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TCPI News Vol. 1, No. 6

April 2, 2001

In this issue:

  1. Interviewing and the Law
  2. Five Signs That You Need a Coach
  3. Employee Coaching - Handling Conflict

1.     Interviewing and the Law

Which of the following questions can you ask in an employment interview?

1. Tell me about your children.

2. Describe a work situation where you made an error.

3. How do you plan your daily activities?

4. That’s a lovely ring, are you engaged?

5. Were you in the military?

6. Why do you want to leave your current position?

7. Your name sounds Greek, were your parents Greek?

8. Would it be a problem to work for someone younger than you are?

9. What would your last supervisor say about your performance?

10. Has stress ever been a problem for you in the past?

Correct answers will be published in the May edition.

For more information on Interview.

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Past Issues

Please visit our website for past issues of TCPI News

2.    Five Signs That You Need a Coach

What do I do now, coach…?

The answer given as part of the old joke is, "Back up ten yards and punt!" The humor – if we find it funny – is that a person with some immediate need, in this case a player on a football team, seeks advice from his coach to get out of a predicament. Instead of deep insightful, focused directions, the player is told to beat a "strategic retreat" and pass the problem (in this case the ball) to the other team.

Top executives in today’s fast changing business landscape have little time (or inclination) to focus on the development of their senior managers; hence the rise of the Executive Coach. A recent article in the Des Moines Register quotes estimates that there are more that 10,000 business and personal coaches nationwide (Pat Johnson, "Coaches Put Workers in the Game," March 19, 2001).

How effective are these coaches? "…quantifying the benefits of any kind of education–especially this kind – is tricky," says Anne Fisher of Fortune Magazine.

However she quotes from a study conducted by Manchester Inc., that polled 100 executives about the benefits of coaching. Results showed that the executives experienced improvements in productivity, quality, organizational strength, customer service, and shareholder value. Coaching also raised the retention rate. Return on investment was reported to be almost six times the cost of the coaching.

Five signs that you or someone on your staff could benefit from a coach.

  1. You currently lack objective, unambiguous feedback concerning personal and professional development.
  2. You have outgrown (or outlived) your mentor and don’t have a sounding board or someone to challenge your ideas.
  3. You have achieved your current level of success because you are technically skilled, task oriented, and detailed in your approach to work.
  4. You have been promoted to a job that requires a different set of competencies that are not in your comfort zone.
  5. You have interpersonal conflicts with your management and subordinates that hamper your effectiveness and drain your energy.

Although good coaching may provide some therapeutic side-effects, that’s not the purpose. As Claire Tristram in Fast Company writes, "It is product development, with you as the product."

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Executive Coaching Services are now available from TCPI. Because of several requests for executive coaching services from current clients, TCPI has developed an individualized program targeting the development of leadership, communication, networking, and "business savvy" skills to prepare managers for "the next level." This program is now being offered on a limited basis to companies outside of our immediate client family. All coaching will be provided by Dr. Marvin Gottlieb, Dr. Stephanie Twin, and Michael Tull, M.A., who, collectively, bring nearly 100 years of management development experience to the coaching environment.

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3.     Employee Coaching - Handling Conflict

The truth is that conflict is inevitable. There are really only three options when confronted with disagreement: to escape, to become angry, or to work on getting agreement. While there are ways to approach a conflict situation that will get you nowhere or buried deeper, conflict is manageable. There is a proven method for handling conflict or objections in a variety of situations.

First, the ways that won’t work:

However, be sure to do the following:

So what can you do when conflict arises when working with an employee in a coaching situation? Conflict often arises in the coaching environment in the form of objections from the employee. Objections may be caused simply by a misunderstanding or an idea that misfires. Objections may come in the form of obstacles, or barriers to commitment, or obstacles can be based on an uncertainty, an inability to choose between options.

Regardless of the source of the objection, there is a tried and true process for handling the objection. There are four steps:

Step 1 - Question. Mirror back to the employee your best understanding of what the problem is. This allows three things to happen: it gives the coach a moment to think; the employee has an opportunity to confirm, deny, or clarify your understanding; and most importantly, it puts the coach back in control of the conversation by asking the questions.

Step 2 - Listen. Actively listen for facts and feelings to get at the underlying issues that cause the objection.

Step 3 - Respond.  Make suggestions on the best way to solve the problem.

Step 4   - Commit.  Get agreement on the next steps. If you don’t get agreement at this point, begin again at step one with your best understanding of the problem.

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TCPI’s Coaching for Maximum Performance program is now available. Designed for Managers and Supervisors, the course offers a handbook, a workbook with exercises, and a Leader’s Guide. Or let TCPI tailor this program to your organization’s specific needs. Have a look at our course catalog.

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