At Best Practice, Inc. we apply many executive coaching and team coaching tools, tests, and modes—including our own “Both/And” Coaching Philosophy—to assist you in your leadership journey. Here are some of our core tools and an introduction to our foundational approach.
Our “Both/And” Coaching Philosophy
Our coaching approach is influenced by decades of observing the necessary foundations for an executive's vibrant professional life, growth, and the ability to thrive long-term. Mother Nature is the ultimate example of these foundations. When we observe sustainable life in nature, we notice that everything natural exists in a “both/and” environment, rather than an "either/or." For example, for every inhale, there has to be an exhale. For every positive pole, there has to be a negative pole. These things don’t exist separate from one another.
More About "Both/And":
Polarities Define and Sustain Vibrant Life
In nature, polarities define and sustain vibrant life. Consider how plants grow and the seasons: for plants to be vibrant, healthy, and to have a wide variety of flora there needs to be a dying process—in the fall the dying back—and then the deep freeze of winter or at least a dormant stage. Then there is the emerging life of spring and the vibrancy of summer and the harvest of late summer. Obviously, there are climates where it’s warm most of the time or cold most of the time. And there you notice that the variety of flora—and fauna, too, for that matter—is greatly reduced. There the species are mostly fighting for survival. When we talk about vibrant life—and equally when we talk about sustainable high-performance in our work environments—that exists only in the presence of polarities.
Polarities Are Natural to Work Environments and Human Personalities
For example, a certain work environment may focus on the technical development of its people, but there will always be the need for another set of skills—what people might call the “soft side” of customer service, communication, and effective leadership. Or, there’s the brilliance of creation, R&D, and design work and then there’s also the practical enabling of the business and maintaining relationships. Those are, in a sense, a polarity.
In our own personalities, there are also polarities. For example, there are people who are very confident and strong—traits that society is quick to associate with good leadership. Then, on the other hand, there is its polarity of humility and servant leadership. The most vibrant, well-rounded, and sustained leaders embody both of these poles. They can be decisive leaders and at the same time can be good listeners and ongoing students. That’s an example of our “Both-And” philosophy in action.
Focusing on Just the "Negative" or "Positive" Side Leads to Leadership Breakdowns
Too often people will fixate on the negative side of one characteristic and the positive side of its polar complement and, over time, the two poles will get out of balance. For example, we might view confidence as being as a good thing, and yet humility we may translate into the negative side, which is insecurity. We don’t like feeling insecure so we think we must be more confident. But, too much confidence—without being tempered by some humility—soon becomes arrogance, lack of listening, and close-mindedness. Then, those people may feel bad about their behavior or get negative feedback about it, and as a result they feel they’ve failed. They bounce back into the insecure place instead of being able to roll that up into something that is an integration of confidence and humble, servant/student mentality in a healthy way.
What we want is a “Both-And”—not an “Either-Or.”
Embracing “Both/And” and Using Polarities Beneficially Empowers Extraordinary Leadership
The poles in our personalities and our work environments should co-exist in pretty close to equal strengths on an ongoing basis. That takes ongoing management. Part of the process of living in the “Both-And” is recognizing the poles that we’re looking at in our organizations, in ourselves, in those we manage, as being able to leverage the best of both worlds instead of trying to diminish or neutralize one quality or another away.
The most effective performance—and at Best Practice Inc. we believe also the most satisfying and enriching lives—come from recognizing the inherent polarities in our situations, ourselves, in the people around us, and in the work that we do, and being able to harness what is best on both sides of those polarities. Part of this awareness and management work is identifying the triggers for when we’re going too much on one side or another or when we start moving into the negative side or the negative outcome of certain pole.
The 360° INTERVIEWS are interviews with a full circle of the people who have some awareness of, interest in, or are affected by your leadership—meaning, those who you supervise, those who supervise you, your peer colleagues, and the external people you interact with, such as friends or family. These interviews yield feedback that is candid and deep. We generate for you a robust report that shows what the people who are impacted by your leadership or have some perspective about it believe are your greatest strengths, areas for growth and blind spots—and use this together in our coaching.
Studies show that more than 75% of a leader’s success—especially as they move up in an organization— is related to their emotional intelligence, their EQ. Emotional intelligence is something you can change just like physical fitness. Being intentional about your emotional intelligence and consciously practicing improvement is like strengthening a muscle. The tool we use is the Learning In Action EQ profile from Learning In Action Technologies. Working together, we help you improve your ability to form and maintain mutually satisfying relationships, even under times of stress.
LEADERS GET REAL PODCAST
THE CURSE OF THE COMPETANT WOMAN WORKSHOP
This popular workshop by BPI’s founder and principal Sherryl T. Christie is designed especially for high-performing female executives. You will explore some of the specific challenges that competent women face as they excel in their careers (e.g. managing perfectionism, the struggle to be gentle with ourselves) and have the opportunity to deeply examine your particular dynamic and the solutions available to you. you will also have opportunities to engage in peer learning. Contact us for the next session's date or inquire about bringing the workshop to your organization.