Wednesday, November 19, 2014



We are excited to introduce our newest 90-minute discussion module for managers and leaders, "Accountability: It's a Tricky World" by David Creelman, President of Creelman Research.


Accountability seems to be a simple enough idea: something needs to be achieved and someone is held responsible for achieving it. But if it’s that simple, why are accountabilities a perennial challenge, even for experienced managers?

This topic asks you to reflect on the complexities that surround accountabilities and together create techniques that lead to better results, without resorting to punishment.

Always provocative and eye-opening, CoachingOurselves topic discussion guides will leave management teams with new perspectives and key learnings that will make them better managers.

About CoachingOurselves:

CoachingOurselves is a peer coaching leadership development methodology that builds community, stimulates exchange of perspectives, and encourages team cohesion. This is an innovative adaptation of the 70/20/10 approach to leadership development and organizational transformation created by Phil LeNir and Henry Mintzberg.

The methodology uses 90-minute reflective discussion modules to explore a wide range of topics. These modules were created by more than forty leading management thinkers including Henry Mintzberg, Marshall Goldsmith, David Cooperrider, and Michael Beer.

The modules are used by organizations, certified coaches, and facilitators to deliver a powerful cost-effective learning experience for managers and management teams.

Contact Warren Cohen at warren@coachingourselves.com or (+1) 514-419-1849 for more information on getting started today.

http://www.CoachingOurselves.com/

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

We are proud to announce our latest 90-minute reflective discussion module: "Five Ideas about Teamwork" by David Creelman, President of Creelman Research.

"Five Ideas about Teamwork" allows management teams to

  • understand the five key dimensions of a team, 
  • review research on what makes a team function well, and 
  • improve the functioning of their management team.

Always provocative and eye-opening, CoachingOurselves 90-minute discussion modules give management teams new perspectives and a space for reflection to improve performance.

About CoachingOurselves:

CoachingOurselves is a peer coaching leadership development methodology that builds community, stimulates exchange of perspectives, and encourages team cohesion. This is an innovative adaptation of the 70/20/10 approach to leadership development and organizational transformation created by Phil LeNir and Henry Mintzberg.

The methodology uses 90-minute reflective discussion modules to explore a wide range of topics. These modules were created by more than forty leading management thinkers including Henry Mintzberg, Marshall Goldsmith, David Cooperrider, and Michael Beer.

The modules are used by organizations, certified coaches and facilitators to deliver a cost effective powerful reflective learning experience for managers and management teams.

Contact Warren Cohen at warren@coachingourselves.com or (+1) 514-419-1849 for more information on getting started today.

http://www.CoachingOurselves.com/

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Probing Into Culture: Classic Edgar Schein

Explore the invisible, subterranean depths of your organizational culture to uncover the taken-for-granted beliefs and values which determine your organization's goals, strategies and actions.

But how to investigate culture when it operates mostly unconsciously? “Probing Into Culture” successively explores the three levels of organizational culture, from the very visible to the invisible. Managers will explore their culture by looking at the visual symbols or “artifacts", then the claimed or “espoused values", and most importantly, probing beneath these layers into the “basic underlying assumptions” of an organization’s culture. This knowledge is a crucial stepping stone to promoting effective change within any organization.

Always provocative and eye-opening, CoachingOurselves topic discussion guides will leave management teams with new perspectives and key learnings that will make them better managers.

CoachingOurselves is used by over 130 organizations and 10,000 managers around the world.

Edgar Schein is Sloan Professor of Management Emeritus at the Sloan School of Management at the MIT and a pioneering thinker in the importance of corporate culture. The CoachingOurselves discussion guide “Probing Into Culture” introduces you to Schein’s classic model of organizational culture.

About CoachingOurselves:
CoachingOurselves is a collaborative approach to management and leadership development created by Henry Mintzberg and Phil LeNir. World renowned management and business thinkers have authored 90-minute discussion guides for management teams.  These are a platform to build trust, learn from experiences and each other, and plan strategies and actions to make change happen.

Contact Warren Cohen at warren@coachingourselves.com or (+1) 514-419-1849 for more information on getting started today.

Organizations use CoachingOurselves to deliver:
90 minute workshops for cohorts of 15 or more,
On-demand & self-directed collaborative learning across the organization,
Toolkits enabling HR business partners to deliver just-in-time 90 minute interventions.

CoachingOurselves is used by over 130 organizations and 10,000 managers around the world.



Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Grooving To a Different Tune...continuous learning and management development


I was driving up to my mother’s 90th birthday party last week, it was a beautiful day and I was contemplating life and reminiscing over the early years with my family.  I found myself choosing and listening to a CD that was from way back in my history and realised how comfortable I was with the tunes and songs; I could predict the words, I could groove to the tune and I felt at ease with the world. 

I reflected on the experience of feeling so at ease and being able to predict every song and word.  It made me think of some feedback I received from clients that have been in a CoachingOurselves management development group for over two years. 

During the interviews I enquired with a number of the participants about what they liked, their favourite topics and why; and whether it had made a difference to them as managers.  Each person identified a different topic and spoke of why it was particularly important or relevant to them and the impact it had on their actions as a manager.  One woman said how Beyond Bullying (by Marilyn Aitkenhead) was very good.  She went on to say ‘you would think as a manager that [managing bullying] would be something you would already have in your kitbag of knowledge-but it was really good to review and reflect and made me act differently to a situation I had, it was very useful.’

Her comment made me think about how managers might be tempted to think we know all that we need to know; or that there is not much more to learn and that it is very easy to remain in a comfortable situation where, like me in the car driving up north, everything is comfortable, predictable and you just keep repeating the same tune or management response over and over again.

In reality, change is occurring constantly in the workplace and managers and leaders need to keep developing their competencies to be effective in their role.  It is not to say that what they now know is of no value, to the contrary, sharing and building on this knowledge with other managers is what strengthens and shapes management practices that fit the circumstances.  The 70:20:10 framework identifies the building blocks for continuous and ongoing learning; particularly the 70% where learning is done on the job and knowledge is shared and skills are developed. 

The CoachingOurselves participants highlighted the value of providing a structure around on-the-job learning so that it is not left to chance that managers will meet together and share knowledge. CoachingOurselves offers over 75 management topics; each is designed to lead discussion and learning from their experiences
and from each other.  Each CoachingOurselves topic has been written by a leading management and business thinker such as Mintzberg, Schein, Kotler, Adler, Ulrich, Goldsmith and others. Instead they met for the purpose of learning and developing new management practices.  Managers valued the learning together and the sharing of expertise and knowledge that related to their workplace and commented on the improvement in collaboration and willingness to work together to deliver strategic results.  They liked the fact that the topics were contained within 90 minutes, were held in the workplace and that there was an array of topics to choose from to suit their interests. 

A quality management development tool such as CoachingOurselves, delivered with minimum fuss or disruption for busy managers, makes it possible for managers to practice management differently. It is just like changing the CD occasionally and learning a new tune, it may be a bit uncomfortable but my repertoire is a bit more diverse and interesting.

If you want to know more about CoachingOurselves contact Monica Redden Consultancy, Australian partner for CoachingOurselves International, check out the three minute introductory video , call Monica on +61 8 8357 1296, go and visit www.monicareddenconsultancy.com.au or www.coachingourselves.com




Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Henry Mintzberg: It’s time to rebalance our sectors and society and Six Sigma ‘killed’ innovation in 3M

Two friends of mine publish the J&E Alert, a fantastic newsletter highlighting thought provoking thinking on leadership, management and business. Below we share two snippets of their recent newsletter.

You can subscribe directly by sending an email to the editors (Mireille Jansma & Jurgen Egges)


Article - Henry Mintzberg: It's time to rebalance our sectors and society (Guardian Sustainable Business Blog, April 2013)

From the post: "That we face serious problems – poverty amid plenty, the degradation of our physical, social, and economic environments, terrorism by fanatic cells and rogue states, and so on – is clear. But how our established institutions – governments and businesses – deal with them, even when responsive and responsible, is not. We need another way."




Video (3 min) & article - Six Sigma 'killed' innovation in 3M (Ryan Huang, ZDNet, 14 March 2013)

Firms must define innovation and how it fits into the company's objectives. They should then provide the right support and avoid rigid processes hindering the creative process, says Geoff Nicholson, former 3M exec behind the Post-It note.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

CoachingOurselves Provides Immediate Results
by Johanne Houle, Director of OD at McGill university


McGill OD team began using CoachingOurselves in 2012 to support rebuilding a sense of community and to offer collaborative learning opportunities to 1700 managers and supervisors. This is their story.



"Like many universities, we face a combination of organizational challenges: budgetary constraints, complex labour relations, and continual changes in higher education. We need tools to strengthen and maintain a vital sense of community among our managers and employees. With decreasing time and resources, we look for affordable and strategic opportunities for employees to learn, develop, and collaborate together. We strive to keep our talent engaged and to encourage our employees to share best practices.

In 2013, we launched a series of CoachingOurselves Reflection Cafes (90-minute workshops) with managers and professionals from cross-sections of McGill University. These sessions were easy to administer: we could choose from the CoachingOurselves catalog of over 75 management and leadership topics and facilitate them ourselves. The C.O. team was extremely helpful in recommending topics that were appropriate to readiness, participant profiles, and emergent needs in the face of important culture change.

The workshops provided immediate results. Feedback from the sessions was overwhelmingly positive and participants kept returning and encouraging their friends to attend. The 90-minute learning format allowed people to engage in shared learning without missing a day, or even a half-day, of work. There was rapid alignment among managers, and the network- ing and collaborative learning provided benefits beyond the material itself. Clearly, the topics and guided conversation format gave us “permission” to talk about concerns that were critical to us. We had a context for surfacing important issues, without blame, and realizing that they were not alone in our experiences and challenges.

Within a couple of months, various units and departments began requesting
CoachingOurselves sessions for their management teams and some managers in turn adopted the approach with their small, intact teams. Managers who had volunteered to support and facilitate groups during the reflection cafes were now acting as champions, volunteering to support new management teams throughout the university. The results have been excellent, with continued success and growth of the concept throughout our internal population of almost 1700 managers and team leaders.

The CoachingOurselves approach allows us to have a very broad and deep impact—with low overhead. Departments are free to select topic discussion guides that suit their needs, internal manager champions support them, as needed, and we can set and guide the overall context to meet broader organizational needs.

CoachingOurselves is priced and structured in a way that allows large-scale deployment. One ‘unlimited use subscription license’ allows us to impact hundreds of managers. This is less expensive than sending one manager to a typical executive MBA program!

I highly recommend that other organizations try CoachingOurselves as it has proven to be an invaluable tool for learning and organizational development at McGill University. In turn, we look forward to learning more about the creative ways in which it is rolled out in our sister institutions."

For more information, contact Warren Cohen at 514-973-3242 or visit CoachingOurselves at www.CoachingOurselves.com

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Leading Knowledge for the WIKI age


Modern businesses co-create value with their customers, and the Windsor Leadership Trust may be a model for how to co-create knowledge with participants.

Take a parallel from contemporary businesses. ‘Service’ is becoming the watchword for value-creation: even manufacturing firms derive ever-increasing proportions of their revenues from services rather than the sale of products. For example, Rolls Royce Engines, the manufacturers of aircraft engines, earn 54% of their revenues from service contracts, designed to give the customer value-in-use, rather than simply an ‘input’ to their supply chain. Airlines want reliable flying airplanes – and an engine manufacturer who can provide that outcome is more helpful than one which simply delivers an engine to the assembly plant. Yet business schools – still the main providers of management education in the UK - are often managed as if they are simply selling products – theories, programs and graduates.

This is because they rely on a ‘banking’ model of education. Business schools treat knowledge as a kind of currency, and behave like old-fashioned retail banks. The practical experience of mangers and business-people is gathered up by researchers, converted into general models and theories, stored in journals and books, and then sold back to practitioners. Most people have to physically go to a business school to get access to this knowledge – just as they would go to their local bank branch to access their money. Even distance learning is the equivalent of the Automated Teller Machine (ATM):  you can download your distance education package over the internet. But this simply configures the issue as one of distribution: the knowledge is disconnected from practice, packaged in discrete parcels posted, e-mailed or uploaded for later consumption. Distance assumes that students – even experienced managers – are at a distance from the source of knowledge – the business school.

Yet if we step back from this image to see where knowledge and wisdom actually reside, we discover that managerial knowledge comes in many types, is already widely distributed, and that real learning comes from creative interchange, not one-way delivery.  Recognizing that important knowledge is embedded in managerial and leadership practice, it should be possible to follow the example of the Windsor Leadership Trust ‘consultations’, and to create business education that makes use of this personal and tacit experience. Some have been trying:  Exeter University’s Centre for Leadership Studies runs programmes by what it calls ‘close learning’. Students, all practicing managers, use their current leadership roles as the focus for their learning; each has a personal tutor to guide them through a program of sophisticated, challenging and wide-reaching studies, making use of theories and models; encouraging careful reflection, improvements in practice, and ever deeper understanding. Modern communications technology enables us to take the professors to the practitioners; but it requires a new skill set for management educators, and new models of program design.

Wikipedia, the on-line encyclopedia, provides an even more radical metaphor for management education. coachingourselves.com is a newcompany enabling managers to learn from their own experience. Noticing that knowledge about customer satisfaction, for example, rests with the managers responsible for delivering it, CoachingOurselves pulls together the people with fragments of experience across a company and provides the intellectual frameworks and provocative questions to organize it in well-tested theoretical frameworks. Companies like SAP in Germany and Sasken in India find that managers hugely improve their understanding, solve real problems, and become more engaged and creative in their managerial work. Furthermore, their new insights into managing feed new sessions for the CoachingOurselves portfolio, thus co-creating management knowledge as well as adding value to managerial practice. This is, in effect, the birth of a Web 2.0 version of the business school – we might call it a wiki-school.


Close learning is a new metaphor for management education, and the wiki-school is a new way to think about a business school. Both offer valuable ways to extend the dynamic co-creation of value (the defining feature of WLT consultations), and may be of great help to alumni of the WLT who want to reach more people inside their own organizations and networks.