Magazine article New Zealand Management

Coaching: Tough Stuff; Transformational Thinking Can Help Executives Cut through the Tyranny of the Urgent to Focus on What's Truly Valuable for Both Themselves and Their Organisations. It's Not for the Faint-Hearted. So How Does It Work?

Magazine article New Zealand Management

Coaching: Tough Stuff; Transformational Thinking Can Help Executives Cut through the Tyranny of the Urgent to Focus on What's Truly Valuable for Both Themselves and Their Organisations. It's Not for the Faint-Hearted. So How Does It Work?

Article excerpt

Transformational thinking is gaining traction as a key to unlocking leadership development and improving business performance for beleaguered senior executives faced with mounting pressures on business and personal life.

Transformational? It's been under the radar for about 40 years but now emerging as the critical ingredient to cognitive development. A significant first step is taking quiet time, thinking of different and creative ways to plan for the future and solve issues of the day.

Angela Neighbours, a director of executive development and coaching company, ilume International, and master coach of the International Coaching Community (ICC), explains the transformational journey is not just about focusing on business growth. It is also about taking into account the impact of the work environment and social emotional behaviour.

"Transforming ourselves is tough stuff. Leaders need guidance and support to make this inner journey. It can be threatening and naturally resisted," she says.

"Every day we see executives becoming stuck in the tyranny of the urgent which has become a distraction. Emails, phone calls, back-to-back meetings, travel and client interaction can suck up precious time. Instead, executives need clarity, efficiency and an ability to be calm, to be rigorous in decision making. They need to ask what is going to benefit the organisation, their people and themselves."

Neighbours explains: "Many executives know they think well. However, their thinking and problem solving is based on knowledge of what might have been successful in the past. But now in a world of complexity and busyness, time pressure and time paucity bring added stress.

"ilume assists with the transformation by benchmarking a person's position across all three components -- cognitive thinking ability, emotional stance and the work environment. This is a research-based global product that results in a 16-page report that is evidence based. This leads the plan for development."

Added to the dilemma of everyday pressures, senior executives are also challenged by succession planning and identifying future leaders of the business.

"In a country where we are used to 'stepping up', people are asking what we are doing to develop our leaders of the future and how someone can hold themselves accountable for that."

Neighbours says with the increasing complexity of big business, leaders can't know what is happening day-to-day across the entire organisation. Ninety percent of the success factor of their role is the ability to develop others, hire well and create career pathways for people.

"Being clear on where you are going and embedding a culture is the answer. What could almost be described as over-communication at every part of the journey within an organisation is critical."

Neighbours, her business partner Raechel Ford and world-accredited coaching team, are breaking new ground in spreading the message of transformational thinking to an expanding blue chip client list of global and local companies in New Zealand and Australia.

Combining nearly 40 years of corporate and coaching experience, Neighbours, Ford and their team are working with "intuitive" mind and evidence-based developmental coaching which brings out what ilume describes as the "hidden dimensions".

"This embodies the difference between the horizontal and vertical matrix of behaviour and development," says Neighbours. "Too much time has been spent on horizontal development -- our competencies -- and very little on vertical development -- adult developmental stages. …

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