Executive Coaching Intertwines Multiple Practical Theories
All complement each other in understanding the client’s needs and helping them reach their goals. Executive Coaching Theories Executive coaching is not a one-size fits all profession. There are a multitude of different approaches that one can take to help the client identify and reach his goals. However, one of the key commonalities of any good executive coach is to understand the human psyche. One has to know how to not only ask good, probing questions, one must also comprehend the psychological and situational barriers that prevent the client from reaching his goal.
Then, he coach must be able to work with the client to identify action steps that will follow a path to reach the client’s desired outcomes. There are many theories that abound with regards to executive coaching.
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No one approach is better than another. Some approaches are applied in compliment with others. The goal is to bring a toolkit of assorted and appropriate tactics to help the client understand barriers to success, and to assist the client with framing the goals necessary to move forward, and finally, to motivate the client to take specific action steps.
The goal of this paper is to identify three of the theories that a coach might use to assist a client. These are not necessarily implemented mutually exclusive from each other, but are just several of the approaches that are available to a coach. Action Frame Theory This is a theory that was developed by two psychologists, Tracy Coverer and Steven Crossbow. Coverer is a leadership and organizational development consultant at Canadian, Tire in Canada (as of 2004, when this article was published). Crossbow is a professor of psychology at the university of Gullah in Ontario.
They state that it is not intended to be a stand-alone new concept, UT is derived from the synthesis of existing theory, plus social action and functional analysis. The goal is to make the translation from generalities of “mediated focus” to specifics of executive behavior, which was an idea of R. R. Killing, who proposed a “holistic and integrated model” within the executive coaching process. (Coverer & Crossbow, 2004) Action Frame Theory encompasses five specific processes to provide a deliberate approach for the coach to assist the client identify and achieve his desired end-state or goals.
The processes include the following: conditions, means, action, result, and consequence. These steps help the client move from the generalities mentioned in the previous paragraph to a specific outcome for definitive results. (Coverer & Crossbow, 2004) Condition: The coach must first help the client identify his current status to be able to correlate where he is now with where he wants to be at the end of the journey. A coach must understand the current climate and atmosphere and conditions that the client exists within before he can evaluate how to move forward.
Part of this assessment is to identify barriers that may be reverting the client from progress, or any organizational barriers as well as personal hindrances. This includes the organizational culture, as well as its management style and where the client fits within this. It includes those constraints where the client may not have any actual control to change. Means: This includes personal resources that the client possesses that he can employ to resolve the situation and/or reach his goal. Included within the means can be the client’s interpersonal skills, leadership talents, and ability to resolve issues.
The author also mentions integrity in the case that they illustrate where the client was dealing with a troublesome employee who was spreading rumors. This is, in essence, self-reflection of one’s personal tool kit. Action: These are the voluntary action steps that the coach helps the client agree upon to take to work toward attaining the end-goal. These should be a set of defined processes that had deliberate purpose and correlation toward a forward motion toward the desired result. Similar to the F. O. C. U. S. Del, (Harms, 201 1) (Ellis & Bernard, 2006) the coach must ensure the steps are meaningful and have validity toward a specific outcome. Especially with a emitted coaching contract, it is important to maximize these action steps to avoid wasting precious time. This also involves mentally focusing the client toward defined action steps so that he sees a clear roadman toward reaching his destination. There is nothing worse than wandering aimlessly without direction. Result: This is the end-state that the client hopes to achieve through the result of the actions.
The authors state that there are actually two results: the starting result and the end result. Although the end result is the ultimate final goal, there is what are known as milestones whereby the client achieves mailer results on the path to the larger goal. Consequence: The consequence is the normal evaluation of the result that is present over an extended period of time. It is what becomes the new current status, or also known as the condition, which was the first component of the Action Frame Theory. This essentially becomes that new normal state as a result of achieving the set-out goals. Coverer & Crossbow, 2004) Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy Theory This is a more widely known theory that was developed by Albert Ellis, who developed this based upon inspiration of teachings of Asian, Greek and Roman philosophers. Ellis originally began a career in clinical psychology in the 1 adds. During the course of his progress toward earning his doctorate in clinical psychology, he leaned toward and practiced psychoanalysis. In the early sass, he transitioned from psychoanalysis toward his new approach of a more proactive and direct form of psychotherapy, which he called Rational Therapy (ART).
