Coaching Model: The 4Ds for Focused and Impactful Leadership

Overview

The pace of technological advances in the last decade has been unprecedented. Working patterns for many white-collar workers have changed their ability to “switch off” has been greatly reduced as a result of constant and easy access to technology. The Covid-19 pandemic is further contributing to the change of working patterns as companies are forced to embrace home working.

Define the goal

The noise and distractions are gradually eliminated as the client achieves the first step towards clarity by establishing the desired goal for the session which may not always be evident due to multiple, and often conflicting, priorities.

Develop or Deepen awareness

At this stage, the coach facilitates the client’s journey to great leadership with powerful questions that increase self-awareness by considering who they are now, who they want to become as leaders and what it may take to reach their destination. During this stage, the client validates the goal’s alignment with their values and beliefs (Congruent leadership:

Derive actionable insights

With the newfound self-knowledge, the client is in a position to start exploring the changes (or decisions) to be made to move forward.

Design solutions

During the final stage of the conversation, the client moves into action by determining and committing to SMART (Specific-Measurable-Actionable-Realistic and Time-bound) objectives.

References:

Coleman, Daniel (2013). The Focused Leader, Harvard Business Review, December issue

A Coaching Model Created by Olga Valadon
(Leadership Coach, UNITED KINGDOM)

Overview

The pace of technological advances in the last decade has been unprecedented. Working patterns for many white-collar workers have changed their ability to “switch off” has been greatly reduced as a result of constant and easy access to technology. The Covid-19 pandemic is further contributing to the change of working patterns as companies are forced to embrace home working. It is highly likely that this way of working will become eventually the new norm.

As the boundaries, between work and personal/family time, are further blurred will working more hours in the day result in increased productivity? It is unlikely and multiple academic studies support that. The inability to “switch off” and the continuous flow of (frequently pointless) information are instead contributing to a lack of focus and clarity for the leaders of organizations.

The 4Ds for Focused and Impactful Leadership

Daniel Coleman (2013) defines focus as “thinking about one thing while filtering out distractions”. Coleman goes on to distinguish 3 types/modes of attention necessary for every leader to be successful: focusing on yourself, focusing on others, and focusing on the wider world. Having an inner focus is an important quality for a leader. Lack of it means that the leader is not able to provide direction to the team and as a result, the team is not able to reach its full potential. Ultimately the organization will not be as successful or it may even fail.

My coaching model is the product of working with senior leaders in organizations over the last 10 years. Very few leaders I met over the years were truly inspirational, most of them were “time-starved” and overwhelmed by the road and obstacles ahead of them. One of the key attributes that distinguished the focused and inspirational leaders from the rest of the pack was having a clear vision. Those leaders were successful in articulating their vision because they had spent time focusing on themselves to identify their “why”, their purpose.

I currently use this model with new and aspiring leaders who are still figuring out their style, their ambitions, and their priorities in an era of constant change. It is designed as a punchy, action-driven process the benefits of which can be easily described to clients, and takes into consideration time constraints in an organizational context (average duration of sessions is 30-45min) and language that is meaningful and relevant to the client.

Leadership Coaching Model Olga ValadonFigure 1: 4Ds for Focused and Impactful Leadership 

Define the goal

The noise and distractions are gradually eliminated as the client achieves the first step towards clarity by establishing the desired goal for the session which may not always be evident due to multiple, and often conflicting, priorities.

Questions to consider:

  • What makes this goal important for you as a leader?
  • What is costing you not achieving this goal?
  • What will be different for you when you achieve this goal?
  • What would be your ideal outcome from today’s session?
  • What do you need to address to achieve this outcome?
  • What does success look like?
  • How will you measure success?

Develop or Deepen awareness

At this stage, the coach facilitates the client’s journey to great leadership with powerful questions that increase self-awareness by considering who they are now, who they want to become as leaders and what it may take to reach their destination. During this stage, the client validates the goal’s alignment with their values and beliefs (Congruent leadership: David Stanley, 2017).

Questions to consider:

  • Who are you now as a leader?
  • What is working for you now that you want to keep?
  • What is NOT working for you?
  • What will happen if nothing changes? How will you feel?
  • Who will you need to become to achieve this goal?
  • What you may have to give up to make this goal happen?
  • What would your mentor/leader role model do if they were in your shoes?
  • How does this align with your vision/values/purpose as a leader?
  • What will others notice about you, when you achieve your goal?
  • What part of the situation you have not explored?
  • What could make a difference to move you closer to your goal?

Derive actionable insights

With the newfound self-knowledge, the client is in a position to start exploring the changes (or decisions) to be made to move forward.

Questions to consider:

  • What changes do you need to make to achieve your goal?
  • What are you ready to change?
  • What are you NOT ready to change?
  • What do you gain or lose by making this change?
  • What would happen if you didn’t make this change?
  • What would you do, if you knew you couldn’t fail/if you had all the information you needed/if you didn’t care about office “politics”/if you could do anything?
  • What have you learned from similar situations in the past that can be useful here?
  • How will this change/decision affect your team/organization?
  • What can/will you do to address the impact of this change?
  • What do you need from yourself & others to achieve success?
  • What can get in the way?

Design solutions

During the final stage of the conversation, the client moves into action by determining and committing to SMART (Specific-Measurable-Actionable-Realistic and Time-bound) objectives.

Questions to consider:

  • What action can you take straight after our session?
  • What 3 actions can you take this week/month that will make you feel that progress has been made?
  • When specifically (date and time) will you do these actions?
  • What leader will you be when you complete these actions?
  • What stops you from doing more to achieve your goal?
  • How will you stay on track?
  • What will happen if you don’t stay on track?
  • What obstacles do you expect to meet? How will you deal with them?
  • What is your backup plan?
  • What support structures (or resources) do you need to achieve these actions? What is available to you now?
  • How will you acknowledge yourself when you achieve these actions?
  • How would you like to be held accountable?

References:

Coleman, Daniel (2013). The Focused Leader, Harvard Business Review, December issue

Stanley, David (2017): Congruent Leadership Defined, JOJ Nurse Health Care, Volume 3, Issue 3, August 2017

[1] Choice of words depending on the context provided by the client  Original source

 

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