Monday, October 5, 2015

I Give Leaders a Needed "Time Out"

by Nancy E. Parsons
President, CDR Assessment Group, Inc.

As a blogger since 2009, being able to share nuggets of learning and experiences is something I enjoy. Writing about leadership, assessments, and executive coaching comes fairly easy. Writing concisely and articulately about why I do what I do is another matter all together.

There are a lot of jobs out there that are fascinating, complex, challenging and rewarding. I am one of the lucky ones who can say mine is all of that and more. One of my primary roles is coaching executives and coaching executive coaches as part of their training to use our assessments. On a rare occasion, I will assess and coach, as a favor to a friend or family member, a college student to help them sort out what major and career might be best for them. I break it down to two simple things: 1) find what you are really good at; and, 2) find what you love.

So, that is generally what we do - we help leaders and professionals find their true talent and their personal calling to joyful and rewarding work. However, we add another crucial factor to the mix to assure that this job fit and joyride blend does not fall off of their intended tracks. In our coaching debrief, we also pinpoint one's vulnerabilities or inherent risk factors that can undermine, or even derail, their success.

I'll take it down one notch further for clarity. Years ago, I presented at a Career Day for second graders. What we do, I explained, is help people understand their sunshine, stormy days and what is in their hearts. (Of course, I used pictures and gave out heart-shaped Charm suckers to assure success.) Once people clarify or re-discover these things about themselves, I explained with more pictures, they can then drive their personal careers to the best, most prosperous, and happy places.

Getting back to my real job... My rewards are the "aha" moments, the shifts in thinking, and the radiant energy (glow) people have as they leave a coaching debriefing session. Rediscovering their strengths, facing and preparing to conquer their risks, and by embracing what makes them happy is powerful and life changing. It is nearly impossible to accurately identify these traits, facets and key themes without a skilled coach and well constructed assessments. Further, people work so hard or have such busy schedules that there is typically no time left for their own career soul searching, fine tuning, and focus.

Our 2.5 hour coaching debrief session is that time out for a leader to take a deep dive into exploring what makes them tick and what matters most. It is refreshing, invigorating and highly productive for them from a development and performance standpoint. For me, no matter how tired or busy I may be, conducting a coaching feedback session is the best way to put a skip back in my step.

Excerpted from my LinkedIn blog posts.

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