A little digression.
I’m currently doing a coursework, a research on a project titled ‘Leadership A.R.M’* – agility, resilience, and morality which was inspired by the massive works already done by two of my teachers and virtual coaches – Ken Blanchard and John C. Maxwell respectively. Hopefully, one of these days we would be able to share the results on this platform. One of the major motivations for this time-consuming and sleep-sapping work is the time we are in as a nation, and like the sons of Issachar in the Bible who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, we have decided to have some ‘confronting’ discussions and ‘crucial conversations’ around this key tripod of effective leadership – agility, resilience, and morality, hence the work, Leadership A.R.M.
In the last few years, the leadership question at all levels of our lives has become more daunting and almost defying answers. Men have gone hibernating only to resurface with their own definitions and fake ‘best fits’ of leadership like people who are being revived from their various kinds of trances, slumber and hallucinations. It became so ridiculously alarming that someone posted this ‘quote’ on leadership in the public space: “It is NOT (capital not mine) always easy to have a leader who has both integrity and capacity to govern – two important qualities of a leader. If a leader does not have both integrity and capacity to govern, choose the one that has the capacity to govern…” I screamed when I got this on WhatsApp: Haba! This can only be election fever at work. Lowering, or may be totally removing the bar to suit selves. This is politics taken too far. Where are your morals guys?
Thank God because there yet remaineth a righteousness remnant to the glory of God. A few hours after the above encounter, I was browsing through Twitter when I saw this refreshing and confidence-boosting post on Wale Adediran’s timeline. Wale is the Vice President of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management, the foremost institution for people management in the land: “The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.” This is Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States of America. And following in quick succession is this one: “When they play down character in leadership, it is because they lack it and are only deceiving you with false vision – things they won’t do, just to take your power and treasure again.”
Pardon me for the digression. Please let me come back to the unfinished business on the subject matter of performance coaching. The seventh law is the Law of review, application and evaluation. We have talked a whole lot about evaluation in the previous editions of this series and so we would let that suffice for now. This law simply says that a good teacher, a performance coach must review both his prepared, and taught resources to make sure that his employees, associates and trainees fully understand those lessons, know how to apply them, and gain commitment for learning transfer. Gaining commitment for learning transfer is a process that started long before class held. This is an integral part of the Kirkpatrick evaluation model I subscribe to, and have used successfully working as Head, Learn
ing and Talent in a telecommunication giant and a bank respectively, and since I became an Entrepreneur doing Human Resource consulting.
A school of thought insists on evaluating both the trainer and the trainee, no qualms. We, however, caution that after-training quiz for trainees and ‘happy sheet’ for the trainer without a proper, documented follow-up mechanism go the way of the trash bin once the euphoria dies down. It is like a performance enhancing pill or injection or doses of energy drink, once it wears out, no more enhanced performance. It is akin to what is described in sports local parlance as IGG – “initial gra gra”. So, training that ends in the classroom or the e-learning portal, without proper documented follow-up for learning transfer is IGG! Training participants must begin to apply their learning the week after training. The application part gives respect to talent development. It enhances the budget for training because practitioners are able to show value for money. I love reading “Getting Your Money’s Worth from Training & Development” authored by Andrew Jefferson, Roy Pollock and Calhoun Wick, over and over. It is a classic business book for talent development professionals who want to remain relevant and be given a seat at the table. Remember, if you are not at the table, you are either on the menu or you are the menu.
As I gradually wrap up on this subject, it is important to know that the performance coach’s function of training effectiveness is close-marked by the equally important roles of the authentic performance coaching skills of mentoring, building synergistic relationships, career coaching, and the leadership art of confronting. Learning outcomes would include the essential elements of self-esteem, rewards, and improved personal and organisational performance. Just to recap that somewhere along the line, in one of the laws of training to be precise, I had made a statement of fact that the performance coach as an effective trainer must be authentic, knowing what she is talking about and not just teaching from book knowledge. And still on authenticity or talking from or with experience, I cultivated this habit very early in my career as a human resource professional. I have developed this habit overtime and it has become my forte to spice my sessions with real-life experiences of mine and that of my family, friends, colleagues and peers. I have become a keen observer of my surroundings and in the process accumulating experiences.
It gives you a bounce when you address your audience talking from experiences. It can be captivating rather than boring, exciting rather than demoralising if those experiences are well articulated and shared. I often call to remembrance vividly an encounter in class some years ago, it was around 1998 in a manufacturing company in the South East region. We were invited to do a three-day performance management and strategy workshop for the senior management team. Just before the first day wrapped up, the Chief Executive of the company could no longer resist the urge to ask the young-looking faculty-made up of my beloved brother, Tunde Ojo, Chief Executive, Touchstone Communications, my esteemed boss, Victor Eburajolo, my wife, Molara, and yours sincerely – what he called an all important question, and the question which still rings bell in my head as I write this piece was – “when were you guys born to have such great experiences to share?” To cut the long story short, the quality of the experiences we shared during that first day captivated the CEO, he changed his original plan of a cameo appearance, and he did not just stayed for the entire three days, he also became an active participant in class, contributing immeasurably to the success of that training programme.
A key element in the performance coaching process is also your enhanced skill in building a mutually rewarding workplace relationship that would enable you make an impact on the workforce and the business, and ultimately leading to improved personal, team and organisational performance. This is called synergy and it is the number one job of a team lead and a performance coach. Therefore, I have the following to say to any manager or team lead or supervisor who aspires to achieve results on a consistent basis. A performance-coaching relationship is of essence for creating a bond with your associates, employees or subordinates. It has a mutually beneficial reward for all the parties involved – the leader achieves results, the employee gains self-esteem, the organisation grows and makes money. Synergy is 2+2 = 5 or more! Please do not do this arithmetic at home especially when and where children are present. To build this synergy enabling relationship, there are steps to be taken and essential value clarifications that must take place.
Permit me to mention just a few –
Trust: The first of such value clarifications is the presence of trust in the work environment. The prerequisite for this is to elevate relationship to a personal level. It is only then that employees. would be confident that you would respect the confidentiality of any information given to you. Its foundation is mutual respect and truth – both parties must believe that the other person is telling the truth and not withholding pertinent information.
An environment devoid of fear: Fear has been described variously as ‘false evidence appearing real’, ‘forget everything and run’ or ‘face everything and rise’. Fear kills organisational and individual performance. An intimidating and abusive team lead or a constant fear of reprisals, etc leaves team members frustrated, angry, resentful and exhibiting ‘presentee-ism’ tendencies. A performance coach does not verbally and emotionally abuse employees. Rather she gives them room to be creative, take calculated risk, and perhaps make genuine mistakes without retribution.
Time up. To be continued. Enjoy.
Acknowledgement/Sources of Resources for this article:
- Andrew McK. Jefferson, Roy V.H. Pollock, and Calhoun W. Wick: Getting Your Money’s Worth From Training & Development: A Guide to Breakthrough Learning for Managers and Participants, 2009 Pfeiffer, a Wiley Imprint
- BezaleelConsulting/Olusegun Mojeed: A compendium of over 25 years of manuscripts of my thesis and lecture series in Talent Management and People Matters (unpublished yet), BezaleelConsulting Group Library bezaleelconsultingrw.com
- Jerry W. Gilley & Nathaniel W. Boughton: Stop Managing, Start Coaching, Irwin Professional Publishing, 1996
- Foursquare Gospel Church: Sunday School Workers-In-Training/CDC 3 Manual