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Develop Leadership Level Will Power

Strong leaders often exhibit a high level of will power. They establish a vision, make a plan to get there and then, by sheer act of will, take themselves and their team towards their goal.

NLP uses modeling (understanding and copying the behaviours of successful others) as a manner to develop the skills that a person wants. Therefore, if we find a person who demonstrates will power, and identify the key behaviours that we can copy.

Identifying Leaders with high levels of Will Power

  1. They hustle – Leaders with strong will power don’t wait for things to happen, they make things happen. They are never satisfied. They are constantly looking to improve performance and achieve the business goals.
  2. They are totally committed – High will power leaders drive themselves totally towards achieving their goals. They commit themselves totally to the challenge, applying maximum energy and perseverance to the task.
  3. They are solution orientated – Leaders with high will power are always looking for a way around obstacles.
  4. They own their performance – Good or bad, high will power leaders own their performance. Good performance is learned from and built upon. Bad performance is learned from and moved beyond

Developing Leadership Level Will Power

Having identified some of the characteristics and behaviours that are representative of will power, we need to consider how to develop some of these behaviours too.

  1. Here a some strategies for you to develop will power.
  2. Take action now – Will requires action. The more you act, the more you will develop the habit of acting. Your actions can be small, but each action should take you towards a goal.
  3. Be responsible for your actions – Having acted, look at the results. If the results are good, own and share the glory and note what has worked. If the results are bad, own the grief on your own and note what didn’t work and why.
  4. Form positive habits – Read widely. Consider the domain you are working in and look for patterns. Network and surround yourself with people who also demonstrate high levels of will power.
  5. Stand firm on your decisions – Make considered decisions and then standby them. Sometimes it may be difficult to stand fast, particularly if there is a lot at stake. If you have completed the analysis, considered the options and made what you think is the best decision, then hold fast. When the outcome arrives, follow point 2 above.
  6. Develop Self Discipline – Learn how to put things off. Delay gratification and learn to stop your impulses driving your emotions.

Follow these basic strategies and you will being to start developing the will power needed of a strong leader.

Dare to Aspire

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Coaching for Wisdom

One of the key elements of leadership in any domain is that of wisdom.

So when looking for a leader in your succession plan, perhaps to replace a retiring CEO or chairman, wisdom is a key factor to consider.

As a coach, one of the questions I ask myself in preparing senior managers and executives for leadership is what techniques to use to help them develop wisdom.

Wisdom is the ability to read situations, people, events and options and then provide guidance or make decisions that are the most appropriate.

Wisdom, therefore is a mix of experience, perceptiveness, analysis and confidence.

So how do we coach a person into gaining the wisdom necessary for a more senior position?

Firstly, an assessment of the current level of professional wisdom can be useful. Consider it a 360 degree review for a specific context.

A suitable set of parameters to measure your clients ‘wisdom quotient’ could include some of the following:

  • Basic intelligence – Intellectual horsepower is a pre-requisite for senior management and so this should be a given.
  • General Life Experience – There is no substitute to having a full and rich life.
  • Perspective – Does your client have the ability to see the bigger picture, a more strategic view.
  • Business Knowledge – A knowledge of how things work in business, both specifically in the firm and more generally.
  • Bias for Action – Does your client get things done, either personally or through his team.
  • Critical thinking – The ability to find the wheat from the chaff.
  • Introspection – An awareness of their strengths and limits is critical, particularly when considering how much risk to accept in a particular situation.
  • Selflessness – Your client should be focused on the company and not their own progression.
  • Emotional Control – The ability to remain emotionally stable despite high levels of pressure and stress.

Having assessed your clients performance across these parameters, you can identify the areas to focus on.

Unfortunately, wisdom doesn’t just fall into our laps with age.

Yes, age allows you to develop life experience, but this life experience needs to be actively considered, reflected upon and internalized.

There are, however, a few strategies that you can use to help develop your clients develop either an increased degree of wisdom or the perception that they are wise.

1.  Have your client gain new life experiences and ideas. Have them:

  • Read a different newspaper.
  • Read a book, any book , but a business book or biography will increase awareness of how others have succeeded.
  • Try a new sport in an area that they have never tried before, Skiing, Climbing, Sailing.
  • Meet new people – network with different groups.
  • Watch the videos from to gain new perspectives.

2.  Have then work with a mentor or understudy a more senior person.

3.  Have them designate time for self reflection and for reflection on the results of their team or business.

4.  Have them develop a strong point of view and see everything in terms of that point of view. This becomes a personal vision for the business and for the client.

Employing these strategies can help your clients increase their wisdom quotient and gain a more strategic view of their business and how it can be improved.

