Leadership skills that are people savvy are essential for effective leaders. You are in countless situations daily that require you to communicate, lead, facilitate, and coach to bring out the best in the people around you. You need to be able to analyse and manage people and dynamics just as well as you do the business. Leaders who have these skills influence people to think, to be accountable, and engaged. Leaders like this know how to balance the task and people dimensions.
Our specialty is in improving the quality of the conversations and interactions you and your people need to have in order to implement your company’s vision, to take up their roles powerfully, and to be accountable and hold others to account. We achieve this through our unique interventions, skills, and programs.
We work with individuals, teams, and groups of people across your organisation to develop their leadership capability, and to promote a culture of leadership. We see leadership as the ability to utilise both formal and personal authority in the service of the work. It involves:
- Honesty, integrity and passion
- The ability to take initiative and get others to come with you
- Courage to have difficult conversations
- Pride to take personal responsibility and hold others to account
- Humility to listen, to take on feedback, and change
- Strong people skills such as coaching; facilitation; awareness of self, others, and the environment; and influencing others to think and act mindfully.
We do not offer off-the-shelf workshops but tailor our leadership programs to the unique challenges and issues that your organisation is facing. However, typical content sessions that are incorporated into our leadership programs include self-awareness, feedback, team and organisational dynamics, emotional intelligence, coaching for leaders, and facilitation skills. More information about the latter two follow.
Besides our leadership programs, we also offer ongoing peer coaching sessions so that our clients can continue to develop as leaders. Not only is this cost-effective because we are not seeing each person on an individual basis but we also encourage a culture of peer support and knowledge transfer that continues long after our involvement in the organisation ceases.
Many discussions people have daily in the workplace require a certain level of facilitation. In fact, many interactions or conversations between people could potentially be more efficient, satisfying and constructive if the people involved had basic skills in facilitation. ‘Facilitation’ means to assist to move ahead. Yet, we are largely expected to be able to relate to others in small and large groups with ease and great skill even though we have not been taught how to do so.
Facilitation involves the ability to effectively understand and manage the ‘HOW’ as opposed to the ‘WHAT’ of interactions or group forums. The ‘what’ is the content, or topics people are talking about, which is generally the main focus of people’s attention. The ‘how’ includes people’s feelings, the atmosphere between people, how decisions are made or not made, who participates and who doesn’t, how much detail is discussed, whether people stay on track, individuals or groups operating in silos, hidden agendas, withheld information, non-verbal communication, how bored or engaged people are, how open and honest people are, and the list goes on. Being a good facilitator means not only monitoring these aspects during a discussion but it also involves knowing what to do to ‘assist things to move ahead’. It is not surprising that having strong facilitation skills is not something most people are born with.
Employees who utilise solid facilitation skills add value to their workplaces by:
- Ensuring that all kinds of meetings, from discussions with clients to team meetings, proceed in a constructive and timely manner
- Planning meetings and workplace forums in more strategic ways to ensure buy-in, involvement and commitment from all participating stakeholders
- Diagnosing why meetings or interactions are not going smoothly and doing something about it
- Getting the most out of everyone’s input and contributions to work projects and tasks
- Being direct and honest about issues and role-modelling this to others
We have successfully facilitated countless small and large group forums over the last thirty-five years. Our workshops on facilitation skills cover a broad range of skills and frameworks that we believe effective facilitators need. Some topics typically included are communication skills, conscious and unconscious group dynamics, process interventions, and dealing with difficult situations.
Coaching for leaders
Regular formal and informal coaching discussions are critical for a manager to have with direct reports. It is still surprising the number of managers who are expected to be ‘good’ at coaching but have not been given the training or development that would give them the ability to be skilled coaches. The obvious benefits to the organisation and to the managers who are effective coaches include:
- Ensuring people are given the optimal conditions to perform at their best
- Capitalising on opportunities for feedback and development for their staff
- Catching poor performers early and identifying plans to address gaps
- Delegating confidently to staff and being willing to give them full accountability
- Identifying successors so that there are people ready to step into higher level roles
- Attracting employees who see the organisation as offering ongoing development, coaching and career opportunities
- Fostering a culture of taking accountability for performance and of continuous development
Our approach to training managers as coaches incorporates a balance of skills, frameworks and behaviours with the manager having a reasonable level of self-awareness. Without this, they can inadvertently sabotage or lessen the effectiveness of their coaching efforts. From our experience, they will also be limited in their ability to get to the real causes and drivers underlying their direct report’s performance issues.
Our Coaching for Leaders workshops give managers the necessary skills, mindset, behaviours, psychological understanding and confidence to competently coach their people. The workshop format is flexible, experiential and practical and the content of the workshops includes theory, frameworks, activities and skills training. Ideally, managers also attend a set number of individual and/or group coaching sessions concurrently to reinforce their learning and to deepen their own experience of what coaching involves. We often find that the best coaches have had positive and transforming coaching experiences that they have learnt from and continue to draw from in their roles as coaches.