Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The upside of conflict in a family business

In an average business, relationship conflict is unpleasant. In a family firm, it can be downright devastating. Family firms are comprised of dynamic and complex interpersonal relationships, prone to spark fights concerning everything from succession planning and mixing family and business roles to the lack of formal organization. A common oversimplification is that the family is emotional and the business is unemotional. This is simply not true. Family and business is a powerful mix, and it’s not easy, or even possible, to keep the two separate.

It’s important to distinguish between productive types of conflict and destructive types of conflict before nipping family squabbles in the bud. The term “conflict resolution” is misleading because it implies that all conflict should be squashed immediately. Current research shows that conflict among family members can actually be a good thing because it increases options, prevents premature consensus, and improves the involvement and motivation of family members. Without conflict, family businesses can remain stuck in their ways, not realizing comfort has become synonymous with stagnation.

Too much relationship conflict is how family businesses can be destroyed. Relationship conflict is the perception of personal animosities and incompatibility between family members. Snide or mocking comments and constant bickering create a toxic work environment for everyone, not just the relatives fighting. Poor attitudes or employees that don’t speak to one another often serve as signs for interpersonal conflict.

Whereas relationship conflict should be avoided, task conflict and process conflict should be encouraged. Task conflict is debate over the business’s goals and strategies and stems from disagreements over which tasks should be accomplished. For example, families experience conflict due to opposing directions from two bosses, uncertainty about the timeframe necessary for completing tasks, and the relative importance of multiple job goals. Task conflict improves decision-making outcomes and productivity by increasing the quality of decisions through extensive dialogue. Members are more accepting of final outcomes because they’ve had the opportunity to consider various facets of the decision at hand, as well as consider everyone else’s input.

Whereas task conflict concerns what strategies to accomplish, process conflict focuses on how to achieve goals. For example, conflict may arise over how work is divided between team members, how various projects are assigned, and the way in which job activities are handled. Family members sometimes work in the business without specific educational or employment experience.  As a result, they sometimes hold higher organizational positions than they would with careers outside the family firm. Firms may have difficulty adjusting roles and responsibilities as needed for each family member. Process conflict is a good way to ensure each member’s talents are used effectively and efficiently.

Relationships act as the glue of both the firm and family, determining how stable each is. If there’s a strong foundation, the family can thrive with a healthy dose of debate over tasks and processes. On the other hand, if members are on edge due to relationship conflict, the business may lack the stability to engage with healthy conflict.

Leah Golob is a writer and researcher with the Business Families Centre. The Business Families Centre at the University of British Columbia provides education and support to business families and family enterprise advisors, including coaches, family therapists, lawyers, wealth managers and accountants. The BFC is partnered with the Institute of Family Enterprise Advisors (IFEA) designating body and offers the Family Enterprise Advisor Program in Vancouver and Toronto.

Friday, May 25, 2012

ICF bylaws are being revamped - share your opinions and suggestions

The global ICF Board of Directors has developed a number of proposed changes to the structure and governance model of our organization. Before any changes are approved, ICF members are invited to review suggested ICF bylaw revisions here and share any suggestions and opionions around the changes being considered.

Please know that all of your input will be taken into consideration before the Board votes on any changes or updates to the bylaws.

The Board would like to hear from you on this topic by June 24, 2012. Please click here to see  proposed changes to ICF's bylaws and offer your comments, reflections, and suggestions.

