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?”

Coaching and mentoring employees and managers to develop and articulate their vision up and down the corporate ladder is easier than you think.  Quite simply, a vision is a realistic, credible, attractive future for you and for your organization.  Think of John F. Kennedy’s vision to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade.  It was simple, motivating, and something the entire country could rally around.  It instilled pride and inspired the nation.

The following quick tips will help you help them.  Have your coachee:

  1. Use the organization wide vision statement as a jumping off point to get ideas flowing.  Any divisional or individual employee vision statements should be in alignment with the organization.
  2. Answer the question, “what is the single most important accomplishment for you to achieve in your division or work life and how does this tie to the organizational vision?”
  3. Answer the question, “what difference do you want to make in the organization either as a division or an individual?”
  4. Get input from those who will have to help bring the vision to life.  Be sure they have a hand in developing it from the start as this creates trust and buy-in.
  5. Test drive the vision for clarity with other leaders and employees in the organization.  Tweak it if others do not understand it.
  6. Once finalized—communicate it every chance you get.

As your organization experiences progress towards the fulfillment of the vision, be sure to celebrate in meaningful ways.  These celebrations are opportunities to recognize and thank folks for their work and inspire continued momentum.

To learn more about coaching for improved social + emotional intelligence, go to www.the-isei.com.


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