Category Archives: Enhancing Team Effectiveness

The manager as coach: when your people need more support


By Elisabeth Goodman, 6th January 2021

So, another year, another lockdown. We all need as much support to get us through this as we can get. But what kind of support, when, how and how much?

Colin Fisher and colleagues (Fisher, C.M., Amabile, T.M. and Pillemer, J. 2021) have some wonderful insights to share with us from their 10 year research of how leaders can effectively help their teams without micro-managing!

The challenge of knowing if and when to provide support, and in what form

As Fisher et al rightly point out, the remote, flexible and other ways of working prevalent at this time mean that teams are seldom all co-located at work. This means that it’s harder for managers or leaders to be easily aware of if and when their team members need support. When they do provide support, it can also be harder to do so in a way that is totally a-tuned to what the team or the individual needs.

I’ve heard others say that it can be hard to provide the right kind of training to people when not co-located, because you can’t easily spot what they can and can not do, or what do or do not know. And it’s harder to ‘show’ as opposed to just ‘tell’.

For a manager seeking to adopt a more coaching style approach, where the emphasis is on drawing out what an individual knows, rather than giving them solutions, the challenge might also be in knowing when to swap to a more mentoring or teaching mode.

Last but not least, different people will want different types of support to help them deal with greater isolation resulting from the current pandemic. The challenge for the leader or manager is being clear about the actual nature of the support needed – and not provide too much or too little!

So what’s the answer?

Fisher et al (2021) conducted their studies with a consultancy firm, a design firm, and 124 groups in a behavioural research setting. The context was complex cognitive tasks and entrepreneurial decisions.

They highlighted some key behaviours and principles that led to effective supporting behaviours by leaders and managers:

1. Starting with a coaching-style approach

The effective leaders did not simply wade in with advice and other forms of more directive support. Instead, they:

  • listened to what the individuals or teams were saying about what their issues were
  • asked clarifying questions to aid their own and the team members’ understanding
  • adopted a collaborative approach
  • made their intentions clear

As the authors point out, the manager to team member relationship is a complex one. A manager is also responsible for the evaluation associated with performance reviews. For a team member to ask for support can feel vulnerable. If a manager offers unsolicited support, however well meant, it can put an individual on the defensive.

Adopting a coaching-style approach as described above could help to mitigate some of these risks.

2. Adopting a ‘pull’ rather than ‘push’ style

Fisher et al (2021) advocate three key strategies, which have this ‘pull’ rather than ‘push’ style in common:

  • Picking the right time to intervene: waiting until people have actually begun the work, so that they have an understanding of the work and of the issues involved. They will then be in a position to ask for help if and when they need it, and it will also be clearer to both parties as to what kind of help is needed.
  • Making it clear, from the start, that you are available to help – and what form that help can take.
  • Providing the right form of intervention as and when it is needed. The authors talk about “the rhythm of involvement” taking two alternative forms:
    • “concentrated guidance” over a short period of time to support specific tasks but still without taking over
    • “path clearing” again potentially hands on but brief and intermittent

Concluding thoughts

I find it interesting to consider the above in the context of two four-box models:

Situational coaching as described by Ibarra and Scoular (2019) – does Fisher et al’s approach seem more like situational coaching? It certainly has a strong under-tone of starting from a “non-directive” mode or more conventional coaching approach, but allowing for a switch into any of the other three modes described by Ibarra and Scoular as the situation demands.

The situational leadership model (see for example The Ken Blanchard Companies, n.d.), where the “supporting” / “coaching” quadrants seem to relate closely to Fisher et al’s approach.

All of the above, for me, would also seem to align well with an effective approach to delegation. Managers often struggle with if and how to intervene if the work is not going as planned. Fisher et al’s recommended strategies would seem to address these concerns.

All in all, Fisher et al’s research would seem to provide some very helpful guidance for leaders and managers in terms of if, when and how to provide support. Team members could benefit from their guidance too, in terms of knowing how they might influence their managers to provide the type of support that they need.

A closing message for me though, is the importance of staying in touch, of communicating regularly, of staying informed: to provide support in general terms, and to make it easier to judge if, when and how more specific support might be needed.

NOTES

References

Fisher, C.M., Amabile, T.M. & Pillemer, J. (2021). How to help (without micromanaging). New research points to three strategies. Harvard Business Review, January – February, 123-127

Goodman, E. (2019). The manager as coach: practising situational coaching. Retrieved from https://elisabethgoodman.wordpress.com/2019/11/23/the-manager-as-coach-practising-situational-coaching/

The Ken Blanchard Companies (n.d.). The SLII model. Leadership styles. Retrieved from https://www.kenblanchard.com/Products-Services/SLII

About the author

Elisabeth Goodman, ACC is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, a consultancy that specialises in “creating exceptional managers and teams”, through coaching, courses and workshops, and with a focus on the Life Sciences. RiverRhee is a member-to-member training provider for One Nucleus.

Elisabeth founded RiverRhee Consulting in 2009, and prior to that had 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry in line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting teams on a global basis.

She is developing her coaching practice, with a focus on helping individuals to be true to themselves and exercise choice in the workplace by enhancing their leadership / management, interpersonal and communication skills, and their ability to deal with uncertainty and change.

Elisabeth is accredited in Coaching (ACC – International Coaching Federation), Change Management, Lean Sigma, Belbin Team Roles, MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and is an NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) Practitioner. She is also a member of the APM (Association for Project Management) in which she was a founding member of the Enabling Change SIG.

Elisabeth is working towards her PG Certification in Business and Personal Coaching with Barefoot Coaching and the University of Chester.

Creating the conditions that make difficult conversations possible


By Elisabeth Goodman, 8th December 2020

Creating psychological safety and belonging are fundamental factors for high performance teams

..the way we engage with each other, discuss and debate important issues that we may disagree about, and challenge ourselves to find common ground with one another, especially when we have different beliefs and backgrounds, has everything to do with our ability to create a healthy team environment and do great work together.

Robbins (2020)

This is one of many insights in Robbins (2020) latest book that really seems to get to the heart of what’s important to high performance teams. It’s about, amongst other things, psychological safety (Goodman, 2020), and going beyond diversity and inclusion to creating a sense of belonging for every single member of your team.

Speaking up for what you believe is important, when others are doing or saying things differently, can feel very vulnerable and exposed. And yet to not speak up, to not express yourself, is to deny your right to be an equal partner in the conversation, and to deprive others of what might be potentially valuable insights.

