Before running an executive coaching business, I followed a career in health, starting nursing in 1986. I have been privileged to work with a variety of professionals and as my career progressed from clinical to strategic management, people would come to me for advice about their career and next steps.
Most of the advice I gave was based on my experience of what worked for me: CV structure, responding to interview questions, preparation, clarifying meaning and how to interview prospective employers.
As a coach, I became more adept at asking those precise unlocking questions that would support a client in looking for their next role. However, having recently started to use a new online psychological tool called MindSonar to support career coaching, I look back at how much more I could have supported people in their decisions, getting to the heart of what they wanted.
What is the benefit of using MindSonar in the context of career coaching?
This month I have completed two career coaching sessions powered by MindSonar. It is based on meta programmes, which means that the tool explicitly identifies a person’s thinking style and their values, that is what is important to them. It is also context specific and assumes thinking styles change depending on the context.
So how do you career coach using MindSonar?
I ask the client to think about when they are at their best in work, or in a flow state at work. The context the client and I usually set is, “at my best in work.” This elicits the client’s best thinking style when at work and their blind spots, along with what is important to them.
Why is this important in career coaching?
Firstly, by identifying what is important we can establish what a client values in other people and the environment. This provides an objective and accurate picture of their prospective employer and narrows the search. It allows the client to prepare to ask questions pre-interview and at interview to identify if the company is suited to them. After all, why would you work with a company who does not share your values?
Secondly, we establish a client’s strengths and blind spots but more importantly, we can show how a combination of thinking styles works for them. How does this help? The client gains clarity about their thinking style and can review the job description to establish if they can meet the objectives. They can refine their CV based on the analysis in a short, punchy brand statement, “This is who I am and what I can do.”
The client can also identify how they may come across to an employer. For example, a highly proactive thinker and options client will tend to talk very fast and move from topic to topic. They may need to practice slowing down their speech and keeping to one or two points. Together as coach and client we can identify and challenge the blind spots in their thinking. Knowing thyself and being honest with an employer allows for an open and stable footing, as opposed to getting through the door and ending up on capability report!
How did my sessions go?
The coaching sessions I ran highlighted some great insights and changes for both clients, most notably it opened their eyes to new horizons. One client stated at the beginning of the session that his outcome was to walk away with new ideas of what to do and who to work for, also stating that his ideal role was in policy writing. His thinking style and value base when analysed did not appear to be a match for a policy writing role. What he enjoyed about his current role was shaping policy, working with a team, leading people and creating possibilities. He is now focused on what he wants to do and what type of employer he wants to work with.
Does MindSonar do everything?
No, MindSonar powers the coaching, it’s not a personality profile you post and leave people to read. MindSonar gives a specific advantage to both you and the client to challenge assumptions and achieve the best outcome.Your skills as a coach are still essential.
You will appreciate I have covered only a few aspects my coaching session, but as coaches, you will know how much work you take a client through. With MindSonar in my coaches toolkit, the coaching and any change work are more precise, getting to the heart of the matter. As a coach, you are able to quickly support a client who is, after all, paying for your expertise.
MindSonar certification starts June 11th to find out more click here.
Free Mindsonar Workshop
Do you coach, recruit, facilitate, lead or manage people? A fun workshop to introduce the latest and most powerful psychological profiling tool. Book now.
When: 12th April 2018
Venue: LOROS Hospice, Leicestershire, LE39QE.
Would you like to know how to: motivate others, use precise language, gain new skills beyond traditional personality profiles that have an impact, refresh your team or compare the latest tool to the old style psychometrics? Then, this workshop is for you. Experience the tool, test its applications and share your ideas.
A fun, engaging workshop that will open your eyes.
All we ask is you come and have fun with us and make a small donation to Loros when you leave.
Book your place now!
#DHL #KFCcrisis #Meta-programmes #Mindsonar #LABprofile #workforcedevelopment #coaching
I was fascinated with the issues that came home to roost recently between KFC and DHL in the failure to supply chicken to the former’s raft of fast-food restaurants across the UK.
