Archive for October, 2008

Leadership Coaching: Why Some Executives Resist Change

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

Some executives over-estimate their leadership effectiveness. Other executives are not ready to change.

 Over-Estimation of Leadership Effectiveness

 There is evidence that the more an executive over-estimates their leadership effectiveness compared to the ratings of others, the less likely they will improve with coaching. This is supported by the research literature.

 For example Atwater and Yammarino (1992) found a negative correlation between over-estimators and predicted leadership improvement outcomes. It is suggested that over-estimators use the information to reinforce their opinion that he or she is doing well and no changes are needed.

 In my coaching practice, using 360º Leadership Feedback, I have found that when a leader’s effectiveness self-rating is significantly higher compared to the ratings of others, there is often only minimal improvement made by the leader. In extreme cases the leader’s self-perception of their effectiveness will border on delusional thinking. As a result the leader will not see the need for change and is not motivated to change.

 Readiness for Change

 A second area of resistance centers on an executive’s readiness for change.

 The Transtheoretical Model of Change (Grant 2006) sets out the stages of change as:

 Precontemplation: The leader has no intention to change in the foreseeable future.

  1. Contemplation: The leader is considering making changes, but have not yet made any changes.
  2. Preparation: Increased commitment to change , intend to change in the near future, and are making small changes.
  3. Action: The leader is practicing new behaviours, but has only been doing for a short period of time, say six months.
  4. Maintenance: Consistent practice of new leadership behaviours for at least six months.
  5. Relaps: often there is a return to ineffective leadership behaviours.

 It is very important for the Leadership coach to quickly determine at what stage the leader is at in their development. If it is the Precontemplation stage then a key strategy for the coach is to broaden the leader’s self-awareness of their actual leadership effectiveness. My experience is that the best way to do this is through 360º leadership feedback. In my opinion the best researched, most valid and reliable instrument for this purpose is the Multi-Factor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ).

 It is a waste of time and money if the coach attempts to facilitate a leadership development program if the executive is not ready for change.


 A leader’s over-estimation of their leadership effectiveness, particularly if it is significant, will reduce or prevent the leader moving from Precontemplation through the stages to Maintenance. The challenge for the coach is to find ways to broaden the leader’s perception about their effectiveness.

 If you would like to read further about how leaders can deceive themselves click Organization Renewal Online Store (see Blogroll) and read the reviews for:

 “Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting out of the Box: Published by The Arbinger Institute.”

 I also recommend:

 Evidence Based Coaching Handbook: Putting Best Practice to Work for Your Clients; See below for reference – This book can also be purchased through our Organization Renewal Online Store


 Does self-Other agreement On leadership Perceptions Moderate The Validity Of leadership and Performance Predictions?: Personnel Psychology 1992, 45; Leanne E. Atwater, Francis J. Yammarion.

 An Integrative Goal-Focused Approach to Executive Coaching in Evidence Based Coaching Handbook – Putting best Practices to Work for Your Clients; Dianne R.Stober and Anthony M. Grant; 2006; John Wiley & Sons.

Dallas Burgess


© PeopleAdvantage Pty Limited 2008  All rights Reserved.














The flipped classroom model a full picture jackie gerstein breaks the flipped classroom into 4 distinct phases and discusses them in this thorough article, place providing a lot of resources for support and further exploration


Technological Change: How to Avoid Resistance

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

When a new Information System is being implemented people need answers to the following questions:


  • Why it is necessary to implement a new system?
  • How will the new system work?
  • How will the system impact on individual roles?
  • When will the system need to be implemented?
  • What will people need to know about the system within the context of their roles?
  • How will they get this knowledge?
  • Who will do the training?
  • When will the training occur?

 Resistance to the new system will grow in proportion to how vague and general the IT group is about the change, and how much time it takes to answer people’s questions.


So how can an Information Technology group avoid the growth of resistance across the organisation?


1. Perception


People need to see the problems that the existing system creates. For this to occur their awareness needs to expand beyond their day-to-day use of the existing system. A shift in consciousness needs to occur. Such a shift is like the illustration of perception in Psychology 101. We first see a vase then a shift occurs and we see the profile of a young women – white to black.


People’s resistance will remain high when they cannot see how necessary it is to change to the new system.


2. Intellectual


If the perceptual shift has occurred people are able to accommodate and understand the reasons for the need to develop and implement the new System. At this stage IT groups need to focus on explaining the logic of, and demonstrating, how the new system will improve people’s working life.


Many IT groups jump straight to the Intellectual and focus on reasoning and logic  rather than first helping people to achieve the perceptual.


 3. Emotional


If people have experienced the perceptual shift, and have sufficient understanding of the reasons and logic for the change, then they are likely to be emotionally ready to change. This means they are emotionally committed to the change rather than just passively acquiescing. Passive acquiescence is not commitment and usually results in ongoing resistance, particularly passive aggressive behaviour, eg undermining the operation of the new system.


4. Behavioural


When people can see the need for change, understand the reasons and logic for the change and are emotionally committed to the change, they are ready to learn new ways of working. At this stage IT groups need to support learning. This includes helping to build people’s confidence in working with the new system.




Many instances of change failure are due to IT groups focusing on the Intellectual factors before the perceptual shift has taken place. This is often followed by a focus on training (Behavioural) before an emotional commitment has occurred.


If you are an IT manager experiencing considerable resistance it is worthwhile stepping back and asking a few questions:


·         Have I moved too far ahead of people’s conceptual understanding?