Global ICF Board of Directors

Life changing interaction

Last month, we asked our Facebook fans, “how can you change someone’s life for the better today?” Take a look below to see how our Facebook fans responded:
  • “Start with changing yourself.” (Max Kohanzad)
  • “Support them in getting the life or career they desire!” (Tamala Nyasalima Chirwa)
  • “Firstly, realize that you cannot change someone’s life for them. That gives space to create a way forward with that someone." (Mark Veary)
  • “By listening.” (Conscious Living)
  • “Be honest.” (Rafael A. Martinez)
  • “I’m only responsible for my own changes. And I can support and challenge someone else to take this responsibility.” (Anna Marcia)
  • “Simply acknowledge someone. Smile and say hello. You never know how much power something that simple can have.” (Michelle Welton)
  • “Honour and acknowledge them by telling them how they change your life for the better. Say thank you with intention and emotion.” (Lise Laberge)
  • “Listen for their greatness…” (Pat E. Perkins)
  • “As a coach you empower them to change their own lives! Prompt them but never TELL them—for it’s in the action that the change occurs!” (Joyce A. Schwarz)
  • “What does he or she really want in life that can make their life better? Got to understand their belief, attitude. The fact is, we can’t change anybody in this world. But support them—if they have strong desire and commit to change for better life.” (Janice Chong)

What about you? What can you do today to change someone’s life? We’d love to know—leave a response below or join the conversation at Facebook.com/ICFHQ.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Looking for a way to connect? Join an ICF Community of Practice.

If you are an ICF member looking for an additional outlet to connect with coaching peers in your niche, take a glance at the current list of ICF Communities of Practice. These communities, formerly known as Special Interest Groups or SIGs, offer an additional venue for coaches in similar fields to communicate best practices and new ideas.
These groups generally meet by teleconference once per month. A comprehensive list of these groups is accessible here.

How do I join? If you find a community you want to join, you can join by contacting the community leader directly. Contact information is listed with each group.

Current list of ICF Communities of Practice:
  • AD/HD Community of Practice
  • Career Coaching Community of Practice
  • Coaching & HR Development Community of Practice
  • Coaching Educators Community of Practice
  • Conflict Management Coaching Community of Practice
  • Energy Work & Coaching Community of Practice
  • Expatriate/Intercultural Coaching Community of Practice
  • Global Executive Coaching Community of Practice
  • Internal Coaching Community of Practice
  • Japanese Speaking Coaches Community of Practice
  • Leadership Coaching Community of Practice
  • Nonprofit Community of Practice
  • Research Forum Community of Practice
  • Spanish Speaking Coaches Community of Practice
  • Team & Work Group Coaching Community of Practice
Read about each Community of Practice.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Three things ICF members can do this week

Associations bind professions and professionals together. The true professional is a member of his or her professional organization. By joining and maintaining membership in the ICF, coaches inform others that they are a part of an influential voice that is shaping the future of coaching around the world.
If you are an ICF member, there are many opportunities open to you. This occasional topics series will highlight those things you can do to ensure you are making the most of your connection to the ICF.
  • Add a Community of Practice meeting to your calendar for June. ICF Communities of Practice, formerly known as Special Interest Groups, offer ICF members an additional venue in various niches to communicate best practices and new ideas. CPs generally meet by teleconference once a month. Peruse the complete CP list to see if any strike your fancy (and make a plan to join their next call!).
  • Submit a guest blog post or Coaching World article submission (or idea). If you have something to share, be it an innovative approach, best practice, or interesting concept related to coaching, share it with us! View ICF Guest Blogger Guidelines. Send Coaching World ideas and submissions to icfpr@coachfederation.org.
  • Register for ICF Global 2012! ICF members are eligible for discounted pricing—learn more. ICF Global 2012 will maximize the personal and professional potential of coaching professionals who attend—attendees can expect connection with colleagues and ideas from all over the world; to learn the latest in coaching techniques, trends, and theories to apply to their practice; and to get inspired by a community of like-minded peers to continue their professional commitment on positive change.
Not yet an ICF member? We’d love to welcome you to our borderless community of 21,000+ coaches! Current ICF members who need to renew their membership may do so here.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Self-Coaching: What is it?... and Does it Work?!

Typically, people consider coaching as a way to catalyze some type of change: change in career, change in behavior, change in business results and change in life satisfaction. Most often, coaching interventions involve employing an individual who serves as a coach to help facilitate that change, but what would it look like if individuals could coach themselves? More importantly, is it really possible for self-coaching to effect positive change?!

