Archive for the ‘Organizational Culture’ Category

Coaching – A Powerful Tool for Organizational Success

Article contributed by Arul John Peter

I am soft skill facilitator based in Singapore (Asia) and have been conducting soft skills training for more than 25 years. Enabling managers as coach was not an area of my training activity. I was focusing on making each of my participant, a better employee or a manager, not paying much attention to make each of my participant a ‘multiplier’. This approach to my training changed following my participation in ISEI’s Social + Emotional Intelligence certification workshop and Leader as Coach program. The two training session brought about a new perspective on the importance of having a pool of trained and enabled managers as coaches. Managers who had been exposed to the managers as coach, find the approach useful in the workplace. It made them feel good about their contribution to people development.

Leading and managing in the 21st century is not an easy task. The need to get along with a whole group of stakeholders and move forward to achieve the vision and goals together demands a new set of skills. The Development Dimensions International (DDI), a global organization that offers solutions on talent management, identified ‘coaching and developing others as one of the five most critical skills needed on the part of managers and leaders for managing and leading the future, in its publication titled ‘Time for a leadership Revolution’. The remaining four skills are creativity & innovation, identifying and developing talent driving & managing change and executing organizational strategy. Invariably, developing these skills would require a high dose of coaching.

Research after research confirms that the benefits of coaching include the following:

  • Coaching improves teamwork and productivity.
  • Enable staff to take ownership to get things done
  • It improves the outcome of business strategies.

Coaching as a skill and development tool, allowing managers within an organization to help individual employees and teams perform at their peak. Training and developing managers to become coaches is probably the best way to bring about meaningful and sustainable changes within the organization. Having the services of a competent and certified coach/facilitator who could train and develop the managers to function as coaches is more effective. Coaches/facilitators who are trained in programs such as “leader as coaches,” offered by Institute for Social + Emotional Intelligence would be able to take full advantage of Positive Deviant Initiatives,  a concept that is attributed to Tufts University. The managers who are trained to handle coaching sessions could amplify the positive and desired practices that are already working within the organization. Research and organizational studies confirm that solutions which originate from outside the organizations are not accepted easily by the internal stakeholders. It is the best practices that are identified by the key players within the organization, that make the organization successful. The best option is to identify key players and provide them with the relevant coaching skills and let them become the catalyst.

How is S+EI being used in European Institutions?

From ISEI: Please meet Macarena Ybarra Coello de Portugal. She is one of our certified coaches and currently doing social + emotional intelligence work with in the European Union, with the EU Parliament, Commission and Council.

From Macarena: I am Spanish and I arrived in Brussels in 1990 to do a specialization in European Law. I worked in the European Parliament as well as in the Department of European Affairs of a Chamber of Lawyers. Two years later, I created my own company, European Development Projects (EDP), a company which trains clients in the development of international proposals and implementing European projects.

More recently, my career has brought me into the world of coaching. I have received my coaching training from Spanish, French and English coaching schools, and received my Professional Certified Coach (PCC) designation from the International Coach Federation (ICF). I am also certified as a Master in Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), and most recently I have become certified as an ISEI™ Social and Emotional Intelligence Coach.

I am also accredited as a Coach by the European Commission and therefore on the list of Official Coaches of the European Institutions. Only the 26 coaches on this list are authorized to work with European Institutions.

Working with European Institutions (Council, Parliament and European Commission) is an exciting challenge because of the incredible diversity of cultures, languages, nationalities and religions represented in the EU. For example, when I am doing Group Coaching, there can be 11 people and 9 different nationalities, all with different cultures and communications methods that must be expressed, heard, understood and communicated to all in the two primary languages (French and English). And sometimes these two primary languages are not even used by anyone in the group!

Since I’ve become certified as a Social and Emotional Intelligence (S+EI) Coach by the Institute for Social + Emotional Intelligence™, I am using all the S+EI tools, especially to bring very high-level and very diverse individuals together and create opportunities for teamwork, collaboration and progress. Sometimes the tone, the conversations, indeed the ambiance of the meetings can be difficult and awkward, and in my experience, the language of emotions, being very human and common to all, create a universal language of common understanding and help us move toward common ground. Different cultures communicate differently, and this can serve as the basis of a lot of conflict, and yet I am extraordinarily grateful for the Social + Emotional Intelligence certification which has given me the opportunity to offer customized learning opportunities, unique interventions, and specific workshops in a variety of topics relevant to our work in the EU, including for example, ‘Conflict Management’ and ‘Intentionality’ and ‘Building Bonds’ and many others based on the S+EI competencies. Thank you for hearing my story.

