All 4 entries tagged Knowledge

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February 16, 2011

Leadership and Coaching

Provided that effective leaders exists in an organisation and employees have no fear about consultations with those in positions of leadership, leaders are considered as the go to guy when things go wrong or help in any form is needed. Being a good leader does not necessarily make an individual a good leader though and when providing guidance and coaching to people, a multitude of problems can be created. So when we are required to provide guidance and coaching to others, how do we ensure that this coaching we provide as leaders is effective and constructive? This was the question we discussed today in lectures.

Many many ideas of what is required to provide effective coaching were discussed but it boiled down to this. Effective coaching requires a leader to provide: guidance, focus, support, planning, empowerment.

In other words, when coaching others a leader should listen to the problem and  lead the individual into their own solution by prompting them with the right questions. By doing this, a leader should not have to provide the individual with a solution since the individual will solve the problem themselves. This method empowers individuals, gives them confidence in their own abilities, create trust between leadership and employees, prevents leadership appearing dictatorial by imposing their own problem solutions, and prevents the need for the leadership to be an expert in all of the activities of their followers.

When you think about it... this reeeeaaally makes alot of sense. I mean, it even makes the leaders life easier because they don't actually have to know the answers all the time! I personally experienced this today during a role play exercise where I was coaching a colleague. Despite have no knowledge of the problem I managed to help guide him to create his own solution to the problem. This was without a doubt a eureka moment. While I've often given guidance to individuals in the past, I'd always been knowledgeable in the topic where I was helping them. I'd never really considered before that you could effectively coach someone without being knowledgeable in the topic but today really drummed in the effectiveness in all coaching situations of this method of guidance. Coaching in this style becomes a win-win for the coach and coachee I say. Surely everybody in a position of coaching would already know how much sense it makes and employ this tactic, it just wouldn't make any sense not to. And yet they don't! Crazy isn't it?

How many times in your lives have you attended coaching/training/guidance/whatever sessions for whatever reason and all that happened was that you were talked at, not with, and told the solutions to something by somebody who doesn't know anything about it!!! The number of times I've discussed an issue with managers, guidance counsellors, and the like where all that has happened is they have told me their pre-subscribed solution to a generic problem that is not only inapplicable, but completely uninformative. Yes there have been times where I have been genuinly helped through these means, but why has this been so rare? I understand that change is at times difficult to accept, so changing stlyes of coaching may be equally difficult for leaders. But then again, in a position of leadership where coaching is requisit, shouldn't the very idea that people will always come to you with different problems mean you should not be averse to change since you will constantly have to be developing new solutions to new problems?


December 07, 2010

Eureka

Wow, its been a long while since my last blog entry. Let me first explain. Over the past many weeks my free time has been somewhat limited. Infact, that is an understatement in every sense of the word. While juggling Module weeks, projects, PMA work, society responsibilities, paid work, and illness, exhaustion has more than got the better the better of me. Now i'm slowly managing to get back on top of everything, and so have I come back to the world of blogging.

Todays entry is regarding my PMA. While i've spent awhile researching, gathering information and planning how i will put this into the context of the question, i am now in the process of putting pen to paper (so to speak). The more I go about typing up my PMA, the more I realise the interconnected nature of the topic. With As far as my interpretation of the literature goes, application of profound knowledge is a key aspect of transformation into a learning organisation. Every process put in place to facilitate the transformation requires a systemic understanding of the organisation to ensure the methods and processes used are appropriate. This is where profound knowledge really shows the connection. A learning strategy cannot be put in place without knowing how employees will react (knowledge of psychology), knowing how people aquire knowledge (theory of knowledge), what systems are needed to faciliate learning (system thinking) and finally are the improvements from learning due to development of skills or was there some other reason (knowledge of variation). Every literary source I have used thusfar has mentioned the importance of understanding how organisational learning will affect people, the cultural change that underlines it, and the knowledge of the processes needed, so to me it seems they all link with SoPK. Application of profound knowledge is a crucial process that forms the foundations of any learning strategy that is to be applied to drive towards the creation of a learning organisation.


