where they fit the best
  • Motivated individual contributor that you are worried about retaining


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