Executive Development

Turning “Weaknesses” into “Strengths”

by necoaching necoaching No Comments

strengthWhile reading the latest Malcolm Gladwell book, David & Goliath, I couldn’t help but think about how many of the concepts presented also applied to business. The most interesting lesson that emerged for me was that strengths and weakness are all relative. In other words, when viewing through the same lenses, most will agree as to what are the strengths and what are the weaknesses. However, when assessing from differing perspectives a variety of outcomes can emerge. This is why having a diversity of opinion in problem solving and planning is so important.

This was most profoundly demonstrated in the book when Gladwell recounted his understanding of the famous David & Goliath story from biblical times. Goliath was supposedly this larger than life warrior, with a massive sword and shield while David was a mere shepherd boy with a sling shot. When looking at it relative to typical warfare for those times, David didn’t stand a chance. However as Gladwell describes, it was really Goliath who didn’t stand the chance. David was nimble and fast, remaining at a distance, while Goliath could hardly move; weighed down by the heavy protective armor he was wearing. As for weapons of choice, supposedly the slight shot in the hands of an expert could dispense a rock with a similar velocity as a modern day gun. So who really had the advantage?

Similarly within our organizations, it’s also critically important that we assess the needs relative to the people you have and whether their skills and abilities are being truly optimized. In a previous blog I spoke about how people have a tendency of viewing their own training needs in terms of technical skills but, for somebody else, it’s often thought of in terms of so called “soft” skills.

And so when we look at our teams and assess what might be their strengths and weaknesses, be careful of what you are comparing to. More importantly, be mindful of popular business “myths” and don’t be afraid to challenge them; just because it was a weakness in the past could make it the strength for the future, when viewed through different lenses.

Turning “Weaknesses” into “Strengths”

by necoaching necoaching No Comments

While reading the latest Malcolm Gladwell book, David & Goliath, I couldn’t help but think about how many of the concepts presented also applied to business.  The most interesting lesson that emerged for me was that strengths and weakness are all relative.  In other words, when viewing through the same lenses, most will agree as to what are the strengths and what are the weaknesses.  However, when assessing from differing perspectives a variety of outcomes can emerge. This is why having a diversity of opinion in problem solving and planning is so important.

david vs goliath This was most profoundly demonstrated in the book when Gladwell recounted his understanding of the famous David & Goliath story from biblical times.  Goliath was supposedly this larger than life warrior, with a massive sword and shield while David was a mere shepherd boy with a sling shot.  When looking at it relative to typical warfare for those times, David didn’t stand a chance.  However as Gladwell describes, it was really Goliath who didn’t stand the chance.  David was nimble and fast, remaining at a distance, while Goliath could hardly move; weighed down by the heavy protective armor he was wearing.  As for weapons of choice, supposedly the slight shot in the hands of an expert could dispense a rock with a similar velocity as a modern day gun.   So who really had the advantage?

At a time when we mourn the passing of Nelson Mandela, one can’t help that but think that he too was like a modern day David up against the might of the Goliath like apartheid government.  And when released from prison he demonstrated all the leadership qualities (respect, dignity, humility, inclusion, etc) that were the very antithesis of the supposedly “strong” government at the time.  And we all now know what happened there.

And so when we look at our respective business models and assess what might be one’s strengths and weaknesses, be careful of what you are comparing to.  More importantly, be mindful of popular business “myths” and don’t be afraid to challenge; just because it was a weakness in the past could make it the strength for the future.

Why the Profession of Coaching is Exploding?

by necoaching necoaching No Comments

Depending on who you speak with, you can get a variety of responses when somebody mentions the word “coaching”. For many it’s associated with sports, for some it’s what executives get to improve their effectiveness, and for others it’s what they observe (sadly!) on reality TV shows. Whatever your perspective, this profession is growing at an exponential rate and here’s what some notable publications are saying:

coaching “In a recent study, training alone improved leadership skills by 22%. When combined with Executive Coaching, improvement jumps to 77%” Fortune Magazine
“The benefits of coaching appear to win over even the most cynical of clients within just a few weeks” Money Magazine

This shift is been driven primarily by two key groups – Changers and Movers. Let’s explore both.

With changes in demographics, technology and the fact that the world is now a smaller place, people no longer feel confined. There is a desire to explore, try new things and “god forbid” find happiness; this is fuelling the Changers. Professional Coaching (and the associated entrepreneurial endeavor) has emerged as a way of enabling these Changers; it provides an opportunity to leverage existing knowledge and experience into a marketable service. And with a much broader scope and application, not alone are these Changers equipped with the knowledge to support clients, but they also have the communications skills to execute effectively.

Movers in turn are the population that is supported by the Changers (i.e. coaching). For many of the same reasons mentioned above (demographics, technology, small world), Movers are now turning to coaches to proactively facilitate more positive outcomes both in their personal and professional lives. They are no longer satisfied with the status quo and want to make things happen. However they also recognize that help is required and are choosing to hire somebody who is objective and honest, with a clear focus on helping them achieve a desired result.

Just as with the interdependence between human and plants to survive, Movers need Changers (and vice versa) in a movement that is allowing people to lead much more optimal lives.