Macarena Ybarra Coello de Portugal
Professional Certified Coach (PCC)
Master Practitioner PNL
Social + Emotional Intelligence Certified Coach
European Development Projects – EDP Coaching Director
Brussels / Belgium

Developing Others—The Power of Listening

He was seated comfortably, three paragraphs into the lead sports page article when she approached him from behind his favorite chair. “Dad, I really need to talk to you.” She dangled her 10 year old, lanky legs over the edge of the chair as he distractedly muttered, “Uh, huh?” She begins her lengthy diatribe about an event that happened at school and the call he should expect from the teacher and that it wasn’t her fault but she was next to the kids who did it, etc. As she ends her monologue, he mutters, “Uh, huh. Okay. Sounds good.” She swings her feet back over the arm of the chair, onto the floor, and walks away feeling rejected and unimportant, knowing that when the teacher calls, her dad will be hearing it for the first time.

Have you ever done this to your kids? Has it ever happened to you where you knew someone wasn’t really listening? And how many times might you have done this to your employees? Instead of the newspaper, your attention is on your computer screen as you try desperately to keep up on incoming email. Or perhaps you are answering every ping on your smart phone? The only difference between home and work is that your family may be more forgiving than your employees and other work colleagues. Have you considered the cost to your relationships and your team’s productivity when you don’t listen?

Valarie Washington, CEO of Think 6 Results, writes in her article, The High Cost of Poor Listening, “60% of all management problems are related to poor listening,” and that “we misinterpret, misunderstand or change 70% to 90% of what we hear.”

Washington also writes, “There are no shortcuts to becoming a great listener and the price tag for poor listening is high. Listening well can cut down on misunderstandings, miscues, damaged relationships, missed opportunities and disagreements while building strong alliances, increasing knowledge and delivering better results, faster.”

Top executives listen more than they talk and when they listen, they set aside everything else, including the inner clamor, and listen with their full attention. They know that the only way to really know what’s going on, and to really hear what the other person is trying to say, is to listen fully to what’s being said and what’s not being said but is trying to be conveyed.

Great leaders are great listeners and as a result, their employees are more engaged, more passionate about their work, and far more productive. Is it time for you to sharpen your listening skills? To fully assess your Leadership competencies including your ability to coach and mentor others through genuine listening, contact the Institute for Social + Emotional Intelligence at Hello@The-ISEI.com or go to our website www.The-ISEI.com to learn more.

Inspirational Leadership

Ghandi did it.  Martin Luther King did it.  Oprah does it.  Dave Ramsey does it.  IT is inspired leadership.  These leaders had and have what it takes to inspire others toward a shared vision.  They are able to challenge the status quo and articulate a sense of common purpose that inspires others to follow.  These leaders generate enthusiasm for clear, compelling visions and have been able to create a sense of belonging to something much larger than themselves.

The same is true of San Joaquin Community Hospital (SJCH) known for launching “Sacred Work.”  SJCH leadership was inspired to care for not only the community members, but also the caregivers.  The team set out to make sure they were hiring folks with the right values systems in order to create a sustainable culture of caring.  SJCH hires based on the value, service to others, and today maintains a committed workforce and leadership team who believe healing the whole person and serving the caregivers as well as the community are key aspects of their mission.  As an unexpected benefit, SJCH has inspired a healthcare movement centered around “Sacred Work.”

Research conducted by Zenger & Folkman says, inspirational leadership is directly linked to high employee engagement—the psychological bond between an employee, the work, and the work environment.  Leaders who inspire and motivate followers see new behaviors, outcomes, attitudes, and emotions that translate to business outcomes such as higher productivity, more responsible behavior, greater organizational confidence, and initiative.  The employees of SJCH are a living testament to the validity of this research.

Are there actions you need to take to enhance your inspirational leadership?

  • Create a collaborative vision in alignment with your organization.
  • Set stretch goals to challenge your team and provide fulfilling work experience.
  • Communicate the vision frequently and enthusiastically.
  • Develop your people.
  • Be a model team player—put the needs of the team and organization above your own interests.
  • Foster fresh ideas and be open to trying them.

To fully assess your current competence in Inspirational Leadership and create a personalized development plan, contact the Institute for Social + Emotional Intelligence at Hello@The-ISEI.com or go to our website www.The-ISEI.com to learn more.