·         Have I been able to expand people’s awareness about the need for change?

·         What evidence do I have that people are ready to accommodate and understand the reasons for the change?

·         How do I know if people have an emotional commitment to the change?

·         Are people seeking support to learn new work behaviours?; Or

·         Are people passively acquiescing?


For more information on Technological Change See Technological Change: The Critical Role of Organisation and People Values posted on 7th September 2008 – Category – Technological Change.



Dallas Burgess



© PeopleAdvantage Pty Limited 2008  All Rights Reserved

Gerstein’s article has a serious hyperlink strong emphasis on experiential, hands-on learning activities


Leadership: Three Ways to be Effective

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

The first level of leadership is being able to lead yourself. This includes three important attributes:


1.      Self-awareness

2.      Confidence

3.      Stress management


1. Self-Awareness


This means being aware of how we feel and what we understand in relation to other people. For example, a staff member is very angry about their treatment  by a supplier. If we are not consciously aware of our own anger we may react over negatively to the supplier’s behaviour, and inadvertently give the staff member the message that it is appropriate to be aggressive with the supplier. If the supplier is critical to the business operations then our lack of awareness could have a major negative impact on the business.


Research suggests we have three responses to danger: Flight, fight or freeze. These reactions are built into the primitive parts of our brain. When we are threatened the primitive brain takes over – we stop thinking rationally.


Self-awareness helps us to engage our higher level cognitive brain and this helps us to ask ourselves important questions at the time of the interaction  – this also helps us slow down so we can make better judgments.


In their book “Crucial Conversations – Tools for talking when stakes are high” (2002) Patterson, Grenny, McMillan and Switzler provide the following advice:


 1. Focus on What We Really Want


Understand our motives:


{     Ask “what does my behaviour tell me about what my motives are?


{     Clarify what I really want. Ask: “What do I want for myself? For others? For the relationship?”


{     Then, ask: “How would I behave if this were what I really wanted?”


Leadership involves shaping perceptions of others. This means every conversation is important and impacts on the business. Self awareness is a significant factor in effective leadership.


2. Confidence


Confidence is important for motivation. Particularly during times of uncertainty. People rely on confident people for reassurance. Confidence is also a key ingredient for inspiring others to achieve.


We vary on the confidence dimension from low levels of confidence to overly high levels of confidence. Both extremes cause major problems in organisations. A low level of confidence can result in over reaction to threats, negativity, second guessing of the motives of others and lack of action for fear of making a mistake. It is also common for people with a low level of confidence to be overly detailed minded rather than focusing on the goal.


An overly high level of confidence can lead people to ignore critical negative feedback. These people can lead others in directions that are dysfunctional.  Over confident leaders are often impulsive, superficial and narcissistic. These temperaments and behaviours are destructive on organisations and people.


A balanced level of confidence is often associated with middling extraversion and introversion – at times the leader is working and communicating with people, at other times the leader is analysing, reflecting, creating and planning.


We can see how good self-awareness and a balanced level of confidence provides an effective foundation for good leadership behaviour.


3. Stress Level Management


How do you manage your energy?


Coping with change is energy draining. A considerable amount of research suggests that it is not the management of time but the management of energy that matters.  For example, how often have you said to yourself “I would like to do … but I’m just too tired”. You have the time but not the energy.


In their book “The Power of Full Engagement – managing energy, not time, is the key to performance, health and happiness” Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz discuss four categories of energy:

{            Physical Energy – fuelling the fire – eating well, physical exercise

{            Emotional Energy – access pleasant and positive emotions – activities that are enjoyable, fulfilling and affirming

{            Mental Energy – organise our lives and focus attention – realistic optimism

{            Spiritual Energy – deeply held values and purpose  – authenticity – fuels passion, perseverance and commitment

 Recovery and Renewal

Loehr and Schwartz suggest we stretch ourselves physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. This is particularly the case when experiencing change. We must take time out regularly to recover and renew.



They also emphasise the importance of rituals. These are important for coping with change. We are creatures of habit. Much of our functioning is automatic. When we are experiencing change we cannot behave automatically and rely on habit. So change is energy draining because we have to think before we act.


It is important to create rituals that help us form new habits as quickly as possible. In this way we can again function automatically and save energy.


Life Balance 


Re-establishing or maybe establishing (for the first time) a balance in our life is important for helping us cope with stress.


Change Survival Tips


Here are a few tips for surviving stressful change leadership in organisations:

1.             Obtain information from those who really know what is going on.

2.             Find ways of managing stress and anxiety e.g., relaxation classes, discussing issues with peers, taking time out and ensure you ask the right people to get the information you need to feel more certain about what is happening.

3.             We need to see our reactions to change as normal, and are experienced to varying degrees by all of us.

4.             View change as a learning opportunity rather than as a loss situation.  We will be more relaxed about the changes taking place.

5.             Get involved in planning and implementation exercises associated with the change.


 Leadership is hard work. It is constant and unrelenting. Each conversation is critical. We must maintain our confidence and manage our stress levels – all the time.


Leadership is particularly stressful when it involves an intense level of Cross Functional, Multi-Discipline Leadership. See our article on Effective Cross Functional, Multi-Discipline Leadership will Power Performance – posted on

11th August 2008 – Category “Leadership”.





© PeopleAdvantage Pty Limited 2008  All Rights Reserved

One of the slides in an included slideshare presentation states, I believe my role is a tour guide of learning possibilities providing students with a menu read the forum of these possibilities