As a workforce development coach and facilitator, I work with individuals and teams to improve performance using Mindsonarâ as well as Language and Behaviour Profilingâ. These two powerful psychological tools identify thinking and motivation styles (known as meta-programmes) and one’s values? The philosophy behind the tools are no single thinking style is good or bad, but some are more helpful than others, depending on the context.
I have applied the meta-programmes to this situation and this is my view only, I suspect that it may not be far from reality having listened and read various news snippets.
The DHL senior team are highly motivated to achieve and in metaprogramme terms, they are: Pro-active, Towards, Internal, Options, Future and Matching.
But what does this mean?
They are motivated and talk about the future goals they want to achieve. They can see where they want to go and have a ‘big picture’ view of how to achieve it. They know and trust their own beliefs and approaches, and do not feel the need to seek other views, as they are right. They probably see and create many possibilities, jumping into action with both feet. They move forward at pace, potentially not noticing any pitfalls. Finally, they are also able to see the relationship between the collective thoughts and what will work – in other words, they are highly optimistic.
On first glance, this is great. Metaphorically, they are the ones who will go out and bring the chicken home! Exactly what you want when looking at new opportunities and expanding the business. However, and it is a big ‘however’, at some point, a team needs to switch the thinking style to ensure they don’t count all their chickens until they have been delivered.
To balance this great creative profile, they should have harnessed the following thinking styles:
Reactive, Away From, Matching, Procedures, External, Specific and Present and Past.
What does this mean?
They should have looked before leaping, taken a step back and reflected on all of the possibilities with a level of detail, going over the specifics to identify potential mistakes and actual miscalculations. They would have been better to listen to those working in the present environment while seeking opinions on the past to identify previous pitfalls.
Going out to the team on the shop floor and listening to those beyond the management team would have helped them to challenge their assumptions and allowed the creation of necessary steps to prevent or minimise errors.
Sounds sensible when you think about it? So why did this important contract start to fall apart?
I suspect these are the reasons:
- Teams, do not easily or want to recognise their blind spots
- The team winning the contract all think alike and have similar profiles to each other
- Potential distrust of people with a different thinking style – viewing them as saboteurs or moaners
- A lack of clear communication between the whole team
- A divide between values and culture of those in strategy and those in operation.
It is likely these errors will have been made before, possibly not of this magnitude, but the organisational memory will have been discounted over the creative possibilities and pursuit of progress.
Being cooped up in one style of thinking and unaware of one’s blind spots will leave egg on our faces. Where possible, we should harness the whole workforce.
Harnessing the strengths and recognising blind spots, refreshing the company values and teams while addressing organisational culture may have avoided this costly mishap.
I am sure DHL will now break some eggs when cooking their next omelette! If not, then they may well be out-foxed!
Look out for my next article on values and culture – Oxfam.
Director of Workforce Solutions and Head of Mindsonar UK
Knowing How You Think As An Appraiser
Ever wondered why numbers of your workforce don’t get the best out of the appraisal cycle and see it as a process to get signed off? I have always believed it is an essential additive that powers your business. I don’t mean solely for business development but as a therapy in health and wellbeing and retention of staff. Get it right and the workforce delivers the business.
Yesterday I ran a skills workshop for appraisers and over lunch, the appraisers undertook the Mindsonar profile in the context of ‘delivering appraisals.’ Not something I usually do, but I became curious after talking about the skills needed and how their thinking styles may affect their approach to appraisals.
As a Mindsonar coach, here are a few areas I was able to identify; key strengths and blind spots:
- Listening with intent
- Identify potential mistakes in setting objectives
- Knowing when to let others take control and when to let go of things beyond our control
- Keeping focused the on the person and not the paperwork
What is interesting is we cover all this in the programme, but when you can identify a participant’s blind spots and strengths, they can make a massive shift in what they do.
Facilitating a workshop powered by Mindsonar gives skills-based programmes so much more influence and return on investment.
10 January 2018
As I write this, I am feeling a little sad and elated as we completed the final module in our training to become Mindsonar practitioners at the end of last week. We welcomed Jaap Hollander from the Netherlands to our venue in Leicestershire once more, and once more we learned much and had a lot of fun. It was an intense two days – as they have all been – plus we had to provide evidence of learning so to meet the rigorous standards of becoming a Mindsonar practitioner.
