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Coaching Technical and Scientific Professionals The Conference Board Executive Coaching Conference January 29-30, 2009 Jean L. Hurd, Ph.D. Janus Consulting,

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Presentation on theme: "Coaching Technical and Scientific Professionals The Conference Board Executive Coaching Conference January 29-30, 2009 Jean L. Hurd, Ph.D. Janus Consulting,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Coaching Technical and Scientific Professionals The Conference Board Executive Coaching Conference January 29-30, 2009 Jean L. Hurd, Ph.D. Janus Consulting, Inc.

2 Objectives Describe the unique characteristics of technical and scientific professionals Describe their leadership challenges and the implications for business success Show how coaching addresses these challenges, and the business benefits Define a coaching approach for this group

3 Background “We should write a book…” (R&D VP) Sources: –Line and management experiences (pharmaceutical R&D, process engineering, information systems) –Interviews (scientists, engineers, MDs, HR professionals) –Consulting to range of industries and functions –Accumulated anecdotes –Academic research Applies to scientists…and engineers, lawyers, IT professionals, accountants, etc…

4 A Few Scenarios….

5 Characteristics of scientists Scientific research as a calling – the core of their identity Independence in thought and action Scientific creativity and exploring Technical expertise and precision of thought Influence of academe

6 The Flip Side “You’re the best scientist, a star, and then…” Viewing scientific research as a calling –Leaving the core of one’s identity behind –No longer purely a scientist, not quite a businessperson… –Star performers can feel suddenly ineffectual and demoralized Being independent in thought and action –Emphasis on the quality of one’s ideas –My judgment should be respected and accepted - “just take my word for it” –Listen? Influence? Sell? – “There’s one right idea – and I have it.”

7 The Flip Side Preferring scientific creativity vs. corporate goals –A continuum between creative, academic thinking and business efficiency – learning to strike the right balance –“A manager’s role is to make sure that things are done efficiently – which feels totally against curiosity and exploring.” Having technical expertise vs. people skills –Role change from “individual technical accomplishment” to “socially skilled leadership” Role of academe –Trained that it is your idea, “we” doesn’t come into it –Cauldron of competition –You don’t care what happens in another department

8 The Leadership Pipeline Each turn in the pipeline requires acquiring a new way of managing and leading and leaving the old ways behind in: - Skills - Work values - Time horizon * Managing self Functional manager Managing managers Managing others Group manager Business manager Enterprise manager * * * * * * - R. Charan, S. Drotter, J. Noel

9 Leadership development Values shifts Managing self –Getting results through personal proficiency –High-quality technical or professional work Managing others –Getting results through others –Success of direct reports –Success of unit –Self as manager vs. professional expert Manager of managers –Developer of managerial talent –Deploying and redeploying resources among units

10 Leadership Challenges In all directions: –Managing others –Collaborating cross-functionally –Having “the business conversation”

11 Leadership Challenges and Needed Skills Collaborating cross- functionally Leading others Having the “business conversation” Needed skills: Delegating Influencing Communication Teaming Listening Questioning Feedback Coaching Facilitation Meeting management Conflict resolution Motivating Inspiring Understanding personality differences Scientific & Technical Manager

12 Managing Others “You get promoted for managing a responsibility technically. No one ever asks “can this person make his people happy.” “All of a sudden you are asked to step back and let someone else do it. The toughest thing in the world is to let that go.” “The hardest and most frustrating thing is realizing that I’m not going to be involved anymore in everything that is happening.” “Delegating was the most difficult of all the things I had to learn; that and letting people make mistakes, giving them power, empowering them.” “I feel caught between two worlds: being seen as a ‘business thinker’ while at the same time motivating the scientists who work for me.” “Management of people is the most challenging, important and time- consuming aspect of my job, and exacts the greatest emotional toll on me.”

13 Cross-functional Collaboration “Finding the balance between the surety of my ideas and the need to work as a team, listening to others and questioning for full understanding.” “The challenge is developing the ability to recognize that others have different styles and process information differently than you do.” “I’m trying not to open my mouth in meetings, because my challenges are seen as not teamwork. How can I stand in my area and communicate across the boundary?” “I want to talk about the science, but no one wants to hear it. They are only interested in the business impact.” I thought I was being very open to others, but it turned out I was viewed as controlling and didactic.”