Looking for a Job? Increase Your Social + Emotional Intelligence

The end of summer signals the start of a new planning cycle for many organizations, including the planning that comes with bringing on new employees.  Businesses are beginning to think about how they will expand and/or contract over the coming months and what strategic hires they will need to meet their key objectives.

That person could be you, if you’re the right fit.

In human resources (HR) circles we call it behavioral interviewing.  Essentially we are attempting to identify how candidates handle themselves and others in challenging situations.  We are testing – assessing – their social and emotional intelligence by how they answer certain questions.  S+EI is the ability to be aware of our own emotions and those of others, in the moment, and to use that information to manage ourselves and manage our relationships.

Behavioral interviewing questions might take the form of the following:

  • “Tell me about a time when you found yourself in conflict with another person in the workplace.  How did you handle it?”
  • “Have you ever found yourself working with a difficult person?  How did you handle that?”
  • “How do you go about building trust in the workplace and particularly on your team?”

Are you prepared for these (and many other similar) questions?

Taking time to improve your social and emotional intelligence will give you a competitive edge during the interview process.  High S+EI skills are necessary for managers and anyone who will be working in a team environment.

Here are a few quick tips for improving your S+EI and preparing for the job interview:

Identify your strengths and weaknesses.  List them out in a top five format then rank them with 1 being the best and 5 the worst under each of the headings.  Write down how you can leverage your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.  This prepares you for one of the most frequently asked interview questions—what are your strengths and what is your greatest weakness.  Knowing how you will play on your strengths and mitigate your weaknesses demonstrates your self-awareness, a key social and emotional intelligence competency.

Master conflict management.  If you are currently unemployed, dig deep for conflict situations in your previous position.  Dissect the interactions by depersonalizing them.  Figure out what you did, what hot buttons were triggered during the interaction, what you could have done better, what you learned from the interaction and how you can make it a win-win next time.  Knowing your own preferences in handling conflict and then managing your response to conflict positively going forward makes you a more desirable candidate for employment.

Practice teamwork and collaboration.  Employed or unemployed, you can practice the skills of teamwork and collaboration.  Volunteer to organize an event for a cause you believe in or sit on a local board of directors for a nonprofit organization.  Either one will provide you with rich experience in working with different types of people and managing your responses to them, another key S+EI competency.  People with high social and emotional intelligence skills are able to create a motivating and enthusiastic work environment (remember, emotions are contagious!).  They put the team’s overall goals ahead of their individual goals, and take the opportunity to share the credit for the team’s successes.  Volunteering and other community work showcases your abilities to create cohesive teams, and is just as valuable as what you have done in the office, so be sure to work it into your interview when the time is right.

These are only a few brief tips for helping increase your social and emotional intelligence and make yourself an attractive candidate for open positions.  If you’d like to learn more, please visit us at www.The-ISEI.com or email Hello@The-ISEI.com or call us at 303-325-5176.

How Jim Turned Things Around With Social + Emotional Intelligence

Liz*, head of HR for a well-known high-tech company, called to ask for some help with Jim, the Vice President of Operations.

Jim* has been with the company for 24 years, and has steadily been promoted throughout the years because of his ability to get things done on time and within budget.

He is off-the-charts brilliant, a hard-working technical genius, task-oriented, ambitious, and driven to succeed.  He has little patience for people who can’t keep up with him intellectually or operationally.

The Screamer!Some people consider him to be arrogant and condescending, and if something goes wrong, explosive.  He has a reputation for being a bully and a tyrant.

As the economy has started to turn around, the employees in his area have begun leaving the organization, jumping ship to the competition.  Decades of cumulative experience as well as trade secrets are walking out the door and directly into the waiting arms of competing firms.  Exit interviews indicate that the employees are leaving because of the way he treats them.  He berates people in public meetings, he calls them names, he has even been known to throw things in a fit of anger.

Liz is tired of hearing the complaints, and is starting to have trouble filling the vacant positions because Jim has developed a reputation in the industry and in the community as being a difficult boss.  Quality candidates have no interest in coming to working for him.  She has discussed this with him on several occasions, and he refuses to see that he has a role in the problem.  He insists that it is his job to keep things running, and that if they can’t stand the heat, they should “get out of the kitchen.”  The CEO is aware of the problem, but also values the fact that Jim has a tough job and gets things done on time and on budget, and doesn’t want to let  him go.