There are things that team leaders, and every individual team member can do to create the climate that makes difficult conversations possible. The following themes are garnered from Robbins (2020) but with some of my added interpretations.

Remembering that ‘they’ are also ‘us’

Remembering that we are all ultimately part of the wider human community is one of Robbins’ (2020) powerful reminders – and a central theme of his book “We’re all in this together”.

Many of our difficulties in work-related conversations originate from the small tribes that we create to give us a (false?) sense of security.

  • Silo’d organisational teams get in the way of us remembering that we all ultimately have the same goal to make our organisation successful.
  • Hierarchies get in the way of us remembering we are all human underneath our work personas, with all the vulnerabilities as well as strengths that this might imply.

Remembering just these two examples could go a long way to turning what might seem like a difficult conversation into a positive and beneficial one.

Having conviction without being self-righteous

This is such a fine but all important distinction. Having conviction will enable us to express what we think and feel with the passion and hopefully supporting evidence that will engage people’s attention.

Relinquishing any associated self-righteousness will stop us worrying about our egos, make us more open to considering counter-arguments, and so lead to healthy debate.

Having conviction is not a question of being right or wrong. And hearing and being open to other people’s point of view might actually enhance our credibility rather than undermine it.

Creating a learning environment

When a leader positions the team’s work in the context of a learning environment, it immediately takes the threat out of making mistakes, trying things that might not work, and expressing different opinions.

Leaders can accentuate this by the way in which they show interest and curiosity in what every single member of their organisations and teams have to say. They can also do this by their general openness to ideas, opinions and suggestions for improvements.

Speaking up and taking ownership

One of the themes that sometimes comes up in our RiverRhee management courses, and in our coaching with individuals and teams, is how difficult it can be to speak up when people feel things are not right.

And yet, as Robbins (2020) also asserts, we have a responsibility to speak up and to take joint ownership for the success of our teams and organisations.

Speaking up applies to sharing ideas, highlighting things that might be happening that clash with our individual or organisational values, and asking for what we want.

There are no easy solutions to any of these, but if we don’t speak up, then what we believe in will definitely not happen.

What we can also do, is explore different ways to express what we want to say – it might be a question of choosing the moment, the person, or the setting that feel more ‘right’ to us. Some of the ideas from earlier in this blog might also help.

Conclusion

I’ve written a few blogs now on this theme, see for example Goodman (2018), and yet it’s one that I keep learning more about. Robbins (2020) calls it ‘sweaty palmed’ conversations, and puts a lot of emphasis on how developing our emotional and social intelligence will help us through it.

Engaging in difficult conversations is definitely not easy. As Robbins (2020) quotes another Robbins (Tony) in saying that:

“80 percent of success is due to psychology – mindset, beliefs and emotions – and only 20 percent is due to mechanics – the specific steps needed to accomplish a result”

Robbins (2020 p.xxii)

If we can relax into remembering our common humanity, developing our self-awareness, tuning into what others are thinking and feeling, and speaking with honesty and humility, we may start to find that these difficult conversations are not so difficult after all.

Notes

References

Goodman, E. (2018). Conflict is “the lifeblood” of high performing organisations. https://elisabethgoodman.wordpress.com/2018/04/28/conflict-is-the-lifeblood-of-high-performing-organisations/

Goodman, E. (2020). Creating a culture of psychological safety in project and operational teams. https://elisabethgoodman.wordpress.com/2020/05/01/creating-a-culture-of-psychological-safety-in-project-and-operational-teams/

Robbins, M. (2020). We’re all in this together. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House

About the author

Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, a consultancy that specialises in “creating exceptional managers and teams”, through coaching, courses and workshops, and with a focus on the Life Sciences. RiverRhee is a member-to-member training provider for One Nucleus.

Elisabeth founded RiverRhee Consulting in 2009, and prior to that had 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry in line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting teams on a global basis.

She is developing her coaching practice, with a focus on helping individuals to achieve authenticity and autonomy in the workplace by enhancing their management, interpersonal and communication skills, and their ability to deal with uncertainty and change.

Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in Lean Sigma, in Belbin Team Roles, MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and is an NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) Practitioner. She is a member of the APM (Association for Project Management) in which she was a founding member of the Enabling Change SIG.

Elisabeth is also a member of the ICF (International Coaching Federation) and is working towards her PG Certification in Business and Personal Coaching with Barefoot Coaching and the University of Chester.

Giving feedback from a mindset of positive intent


By Elisabeth Goodman, 30th November 2020

Giving and receiving feedback is a challenging skill

There’s a lovely question in a variation of a 360 degree feedback tool that I share with my coaching clients:

“What one thing could I change for my own benefit?”

Barefoot Coaching, 2020

This is one of five questions in a Barefoot Coaching (2020) tool-set that we can ask of five people who know us well, and that are focused on understanding our strengths.

This particular question implies a couple of things:

  1. That the person requesting feedback is open to receiving it
  2. That the person providing the feedback will consider the recipient’s needs, rather than their own agenda in delivering it

How to give positive and constructive feedback is one of the management skills that attracts the most interest in our management training. It’s a performance-related skill that people are often uncomfortable about both delivering or receiving.

Reading Mike Robbins (2020) “We’re all in this together” really heightened my awareness of why this can be so difficult, as well as giving me some very helpful insights about how we could do this better. (Robbins’ books has quite a few other insightful gems, that I will explore in some later blogs.)

Start from a position of trust

Robbins’ (2020) language is more blunt, but basically, when someone gives us feedback, it’s easy to respond with some fairly strong, automatic, emotional responses along the following lines:

  • Fight: What right has this person to ‘judge’ me?
  • Freeze: I really don’t know how to take this feedback
  • Flight: I’m hopeless / no good

All of this can happen in micro-seconds, will block an individual’s receptiveness to feedback and can be a long way removed from a manager’s intent, which, ideally, would be along the lines of:

Here’s some feedback that I’m sharing with you in good faith, and that might help you to learn, develop and grow

One of the things that often impresses our delegates, when my colleague and I demonstrate how to conduct an appraisal discussion, is that we end with the manager asking their direct report:

What could I do to support you better and to help you be even more effective in your work?

What Robbins (2020) also advocates, is that giving feedback should be a two-way process between a manager and their direct report.

For me, this immediately changes the tone of the relationship from an autocratic (or parent-to-child) one, to one that is more in the nature of a partnership, collaboration, adult-to-adult one.