14 Having the Business Conversation “After getting the ‘seat at the table’ I had the feeling that I was not understood or appreciated for what my scientific background and training bring to the table.” “I feel caught between two worlds: being seen as a ‘business thinker’ while at the same time motivating the scientists who work for me.” “In the scientific community people have to be creative; in business they want to be efficient, productive, and that can stifle creativity. How to keep the balance?” “The challenge in talking to the business is that words mean different things. There is a fuzziness in marketing and business strategies. It feels amorphous and vague. These are things that scientists hate.”

15 Scientific Leadership Study Five expert panels of 147 scientists ( PhD, MD, PhD-MD ). –Describe the best example of scientific leadership you have encountered and why this person was effective: Caring, compassionate, supportive, enthusiastic, motivating Communicating effectively – including listening well and resolving conflict Good role model, mentor, coach Technically accomplished to lead a scientific effort –Most difficult challenge you personally have experienced as a scientist Balancing scientific efforts with management responsibilities – delegating Dealing with conflict Motivating people Communicating effectively - primarily providing feedback Managing Scientists Alice M. Sapienza 2004

16 In Meeting Leadership Challenges What helped the most? 1.FEEDBACK – specific, thoughtful, supportive, actionable - leading to self-awareness 2.EARLY INDIVIDUAL SUPPORT in developing leadership skills

17 Coaching Approach Scientific Method Coaching Problem/Question Observation/Research Formulate a Hypothesis Experiment Collect & analyze results Draw conclusions General focus of the coaching 360 feedback, self-awareness tools Development of goals and action steps Try out new behaviors Note and discuss outcomes Formal assessment and intentions for the future

18 1 Problem/Question Broad goal definition –High potential enhancement –Behavior change/problem –Leadership development program participant –Recent promotion challenges Normalize the leadership experience –People management and development IS your job now –Concern for the broader organization –There are skills, tools and techniques to assist

19 2 Observation/Research 360 interviews – “The Data” –Careful selection of interviewees –8-12 people total –Enrollment for future feedback support –Incorporate existing 360 assessments Feedback from interviews –Specific (situation, behavior, impact) –Direct, Constructive, Supportive, Actionable Self awareness tools: –Personality style (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) –Leadership style (Situational Leadership principles) –Others as appropriate to the organization

20 3 Formulate a hypothesis Root cause thinking Clarify and blend performance needs and personal goals 2-3 specific development goals Emphasis on leveraging scientific and technical strengths Reflect and clarify: –How will my organization or work group benefit? –What will I gain by achieving the goal and participating in the process? –What will I have to give up? –What obstacles or difficulties might I encounter and how will I manage them? Develop action steps

21 4 & 5 Experiment and Collect & Analyze Results Try out new behaviors, skills, tools, techniques Develop habit of self-observation Attention to process as well as content of interactions Create personal feedback loops –Develop and project attitude of openness to feedback –Enlist specific individuals (“I told everyone I knew what I was working on”) –Enlist at least one trusted peer –Ask for immediate, situational feedback –Be as specific as possible about the desired feedback Record self-observations and feedback Discuss, modify, refine, integrate Experiment/practice some more

22 6 Draw Conclusions Formal assessment of progress (3 month intervals) –Self –Manager –HR partner –Brief/selected 360 follow-up interviews Explicit intentions for the future

23 What else helped? ( The Organizational Context for Coaching) Active support of immediate manager Role models within the functional group Effective mentors Involved HR business partners Trusting environment for feedback Leadership development training –With “like” individuals (or not!) –Learnings are individualized, reinforced and practiced Early participation in cross-functional teams –Learn the business –Develop awareness of other styles –Develop influencing and communication skills Attention to the entire pipeline Top management walking the talk

24 In Summary Scientific and technical professionals have unique leadership development needs Coaching can significantly enhance leadership performance by providing feedback, tools and support The results show up in improved performance management, cross- functional collaboration & decision-making, and contribution to achieving corporate goals. Early intervention is key, as is a systemic organizational approach at all levels The business benefits can be significant, far reaching, and lasting

25 “When I go through customs, I still write ‘scientist.’ That is my identity.” - Senior VP, pharmaceutical company

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