When professionals have an opportunity to be coached, they aren’t the only ones who benefit. Their coworkers and teammates have a lot to gain as well. Just think about the impact that can come from a supervisor who is self-aware, appreciative of different perspectives, committed to using their gifts and cognizant of their blind spots versus one who is not. I know who I’d rather work for!
The benefits of coaching are well-known, from performance and engagement to team building and development, yet it’s not always easy to guide someone toward greater personal and professional growth. Different people respond better to varying approaches, so it’s essential that coaches – whether in-house or external experts – have the tools to connect with the preferences of whomever they are advising.
Emergenetics® Associates have the advantage of understanding the Thinking and Behavioral preferences of others. By tapping into the innate tendencies of their coachees, Associates can amplify their impact and speed up the development process.
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Convergent Thinking (Analytical and Structural preferences)
People who prefer this combination of thought tend to appreciate purpose and process. When guiding these individuals, focus on questions that align with why and how. Partner with them to formulate an accurate assessment of whatever situation is being discussed and help them create a detailed plan for next steps and adjustments. It may also be valuable to encourage them to research practical examples that they can borrow from.
Divergent Thinking (Social and Conceptual preferences)
Individuals who tend toward Divergent thought are often intuitive about ideas and people, so prompts about what if and who are likely to resonate. This combination may appreciate a coach who brainstorms solutions with them and encourages them to respect their gut brain. To stimulate ideas and options, they may welcome hearing stories about visionary leaders who have made similar shifts.
Abstract Thinking (Analytical and Conceptual preferences)
Abstract thinkers typically gravitate toward the big picture and the bottom line. They may be motivated by reflecting on why and what if. To support their growth, provide a high-level overview of the circumstance and ask them to consider the costs and benefits associated with their options. Bringing data on future trends or from renowned experts may also inspire new insights.
Concrete Thinking (Structural and Social preferences)
Planning and people tend to speak to this Thinking style, so try utilizing thought starters that connect to how and who. When advising Concrete thinkers, break down a situation into small steps while emphasizing the impact on others. It may be useful to review success stories related to similar situations to identify best practices to implement.
Committee Brains (preferences in three or four Attributes)
Working with a “committee brain,” be sure to reference the Thinking spectrum report. Looking at composite scores, Associates can identify which combinations their coachee may tend toward most. Then, mix and match strategies accordingly.
For the first-third of Expressiveness, provide any relevant information in advance and allow time for them to process independently. Those in the third-third are likely to want to voice their points of view, so keep in mind that as they process aloud, they likely have not landed on a direction. The conversation will help them get there in time. For people in the second-third, ask what approach would be most useful and recognize that it may vary depending on the day.
Assertiveness explains the style and pace with which one prefers to share their thoughts, feelings and beliefs. Those in the first-third may appreciate an approach that asks more questions and takes a steady stride toward solutions, while the third-third is likely to appreciate straight talk and a driving speed. When coaching a person in the second-third, invite them to share which style they are tending toward that day to guide the conversation.
Through the lens of Flexibility, Associates can better understand how others prefer to navigate imposed change. Working with first-third Flexibility, invite individuals to reflect on the importance of making a shift and prioritize one approach to test. For those in the third-third, encourage them to consider the many avenues that are open and determine potential course corrections in case they want to make more adjustments along the way. The second-third may appreciate having both additional options and a priority to support their preferences.
Gaining insights into the preferred Attributes of coachees empowers Associates to differentiate their tactics, so they speak to the distinctive ways each person prefers to learn and grow. By personalizing the coaching experience, they can better motivate others to make meaningful changes and drive results.
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