If a manager models their receptiveness to feedback as an opportunity for their own learning and development, then they will make it easier for their direct report to do the same.

Practise giving positive as well as constructive feedback

Another thing that we notice, when delegates ask us for help in developing their feedback skills, that their focus is often on how to give ‘negative’ feedback. What we also often find, is that they are not used to or comfortable with giving positive feedback.

What Robbins (2020) also reminded me is that leaders, managers and high performing teams are skilled in balancing “care and challenge”.

Caring for each other includes finding ways to express our appreciation – giving positive feedback is one way of doing this. Robbins quotes a Glassdoor Employee Appreciation Survey which found that 53% of respondents would stay longer in their company if they felt more appreciated.

When we feel valued, when we feel that the person giving us feedback cares about us, and expresses it with positive feedback, then it will make it easier to receive constructive feedback.

Giving constructive feedback then builds on the concept that it’s healthy to challenge each other to learn, develop and grow so that we can be at our best.

This focus on giving positive feedback is what makes Barefoot’s (2020) “Ask five people five questions” approach so effective.

Robbins (2020) takes this further and suggests that teams take the time to stop and share what they value and appreciate about each other, not only in team-building offsite activities, but on an on-going basis.

Concluding notes

There are a lot more useful insights in Robbins (2020) book, and I will cover some of them in future blogs. For the meantime though, here is a nice wrap-up on a possible way to develop a culture of giving and receiving feedback from a positive mindset of positive intent.

Robbins (2020) suggests that managers and their direct reports routinely ask each other the following feedback questions:

  • What can I start doing that would make me more effective in my role and in working with you?
  • What can I stop doing that may be getting in the way of being as successful as I could be and as easy as possible for you to work with?
  • What do you suggest that I continue doing that is allowing me to be effective in my work and helpful in my partnership with you?

What approaches to giving and receiving feedback could you adopt to foster high performance teams from a position of caring for and challenging each other?

Notes

References

Barefoot Coaching (2020). Course Tools Booklet issued during the PG Certificate in Business and Personal Coaching.

Robbins, M. (2020). We’re all in this together. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House

About the author

Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, a consultancy that specialises in “creating exceptional managers and teams”, through coaching, courses and workshops, and with a focus on the Life Sciences. RiverRhee is a member-to-member training provider for One Nucleus.

Elisabeth founded RiverRhee Consulting in 2009, and prior to that had 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry in line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting teams on a global basis.

She is developing her coaching practice, with a focus on helping individuals to achieve authenticity and autonomy in the workplace by enhancing their management, interpersonal and communication skills, and their ability to deal with uncertainty and change.

Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in Lean Sigma, in Belbin Team Roles, MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and is an NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) Practitioner. She is a member of the APM (Association for Project Management) in which she was a founding member of the Enabling Change SIG.

Elisabeth is also a member of the ICF (International Coaching Federation) and is working towards her PG Certification in Business and Personal Coaching with Barefoot Coaching and the University of Chester.

Diversity in the workplace – making it meaningful


By Elisabeth Goodman, 16th November 2020

I have just come off a panel discussion at Bio Integrates 2020 (Life Science Integrates), on “Diversity Driving Decisions”, hosted by One Nucleus‘ CEO Tony Jones and accompanied by Joanna Gould, CEO and co-founder of VisusNano.

The conference organisers cited an article by Anna Powers, which  found that diverse companies produce 19% more revenue. They suggested that this is because diversity means diversity of minds, ideas, and approaches, which leads to more innovation.

The scope of diversity in the workplace is very broad

Our panel discussion was a great opportunity to explore diversity in the workplace, and how we could make it more meaningful in the Life Science sector in which we work.

We explored such topics as:

  • How diverse Life Science SMEs appear to be in terms of generational and international representation
  • How leaders and managers can encourage and support diverse people to have the confidence to express their views through creating a climate of psychological safety and trust
  • How leaders can learn to be receptive to diverse points of view and not feel threatened by them, by cultivating their emotional intelligence, and more flexible leadership styles

We also touched on Neurodiversity, a term coined by the Australian sociologist Judy Singer in 1998 to describe different approaches to socialising, learning, attention and mood. It’s also a term that is used to refer to autism, dyslexia, ADHD and other neurological differences. Interestingly, Nancy Doyle, who is the CEO of Genius Within, an organisation that provides support for Neurodiversity in the workplace, says:

“It is estimated that just 59% of people can be considered “neurotypical”. With prevalence data like that, we have to assume that neurodiversity is a natural variation within the human species.”

Given the above, my approach when working with diversity in the workplace is to take our diversity as a given, and ensure that we all make a point of understanding it and working with it. I believe that we are all enriched by our experience of diversity, as individuals, teams and whole organisations.

This led to a further discussion on the panel about:

  • How we can learn more about the diversity of our teams, our own and others’ strengths, and then use that understanding to work together more effectively

Group-think as an indication of lack of diversity

As Tony Jones rightly said, working in the Life Sciences is an evidence-based discipline, and he asked me how organisations can measure their level of diversity. There are certainly tools and organisations dedicated to doing this: a quick search on the internet will pull up a few.

I suggested that managers and leaders could get some idea of this through how prevalent “group-think” was in an organisation. This is where teams reach decisions too quickly and unanimously, with no wider debate.

If “group-think” is the norm, it suggests that individuals either don’t dare to express different points of view, or don’t have any of these to express. In the former situation, leaders and managers need to find a way to create that climate of safety; in the latter they may be needing to recruit for greater diversity.

Reducing unconscious bias in recruitment

One of the risks when recruiting new members of your team, is that you might be drawn to people who are more like yourself, with obvious negative implications for diversity.

Coincidentally, the November-December 2020 issue of Harvard Business Review has several articles that were relevant to our panel discussion. One of these is Everett Spain’s article on reinventing the leader selection process in the US army. It makes fascinating reading, and includes a very comprehensive check-list on how any sector or organisation could reduce unconscious bias in the interview process. This list includes such things as:

  • making sure your selection panel is itself diverse
  • training panel members to recognise and avoid sources of bias such as primacy (focusing on first impressions), contrast (comparing candidates to each other vs. agreed standards), halo / horn (single positive or negative traits that might overshadow others) and so on..
  • not allowing panelists to interview people they know
  • using double-blind interviews so as not to be biased by physical appearance
  • designing behaviour-based (competence) interview questions
  • and more..

