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We all know what it takes for a white swan to project tranquillity and self-confidence while floating on the river: underwater its webbed feet must be paddling furiously against the current.
So it can be with coaches and trainers transferring leadership skills to executives. The current, of course, is the swelling volume of self-aided learning tools – many of them available online – that now deluge the business training market.
Only a handful of high-end coaches safely ensconced in the C-suite are immune from the MOOC-style executive learning aids that are sweeping the middle and lower management layers. And regardless of their position, all clients want to “make it better” faster, cheaper – and in their own time.
So service providers – be they external consultants or internal advisers in executive development – must offer appropriate tools for these competitive times. This calls for constant updating.
Whether it’s communications skills, linguistic mastery, defining and living personal values, or using rapport to further the power of persuasion, clients expect more and more from their coaches and trainers.
Increasingly, clients expect metrics. Those with an empirical, MBA-style mindset want robust methods based upon much more than the familiar instruction: “let’s rehearse that one more time and I’ll tell you when it sounds right to your coach.”
Instead they want self-empowerment. A typical request is: to “show me exactly how far I have progressed, how I can internalize my learning, and where I’m headed.” Hence the spread of psychometric testing tools akin to the Myers-Briggs Test (MBTI), Belbin and Critical Thinking Appraisal – previously confined to the HR function – to other areas of corporate life such as executive development.
Coachees want instant and equal access to performance evaluation. So in place of assessment built around intuition, inquiry and the occasional “aha” moment, there’s a new hunger for more objective performance data.
Compare this to the traditional domain of psychology, where open-ended “talking therapies” are giving way to more focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for common conditions. So it is in the professional and personal development sector, where method and measurement are coming to what were previously seen as the intangibles of leadership mastery.
Like it or not, this reflects the origins of coaching, in the world of competitive sport.
Case in point is communication training for media interviews. Time was, when effectiveness could only be proven post facto by calculating the advertising value equivalent of published column-inches, by verifying how many of the trainee’s key messages the journalist repeated and published, or by counting airtime allowed by TV producers.
Of course, such metrics don’t cover more than a small sliver of the full spectrum of leadership communication which ranges from intimate dialogue to town meetings – and they don’t provide real yardsticks usable during the training process.
No wonder today’s communication training takes a more holistic approach.
In the field of presentation training, methods that are based upon standardised behaviours rather than on boosting individual strengths, will fail to help the trainee differentiate him or herself before audiences who’ve seen it all before.
In the coaching field, ambitious executives with clear targets naturally seek to control the pace of their personal development and test out new skills in real environments coming up in their diaries, rather than saving insights up to hear guidance during a weekly session.
In each of these distinct fields, the coach or trainer’s work will be far easier – or let’s say the swan’s underwater paddling less frenetic – if a measuring and management tool is used, allowing coachees to visualise exactly what point of the spectrum they occupy.
That’s why Communicate Charisma provides an important new tool for trainers and coaches to include in their armoury. Tools that allow those being trained to clearly visualise which part of the communicative leadership ground they occupy, so making the coach’s work far easier – and affording rich insights and guidance to those being trained.
Communicate Charisma’s two-dimension Projection Plot and seven-dimension Essence Plot provide a reliable snapshot of any person who has taken our simple online test. The Self-Assessment Report in turn helps coaches to demonstrate to their clients exactly what their leadership style is composed of, and where their strong points and challenges lie.
This creates a powerful underlying framework coaches can cover with their own teaching methods and styles, to deliver a product that’s distinctly their own, yet “powered by Communicate Charisma.”
Additional tools and analysis available to coaches will help them deliver additional insights to their clients from the Self-Assessment Report, whether for use in individual sessions, in interactive group workshops.
Firstly, it’s a timesaver. It could take weeks of face-to face sessions to elicit the kind of profile information contained in Communicate Charisma’s Self-Assessment Report. That means trainers are equipped to engage in their fearless deep dive with the clients right from day one.
Next, we have all picked up a lifetime’s worth of communications habits – which we use unconsciously even though they’re often quite inappropriate to our natures and we resist giving them up. Helping uncover a natural style and showing clients where they fit into the full spectrum of communicative styles and registers, provides the key to a differentiated yet authentic leadership style.
For instance, those with reduced energy in the domains of persuasion and drive, might seem at a disadvantage in traditional corporate environments still dominated by ‘alpha’ leadership models. Trying endlessly to be assertive may be counterproductive for such people. Yet for those with low drive energy, a very common counterpart is to have higher natural levels of empathy and collaboration. The power to put themselves in another’s shoes will benefit such leaders far more than trying unsuccessfully to use sheer assertiveness.
Finally, clients respond energetically to being shown accurate snapshots of how they look – and just who they’re capable of becoming. Mobilizing the power of the imagination helps trigger the kinds of transformational journey coaches wish to see – yet cannot always deliver for blocked clients unable to see that the style they feel stuck with doesn’t suit them.
And there’s more. By encouraging clients to complete a Personal Development Plan (PDP) to help them rehearse and internalise their new skills over weeks or months, Communicate Charisma’s methodology nurtures continued personal and professional development (CPD).
Using the PDP (which is a kind of learning diary integrated with regular activity) emphasizes commitment not just to adopting best practice, but also “best person” in the workplace. Time spent reflecting on activities and outcomes allows for ongoing adjustment that helps to build a complete record of professional/personal development in the communication field, so helping long-term career progression.
This provides trainers with multiple touch-points for future contact with clients after their initial training is over. Almost all transformational journeys require some calibration and mid-course correction, keeping coaches firmly on the radar of their clients.
Communicate Charisma’s tools, operational manual and full online access to Self-Assessment Reports, will soon be available for coaches and trainers who complete a “train the trainer” workshop qualifying them to be authorised resellers of the methodology. This can be incorporated into a wide menu of training and coaching options.
Coaches had better get used to the fact that online tools and metrics-based personal development aids are here to stay: so instead of paddling against the inevitable, why not go with the flow? We certainly are.
At Communicate Charisma we teach people how to become more engaging and effective communicators. In our Charisma Dimensions workshops, we use practical exercises coupled with our bespoke self-awareness tools to allow participants to understand and experience the impact of individual personality traits on how we are perceived by others. Together, we use these insights to develop a more effective and authentic personal style, and so raise our power of influence and communications mastery.