“Can you help?” she asked when she called us.  “It looks like we need to keep him, but we need for him to start treating people better so they don’t leave.”   I told her we would see what we could do.

The following week we went in to meet with Jim, and we also met with several members of his team.  Liz had been very accurate in her characterization of Jim, and had even underestimated, to some degree, the impact he was having on the people around him.  Several more already had their foot out the door.

We laid out a plan for Jim to enhance his awareness of his impact on people, including doing an emotional intelligence 360, and we began a coaching program focused on impulse control, stress management, and dealing with conflict more productively.  We worked with him on taking more of a “coach approach” to his style of leadership and management, seeking opportunities to develop, coach and mentor people rather than scream at them.  We showed him how productivity (and profitability) could actually be enhanced if he modified his leadership style.

Jim was resistant at first.  But when he saw the results of his 360, he could see he had some blind spots.  He even took his 360 report home to show his wife, and complained to her that people didn’t really know him or they wouldn’t have answered the way they did, and that he had to keep doing things the same way or “nothing would ever get done on time.”

She disagreed with him.  She told him that the report was absolutely on-target, and that she had experienced his negative behaviors, his arrogance, condescension, and contempt, yelling, and anger enough over the years, and that quite honestly, she was planning to end the marriage when their youngest child (currently 16 and a sophomore in high school) left home for college.

Jim was stunned.

She also told him that their older three kids (already out of the house) didn’t want anything to do with him, and that they felt estranged from their father.

He was speechless.

And then she told him that their 16-year old daughter, who had been seeing a counselor, had talked with her counselor recently about suicide, and that she attributed a great deal of her depression and inability to deal with high school to the way she was treated by her father.

Tough news indeed.

Jim discussed all this with his coach very soon after this conversation with his wife.

He asked to review the 360 results again, and agreed that perhaps he did need to work on a few things.  Together we put a plan together, which he began to approach with the same drive that he approached most other aspects of his work.  He identified goals and very specific actions he could take to improve how he was interacting with people.  He also decided he needed to acknowledge publicly that his prior way of doing things had not been effective.

He sat down and had a very honest conversation with each member of his team.  He apologized for his past behavior, explaining that he hadn’t realized just how difficult he had been.  He told them what he wanted to change, and asked for their support in making those changes, even asking them to help hold him accountable in his quest to change.  Every day, he practiced the new techniques for managing conflict, and for managing himself.  He learned new ways of communicating with people, learned how to understand what motivated them, and how to work and interact with them more effectively.

Today, Jim’s employee engagement scores are higher than any other department in the company.  His team is happy, turnover has decreased to almost zero, and they are producing more than ever in the history of the company.

And on the personal side, Jim’s marriage has improved (he’s working really hard here), and his relationship with his children has improved beyond measure.  And his youngest daughter?  She’s now a beautiful 17-year-old, happy, well-adjusted, and thriving socially and in school. *

*This case study is based on real events, but the names have been changed and the circumstances altered slightly to protect confidentiality.

6 Quick Tips for Coaching “Vision”

“You don’t seem to have any vision.  And if you do, you aren’t articulating it.” She shrunk under the weight of the words of the CEO.

(Extensive self talk follows.) “Is he right?  Had she failed to articulate her vision?  Did she even have a vision?  Of course she did.  It seemed perfectly clear to her.  Why didn’t he get it?  Must be him.  Maybe he was having a bad day.”

By the time this division director arrived in my office, she had already convinced herself that she was fine and that the CEO was nuts.  My job was to deliver a swift dose of reality.

Truth time.  ”Assuming what the CEO said is true, it sounds like you may be lacking in “inspirational leadership.”  This is one of the key social + emotional intelligence competencies needed by leaders.  You may have a great vision and you just haven’t given it a voice that could create the level of enthusiasm necessary to move the organization and division to the next level.”  She took in the observation and asked the ever important self development question, “so now what?”

Read the rest of this entry »

Workplace Bullies – What To Do?

Workplace bullies demonstrate a serious lack of social and emotional intelligence.  They lack the skills of self-management, stress management and empathy.  They do severe damage to the individuals they bully, and to the companies for which they work.

And the problem is widespread.  According to a survey conducted in 2007 by Zogby International, almost half of U.S. workers report they’ve been the subject of workplace bullying or have witnessed it.

That figure may be low. Read the rest of this entry »

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