Concluding thoughts: developing a “learning and effectiveness paradigm” in relation to diversity

Had there been the opportunity, I would have loved to cite some of the material in another of the November-December 2020 articles in Harvard Business Review. Robin Ely and David Thomas first wrote about their “learning and effectiveness paradigm” in 1996.

They argue that increasing an organisation’s diversity does not in itself increase its effectiveness. Whilst we know intuitively that diversity can lead to greater idea generation, creativity, innovation, improved problem solving and ultimate productivity, these things will not happen just by having a diverse workforce.

As Ely and Thomas say, it’s being able to harness that diversity that will make the difference, and that is where their paradigm comes in.

We touched on some of the ways to do this in our panel discussion: building trust and embracing a wide range of diversity are two of these. Actively working against discrimination is another. Reviewing recruitment processes will contribute to this, but it also takes active examination of an organisation’s ways of working to route out any discriminatory practices that might have crept in.

The fourth and last component of Ely and Thomas’ paradigm is to make differences a resource for learning i.e. to explore what each and every one of us can learn from the differences between us: a wonderful echo to my earlier point about how our diversity can enrich us!

Notes

References

Doyle, N. (2019, Feb 1). Making the invisible visible – supporting neurodiversity in the workplace. Personnel Today. Retrieved from https://www.personneltoday.com/hr/making-the-invisible-visible/

Ely, R.J. & Thomas, D.A. (2020). Getting serious about diversity. Enough already with the business case. Harvard Business Review, November – December, 115 – 122

Powers, A. (2018, June 27). A study finds that diverse companies produce 19% more revenue. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/annapowers/2018/06/27/a-study-finds-that-diverse-companies-produce-19-more-revenue/?sh=10c88967506f

Spain, E. (2020). Reinventing the leader selection process. The US Army’s new approach to managing talent. Harvard Business Review, November-December, 78 – 85.

About the author

Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, a consultancy that specialises in “creating exceptional managers and teams”, through coaching, courses and workshops, and with a focus on the Life Sciences. RiverRhee is a member-to-member training provider for One Nucleus.

Elisabeth founded RiverRhee Consulting in 2009, and prior to that had 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry in line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting teams on a global basis.

She is developing her coaching practice, with a focus on helping individuals to achieve authenticity and autonomy in the workplace by enhancing their management, interpersonal and communication skills, and their ability to deal with uncertainty and change.

Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in Lean Sigma, in Belbin Team Roles, MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and is an NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) Practitioner. She is a member of the APM (Association for Project Management) in which she was a founding member of the Enabling Change SIG.

Elisabeth is also a member of the ICF (International Coaching Federation) and is working towards her PG Certification in Business and Personal Coaching with Barefoot Coaching and the University of Chester.

Saying “no” for a more effective “yes” in the workplace


By Elisabeth Goodman, 9th October 2020

Bruce Tulgan’s article in the September-October issue of Harvard Business Review is a must read for all of us who find ourselves with too much to do and too little time to do it.

I’ve been quoting a version of Graham Allcott’s central message in “The Productivity Ninja” to my RiverRhee management and assertiveness course delegates and coaching clients for a while now.

There will never be enough time for everything that we need or want to do, so what matters is finding ways to use our time that we are happy about.

Tulgan’s well researched article gives us an additional way to do this and, in so doing, to improve both our wellbeing and our professional success.

Illustration by Elisabeth Goodman based on based on Bruce Tulgan’s article in Sept-Oct 2020 issue of Harvard Business Review

A well defined “ask” – agreeing a mini-proposal

Getting clarity on what the other person is asking of you: the what, why, by when etc. will help you to make a better assessment of whether and how you might be able to meet their request in the context of all your other priorities.

Incidentally it will also help the other person better understand what they are asking of you and whether that was their intention. It also potentially puts the conversation between you on a more professional level – one of mutual respect.

A well considered “no”

Having clarity on the desired outcome paves the way for both of you to assess whether it is indeed appropriate for you to do this task: does it align with your role and responsibilities and any other internal procedures and expectations and, if it does where does it sit in terms of your other priorities.

If the answer is “no” or “not now”, this prior reflection might make it easier for you to say “no” in a way that shows you would still like to find a way to support the other person at some point in the future when it is possible to say “yes”.

An effective “yes”

Saying “no” to things that don’t fit your remit or availability gives you more scope to say “yes” to those things that do.

You can also agree a plan of action that supports the original ‘mini-proposal’.

The outcome of this discerning approach, as Tulgan shows in his case study, is that you will build your professional reputation and the quality of your interactions with others, as well as your own well-being.

You will also have the additional positive reinforcement that you are investing your time and energy on the right things.

What’s not to like about this approach?

NOTES

References

Allcott, G. (2014).  How to Be a Productivity Ninja.  Icon Books Ltd, London.

Tulgan, B. (2020). Lean When to Say No and How to Say Yes.  Harvard Business Review, 135-139

About the author

Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, a consultancy that specialises in “creating exceptional managers and teams”, through courses, workshops and coaching, and with a focus on the Life Sciences. RiverRhee is a member-to-member training provider for One Nucleus.

Elisabeth founded RiverRhee Consulting in 2009, and prior to that had 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry in line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting teams on a global basis.

She is developing her coaching practice, with a focus on helping individuals to achieve authenticity and autonomy in the workplace by enhancing their management, interpersonal and communication skills, and their ability to deal with uncertainty and change.

Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in Lean Sigma, in Belbin Team Roles, MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and is an NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) Practitioner. She is a member of the APM (Association for Project Management) in which she was a founding member of the Enabling Change SIG.

Elisabeth is also a member of the ICF (International Coaching Federation) and is working towards her PG Certification in Business and Personal Coaching with Barefoot Coaching and the University of Chester.

Going on a growth mindset journey


By Elisabeth Goodman, 10th August 2020

Have you ever…?

  • Decided that something that you wanted to do was just too difficult?
  • Hit obstacles that have put you off continuing with something that you started?
  • Got depressed or had a sense of failure because something has not worked out?
  • Felt put off by someone being a lot better than you?
  • Judged that someone you were managing was not capable of doing something – perhaps a little too hastily?

These are all examples of what Dr Carol Dweck (2017) describes as a fixed mindset. Her book “Mindset” is a rich source of information on fixed and growth mindsets, their consequences and what we can do about them.

