Coaching Report

2016 September Coaching Report

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2016 September Coaching Report

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” ― Albert Camus

I always feel a twinge of melancholy in the waning days of summer, as we wave good-bye to long summer days and get in gear for the busy fall season. On the other hand, “back-to-school” time brings an exhilarating shift in energy as the temps cool down and clients gear up to meet end-of-year goals.  Fall is a particularly exciting time for us at the IOC, as we host our biggest event of the year — the annual coaching conference sponsored by Harvard Medical School.  This year the range of thought leaders and workshops is wider and deeper than ever before. 

Among the stellar line-up of speakers at this year’s conference, we are thrilled to welcome back as a keynote one of our most popular speakers, Amy Edmondson, from Harvard Business School.  Amy has a fascinating new book, Building the Future: Big Teaming for Audacious Innovation, that, to my mind, encapsulates the challenges facing today’s leaders:  how do we craft and implement big visions in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world?  How do we collaborate across boundaries—cultural, geographical, functional, geo-political—while simultaneously fostering innovation?  How can leaders “think big” yet execute incrementally, working as Amy might say, with "big vision in small steps”?  Amy and her co-researcher, Susan Reynolds conducted a multi-year study of a visionary CEO and his Portugal-based start-up.  Their close look at the leadership dynamics of an incredibly diverse, innovative and cross-functional team in action bring to life the unique challenges facing today’s organizations.   

Many of us in leadership coaching find ourselves working with clients who have global responsibilities, who manage virtual teams with staff from all backgrounds and cultures. Social media technologies and instant communications have made the world smaller, yet leading in these complex environments grows more difficult: How do you define work/life balance when someone on your team is awake and working, 24 hours a day? How do you build a coherent team when people are situated in far-flung locales, speak different languages, have unique customs and cultures?  How do you delegate and empower teams with differing levels of expertise comprised of millennials, GenX’ers and boomers? 

With these challenges in mind, we are thrilled to have Amy Edmondson join us as a speaker at our annual conference, and again in October for an interactive webinar devoted to the application of her “big teaming” concepts to coaching. We are also excited to build on these leadership themes with truly “global” executive coach presenting September’s webinar.  Katrina Burrus, an Institute Founding Fellow based in Geneva, coaches executives all over the world and is an expert on the challenges of expatriate, cross-cultural and “nomadic” leaders.  For more information and to register for the conference and these exciting webinar programs, see below.  

Despite the shorter days, and cool nip in the air, I hope you will feel inspired to join our upcoming programs with these leading edge researchers/practitioners. Whether we work with clients in our own backyards or half-way across the world, ours is a special profession, where with each client we have the opportunity to change the world—one leader at a time. 


Jeffrey Hull, PhD, Director Education and Business Development


Linking servant leadership to individual performance: Differentiating the mediating role of autonomy, competence and relatedness need satisfaction Myriam Chiniara, Department of Psychology, University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM), Kathleen Bentein, Canada School of Business Administration (ESG), University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM), Canada The Leadership Quarterly Volume 27, Issue 1, February 2016, Pages 124–141

Despite a growing stream of academic studies exploring positive outcomes of servant leadership practice, little is known about the underlying psychological processes that are activated to enhance individual performance at work. Using the autonomous motivational framework of Self-Determination Theory (Ryan & Deci, 2000), the authors propose that a servant leader's focus on employee development helps fulfill three basic psychological needs, namely autonomy, competence and relatedness. In turn, satisfaction of each of these three needs fuels employees in a distinct way, either producing an increase in task performance, organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) or both. Researchers collected information from 247 supervisor/employee dyads from a large Canadian technology company. Structural equation modeling results indicated that servant leadership strongly predicted greater satisfaction in all three “need” areas: autonomy, relatedness & competence.

The results of this study provide strong scientific evidence that developing servant leadership practices in clients has a positive impact on the satisfaction and performance of employees on multiple dimensions.  The researchers defined servant leaders as those who:

  • Lead with vision and goals
  • Foster growth and empowerment
  • Stretch, challenge and support and inspire trust

There are a number of take-aways from the research that have implications for leadership coaching:

  • Points out potential routes coaches can follow to unlock excellence in their clients, and how servant leadership can unlock it in their followers.
  • Suggests that leaders identify how needs for autonomy, relatedness and competence show up in themselves and those they lead.
  • Indicates autonomy was the strongest psychological need, so coach leaders to delegate and be aware of the dangers of micro-managing.

Ask yourself: how has your leadership/coaching helped someone become a better person?


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