As a coach, it is your role to find which approach your client can commit too, encourage them to embrace the strategy and provide feedback on performance. there is no short cut to developing wisdom but you can coach your client into making it a priority in a world that is constantly competing for their attention.

The bottom line is that experience is the basic ingredient of wisdom.  Gaining experience in new areas, mixing with new people and considering new ideas is a key element, but it is the reflection on these experiences that creates true wisdom.

Dare to Aspire

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Using Time Line Therapy™ to Create a Compelling Goal

When Time Line Therapy™ was first developed by Dr Tad James, it was used to help people revisit and overcome painful and dramatic experiences in their past.

Time Line Therapy™ can also be used to support people in creating their goals.  By allowing them to create and visualize powerful specific events in their future, individuals can draw upon their internal resources to create compelling motivation and increased confidence having already ‘seen’ themselves achieving their goal.

There are several ways in which this can be achieved, and I have found this to be one the most effective sequences in using timelines to create a compelling goals.

1.  Generate and build an initial level of rapport with the client.

2.  Guide your client into a more suggestive state by matching and pacing the conversation and exploiting the Milton model.

3.  Have your client consider their goal – there is no need for the person to articulate their goal as long as they can define it (SMART) for themselves. This ensures that the technique can remain content free if that is important.

4.  Have the client consider the good things that will happen if the goal is achieved.

5.  Have the client consider the bad things that will happen if the goal is achieved.

6.  Have the client consider the good things that will happen if the goal isn’t achieved.

7.  Have the client consider the bad things that will happen if the goal isn’t achieved.

These cartesian questions are equivalent to an ecology check for the client’s goal.  Ensure the client is content with the outcome their goal.

8.  Define the timeline:

People will generally have their own timeline already internally defined.

‘In time’ people often have a time line that sweeps in from the past on their left and off into the future on their right.

‘Through time’ people often have the time line running through their body with the past behind them and the future ahead of them.

As a coach it can be useful to control the situation more directly and define your own timeline.

9.  For this technique, provide the client with a linear timeline that runs forward from their seat or initial position.

10.  Give the client an object that they can use to mark the point along the timeline that represents the goal being achieved.  Have the client more the object forward and backward a little to ensure that the final position is correct.  This will reinforce the timeline, spatially anchor the goal point and also sets up a presupposition of a successful outcome. The object will be something that the client takes away with them and so becomes an anchor object that reminds them of the goal being achieved.

11.  With the goal ‘position’ in place, take the client back to the start of the timeline.

12.  Now slowly move the client physically along the timeline and build their positive feelings towards the point of achieving the goal. Then move past the goal into the future a number of months or years so that the outcome can be fully considered in ‘hind sight’.

13.  Ask the client what achieving their goal will can given them.  Anchor these positive feelings.

14.  Now have the person turn to face the origin of the timeline and list the tasks that need to have been achieved before the goal was achieved.

15.  Have the client step off the timeline and take up the 2nd position role.  Get the client to look at the list as a coach would and see if there are any additional tasks that need to be completed. Have them coach an imaginary ‘self’ to complete the task list.

16.  With a now full list of tasks to complete, have the client step back onto the timeline looking ‘forward toward their goal.  Fire the anchor of positive motivation and achievement and have the client walk slowly back towards their original position.

17.  As they move backwards, have them increase the intensity of the motivation (spin it faster in the positive direction)  and have them visualize an elastic band connected to their belt to the point on the timeline where their goal is.

18.  As they move backwards, have them feel the elastic band grow tighter and tighter almost stopping them moving backwards.

19.  Time the guided visualization so that when the client reaches their original position (I like to use a chair for this) they are almost unable to step the last fraction backwards (or sitdown), the elastic band compelling them strongly towards their goal.

20.  Anchor this feeling and future lace the next action that will be taken from the list crafted earlier.  Have the client visualize the next action being completed at a specific time and date.

21.  Future pace the next action being taken and assess their motivation (scale of 1-10).

Your client should now be able to draw upon the motivation you have helped them create!

Dare to Aspire



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The GROW Model

Perhaps the most popular Coaching model being used is the GROW model.

Originally developed by Max Landsberg and subsequently popularised by John Whitmore in his classic coaching text, Coaching for Performance. The beauty of this model is in its simplicity. However, do not mistake simplicity for simple. this model has endured and is still taught and used to great effect.