This is applicable to us as individuals, as managers, leaders and coaches, as parents and teachers.

Here are some points that stood out for me from Dr Dweck’s book. They are helping me to go on a growth mindset journey as an individual, and in my work with managers and individuals within teams.

Fixed mindsets and limiting beliefs get in the way

They stop us from achieving our potential, and from helping others to achieve theirs.

They cause us to feel anxious or depressed about what we might or might not be able to do.

In an organisation, this can result in high levels of turn-over, and missed opportunities to increase productivity, innovation and competitive standing with respect to other organisations.

Fixed mindsets are based on assumptions

These assumptions include thinking that:

  • People can either do things or they can’t.
  • We have a limit to our intelligence.
  • You are either born with talent or you are not.
  • To admit that you can’t do something is a sign of weakness.
  • Having to put effort into learning how to do something means that you are not good enough.

For people with a fixed mindset, not being able to do something that you are supposed to be talented in can feel literally terrifying. Having to put effort into something with the possibility that you might fail can be equally so.

Managers, leaders and organisations can either reinforce a “culture of genius” or they can cultivate a “culture of development”

A “culture of genius” is symptomatic of a fixed mindset. It leads to everything being about validation – and to “group think”:

  • The CEO or team leaders are not to be contradicted because they are so talented that they have all the answers.
  • To express a different point of view would be seen as dissent and might be punished.
  • To comply is to fit in.

Where there is a “culture of development”, or a growth mindset, in Carol Dweck’s words:

  • Everything feels more possible.
  • The world expands and is filled with energy.
  • It feels like fun!

Dweck cites examples from Jack Welsh at GE, and Anne Mulcahy at XEROX. They role modelled how listening to people, giving them credit, nurturing them, focusing on learning, and combining toughness with compassion can turn things around in organisations that were previously floundering.

What a growth mindset is and is not

A growth mindset is about…It is not (just) about..
Being dedicated to growing talentBeing open minded and flexible
Putting in hard work AND trying new strategies AND seeking input from othersPutting in lots of effort
Providing or accessing support and resources to make progressTelling others or yourself that “you can do anything”

How to cultivate a growth mindset in the people that you manage, and in yourself

As managers, leaders and coaches we can expand our belief in human development and growth by:

  • Recognising that skills can be learnt – that people can develop their abilities
  • Valuing learning and perseverance in those that we work with
  • Giving feedback in a way that promotes learning and future success
  • Being a resource for learning

As individuals we can:

  • Acknowledge that we are likely to have a mix of fixed and growth mindsets.
  • Be aware of our fixed mindset triggers (see the opening list to this blog!).
  • Here’s the fun bit: recognise the fixed mindset persona within ourselves (I’ve named mine Defensive Deirdre!).
  • Our fixed mindset personas were born to protect us and keep us safe – when they crop up we can acknowledge and educate them and invite them to go on our growth mindset journey with us.
  • We might even want to let other people around us know when our fixed mindset persona is being triggered and what we are trying to do about it.

What growth mindsets will deliver and conclusion

Carol Dweck conducted a study across a number of organisations and found that those that adopted a “culture of development” witnessed:

  • A greater sense of trust by individuals towards their companies.
  • A greater sense of empowerment, ownership and commitment by people within their companies.
  • More support by the companies for a (reasonable) level of risk-taking, creativity and innovation.

For us as individuals, a growth mindset offers us a richness of opportunities to continue to learn and develop and reach ever higher levels of achievement in our professional and personal lives.

Notes

References

Dweck, C. (2017) Mindset. Changing the Way you Think to Fulfil your Potential. Robinson,

About the author

Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, a consultancy that specialises in “creating exceptional managers and teams”, through courses, workshops and coaching, and with a focus on the Life Sciences. RiverRhee is a member-to-member training provider for One Nucleus.

Elisabeth founded RiverRhee Consulting in 2009, and prior to that had 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry in line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting teams on a global basis.  She is developing her coaching practice, with a focus on helping individuals to develop management, interpersonal and communication skills, and to deal with change.

Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in Lean Sigma, in Belbin Team Roles, MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and is an NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) Practitioner. She is a member of the APM (Association for Project Management) in which she was a founding member of the Enabling Change SIG.

Elisabeth is also a member of the ICF (International Coaching Federation) and is working towards her PG Certification in Business and Personal Coaching with Barefoot Coaching and the University of Chester.

The manager as coach: micro-management, empowerment or ownership?


By Elisabeth Goodman, 7th August 2020

I hear a lot about micro-management in my work with managers and team members: managers worrying that they are being too directive and “hands on” but finding it difficult to delegate with confidence. Individuals frustrated that they don’t have the level of autonomy that they would like.

And I still hear that word that makes me cringe: “empowerment”. It feels too parental somehow: like something that a manager needs to convince or nurture their direct reports to take on; whereas the will to do so has often been knocked out of them.

Of course where we all want to get to these days is “ownership” – individuals just getting on with what they are best placed to do, and managers being available to support them if and when needed. Having a coaching mindset will help a manager to get everyone to this point.

Illustration by Elisabeth Goodman

A case study on how to move towards ownership via ‘responsabilisation’

I’ve enjoyed Gary Hamel’s articles for Harvard Business Review in the past (see for instance Why is employee engagement such an important topic, Maintaining employee engagement in growing and large organisations. You might also want to read The soul of a start-up, nimble leadership, flexibility and control on a similar theme.)

In “Harnessing everyday genius”, Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini (2020b) explore how Michelin has challenged outdated top-down bureaucratic approaches to management, and thereby “dramatically increased the authority and accountability” of all individuals in the organisation. They do admittedly use the term “responsabilisation” (from the French) which equates to “empowerment”, but none-the-less there are some good lessons to be learnt for moving towards a culture of what I’ve called “ownership”.

Hamel and Michele break down what Michelin achieved into headings that include:

1. Launching the movement

The company recruited volunteer teams to trial a new way of working, where teams were encouraged to “be bolder and more creative” and find their own solutions. (This is a classic coaching approach.)

Team leaders were to shift their role from “deciding” to “enabling”. They could ask such questions as: “What decisions could you make without my help?” and “What do I do today that you can imagine taking over tomorrow?” as ways to achieve that.

2. Converging on a shared view

Monthly phone conferences, shared online spaces, 3-day workshops to share experiences and develop ‘signature’ practices for more autonomous teams all helped with building a shared approach.

