This week we are celebrating the International Coaching Week. During this week I had the the pleasure to deliver a key note and run a coaching practice session at The Medical Society of Finland about the opportunities of adopting a coaching approach in the doctor’s profession. Besides the many coaching opportunities identified for doctors in leadership roles, the opportunities of peer coaching was discussed as well as the opportunities to coach patients for instance in life style changes. I am excited about the enthusiasm for coaching I saw and very happy so many turned up despite these exceptional times. #coaching#acoachingapproachtoleadership#internationalcoachingweek#internationalcoachingfederation#medical#doctors
Yesterday I had the pleasure to take part in the International Coach Federation (ICF) 10 year celebration in Finland. I was the Chairman of the Board in 2011 and a board member 2010-2011 of ICF Finland and it has been great to see how Professional Coaching has become more known in the Finnish market. Buyers are more aware of what professional coaching is and are asking for ICF certified coaches. I feel very proud to be part of this of the journey this organisation has taken and the impact it has made. Below is a picture of the Presidents ICF Finland has had during the past 10 years. The International Coach Federation (ICF) seeks to advance the art, science and practice of professional coaching.https://www.coachfederation.org/about/index.cfm http://www.icffinland.fi/ #icffinland #icf
How much does a leader need to know about his/her team members’ private life? This is an interesting question. I certainly believe a leader needs to see people as a whole but it is not easy to draw the line. I was today interviewed by Radio Vega together with CEO of KSF Media, Mr. Jens Berg about this topic. You can listen to my perspectives on the topic (in Swedish language only) under the following link (interview starts at 18.00 min. and ends at 43.50 min).
There has been a lot of research done on teams and management teams during the past 20 years. There is, however, not one single truth or outcome from all of this research other than Diversity is the key for successful team. I came across one recent study that was particularly focused on what is required at the C-suite which I found interesting .The global executive search and advisory firm Russell Reynolds Associates Center for Leadership Insight analysed the leadership and behavioural styles of over 7,000 executives in the firm’s proprietary database, with a focus on six key roles: CEO, CFO, CMO, CHRO, CIO/CTO and general counsel. The research discovered that optimal C-suite involves a balance of diverse personalities and perspectives, along four dimensions:
Orientation toward process and structure: Some executives are highly organised in their thinking, focused on clear processes and approaches; others are more intuitive, preferring to make decisions “in the moment”.
Sociability: Some in the C-suite are extroverted, persuasive and dynamic in their communication style, while others tend to be more introverted, allowing the extroverts to do the persuading for them.
Worldview: Some executives tend towards an optimistic worldview, while others are more sceptical.
Creativity: Some are more imaginative and innovative; others are more realistic, and build on the ideas of others.
The research concluded that a well-balanced C-suite on the other hand produces ‘harmonious dissonance’ – continual and dynamic back-and-forth debate and resolution that leads to effective problem solving. I think this is so true in my experience. The point is not to have an average of these qualities represented on a team but rather leaders who represent the polarities of the dimensions. That means that the team will need to learn to be comfortable with continuous debating and challenging. I work with a lot of team where that is unfortunately not the case. There is a discomfort with what many people perceive as conflicts. That may be one of the reasons why many executives feel tempted to surround themselves with individuals who strongly resemble them, whether strategically, psychologically or even physically.
A lot of senior leaders are concerned about whether they have the culture to support achieving their company targets. I discuss leadership culture much more often than before with company CEO’s which is great. I thought it was pretty refreshing to read the HBR article on “You can’t fix the company culture” published in the April magazine by Jay W. Lorsch and Emily McTague. The bottom line of the article is, that by just focusing on your business, the rest will follow. I do agree with this in a sense, that sometimes, not enough discussion is held around the business model and the new processes and structures that need to be in place to tackle the business challenges. The conversation turns to the culture and the lack of it pretty easily before there is clarity around those” hard” topics. However, having clarity on those hard topics makes it is so much easier to have a dialogue about what are the values and behaviours needed to implement the strategy. Ultimately the values in action form the company culture. What was not covered in the article, is the importance to be explicit about the culture you want to create and being as down to earth as possible. Personally, I think that is really important. Don’t just count on the fact that people will know what is expected of them on a behavioural level. I meet with many organizations who have really nice statements about their desired culture. However, many of them are not concrete enough and remain pretty distant to people’s daily work.
I am back to Africa, this time in Zambia, and I have thought a lot about leadership in the moment. I work with a lot of clients who are so pressed with the busy schedules they create for themselves and organizations with cultures of just meetings one after another. I believe this is already in itself creates for many leaders a sense of not having the time to slow down and reflect and creates a feeling of being on the run all the time. Many leaders I work with actually need to learn to book and dedicate space for reflection, which is cruicial for any leader who wishes to develop him/herself. I believe there is a lot to be learnt from cultures where the concept of time is very different. I have on this mission worked with an organization in Zambia which is really living in the moment and a lot of things are happening adhoc and unplanned. Probably a total opposite to a planned meeting culture. However, there is a lot of power of choosing in the moment of what to work with and work with what is present right now.
I have just returned from Tanzania, where I was last week running a training on coaching and mentoring for senior leaders. Coaching is still very new to many local leaders and I was curious to explore how a coaching approach would fit into the local leadership culture. Mentoring is more present in the African community but less so in the business world. I expected the local leaders to be interested and curious about coaching and mentoring , but I was so surprised by the energy and ethusiasm I encountered. I have very rarely worked with entire groups that have demonstrated such a will and energy to develop themselves and their organizations. Each participant made concrete commitments of how they will implement back in the workplace what they have learnt. As we know, not everything planned happens back at work. But even if only 20% of the commitments made will come true, the local leadership development is taking some leaps forward. I feel so blessed to work in a field where I can impact the development of individuals, teams, organisations as well as societies. I am looking forward to returning to Tanzania in the near future.
Welcome to my newly opened blog. I am excited about starting my ‘step beyond’ blog and look forward to a fruitful dialogue about leadership excellence with people passionate about this topic. I am pleased that I have managed to challenge my mental models I have carried for some time now of “not having time to write”. In doing that I notice myself practicing “the art of possibility” and being open to this new experience without judging myself . I look forward to experiencing what it will bring and I hope you will enjoy reading it. Stay tuned for blogs to come….