As well as the small group work, we formed (Triads) where we practised interpretation of profiles, giving feeding back and delivering change work to each other during the periods between modules. To complete the course we had to two assignments to deliver, both involving case studies, give small group presentations on different thinking styles, an interpretation of a CEO developing their multi-national business, upload a profile to our international group seeking feedback from others, and complete an online multiple choice test. All of these requirements are part of the accreditation.
I’ve been a coach, an NLP Master Practitioner and LAB Profile practitioner for a number of years, but working with Jaap and using Mindsonar opened my mind to some fabulous coaching techniques powered by Mindsonar.
One exercise stands out, we used Mindsonar on ourselves (booking on to a Mindsonar course also gives 20 Mindsonar licenses as part of the course fee, some of which are used during the training). We used one of our license to individually think about our life’s mission carrying out a spatial exercise, thinking about this was very intense and emotional. I can appreciate how this and other techniques will transfer to our coaching practice, making a potent combination of coaching work powered by Mindsonar.
I’ve finished my training now and am looking forward to implementing it with clients, but one thing I would say to those who are thinking about whether to undertake the training – go ahead! One of the sessions we did with Jaap was how to use Mindsonar to provide solutions to problems; “Powered by Mindsonar.” My cohort of trainees, and perhaps yours will be in a very enviable position as amongst the first in the UK to develop the products powered by the tool to create one’s own unique selling points and solutions to problems. The future with Mindsonar looks bright.
Mindsonar is a new psychological profiling tool that identifies values and thinking styles in a given context.
Views of Executive Coach and Service Manager Viv Purkiss.
As we come to the end of the current year, it’s time to look forward to the coming year which for me will start with a bang when we complete the final part of our MindSonar course to become certified Mindsonar Practitioners, which I’m really looking forward to. But today I am thinking about what I’ve learned so far – things like Frankensteining, where, as a practitioner one steps into the thinking styles of another.
To do that we practised body language and verbal expressions one may have with the type of thinking style. Try it – express how someone has thinking styles of “options” or “goal setting” with body language and verbal expressions. It’s fun and more to the point it makes you understand the person at a deeper level. We went a step further – we did the body language dance. The wonderful Jaap Hollander put on some funky music in the seminar room, called out a thinking style, and we danced the body language. We felt good. We probably looked hilarious. But as a way of stepping into another’s shoes, it really hit the spot.
I don’t generally make New Year Resolutions. I can’t usually keep them, except for the year that I resolved to keep my weight up. That was easy. But reflecting on what I’ve learned about myself during the course of learning to be a MindSonar Practitioner, I believe I can make some valuable changes for myself which will percolate into both my personal and professional life. For example, I am quite internally referenced which means I know when I am doing a good job. I don’t need others to tell me. But what if this gives me a skewed version of the world? What if I don’t take others’ views into account when dealing with them? Added to this, I have a very high internal locus of control – I believe that I can affect the world. The downside of this is that I might feel very responsible for everything that happens – not just to me, but to others. It could be a very big responsibility.
During the second module of the course, we undertook an exercise where we looked at the groups anonymised profiles in an exercise called F5 (team refresh) and made notes about each of profiles. We had lots of positives – we looked at what our superpowers are, and how we could help others. For instance, I am highly procedural so I can help someone who has a preference for options to think about steps towards goals. The downside of this is that I might be over-procedural, miss options, and frustrate the optional thinker. Aside from this we built a team ethos, drew it as a picture of what we believed we were about as MindSonar Practitioners in the UK.
I know my MindSonar colleagues have already undertaken several F5 (team refresh) consultations and executive coaching sessions in December 2017. F5 exercises are ideal for teams re consolidating for 2018, identifying strategy and operational processes through to who can help who to reach the goals, they want, and avoid the pitfalls they identify.
So it’s not a matter of changing yourself for the better, or indeed the worse. It’s about being flexible, recognising the diversity of thinking, and working with this to improve relationships and achieve goals.
If you want something new for profiling in 2018, have a look at this one and speak to Ian; Head of MindSonar UK, a workforce development expert and Language and Behaviour profiling consultant. firstname.lastname@example.org
31st December 2017