Why Coaching is Relevant – Winning Conversations

Welcome to participants of the “Winning Conversations” keynote /workshop. I believe that if you read this and the other blogs below that the workshop will really make more sense as you will start to realise why conversations are an underutilised leadership tool that can massively drive performance , create engagement and build collaborative working practices. In addition performance reviews when they are less formulaic can focus on having a productive conversation and driving development of the individual.

Coaching books

The following books both support the type of conversational coaching that I do and also provide research from neuroscience and leadership thinking that supports such an approach. If you only are able to read one then pick the first one The Talent Code as it’s quite short, it’s interesting and gives great reasons for deeply practising a skill and also making mistakes!

Reading List

  • The Talent Code Daniel Coyle
  • Mindset Carol Dweck
  • Focus Daniel Goleman
  • Inner Game of Tennis Tim Gallwey
  • Flow Mihály Csíkszentmihályi
  • Conversational Intelligence Judith E. Glaser
  • Drive Dan Pink
  • Humble Inquiry Edgar H Schein
  • The Progress Principle Amabile and Kramer

Some leading leadership writers and quotes to reflect upon

“Leaders who continuously expand their perspective, understanding and knowledge through curiosity, are the people who are now seen to be the most successful” Berger, W. (2015)
“Why curious people are destined for the C-Suite”, Harvard Business Review September Issue.

Authors Christensen et al (2011) “The Innovator’s DNA” , observed that the curious, questioning leaders they studied seemed to overcome the perceived risk of not being “the all -knowing expert” and “providing all the answers” overcame this because “they had a rare blend of humility and confidence”.

Groysberg, B. & Slind, M. (2012) “Leadership is a Conversation”, Harvard Business Review June 2012 Issue and Reitz (2015) Speaking truth to power in organisations…from fantasy to reality www.ashridge.org.uk suggest that “the quality of conversations in organisations might just be the main source of competitive advantage, and the main hope for dealing with our enormous societal challenges in the 21st century”.

Busine, M, Watt, B, Wellins, R, & Boatman, J. “Driving Workplace Performance Through High-Quality Conversations” suggest that “conversations are the lifeblood of leadership. When leaders are adept at conversations they do much more than communicate effectively – they drive stronger business results.”

Amabile, T.M., Schatzel, E.A., Moneta, G.B., and Kramer, S.J. (2004). Leader behaviors and the work environment for creativity: Perceived leader support. The Leadership Quarterly, 15:1, 5-32. Using daily-diary data from dozens of employees working on creative projects, this study found that perceived leader support predicts employee creativity. It also discovered specific, day-by- day leader actions associated with higher or lower perceived support. 

“Talent magnets share, teach, coach, support and appreciate their employees. They invest the time to know their people personally…. The key take-away from all of this: Managers with highly engaged teams intentionally lead with heart.” Gallup

Millennial quotes (Professional Services)

“I think it’s more in the way people talk and interact, you can see and feel when it’s authentic.”

“I feel I’m appreciated in that area and I’m different from the others. Everyone is different but they see me as me.”

When describing the impact of experiencing a good leadership conversation, the comment shared was “I feel a lot more positive, a lot more driven.”

Executive coaching not right for leaders… Focused shorter coaching is!

In my experience leaders value shorter time saving approaches and aren’t necessarily interested in coaching just getting better results so the approach I use namely FLIP is based on these 2 factors.

It is a hack a way of learning quality coaching in a short period of time. That isn’t to say that executive coaching isn’t helpful but I believe being good at shorter conversations can then be transferred into Executive coaching frames if required.

So being focused and brief and getting fast wins/results is my preferred option for busy leaders.