A self-coaching solution. That's what researchers (Kmiec, et. al., 2012) set out to discover in a recent self-coaching program with managers of a plastics manufacturing organization. Utilizing a quasi-experimental design, two groups of managers were formed: a control group, which received no self-coaching intervention; and an experimental group, which received the self-coaching intervention. The self-coaching intervention included: Five self-coaching skills that were taught to managers during a 90-day learning program, combining classroom and online instruction, on-the-job skills practice, journaling and peer interaction to learn, apply and develop a regular habit of employing self-coaching behaviors.

Did it work? The results showed that self-coaching did indeed affect positive change. Not only did the employees of the managers in the experimental group have significantly higher work engagement scores than the employees of the managers in the control group after the intervention, but the experimental group also saw an improvement in productivity that resulted in a 399% return-on-investment. In other words, for every dollar invested in the self-coaching program, the invested dollar was returned and another $3.99 was generated.

In this study, self-coaching worked! The data suggest that the managers practicing self-coaching created a more motivational work environment leading to increased work engagement and productivity in their line employees.

You can read more about the study in: Measuring the Success of Coaching: A Step-by-Step Guide for Measuring Impact and Calculating ROI (ASTD, 2012).

1. Kmiec, J., S. Dugas, C. Gaudet, H. Annulis, M. N. McNeese, and S. Bush. (2012). Self-Coaching as a Catalyst for Work Engagement and a Positive ROI. In Measuring the Success of Coaching: A Step-by-Step Guide for Measuring Impact and Calculating ROI. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press: pp. 131-162.

Lisa Ann Edwards
Lisa Ann Edwards, M.S., is a partner of Bloom Coaching Institute, an organization that advances coaching effectiveness through research, tools, training and consultation on ROI of Coaching. Lisa's coaching work has demonstrated as much as a 251% return-on-investment and has been shown to lift employee engagement nearly 20%. As head of Talent Management for Corbis, a Bill Gates' privately owned global media company, Lisa was responsible for designing and implementing effective talent development solutions including leadership development and coaching programs. Lisa is a frequent contributing author to trade publications and has authored or contributed to many books including: Measuring the Success of Coaching: A Step-by-Step Guide to Measuring Impact and Calculating ROI (ASTD Press, 2012). Contact Lisa at: Lisa@BloomCoachingInstitute.com.

Friday, May 18, 2012

May Coaching World now available!

This issue’s columns include features with:

Leadership: John Whittington (Seeing Client Relationships as Constellations); Lisa Edwards (How to Start Reporting ROI);
Marketing: Josie Thompson (Marketing from the Heart); Jean DiGiovanna (Creating Successful Workshops and Webinars);
Profiles: How do you determine ROI? (Global Views: Coaches Q&A); José Augusto; Bringing Coaching to the Nonprofit World;
Research: Internal vs. External Coaches (2012 ICF Global Coaching Study);
Benefits: Coaching Through Change (A Case Study on Cape Town, South Africa’s Provincial DLGH); and Ten Ways to a Greater ROI on Professional Coaching (Bill Burtch).

Take a look!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Be courageous: change your story

You can picture it.

You're sitting at a family gathering, maybe dinner or a barbeque...

And he starts telling that same old story.

You know, the one you've heard a million times and know every single word.

There's one in every family, it's that person who tells the same old stories. It probably drives you crazy. You probably think twice about inviting him. But you do and you listen to the stories again and again.

Well, I started asking myself. Why is he stuck in his story? How is it serving him? And if it's a terrible story, why does he keep telling it?

People do get stuck in their stories, but they are always serving some purpose. And it's really worth figuring out what that is.

Sometimes we get stuck in a story because it reminds us of something bad that happened. Why would we do that? So that it serves to fuel our fear about doing what we really want. When we can recall a bad consequence for taking action, then it justifies us in not taking action.

But don't worry. Here's the good news.

You can ALWAYS change your story. No, it doesn't mean rewriting history or somehow forgetting the negative stuff.

What it means is focusing on what works, how we have been courageous and how we can feel empowered, even after experiencing something negative.

It's not the bad stuff that happens that counts, it's what we've done with it, how we have responded, what happened next.

Lisa Bloom, PCC
These are the stories we need to tell. These are the stories that change our reality. What's your powerful story?

