In or­der for or­gan­i­sa­tions to reach for the stars we must all be stand­ing on our toes, writes Jane McCar­roll.

NZ Business - - FOCUS -

How do we un­lock dis­cre­tionary ef­fort across our or­gan­i­sa­tions so that, through bring­ing out the best of them­selves, our peo­ple bring out the best in the or­gan­i­sa­tions they work for? When I was re­search­ing this sub­ject I tapped into the aca­demic pow­er­house of our part­ners at Massey and spoke with Pa­tri­cia Bos­sons, di­rec­tor of ex­ec­u­tive qual­i­fi­ca­tions for Massey Busi­ness School.

Un­lock­ing dis­cre­tionary ef­fort is prob­a­bly the greatest motivator for or­gan­i­sa­tions to en­gage with ex­ec­u­tive coach­ing for their peo­ple. The pos­i­tive psy­chol­ogy field is all about un­lock­ing dis­cre­tionary ef­fort, by fo­cus­ing on peo­ple’s strengths, and how to lever­age them, and also ex­plor­ing tal­ents and skillsets that might be in the per­son and not felt rel­e­vant to the work­place.

How­ever, dis­cre­tionary ef­fort does not solely be­long to the model of pos­i­tive psy­chol­ogy. Rather, the rea­son pos­i­tive psy­chol­ogy is use­ful is that it taps into the un­der­ly­ing hu­man driv­ers of re­spond­ing to at­ten­tion, pos­i­tive re­in­force­ment, be­long­ing and ap­proval. These are things that build self-es­teem, from a very early age. Many in­di­vid­u­als in the work­force have had their la­tent self-es­teem dented by their ex­pe­ri­ence of life, through fam­ily, school, work and all other sit­u­a­tions which help shape us.

When some­one feels un­recog­nised, un­ac­knowl­edged or frus­trated (let alone an­gry, re­sent­ful, de­pressed), then they will de­liver the bare min­i­mum in their role. Their en­ergy and mo­ti­va­tion will be sapped, and their ef­fec­tive­ness will be very di­min­ished. When some­one feels that their per­sonal val­ues and goals are ap­pre­ci­ated and re­spected by their boss, and their or­gan­i­sa­tion, then they are able to re­late to their work at an iden­tity level, rather than just at the level of skills and ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

The work of Gre­gory Bate­son, the an­thro­pol­o­gist and later Robert Dilts, with the Log­i­cal Lev­els model of hu­man mo­ti­va­tion, can be used as a very ef­fec­tive coach­ing in­ter­ven­tion in this space, to help some­one tease out ex­actly how they re­late to their work and or­gan­i­sa­tion, and what mo­ti­vates them.

Feel­ing con­gru­ent at work goes hand in hand with dis­cre­tionary ef­fort – hours of work, think­ing and con­tri­bu­tion which are unpaid for, will hap­pen au­to­mat­i­cally, when some­one feels ‘part’ of what they are work­ing for.

The rea­son coach­ing is one of the most ef­fec­tive ways of un­lock­ing dis­cre­tionary ef­fort in ex­ec­u­tives

(and other staff) is that it pro­vides a con­fi­den­tial, psy­cho­log­i­cally-safe space for some­one to re­flect on their ex­pe­ri­ences, and their goals, and be fa­cil­i­tated in their re­flec­tion by some­one ex­pert in the tech­nol­ogy of coach­ing.

Coach­ing is a process of fa­cil­i­tat­ing an­other per­son to come up with their own so­lu­tions and in­sights into their sit­u­a­tion. In that way, it is dif­fer­ent to any other re­la­tion­ship a per­son might have – in coach­ing, the coach has no agenda on the coachee, other than to help them be more ef­fec­tive. The coachee also does not have to worry about manag­ing the re­la­tion­ship with the coach, in the same way as they do with their other re­la­tion­ships – with boss, friend, col­league, hus­band or wife, etc.

This led us to cre­at­ing a new pro­gramme of learn­ing to build ca­pa­bil­ity in pro­fes­sional coach­ing in New Zealand.


The IMNZ pro­gramme in pro­fes­sional coach­ing is for those with some knowl­edge or ex­pe­ri­ence of coach­ing, ei­ther in an in­for­mal or for­mal con­text. This could be ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing coached as well as of do­ing coach­ing. You might want to de­velop coach­ing skills for use as part of your man­age­ment role, or as a pro­fes­sional coach.

De­signed to give in­ten­sive train­ing to new ex­ec­u­tive coaches and de­liv­ered over six days, the pro­gramme is fa­cil­i­tated by ex­pe­ri­enced in­ter­na­tional coach­ing spe­cial­ists.

TU­TOR PRO­FILES: Dr Pa­tri­cia Bos­sons

Pa­tri­cia is the di­rec­tor of ex­ec­u­tive qual­i­fi­ca­tions at Massey Busi­ness School. She works pri­mar­ily in the area of ex­ec­u­tive education, de­sign­ing, de­vel­op­ing and de­liv­er­ing coach­ing, lead­er­ship and per­sonal de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes.

She has worked as a coach her­self for more than 20 years, and set up the Cen­tre for Coach­ing and Be­havioural Change at Hen­ley Busi­ness School in the UK in 2004. She teaches on the Masters in Ad­vanced Lead­er­ship Prac­tice.

Pa­tri­cia is a char­tered psy­chol­o­gist and As­so­ciate Fel­low of the Bri­tish Psy­cho­log­i­cal So­ci­ety, and a board di­rec­tor of the As­so­ci­a­tion of Pro­fes­sional Ex­ec­u­tive Coach­ing and Su­per­vi­sion (APECS).

Her re­search in­ter­ests in­clude per­son­al­ity and in­di­vid­ual dif­fer­ences, and coach­ing in dif­fer­ent cul­tures, she works in­ter­na­tion­ally in a num­ber of dif­fer­ent coun­tries around the globe, and is a res­i­dent of both the UK and New Zealand. The sec­ond edi­tion of her book, Coach­ing Essentials (Bos­sons, Kourdi and Sar­tain, 2009) was pub­lished in Au­gust 2012. Her lat­est book Coach­ing for Lead­er­ship, In­sights from Neu­ro­science, was pub­lished in March 2015.

Denis Sar­tain

Denis has an es­tab­lished rep­u­ta­tion as a top-level coach and tu­tor, work­ing with a prag­matic and prac­ti­cal fo­cus based on his own ex­pe­ri­ences in the in­ter­na­tional busi­ness world.

He is as­so­ciate fac­ulty and as­so­ciate client di­rec­tor at Hen­ley Busi­ness School, where he specialises in lead­er­ship and team de­vel­op­ment and coach­ing. Re­cent clients have in­cluded Sin­ga­pore Civil Ser­vice Col­lege, South African Rev­enue Ser­vice and The Gen­eral Sec­re­tariat of Abu Dhabi. He coaches and runs lead­er­ship pro­grammes at se­nior team and board level in a wide range of blue chip or­gan­i­sa­tions, and pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor com­pa­nies.

Denis specialises in mul­ti­cul­tural and global lead­er­ship and coach­ing. His first book, Coach­ing Essentials was pub­lished by A& C Black in 2009, and his sec­ond – a book on manag­ing stress in the cor­po­rate en­vi­ron­ment, Un­der Pres­sure was pub­lished by Marshall Cavendish in Novem­ber 2010. His is a co-au­thor with Pa­tri­cia of Coach­ing for Lead­er­ship, In­sights from Neu­ro­science. To find out more about this new pro­gramme call our team on 09 303 9100 or visit for more in­for­ma­tion.

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