His goal was to help the client adjust their thinking and behavior to lead more positive and productive lives. (Ellis & Bernard, 2006) Ellis’ premise is that people are rarely affected emotionally by external influences; UT, rather by their personal perceptions, attitudes, or internal thoughts about outside things or events. He states that people get upset and are affected by how they construct their views of reality through language, beliefs, meanings, and philosophies about the world, their self, and others.
By understanding these meanings, people can learn to identify the issues and challenge and question them to work toward a more constructive outcome. (Hag & Davison, 1 993) The assumption that this theory incorporates is that people have both rationale and irrational tendencies and learning. Rational Emotive Behavioral Theory places emphasis on changing the current thinking and helping the individual to behave how they wish to be. The theory postulates that people unconsciously construct their own emotional pitfalls such as self-pity, blame, etc. That prevent them from achieving their goals. The goal of imparting REST is to assist the client how to identify these self- defeating tendencies so that they can achieve what they wish to do. (Ellis & Bernard, 2006) (Ellis & Bernard, 2006) A major process for the REBUT therapy is to help the client overcome these self-defeating thought processes so that hey can see that they have a choice not to be fearful or scared or the like. This is critical in the coaching process because executives may feel that they are alone at the top of the food chain and have nowhere to turn.
When they have these fears, they may simply internalize them without actually dealing with the feelings for fear of appearing human in their role as a senior leader. This may prevent the executive from being able to be successful in leading the organization, and can lead to self-defeat. Although the coach is generally not a therapist, understanding Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy concepts s key to working with these executives that may show signs of needing this assistance. The primary tactic for assisting clients through this process is to help them see their fears that are prohibiting them from being successful or moving forward.
Ellis said that people cannot move forward and get better except through continual work and practice in finding their core beliefs and irrationality. Then, they need to replace them with healthy, positive feelings that will enable them to move forward and succeed. (Ellis & Bernard, 2006) Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy is one of the most widely studied harries in the field of psychotherapy. From the time of his inception of this theory through his death in 2007, his work laid the groundwork for much Of today’s modern cognitive therapy approaches.
Cognitive therapy is a direct outcome of the results of Ellis’ theory’. Counselors or coaches use cognitive theory to help clients identify the negative thoughts that occur automatically and teach them to replace these with happy, positive thoughts. Since the premise of REBUT is that people?s negative and irrational thoughts to these situations are automatic, cognitive therapy teaches clients to alter their thinking. Coaches or therapists teach the clients to consider a variety of alternative ideas for why things occur. They then teach them to restate things in terms of ways they can control the situation. Rational emotive behavior therapy, 2011) Adult Development Theory Being an executive coach means that we have the power to influence and develop our clients. A key component of being able to achieve this is to understand human development theory. People at different stages Of life construct their understanding of the world and self, which shapes their interpretation of their surroundings and how they will react or make decisions. Adult Development Theory involves areas such as moral, intellectual, emotional, relational, and spiritual development. Demoded, 2007) All of these factors have an impact on how an executive sees the world and makes decisions. For a coach to be effective, he needs to have a basic understanding of this Adult Development Theory. One of the most exciting elements of coaching is being able to have an influence upon an individual, and to help them achieve success and improve their situation at work. A key to the success is the relationship between the coach and client, which is contingent upon the coach asking the right questions, and also understanding where the client is coming from.
One of the most overlooked elements to success is the personal life development stage that the client might be at in their adult development. This correlates to the modern Adult Development Theory by Robert Egan. He states that as people develop through life, they have gained insight through learning. This learning content does not change, but the context in which we see the world does change. (Hope, 2007) As coaches, we need to understand how people develop so that We can impart better listening skills and impression to better understand where people are coming from.