The learnings gained clustered around such themes as shared mission and objectives, developing competencies, coordination with others, managing performance.

3. Scaling up

Approaches for scaling up included day-long employee brainstorming sessions that generated more than 900 ideas, which were translated into themes that teams then took forward.

At one of the plants, in Poland, mindsets shifted to one of implicit trust in everyone – where it was “up to the individual to lose trust based on his or her actions”. This in itself had a “big impact”.

4. Redefining boundaries and roles

There was a big emphasis on developing skills that would enable managers to shift from “boss to mentor”, through training programmes on emotional intelligence and on “leading from behind”.

Being freed up from their more micro-management approach enabled those with the expertise to address the frontline work, whilst managers could focus on such areas as building team skills and resource planning.

Other interesting points and conclusion

The article covers a lot more than I’ve included here.

One of the notable points that the authors make is that companies around the world that have adopted this more enlightened approach to management:

“share a deep belief that “ordinary” employees, when given the chance to learn, grow, and contribute, are capable of extraordinary accomplishments. That conviction, when consistently acted upon, produces a workforce that’s deeply knowledgeable, relentlessly inventive, and ardently focused on the customer.”

They also reference Buurtzorg, a Dutch home-health-care provider, and how they train all employees in peer-coaching and other skills that enable them to hone their interpersonal and problem solving capabilities.

Why would managers not want to hone their own coaching skills to enable their direct reports in this way?

Hamel and Zanini’s (2020b) publication “Humanocracy: Creating Organizations as Amazing as the People Inside Them” would seem like a very worthwhile next read to find out more about this!

NOTES

References

Hamel, G. and Zanini, M. (2020a). Harnessing Everyday Genius. How Michelin gives its frontline teams the power to make a difference. Harvard Business Review, July – August, pp. 86-95

Hamel, G. and Zanini, M. (2020b). Humanocracy: Creating Organizations as Amazing as the People Inside Them, Harvard Business Review Press.

About the author

Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, a consultancy that specialises in “creating exceptional managers and teams”, through courses, workshops and coaching, and with a focus on the Life Sciences. RiverRhee is a member-to-member training provider for One Nucleus.

Elisabeth founded RiverRhee Consulting in 2009, and prior to that had 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry in line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting teams on a global basis.  She is developing her coaching practice, with a focus on helping individuals to develop management, interpersonal and communication skills, and to deal with change.

Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in Lean Sigma, in Belbin Team Roles, MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and is an NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) Practitioner. She is a member of the APM (Association for Project Management) in which she was a founding member of the Enabling Change SIG.

Elisabeth is also a member of the ICF (International Coaching Federation) and is working towards her PG Certification in Business and Personal Coaching with Barefoot Coaching and the University of Chester.

The manager as coach: helping your team find new meaning


By Elisabeth Goodman, 6th July 2020

The pandemic is by no means over, and everyone is experiencing it in different ways and at different paces. Whether your team has just kept going, somehow, or is only just beginning to emerge into a different way of working, two articles in the latest issue of Harvard Business Review have some great insights for your role as a manager.

Recognising that what we are all going through is some form of grief

David Kessler (2020) puts it with great humanity: we will all be experiencing this pandemic in our own ways. It is a trauma, and each of the ways in which we are experiencing it can be legitimately described as a form of grief.

There are the worried well who are healthy, have not experienced sickness or bereavement, but will still be grieving losses in various aspects of their way of life.

The affected will have been ill themselves or know someone who has. They have recovered or are recovering. They have suffered trauma and will be looking for ways to deal with that.

And there are the bereaved who will be mourning someone who has died, and will continue to do so for quite some time.

I’ve written about how managers can support people through grief before (Goodman 2019). Kessler, who was a co-author with Elizabeth Kübler-Ross’s (2005) of the five stages of grieving, adds something more.

He suggests that we can help people move beyond acceptance to find new meaning: a sixth stage of grief that has been accepted by the Kübler-Ross foundation, and also features in Richard Tedeschi’s (2020) article in this same issue of HBR.

First connect

Reaching out to the members of your team is probably something that you have already done, and are continuing to do. It is a common theme in both HBR articles.

I was fortunate to be able to work with some of my clients in the early stages of the pandemic. They recognised that bringing people together, whether at work or furloughed, through some form of learning over the internet, would help them to connect and continue to feel part of a community. I certainly saw some of that connection in practice, and indeed have benefited from it in working online with my clients, and through other communities that I am a part of.

Tedeschi (2020) suggests that your connection with your team can go further. It takes courage, and it involves communicating at many levels. And it’s the kind of thing a manager can do with a coaching mindset.

In the last part of this blog I take Tedeschi’s (2020) five steps and put a bit of my spin on it: how you can make this connection with your team, and how it can lead to finding new meaning.

Five steps to healing, meaning and growth

1. Learning and re-imagining.

What we have all been through has been a tremendous time of learning at so many levels: about ourselves and our values, as well as what we’ve discovered is and is not possible. Managers can act as coaches in helping the members of their teams reflect about these things, derive strength from doing so and take their learning further in terms of what might be possible going forward.

2. Emotional regulation

This is about being aware of and acknowledging how we are feeling (as managers) and giving ourselves the time, space and resources (e.g. mindfulness, focusing on successes, exercise, sleep) to help ourselves recover. This bring us to the next point – disclosure and listening.

3. Disclosure and listening

It takes courage to communicate how we are feeling and what we are doing to help ourselves. Doing so will help others too. And of course so will just listening – such an invaluable coaching skill for managers. Just having someone hear how we are feeling is an invaluable step towards healing.

4. Develop your stories

Turning this whole experience into a story for yourself, your team, the organisation – what happened and what emerged from it – could be a great source of inspiration going forward. Tedeschi (2020) references “stories of crucible leadership” such as those around Nelson Mandela and Johnson & Johnson as examples of people and organisations that have emerged more strongly from crisis.

5. Find new meaning

Tedeschi (2020) suggests that finding work that benefits others can be a great source of strength after a trauma. We’ve seen and heard lots of examples of that in what key workers have done, and how others have supported them. I have found it in just being able to continue to provide training and one-to-one coaching online to some of my clients during this time.

As a manager working with your team, you might want to tap into the ideas that people have to do things differently, or to do new things. As Tedeschi (2020) says: coming through a crisis can be a bonding experience; look for personal and shared missions that will energise the team further and help it to find meaning.

Conclusion

What are your thoughts on the above? What have you found useful that you might follow-up on?

