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Coaching Overview

The Coaching Keys describe skills and competencies that are essential to being an effective employee, professor, leader, or supervisor in today’s workplace.  In today’s world, the concept of effective leadership has changed.  Gus Pagonis, former lieutenant general in the U.S. Army (Turknett &Turknett, pg. 53) states, “No one is a leader who can’t put himself or herself in the other person’s shoes.” 

Being able to put yourself in someone’s shoes, or empathy, is critical to being able to understand the impact of your actions. The emphasis on being empathic and able to listen is hard to understand. Most people do not define empathy and effective listening skills as essential components of an effective leader or supervisor.   Empathy begins with listening to other people’s ideas and concerns both individually and in a group.  When you are being empathic, you are also being respectful.  Turknett and Turknett in Decent People Decent Companies, defines respect as “the will to understand” which starts with attentively listening to others.  To get respect, you need to give others respect. 

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Respect: Summary
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Respect: Handout

In order to be empathic, you need to be able to not personalize other people’s behavior and to maintain emotional mastery over your feelings.  Not personalizing and emotional mastery allow you to choose how to respond to any situation.  The Self-Awareness and Self-Management competencies described by Goleman and in Primal Leadership that are necessary for empathy are:  Emotional Awareness, Accurate Self-Assessment, Self-Confidence and Self-Control.  These competencies allow you to behave in a manner that creates and maintains a culture of respect.

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Communication Skills
Not Personalizing or Assuming
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Leadership Competencies and Skills
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Emotional Intelligence

Being able to be empathic and understand everyone’s perspective is necessary for a successful resolution of any difference or conflictual situation. It is the responsibility of all leaders and supervisors to deal effectively with difficult or conflictual situations between 2 people or in small groups or teams.  An effective leader or supervisor does not avoid these difficult situations and is accountable to herself, his colleagues and her staff to have the courage, self-confidence and ability to deal with these individual or group differences while maintaining a focus on the whole unit.  These components of responsibility are described in more detail by Turknett and Turknett in Decent People Decent Companies..

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Responsibility Components
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Difficult Conversations Checklist
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Difficult Conversation Skills

We all work in groups and all groups experience differences.  How these differences are resolved affects the informal rules, defines relationships, and the group culture.  All of the above competencies and skills are essential for being an effective member or leader of a group.  Triangles function within all groups and can be effective or ineffective.  Dysfunctional triangles occur when people are not communicating directly with each other.   Understanding the roles and functions within a group allows you to be able to provide this role when the group needs it. 

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Team Building Roles

Recommended Reading

  • Goleman, Daniel; Boyatzis, Richard; McKee, Annie.  2002.   Primal Leadership:  Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence.  Boston:  Harvard University Press)
  • Ruiz, Don Miguel.  1997.   Four Agreements.  San Rafael, California:  Amber-Allen Publishing Inc.
  • Sterrett, Emily A., Ph.D. 2000.  The Manager’s Pocket Guide to Emotional Intelligence:  From Management to Leadership.  Amherst, Massachusetts:  HRD Press.
  • Stone, Douglas; Patton, Bruce; Heen, Sheila.  1999.  Difficult Conversations:  How to Discuss What Matters Most.  New York:  Penguin Books.
  • Turknett Robert L.; Turknett, Carolyn N.   2005.  Decent People Decent Company:  How to Lead with Character in Life and Work.  Mountain View, California:  Davies-Black Publishing