For the coach, one of the critical tools that we have is understanding of the client’s way of thinking, his challenges, his situation, and the context in which he interprets things. This is where the understanding of adult development is crucial. Egan first presented his theory of adult development or social maturity in his book “The Evolving Self’ in 1982. He then wrote a follow-up to this in 1994 called “In Over Our Heads: The Demands of Modern Life. ” In these books, he posits that people progressively become more socially mature as they go wrought life.
This affects how they interpret life’s events and how they react at different stages of the game. (Hope, 2007) (Ellis & Bernard, 2006)Being a good coach means understanding how people evolve and can interpret life’s events based upon their social maturity and place in the organization. One of the factors that new coaches may need to learn is that not everyone will see the world as you do. In “Evidence Based Coaching,” the author states that it is human tendency for people to expect that everyone will see things that way you do.
The authors claim that if coaches have a better understanding of human development that it enables them to be better listeners, and identify connections that one otherwise might not have done. The author describes four types of clients: the prince or princess, journeyman, chief executive officer and the elder. Understanding each personality in an executive will make the coach have a higher likely. Prince or Princess The princess and prince have very ego-centric personalities that are focused on them.
They don’t have a comprehension that other’s viewpoints are valid, and only see things from their perspective. These people are not great team layers, and will only follow the organization rules to the extent that they meet their needs. Journeyman Transitioning from princess or prince to journeyman usually occurs once the client begins to understand that it is not all about them, and they take into account the interests of others and the organization. This is the person who realizes that they and the organization need each other to be successful.
It brings about a sense of loyalty in the journey. A coach can work with a client who was originally in the prince or princess realm and bring them more in- tune with the organization to be a team player. The approach with the person in the journeyman stage is to help him form a commitment that helps to benefit the organizational as a whole. CEO Working with the Coos is much different because they are more likely to have a very definitive concept of how the organization should function, and will have plans for how to achieve this.
They don’t necessarily need direction, but are looking for professional development to help them become better leaders. They are at the top where they often don’t have the luxury of bouncing ideas off of others. Elder The elders are very in-tune to all elements of the organization, and are very enforceable with interpreting the feedback from all levels. The difference from the elder to the CEO is that this person is less ideological, and is more focused on the leadership process. So, where does this adult development theory fit into the executive coaching process?
The coach who understands this theory and the dynamics can better focus the questions, suggestions, and be more in-tune with the client’s form of understanding. Each coaching relationship is unique based upon specific personalities and developmental stages. Along with AEGON’s four stages is another aspect of adult development hurry which ranges from people moving from dependent, to independent to inter-dependent. The further people develop and evolve from the former to the latter; they ultimately become able to be transformational thinkers. Hopper 2007) The dependent level is similar to the prince or princess, where they only see things from their perspective. These clients tend to see things through their lenses and apply their values, traditions, and practices without regard to other. They perceive difference from their views as confrontational. The independent levels are those who have learned from their experiences, ND are more willing to be open to growth. They become curious about others’ thoughts and perspectives. These are like Coos who are willing to listen to staff to develop process improvement that benefits the entire organization.
The inter-dependent clients are those who are most comfortable with their positions and look for the global vision, and make decisions based upon the greater good. They embrace fresh ideas and concepts and seek continuous improvement. A coach who understands where the client is at in this path of development will have a better opportunity to help the executive on the right ND most appropriate path. Each client is unique. AEGON’s theory of adult development has been the leading research as of recent years.
However, he bases much of his premise off of the work off Swiss psychologist, Jean Pigged, who invented modern developmental psychology. Essentially, the adult development theory of Egan evolved from Piglet’s descriptions of how children developed from early childhood through adulthood. His theory was that kids go through various stages of psychological development that affect how they adapt, learn and react to situations. (Hope, 2007) Conclusion An executive coach must bring myriad skills to the table with a client.