Velas Coaching

Stakeholder Centered Coaching

coaching session in progress

An executive coaching intervention has two main goals, change the behavior of the executive and the perception of him by his stakeholders, two completely different things that should go hand in hand but in most coaching intervention aren’t.  Many of us have behaviors that we would like to change and sometime we do that, but people around us have a perception of us that is not concurrent with what we are trying to become. Their reality is king, people will still judged us based on their perception, and sometimes their perception is “old”. We think, “We have changed, why have they not noticed it?.” Take a manager for instance; in his 360O report and review with his manager, it was found that he is not a very communicative individual. His style of communication is confrontational and many occasions demining. This is the perception that his direct reports and his peers have of him, that is their reality.

The executive decides to take action based on the feedback given and starts to make amends to his behavior. With the help of an executive coach, he works on specific behavioral changes that would allow him to become more open, less confrontational and most importantly less demeaning.   However there are three things that might derail his efforts:

It is Easier to Change Behavior than to change Perception:

He and his coach decide on an action plan, and he starts implementing his action plan for a change of behavior. He makes amends, but people that are closest to him don’t know that he is actually working on that, therefore their perception of him stays the same. He might change his behavior, but the perception of him will stay the same, at least for a while.

We see people in a manner according to our previous stereotype: The executive might be changing behavior and the coach can see the progress on the executive, but his direct reports and peers will judge him according to his previous behavior. Past experience has showed him in a way that is demeaning and confrontational, therefore people are going to judge him as such.

We see what we think is there. We see people in way that is concurrent with their previous behavior. So most of us think of each other as the people we originally met, thus the importance of first impressions. So if we meet a person that is confrontational and demeaning, we will still think that he is such individual because that has been our reality and that is what we think it is there.

Enter, Stakeholder Centered Coaching:

This particular coaching technique addressed both, behavior and perception simultaneously.   In other words, the coach and the executive will take actions to change executive’s behavior and at the same time change the perception of his stakeholders toward him. The process is genius. It is the brainchild of Marshall Goldsmith. And it works like this:

  1. The Coach and Executive will develop an action plan based on a 360 O report, what are the immediate areas of development, in this case lets assume that the executive needs to work on becoming more communicative and less confrontational and demeaning.
  2. The action plan is shared with the people that are most affected by the change of behavior (the stakeholders).
  3. Stakeholders will provide suggestions as to how to implement the action plan (FeedForward).
  4. Executive works toward changing his behavior taking in consideration the suggestions of the stakeholders
  5. Executive follows with stakeholders regularly, and ask them, “how am I doing? Is there anything else I need to do to make this change?” This will start changing the stakeholders perception of him.
  6. Executive reviews the suggestions with coach.
  7. Coach will send an anonymous minisurvey to stakeholders to ask about the progress of the executive, thus measuring the change of perception and behavior.
  8. Coach and executive will review results and repeat until both, the behavior and the stakeholders’ perception have changed.

Both, behavior and perspective are changed simultaneously in a very simple yet powerful process. When people see that the executive is actually working on changing his behavior and they have input on it, their perception will start to tilt. At the end of the engagement, the executive will change his behavior and his stakeholders will change their perception of him, a successful coaching intervention.

Research has shown that 95% of the executives that involve stakeholders in a coaching intervention change their effectiveness. They become better leaders, better managers. Not only they will do better, but also their teams will be more collaborative because now their perception of the executive has changed to become more positive.

In short, Stakeholder Centered Coaching is:

  • A formula for measurable change
  • Neither the coach or the person undergoing coaching determine improvement, rather it is determined by the stakeholders
  • It is not time consuming nor difficult to understand
  • SCC is not a theory, it is a proven process
  • It emphasizes on feed forward rather than feedback

But don’t take my word for it, please see Marshall Goldsmith himself talk about this highly effective process.

Luis Velasquez MBA, PhD

Luis is a leadership coach, employee engagement expert, and management trainer. Formerly a University professor and research scientist, Luis holds a dual Ph.D. from Michigan State University; and an MBA in Organizational Leadership.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *