Ask an Expert: April 2016

Q:  As a coach of the LPI, I’m often uncertain about what to expect from leaders when meeting with them to debrief their LPI results.  Specifically, I wonder if they will be truly open and receptive to coaching. Are there things I can do to be better prepared? 

A:  “How receptive will this leader be to coaching?” is a great question to ask yourself as you prepare for your debrief conversation. It is beneficial for both you and the leader when you thoughtfully anticipate how he/she may initially respond to LPI feedback and to plan accordingly with different approaches that will guide the conversation toward a valuable outcome. As a first step, I suggest a review of the leader’s LPI® Leadership Behavior Ranking (LBR), one of the most valuable components of the customized LPI Feedback Report. And in particular, look at the frequency ratings of the following five LPI statements:   
  • #3: Seeks out challenging opportunities that test his/her own skills and abilities (Challenge the Process)
  • #9: Actively listens to diverse points of view (Enable Others to Act) 
  • #11: Follows through on promises and commitments he/she makes (Model the Way)
  • #16: Asks for feedback on how his/her actions affect people’s performance (Model the Way)
  • #18: Asks “What can we learn?” when things don’t go as expected (Challenge the Process)
As you review these results, ask yourself:  How can I gain information about coachability from the leader’s Self and Average Observer frequencies with this behavior? What do the frequencies for each behavior suggest about how amenable this person might be to new ideas, new ways of practicing the behaviors necessary to become a more effective leader? Taken together, what do the frequencies of all five of these behaviors tell me?  When I take this approach prior to a LPI coaching session, I tend to look first at those behaviors with a frequency of 7.0 or higher. I find that leaders who have frequencies in this range will most likely be more open to learning and attentive to what they can do to develop further in these key areas. On the other hand, leaders whose frequencies for these behaviors are less than 7.0 may require a more unique approach to ensure that they are actively engaged in the process and more receptive to receiving and interpreting the valuable feedback the LPI provides. Consider how the following suggestions might be useful—listening carefully and responding thoughtfully in ways that help leaders get the most out of their LPI feedback and deepen their development efforts in the areas that matter most: 
  • Set a personal example by actively listening to the leader’s point of view 
  • Ask the leader to describe a time in his life when he challenged himself or learned a hobby. Ask follow-up questions to focus on what the leader did to learn self-discipline.    
  • Facilitate a conversation about what coaching is and is not. Ask the leader to describe what he expects of you as the coach in terms of your role and commitment. Then, share what you expect of the leader in these same terms. 
  • Ask the leader how your actions/questions/dialogue during the debrief are affecting his perspective about the value of understanding his LPI feedback.  
  • Throughout the conversation, frequently ask “What are you learning about your own leadership?”
  • Toward the end of the debrief, ask for feedback and suggestions. 
As LPI coaches, we have the opportunity to be a catalyst for receptive leaders who want to become exemplary. We also can bring out the best in others who may be a bit more hesitant and reluctant. The important thing to remember is that there is a leader within everyone. And by preparing in advance for coaching receptivity, we can help even more aspiring leaders be the very best they can be. 

Jo Bell, a Certified Master of The Leadership Challenge® for nearly 30 years, focuses on integrating the LPI and coaching in her work with organizations and leaders to align with business needs and personal leadership growth. As a coach and mentor, she brings years of interpretive research and coaching expertise in using the LPI as a compass for leadership evolution. She is co-author of The Leadership Practices Inventory Action Cards Facilitator’s Guide and The Leadership Challenge Values Cards Facilitator’s Guide. She can be reached at jo@jobellleadership.com.  

RELATED RESOURCES