October 27, 2010

Profound Knowledge… in daily life?

Demings idea of Profound knowledge involves 4 factors relating to knowledge.

1. Appreciation of a system

2. Knowledge about variation

3. Theory of knowledge

4. Knowledge of psychology

How do these fit into daily life though? Do they all even apply to any aspect of our daily living? Well, for me this is a purely subjective matter. Everyone may interpret if and how these do factors come up during our to day lives. Well, for my view on this I will not start at the beginning, but conversly start at number 4. I believe this is the easiest aspect of profound knowledge to apply to our daily lives. Knowledge of psychology... Think about it... Is this not present in how we interact with everybody we speak to? We behave in a manner fitting to the company we are in. In other words, we act appropriately. This implies we have enough knowledge of (or at least an intuitive understanding of) the psychology of those around us to behave appropriately.

Now moving onto point 3. Theory of Knowledge. For me, this applies to our understanding of what constitutes knowledge. How we learn and our methods in acquiring knowledge. In essance our knowledge of the most efficient way to learn for ourselves.

As for point 2, for me this relates to individuals having awareness that things change. An example in my life, traffic. I know that if I leave my house at 7:50am to get to uni, with average traffic I can arrive, park and be in the IMC by approximately 8:40. But I know that this can vary. If for example, there is no traffic, I can be at uni by 8:20. However it may be that traffic is above the norm, which could delay me by up to an hour as has happened in the past meaning I arrive at 9:40 and am late for everything! My knowledge of this variation means that I can plan ahead and leave earlier, avoiding possible traffic problems and guaranteeing my timely arrival! Knowledge of variation for me is definitely a useful concept.

Finally, I get to point 1. Why did I leave this till last? Simple. My understanding of how this may fit into daily life is more vague than the other points. Appreciation of a system. In relation to our day to day lives, for me this implies knowledge about how any system we deal with works. For example, the library. I know that system and understand the process by which I use it. I enter, search for a books, find it, check it out. I know this system. Again, using sports facilities. I know that to go climbing I need to only go to reception, check in, and climb. I have knowledge on how this system works and can make use of it effectively. While this is my interpretation of the day to day relavance of point 1, I believe that the idea itself is much more complex than this and that my interpretation of it has somewhat oversimplified the ideas behind it...

What say you all? Am I the only one who struggles to see a deeper meaning of appreciation of knowledge in day to day living? Or can anyone shed some light and possibly a deeper understanding of this concept in daily life?


October 15, 2010

Breakthrough

You know how at times, you read and read and read to try and figure out the link between certain elements of various theories but can't see it. Then suddenly, you find an article that clears it all up an puts it in perspective. Well, that happened to me today.

For awhile I was struggling to see how the idea of selection bias fit into Demings idea of profound knowledge then in one article, it all became clear. Don't you just love it when you get the "EUREKA!" moment.

And now for something completely different. We had our first seminar today, and one of the topic we talked about was the podcast of an interview with Vineet Nayar, the CEO of HCL technologies. In this interview, he talked about the failure of university degree courses around the world to provide graduates with real skillsapplicable in the work place. This results in graduates who are essentially unemployable, so any firm that does take them on has to provide extensive retraining in order for the graduate to have any of the skills and abilities required by the position. This was a topic that really struck a cord with me. From first hand experience, I completely agree with his view of the education provided in degree courses. My undergraduate degree was in European Economics with French. A fascinating course in many respects that involved a broad range of theoretical and legislative studies about economics and trade, as well as lots of statistical analysis techinques. How these studies could be employed in a working environment however, i have no idea. While the course provided an understanding of economics on a macro and micro level, both domestically and internationally, how this knowledge is put into application in a business sense was not covered. The results of this ws that the only chance I had of emplyability was a graduate scheme, in which I would be heavily retrained in order to be able to perform the functions needed. This was the case with nearly every other person who graduated alongside me, and naturally, in the recession we graduated right into the middle of our "unemployability" was not very useful. I had thought this train of thought was just my own, but to hear it coming from somebody in such a prestigous position somehow eases my mind and affirms that starting my MSc was infact the right choice.



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