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Archive for July, 2010

The Bus Dynamic…

This morning as I went to step onto my bus, a guy suddenly appeared and jumped on ahead of me. He was carrying a large bottle of coke, half full and given his high spirits for 8am – I suspected there was something more than coke in the bottle!  It was one of those awkward public situations, where you know everyone is aware of something or someone, outside the norm – but we’re all just going to pretend we’re not looking or haven’t noticed! After annoying a few passengers via different means, eventually this guy went up to the driver… here we go I thought… and was pleasantly surprised when rather than ‘tell him off’ the driver just had a chat until they got to his stop – maybe another 5 mins down the road.  When I got to my stop I decided to give the driver some feedback…  “I just wanted to say I thought you handled the situation with the passenger earlier really well” to which he said thanks and seemed pleased about.  So why am I sharing this story? I guess the situation was really interesting for me on a number of levels…

Firstly – the dynamic on the bus when people just don’t want to get involved always interests me – There are situations like this in the work place, as well as in public – you might witness a bully, someone behaving badly – everyone knows that it might be an issue worth confronting but no one wants to say anything!?  This can be particularly detrimental when it’s a leader who is seen to be avoiding action.  One of the biggest issues we hear from clients in relation to managing poor performance – is that leaders don’t!  There is a lack of skill and confidence among leaders in the business to address poor behaviour and staff engagement survey results that we see, suggest the impact of this on performers in your business should not be underestimated.

The second thing that I reflected on, was my own emotion in giving the driver the ‘feedback’.  I did think he handled the situation well – but even in giving that simple piece of feedback to the driver I felt emotion – like a nervousness.  This surprised me and prompted me to consider that if giving a stranger a small piece of praise can trigger emotion so quickly it’s no wonder that giving negative feedback is such a challenge for people in organisations world wide!   Through our programs on ‘giving and receiving feedback’ we recognise that confidence is often a key issue.  Providing a few simple frameworks for having effective feedback conversations, usually gives people enough confidence to start addressing issues they may have otherwise disengaged with.  Are people ignoring issues at your workplace because they don’t have the skills or confidence to have effective conversations?

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On Tuesday this week, I attended an exciting meeting in Melbourne that one day in history may be seen as a significant event in the development of the practice of organisational coaching in Australia.

The event was the 13th meeting of the Standards Australia Coaching Guideline Working Party (which coincidentally was on the 13th July) and I had arrived in Melbourne on a flight with 13 passengers in total on-board. Well, the number 13 must indeed be a lucky number because on this day, meeting attendees held for the first time a full draft of the Coaching in Organisations Handbook, planned for release later this year.

What an momentous occasion! When the IEC first joined this  group a year ago, I would not have believed that a group in Australia that consisted of coaching provider organisations, purchasers of coaching services, professional associations and bodies, educational institutions could come together and work on a project that would foster such collaboration and openness and produce a helpful guideline for organizational coaching at the end of it. I feared a year ago that coaching in Australia was still too fragmented, too competitive and not mature enough to be able to produce a valuable product. I am so pleased my fears were not realized and the project has been one of education, stimulation, challenge and togetherness.

Ann Whyte from Whyte & Co has lead this activity from the very beginning and Michael Cavanagh from Sydney University has certainly burned the midnight oil as the principal author. At this meeting, we also received input from two well-known international guests, Professor David A Lane from the Professional Development Foundation and Sunny Stout Rostron, Director of the Manthano Institute of Learning based in Cape Town.

The next steps are to finalise the draft and then undertake an extensive socialization process with the broader coaching community. The IEC will be active in this process too so look out for more information and updates from us.

Cheers
Julie-Anne

Read Julie’s full bio here: Julie-Anne Tooth, Senior Executive Coach

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At the IEC we have a pool of great minds and wealth of varied experiences across the team. From day to day coaching sessions to life lessons and business decisions (good and bad) – there’s a lot to reflect on. We are also in touch with the wider coaching community in the Asia Pacific and hope to be able to keep you connected via this blog and our website.

This blog features our stories. Mandy Geddes our Training Department Manager oversees the blog and has been the main contributor to date.  We are now turning a new page and contributions will be coming from all members of the team – you will be able to see who has written each new post as we will all sign off!

In many ways having a blog seemed like common sense for our organisation – particularly for our coaches, who engage in reflective practice as part of their own professional development.  We hope you find the IEC blog interesting.  We are also on twitter and facebook and even have our own online community of practice which all IEC Alumni are invited to be part of.  Please leave your comments, questions and challenges here for us.  If you have any special requests or members of the team you’d like to hear from – please let us know.

Thanks and Happy Reading
The IEC Team

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