But also, be aware that people’s experiences of the pandemic are not yet over – they may be at an earlier stage of the grief curve. If that is the case, give people time.

NOTES

References

Goodman, E. (2019) The manager as coach: when your direct report is grieving – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/manager-coach-when-direct-report-grieving-elisabeth-goodman/

Kessler, D. (2020) Helping your Team Heal. Harvard Business Review, July – August: 53-55

Kübler-Ross, E. and Kessler, D. (2005) On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss. Simon and Schuster

Tedeschi, R.G. (2020) Growth after Trauma. Five Steps for Coming out of a Crisis Stronger. Harvard Business Review, July – August: 127-131

About the author

Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, a consultancy that specialises in “creating exceptional managers and teams”, through courses, workshops and coaching, and with a focus on the Life Sciences. RiverRhee is a member-to-member training provider for One Nucleus.

Elisabeth founded RiverRhee Consulting in 2009, and prior to that had 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry in line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting teams on a global basis.  She is developing her coaching practice, with a focus on helping individuals to develop management, interpersonal and communication skills, and to deal with change.

Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in Lean Sigma, in Belbin Team Roles, MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and is an NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) Practitioner. She is a member of the APM (Association for Project Management) in which she was a founding member of the Enabling Change SIG.

Elisabeth is also a member of the ICF (International Coaching Federation) and is working towards her PG Certification in Business and Personal Coaching with Barefoot Coaching and the University of Chester.

Fostering individual and team learning from outside our comfort zones


By Elisabeth Goodman, 27th June 2020

I enjoyed my first experience of “Coaching in the Workplace, 2020” this week: a joint conference by the Association for Coaching and the Institute of Coaching, delivered this year through a digital platform.

I learned about more than can be covered in just one blog, but was particularly drawn to this  blog’s theme that applies not only to coaches, but to any individual and team in the workplace.

VUCA and the DNA for learning

Inevitably, at this time of Covid-19, a common theme of the conference was that of VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity), and how our individual experiences of the pandemic have accelerated our learning in so many ways.

Illustration based on my notes from David Peterson’s presentation at “Coaching in the Workplace” 2020.

David Peterson’s DNA (Diversity, Novelty, Adversity) model is a very useful synthesis of how the nature of the pandemic has accelerated our learning through adversity.

In response to a question from me during the Q&A session after his presentation Peterson suggested some playful small ways in which we can do this:

  • Read a novel or magazine that you would not usually read.  Think about the target audience and what value they would derive from that. [Diversity and Novelty]
  • Challenge yourself to only use 3-word questions in your coaching interventions. (Tell your client that you are planning to do this before-hand!). [Novelty]

Peterson summarised this perspective for learning in terms of:

“There’s no comfort in the learning zone, and there is no learning in the comfort zone.”

I’ve been reflecting on how I’ve been experiencing this form of learning during the last 3 months or so.

For example:

  • It has coincided with completing the taught component of my PG Certificate in Business and Personal Coaching with Barefoot Coaching, and the University of Chester.  Completing a course of this nature involves a lot of personal reflection on every aspect of one’s own life and nature – and that process is continuing.
  • This was accentuated during the pandemic by the abrupt interruption of the end of my course, and then being plunged right into the experiences and insights of a completely different set of people with whom I completed the course.  How I responded to this emotionally was a surprise to me and another source of learning.
  • I found myself PIVOTing (another popular acronym at the moment – Purpose, Innovation, Vulnerability, Opportunities and Threats) and converting my courses so that I could deliver them via the internet. This involved rising to the challenge of learning new technology and how to use it effectively to deliver a positive learning experience for my clients.
  • And of course there has been further reflection associated with working from home, the changes in the dynamics of interactions with family and friends, changing the nature of my leisure activities – experiences very familiar to all.

The Summer issue of Project (the APM’s journal for project professionals) abounds with stories of how project managers and their teams have accelerated their learning during this time.  It includes some individual learnings that project managers have shared as tips for the present time, some of which will continue to apply as we go forward:

  • Create positive habits such as having a designated workspace if working from home; using the time saved from commuting for learning and development; develop a routine; take regular breaks and exercise; ensure you schedule in time to keep connected with your colleagues.
  • Put extra measures in place to provide direction and support for your employees such as regular one-to-ones, company-wide updates, newsletters that celebrate employees and provide resources for wellbeing, in-house training.
  • Make the most of video calling to reduce travel time and the environmental impact of travelling.
  • Take the time to personally engage with each person that you interact with, and say thank you, every day.  It helps people to feel valued, they feel good, they will be more motivated.

How have you been experiencing VUCA and what learning have you been gaining associated with the DNA of it? To what extent has this stretched you outside of your comfort zone?

The “antidote to VUCA” and learning in teams

I was excited by the “antidote to VUCA”, which came up in a session at the conference that featured Georgina Woudstra, Founder and Principal of Team Coaching Studio, in conversation with Carroll Macey.

They described this antidote as:

  • Vision – to anticipate issues and shape conditions
  • Understanding – to know the consequences of issues and actions
  • Clarity – to find coherence, align expectations and check for understanding
  • Agility – to prepare, interpret and address opportunities

Woudstra’s organisation focuses on team coaching, so it’s perhaps no coincidence that her antidote sits well with what would also foster a collaborative and learning approach in teams.

In fact there are strong echoes for me with the “5 Behaviours” developed by Patrick Lencioni and colleagues (https://www.fivebehaviors.co.uk/), and which I and my Associates at RiverRhee are starting to explore through team coaching with our clients.

The “5 Behaviours” are those that enable a team to:

  1. Start from a position of trust where people have the courage to be their authentic selves (equates to ‘Clarity’)
  2. Be comfortable with conflict in the form of open and honest discussions that take account of everyone’s views (equates to ‘Understanding’)
  3. Be committed to priorities and decisions made by the team, without them needing to be reached by consensus, and to review these on a regular basis (equates to ‘Vision’)
  4. Be individually and mutually accountable for following through on commitments, and to learn from the impact of these (equates to ‘Agility’)
  5. Achieve results through the previous four behaviours

Woudstra (2019) describes team coaching as :

“Partnering with the team, unleashing its potential to collaborate, to achieve its collective purpose.”

Accelerated learning at this time, as exemplified by the many case studies in the current issue of Project is surely at the heart of a team’s ability to achieve it’s purpose.