The principles are simple:

  1. Work with your client to build rapport and become comfortable and then move into exploring the topic for the session. What will be the goal that the client would like to work with.
  2. Having identified the Goal, ensure that it is SMART and congruent with the client’s life and business.
  3. With this goal in mind (as a target to aim for) work with the client to establish the current situation. This may be achieved through the client being introspective, perhaps being observed by the coach or in some cases a complete 360 degree review might be beneficial.
  4. Having established the current Reality, work with the client to identify the gaps between where the client and where they want to be. From a potentially large list of issues to address, have the client select one issue that will make a large difference and not be too difficult to achieve, as you are looking to make progress quickly and establish momentum.
  5. Look for Options, plans of action that could move the client forward.
  6. From a list of possible actions, have the client measure their commitment to each (a scale of 1-10 is useful where 1 is no chance and 10 is maximum commitment).
  7. From these options, have the client consider the top 3 action plans and then select one as the Way Ahead.
  8. It is useful to future pace the outcome to check for ecology and congruency to ensure that the resulting change will fit with the lifestyle and behaviour of the client.

Simple, easily remembered and highly effective, the GROW model is a useful tool in your coaching tool kit.

Dare to Aspire

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The Case of the Inexperienced Executive

Geoff was a newly promoted executive in a medium sized business consultancy.  He had been selected for the role because he had been performing well as a manager and it was perceived by his CEO that he was ready for a more strategic role.  So after 3 months in the job, when Geoff appeared to be struggling the CEO hired a performance coach to help Geoff improve.

The coach monitored Geoff’s working activities for just over a week and identified a number of behaviours that seemed to be causing the shortfall in performance.

Firstly, an executive has a much higher profile than a manager and so Geoff was now receiving attention, requests and criticism from a larger number of employees than ever before.  He was also under a level of scrutiny from his peers, key shareholders, as well as receiving criticism from both customers and competitors. This level of attention was something that Geoff was unprepared for.

Secondly, Geoff’s limited experience at the senior level meant that he was unprepared in many ways for the dealing with some of the ‘fast balls’ that came his way.  Experience prepares you for unpredictable events and allows you to remain cool under pressure.  Geoff was anything but cool under pressure.  He was significantly outside his ‘comfort zone‘ and was failing to build the level of confidence he would need to perform at the executive level.

Geoff’s coach needed to help Geoff achieve 3 key changes:

  • React appropriately to comments and criticisms from peers, customers, competitors and shareholders.
  • Develop strategies to deal with the unpredictable events and ‘fast balls’ that he was likely to encounter.
  • Expand his comfort zone so that the relatively minor issues did not cause him to panic and allowing him to focus on the larger issues in a more relaxed manner.

With the limited time available, Geoff’s coach needed to pick the ‘low hanging fruit’.

Stage 1: React appropriately to overcome the emotional response.

Geoff would react emotionally to every situation.  In a guided conversation, Geoff learned from his coach that there is a ‘gap between any stimulus and response’.  Instead of allowing himself to react instantly and begin to solve the problem as he may have done as a manager, Geoff learned a simple technique.  He would steeple his hands in front of his mouth, take a deep breath and sit back.  This process would allow him time to think, the relaxation gained from breathing deeply and give the impression of being a thoughtful person in control of himself.  In fact, these actions are common in senior manager and executives for the same reasons as Geoff was using them.

Stage 2: Develop Strategies for dealing with unpredictability.

Generally, there are very few fast balls that need a fast response.  And at an executive level, it is more important to do the right thing rather than do something fast.  A considered response also demonstrates the level of control expected of an executive rather than ‘shooting from the hip’.

Stepping through the recent fast balls and crises, Geoff learned to categorize events into keys areas.  Having classified the likely types of events, and exploiting Geoff’s own ideas, the coach helped Geoff build a list a initial actions and responses to typical types of crisis events.  Having created his own responses, Geoff was confident that each would create the thinking space he needed to build a more appropriate and comprehensive action plan for each type of event.

Stage 3: Expand Geoff’s comfort zone.

There is a quotation that typifies this issue. ‘Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgement’.  Geoff needed experience in his role to stretch his comfort zone.

Geoff’s coach helped him stretch his comfort zone by recommending:

  • A reading list of biographies of prominent people.
  • A physical fitness regime (created by a personal trainer).
  • A session of rock climbing on an indoor wall to increase Geoff’s confidence in his own abilities.
  • A regular lunch meeting with the CEO to model how a senior executive behaves.

With these new found coping strategies, Geoff soon began to give the appearance and performance of an executive.  A series of additional sessions with his coach allowed Geoff to move from ‘faking it’ to ‘making it’.


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Coaching for Leadership

If you are a coach that works with leaders, I recommend Dr Richard Davis’ book on The Intangibles of Leadership.

You’ll find a review at Braincram.

It has a description of the 10 intangibles that Dr Richard considers as those that have the  largest impact on why some leaders thrive and offers a number of ways for developing each characteristic.

I’ll be using some of these techniques in my own practise and suggest you consider them too.

Dare to Aspire


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