The ACT Coaching Model
The Aware Leader created a model for coaching based on a core The Aware Leader value – self-awareness, and discussed in Richard Metheny’s book, The Aware Leader: Self-knowledge is the Key to Your Success. We believe that understanding the rational and irrational nature of humans (including our own) is part and parcel of being able to work – and lead – more effectively. This model applies to individuals and teams.
Self-awareness involves being aware of different aspects of the self, including traits, behaviors, and feelings. It plays a critical role in how we understand ourselves and how we relate to others and the world, be it personally or professionally.1 Can self-awareness be cultivated? We believe it can. The authors of “How to Become a Better Leader,” published in the MIT Sloan Management cited self-awareness as the most critical capability for leaders to develop.2
Self-awareness leads to better choices, and better choices can lead to transformation: for the leader, the team, and the organization. We believe the choices we make, not the chances we take, determine our success. A study also found that self-awareness impacts companies’ bottom line. By studying the stock performance of 486 publicly traded companies, Korn/Ferry International found that companies with strong financial performance tend to have employees with higher levels of self-awareness than poorly performing companies.3
Our approach reveals that by combining the robust science of personality assessments, with coaching sessions, individuals can encounter, or companies can provide to leaders and their teams, a highly impactful, cost-effective experience.
The holistic development that coaching offers to leaders is needed from time to time. Utilizing the A.C.T. model, The Aware Leader works with effective leaders to assist them to become even more effective. By guiding the executive through a process of deeper self-awareness of their behaviors and emotions, they can positively create change. We ask powerful questions to develop insights for the person coached. Our process is formal, custom-designed, time-bound, and action-oriented.
Each leader completes an assessment process that includes the personality, and 360 evaluations. Through coaching sessions and observations, the coach guides the leader in applying the assessment insights to the choices they make each day so that drive, even more effectively, individual and organizational success. Coaching relationships are 6-month to 12-month engagements.
Teams are a critical part of the work environment and having coaches for the team results in dramatic outcomes and realizing their goals. We support teams to their reach goals in a timely fashion. The learnings are taken and applied back on the job to achieve team objectives and meet organizational goals.
All individuals of the team complete the Hogan assessments and team-focused 360 assessment interviews. The results if the assessment rollup into an aggregate competency report to inform training opportunities. The assessment also aggregates into The Hogan Team Report focusing on team strengths and opportunities, potential team fracture lines, and team culture and shared values.
Team coaching takes during real work, in real-time, to ensure desired changes take hold, most typically during team meetings. Individual coaching with the team leader coincides with team coaching. Outside to specific role of coaching, we also provide the team consulting, facilitation, and training.
New Executive Onboarding And Coaching
To ensure that senior managers and executives do not join the 40% -50% who fail in new roles, we have developed the New Executive Program. We define ‘new executives” external new hires and internal promotions into a more significant role. We incorporate proven methods from executive coaching with onboarding research to the executive integrates into the culture, onboards properly, has clear expectations and avoids inadvertently setting themselves up for failure.
Leveraging the ACT coaching model, we assist the executive to focus on five key areas: 1) understanding self in the context of the new job and organization; 2) establishing a relationship with supervisor or board chair; 2) building their network; 3) getting to know their job and team; 4) leveraging their support team; and 5) developing an understanding of the organization. All of these focus areas involve collaborating with organizational leaders and the new executive.
The new leader completes the Hogan assessments to uncover his/her leadership style – when it supports their success and when it impedes their success. The process includes opportunities for direct feedback, which in turn allows the executive to course-correct. The coaching engagement continues for 6 – 9 months, concluding with an assessment of progress and recommendations for the future.
High Potential Coaching
Coaching for high potential leaders is a win-win situation for the organization and the employee. Simply, its good business to support and maximize the development of their premier leadership talent. High potential coaching helps aspiring leaders to learn about themselves, aligning who they are and their values into what they do. The result is leaders who are better equipped to be authentic leaders who not only understand but practice desirable behaviors for leading and coaching others.
Executive Case Study
Case Study: Lonely at the Top
The new chief executive officer (CEO) of a financial institution requested executive coaching services. The CEO had participated in leadership assessment activities during the recruiting process. These assessments helped the search committee identify and evaluate strong candidates and ultimately settle on their preferred choice for the top job.
The client was occupying his first CEO position. He was replacing a CEO who had been in office for many years and had a stellar reputation.
The CEO recognized the opportunity to gain a valuable perspective on his strengths and opportunities through the assessment and executive coaching processes. He also desired the ability to discuss professional and personal challenges affecting his performance with a neutral third party who had experience working with other financial institution CEOs and understood the demands of the position.
The new CEO wanted to be sure that the start of his tenure would be the most productive and successful it could be. He requested a full year of working with me, an engagement that would prove beneficial as the system faced a significant challenge related to unethical practices immediately after his installment.
Approach: Awareness and Choice
Executive coaching is grounded in the idea that the executive must increase the awareness of his or her tendencies as a leader and then make conscious choices to improve weaknesses and leverage strengths.
The process begins with proven methods to assess the client’s leadership style, personal and professional tendencies, strengths, and opportunities. After his assessment, the new CEO and I discussed the results and explored the possibilities of enhancing targeted skills and competencies during his first 100 days in office.
“Lonely at the Top”
During this early stage of the process, the CEO was met with a significant challenge related to medical ethics within the organization — an issue that dated back before he came to office. While such a problem has no easy resolution, as his executive coach, I aimed to become a valuable asset to work through the situation and turn it into an opportunity for awareness and growth.
Checking In, Confidentially
The discovery confronted the CEO with a host of issues, including challenges in organizational culture, accountability, and operations. The CEO was not able to express all of his concerns, professional and personal, to anyone — colleagues or the public — except to me as his executive coach and being a neutral and confidential partner offering safe and productive time for reflection.
With a deep background executive best practices, we went through a specific line of questioning and a process of helping him to think through all of the issues, differing points of view, and potential consequences related to the challenge. During the coaching process, we worked together to help him step outside the situation, to become more self-aware of his preconceptions, and acquire a holistic view of the problem and solutions. Consequently, he was able to manage the crisis with more exceptional poise and insight. He dealt with the situation in a way in which he was comfortable, but also with more assurance as to how the outcomes would affect others and the organization.
Sometime later, the situation unexpectedly flared up again. The CEO called me, and we worked in consort for him to consider his responsibility, occupational pressures, and anxieties regarding how to proceed. The consultation transformed the situation into a chance to investigate different thinking and different, creative choices as to how to act.
Two weeks later, the CEO worked with his leadership team to resolve legal and other issues related to the matter with minimum damage to the company and with its reputation as an excellent provider of financial services The CEO credited the executive coaching sessions with playing an invaluable role in these successes. The sessions helped him frame the issues so that he could act with confidence; also, they became a springboard for his professional and personal transformation.
Ultimately, he was able to develop as an even more effective leader and prepare himself for a long tenure in office. “I was told it would be lonely at the top,” he said. “And now I get it.” Nonetheless, executive coaching has helped him make more informed, sound, and successful decisions.