Lisa Bloom, PCC is founder of Story Coach Inc. and the Certified Story Coach Program.  Download her ebook ‘Using Stories to Get Great Clients’ at http://www.story-coach.com.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Stand out!

Try doing something really good, and then keep talking about it, a famous Public Relations specialist once said. Concept which is frequently applied in business, where most leaders are interested in collaborating with famous companies and successful people.
I have always enjoyed coaching entrepreneurs; they have the ambition and energy to establish new records. The term entrepreneur is defined as a person who is willing to build an enterprise, a person with a dynamic character and a leadership style that involves taking risks or new opportunities for development.

Lately, I have been working with numerous entrepreneurs, from different cities and I couldn’t help but notice that most of them are highly influenced by the financial approaches and keep investing a lot of energy on controlling the cash-flow, their employees or how to make more money…It is well known that people working with finances keep telling entrepreneurs that they take risks beyond their financial power without rigorously calculating their possible win.

The two approaches however, are not contradictory (the entrepreneur approach and the financial one), but complementary – the dynamic activity of an entrepreneur is focused on developing his business by using a financial approach, centered on the return received from that certain business. But this can only lead to fights for power or influence.

In general, during moments of crisis, finance people stay in control by using a defensive strategy, while in times when opportunities occur, entrepreneurs rely on an offensive strategy – taking risks in order to get rich.

But leaders, who inspire people to excel, come more from the entrepreneurial field rather than the finance field.

This is how I met Steven, an entrepreneur who developed his business for more than 5 years on the market, but who could never tell whether that business was running good or bad. Actually, it was going nowhere. Since the economic crisis, Steven’s best adviser was his accountant – who always managed to scare the new marketing and sales strategies out of him. His greatest challenge was to stand out and show everyone that he can face the market’s requirements and can bring performance to it. In other words, to build an image, a reputation, even if this can hardly be achieved without expensive investments. Steven was more of a defensive entrepreneur. He thought there was nothing he can show in such times of crisis. But he thought that only if he could find that certain secret or type of service that could make him stand out of the crowd, then things would run much easier.

- How could he find that secret?

Marshall Goldsmith described, in one of his articles about entrepreneurship that one of the smallest construction businesses from the three bidders that were trying to buy a certain health project managed to win the auction by publishing the fact that it was the only one who employed the most people in the area. So without being famous, the business could build a reputation by using an unknown advantage that was given to the market. Steven began asking his clients why were they working for him and what kind of benefit did his business bring to them. It was then when he discovered his true business reputation and had the courage to stand out and bring new clients. He didn’t hesitate and started taking action!
Rodica Obancea, ACC

You may build success using the things you know very well and then start promoting them.

Rodica Obancea, ACC, is passionate about change, emergence, living systems. She works within business environment, with managers, teams for achieving ambitious results. For more information, visit www.successcoaching.ro.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Registration now open for ICF Global 2012!

If you are a coach looking for an opportunity to break out of your daily routine and recharge—you will not want to miss ICF Global 2012 – Connect. Learn. Inspire. this October 3-6 in London, UK.

ICF Global 2012 is the world’s largest coaching conference of 2012 and will allow you to connect with colleagues and ideas from all over the world; learn the latest in coaching techniques, trends, and theories to apply to your practice; and get inspired by a community of like-minded peers to continue your professional commitment on positive change.

And you will do all of this from one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities—London. The London experience in itself is sure to stretch both your imagination and professional growth this October.

ICF Global 2012 will maximize the personal and professional potential of coaching professionals who attend—the four day conference will include:
  • Three world class mega catalysts (Brené Brown, David Whyte, Camila Batmanghelidjh);
  • 35-plus educational sessions providing knowledge and tools to gain a competitive edge in the coaching profession. As sessions and speakers are finalized, they will be posted to Coachfederation.org/ICFGlobal2012; and
  • Numerous occasions for networking.
Registration is now open! Register early to take advantage of the early bird discount.

Have you attended an ICF Annual International Conference in the past? Share your experience(s) with us below or on Facebook.