Has your team been operating outside of its comfort zone? To what extent are you adopting the “antidote to VUCA” to support your team’s learning?

NOTES

References

Peterson, D. (2020) The DNA of VUCA: coaching leaders to deal with chaos, complexity and exponential change in Coaching in the Workplace. Performance. Culture. Mastery. Association for Coaching and Institute of Coaching (digital conference).

Project Me (2020). Project, Summer, Issue 3030: 63-64

Woudstra, G. (2019) cited in Woudstra, G. (2020) Sitting in the Fire: the journey to team coaching mastery in Coaching in the Workplace. Performance. Culture. Mastery. Association for Coaching and Institute of Coaching (digital conference).

Woudstra, G. (2020) Sitting in the Fire: the journey to team coaching mastery in Coaching in the Workplace. Performance. Culture. Mastery. Association for Coaching and Institute of Coaching (digital conference).

The Five Behaviors – https://www.fivebehaviors.co.uk/ (Accessed 26th June 2020)

About the author

Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, a consultancy that specialises in “creating exceptional managers and teams”, through courses, workshops and coaching, and with a focus on the Life Sciences. RiverRhee is a member-to-member training provider for One Nucleus.

Elisabeth founded RiverRhee Consulting in 2009, and prior to that had 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry in line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting teams on a global basis.  She is developing her coaching practice, with a focus on helping individuals to develop management, interpersonal and communication skills, and to deal with change.

Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in Lean Sigma, in Belbin Team Roles, MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and is an NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) Practitioner. She is a member of the APM (Association for Project Management) in which she was a founding member of the Enabling Change SIG.

Elisabeth is also a member of the ICF (International Coaching Federation) and is working towards her PG Certification in Business and Personal Coaching with Barefoot Coaching and the University of Chester.

Working with diversity in thinking, learning and interpersonal styles


Elisabeth Goodman, 9th May 2020

I’ve been doing a bit of reading and thinking about the impact of diversity in how we think and learn and how this might play out in our interactions with each other at work, or indeed at home.

A look at Neurodiversity

There is a lot that we can learn from people who are described as ‘neurodiverse’, given, as Nancy Doyle (2019) says, that:

It is estimated that just 59% of people can be considered “neurotypical”. With prevalence data like that, we have to assume that neurodiversity is a natural variation within the human species.

People who are ‘neurodiverse’ include those “with autism, Asperger’s, dyslexia, ADHD. They have a cognitive profile of extreme strengths and weaknesses and in how they think, and in how they interact with others. People who are ‘neurotypical’ tend to score about the same on all measures of their cognitive profiles.

According to Genius Within , the cognitive strengths of the ‘neurodiverse’ cover a plethora of intellectual and interpersonal skills (or intelligences) such as problem solving, holistic thinking, verbal skills, visual thinking, mechanical skills, creativity, attention to detail, hyperfocus, empathy, persistance etc.

The list represents all the different skills that we would want in the workplace the difference being, Doyle (2019) suggests, that individuals who are ‘neurodiverse’ will specialise in some of these, whilst those who are ‘neurotypical’ might be more generalist. Or would they?

Insights from personality tools and learning styles

We have a vast choice of personality tools available to us to help us understand our individual strengths and those of others.

MBTI summary slide

MBTI summary slide from RiverRhee’s training courses, with illustrations by Nathaniel Spain

What we can learn from personality tools is that we are all diverse in terms of which cognitive and interpersonal skills come to us most naturally, and which ones we have learnt to develop over time.

Kolb, and Honey and Mumford add yet more perspectives to this in terms of our different learning styles such as:

  • experiential or activist
  • reviewing or reflecting
  • concluding or theorising
  • planning or pragmatism

Are we simply talking about different types of intelligences?

In digging deeper on this whole subject, as part of carrying out my research for my PG Certificate in Business and Personal Coaching, I came across Watagodakumbura (2014).  His focus is on the need to address all of these differences in terms of education.

He quotes, amongst other really useful things, a range of intelligences: linguistic, spatial, logical-mathematical, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, intrapersonal and interpersonal, naturalistic and existential.

Watagodakumbura also reminds us, as Grandin (2013) does, that a lot of the differences in our cognitive and interpersonal skills can be related to differences in brain development. This opens up further questions for me about what we are born with, and what we can develop over time.  What role does neuroplasticity for instance play in all of this?

Conclusion: So what can we do with this understanding of diversity?

I personally find this whole area tremendously fascinating and exciting.  There is so much we can learn about ourselves and the people around us.

We can use this knowledge in a way that is enriching for ourselves and to enhance our interactions with others. We can make conscious choices about how to develop ourselves, and how to take advantage of opportunities that make the best of our strengths.

There is so much more to learn about this area.  I’m looking forward to finding out more.

Notes

References

Doyle, N (2019). Making the invisible visible – supporting neurodiversity in the workplace. Personnel Today, 1st Feb. https://www.personneltoday.com/hr/making-the-invisible-visible/ (Accessed 9th May 2020)

Genius Within – https://www.geniuswithin.co.uk/infographics-and-literature/neuro-diversity-venn-diagram/ (Accessed 9th May 2020)

Grandin, T. and Panek, R. (2013). The Autistic Brain. Rider Books.

Honey and Mumford – https://www.open.edu/openlearn/ocw/pluginfile.php/629607/mod_resource/content/1/t175_4_3.pdf (Accessed 9th May 2020)

Kolb – https://www.simplypsychology.org/learning-kolb.html (Accessed 9th May 2020)

Watagodakumbura, C. (2014). The need to address psychological and neurological characteristics of learners in the mainstream education system. Journal of Studies in Education, Vol 4(1), 94-108

About the author

Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting., a consultancy that specialises in “creating exceptional managers and teams”, through courses, workshops and one-to-one coaching, and with a focus on the Life Sciences. RiverRhee is a member-to-member training provider for One Nucleus.

Elisabeth founded RiverRhee Consulting in 2009, and prior to that had 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry in line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting teams on a global basis.  She is developing her coaching practice, with a focus on helping individuals to develop management, interpersonal and communication skills, and to deal with change.

Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in Lean Sigma, in Belbin Team Roles, MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and is an NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) Practitioner. She is a member of the APM (Association for Project Management) in which she was a founding member of the Enabling Change SIG.

Elisabeth is also a member of the ICF (International Coaching Federation) and is working towards her PG Certification in Business and Personal Coaching with Barefoot Coaching and the University of Chester.