Coaching

My approach to executive coaching is unique insofar as I basically write a short book for each client that is entirely tailored to motivating them to make dramatic and lasting changes in their key management and leadership challenges. Most coaches seem to believe that just telling people what their issues are as perceived and rated by others is sufficient to bring about change. It is not, and that is why their results are generally disappointing and short-lived. I focus on motivating clients to change. My insight and analytical skill combined with my compassion for my clients makes the difference between their merely understanding that a problem exists and their actually making the sustained effort required to bring about lasting change in long standing behavior patterns.

Each Executive Performance Analysis report begins with a short review of the client’s management and leadership strengths followed by a series of chapters devoted to major development issues that have been identified. Each such chapter opens with a detailed description of a problematic behavior covering all its various manifestations with the aim of ensuring that the client can no longer be blind to it when it arises. The second section describes in great detail the various ways this behavior has a negative impact on productivity and effectiveness. This qualitative feedback is bolstered by anonymous quotes and quantitative ratings from interviewees assessing the magnitude of the problems posed by the behaviors. This second section provides the bulk of the motivational power of my approach because people tend to minimize or discount the full negative impact of their behavior on others, the organization, and ultimately their own success. In this section I make these connections crystal clear and irrefutable. The third section offers some possible reasons why the behavior presents and is helpful in identifying situations and triggers that are associated with the behavior, thereby aiding the client in awareness of when and where they need to be especially cognizant and vigilant in order not to fall back into old patterns. The final section offers bullet point recommendations for ways to support desired changes which in and of themselves, without the backdrop of the new awareness of the extent of the behavior and its full negative impact, would not be particularly eye opening or compelling. However, in conjunction with their new awareness and motivation to change, clients find these bullet point recommendations riveting and helpful.

Each report is completely unique with only three paragraphs of boilerplate and is entirely tailored in language and content to what I have come through interviews and observations to understand will resonate with and motivate my client to make lasting positive change. While the reports are often difficult to receive, I’ve been told that my compassion, support, and humor make it possible for me to deliver the bolus of feedback that finally gets through and does the job.  Click here to read excerpts from two sample reports.

 


Unlike most management consultants who approach any given consulting assignment in a formulaic manner with an array of diagnostic tools, lengthy interview questionnaires asking people to rank on a scale of 1 to 5 the degree of a problem chosen from a set number of organizational and management issues, and the application of other cookie cutter approaches to analyzing organizational issues, I bring a more finely tuned, experience and insight-driven approach to identifying, analyzing, and resolving organizational and management issues.  My open-ended, in-depth, qualitative, and contextual approach is based on over 32 years of conducting more than 6,000 interviews in a wide variety of organizations and industries.

Just as scientific research can be hamstrung by excessive adherence to protocols and rigid ideas about research design, organizational and management consulting can be blind to the true nature and shape of the problems if it is restricted by a programmatic approach to exploring a limited set of questions and issues. Standardized surveys and diagnostic tests and paradigms are necessary for most consultants. I have been blessed with exceptional deductive capacity which was confirmed through aptitude tests by the Johnson O’Connor Human Engineering Laboratory. At the time, my deductive skills were determined to be be faster and more accurate than ever recorded by the company exceeding those of the 500,000 other professional and pre-professionals who had been tested.  So, think of me as a bloodhound possessing 4 billion olfactory receptor cells by comparison with the 10 million that humans possess.

In my experience I have found that no two client companies or executives are exactly alike, and therefore no two of my reports have been remotely similar. There are only three boilerplate paragraphs to be found in my reports.  My findings and recommendations are finely tuned to reflect the unique realities and needs of my client companies.


Basically, I use an approach which invites interviewees to give as much detail and context as possible around any issue they identify as a problem. After establishing a rapport of trust and confidence with an interviewee I will ask them to identify the major issues of concern regarding the health and future of a company, department, or executive depending upon the assignment. Then, taking each issue in turn I will ask the person to explain in detail things such as:

  • When and where have they noticed the problem
  • The negative impact on the organization’s effectiveness
  • The negative impact on their own ability to function well
  • Different scenarios under which the problem surfaces
  • Times when the problem does not surface
  • Possible reasons for the variations
  • Ways to handle the problem successfully in the future
  • What has been done in the past to address the problem
  • Reasons why these approaches have failed

Depending on the issue in question and based on my extensive knowledge of organizational and management theory I will ask very different kinds of follow-up questions. For example, if someone says that the company as a whole has a problem with effective communication, I will ask a set of questions to determine if the problem has to do with the lack of a forum for communication or whether it is more a matter of management culture and style. If no regularly scheduled meetings are held to facilitate communication, then that is more of a problem of organizational systems and process.  However, if such meetings are held, but there is something in the culture of the organization which inhibits or discourages candid communication, then that opens up an entirely different avenue of exploration and follow-up questions.

 

Former Clients Weigh In On The Value Of This Approach 

“Based on my experience, only a mere handful of other people can duplicate the uniquely effective and personalized approach you have developed. Our experience with you (during the period when I worked with 15 executives) continued to be extremely positive.” Gabe Schmergel, retired President and CEO of Genetics Institute 

“I found her approach to be an extremely effective one, yielding results where two other approaches failed. I think this was a direct consequence of the highly focused and personalized method Ms. Pesso brings to her cases. Her observations concerning management skills and interpersonal behavior are astute, and her recommendations clear and insightful.” Vicki Sato, PhD, President, Vertex Pharmaceuticals 

“Your keen insight, in a short period of time, into the structure and culture of our organization displayed an expertise in human character problem-solving that was of tremendous value to our organization.  Your comments and recommendations when reviewed on a background of obvious expertise gave us the assurance necessary to implement (your) suggestions.” Bradford Mitchell, former Chairman and CEO of Harleysville Insurance Companies

“Through her deft handling of confidential interviews, skilled analysis of her findings, and the collation and articulate presentation of her analysis with specific recommendations, I have derived invaluable insights about my management approach. It is obvious to me that Tana brings a rich and varied background to her task and draws on it most effectively to provide specifically targeted recommendations.”  John D. Hamilton, former Managing Partner, Hale and Dorr 

“Your interviewing skills and ability to get people to focus on the real issues are unsurpassed. Moreover, you were able to translate your findings and observations in a….manner that lent itself to easy implementation of your recommendations.” Marc B. Garnick, former VP of Clinical Development, Genetics Institute 

“I am particularly impressed with Tana’s ability to earn the trust and confidence of the persons with whom she works and, as a result, to elicit from them on a confidential basis sensitive and candid commentary.”  Michael L. Fay, chair of the Trust and Estates Department, Hale and Dorr 

THE EPA DELIVERABLE 

  •  A 40 to 80 page report with only 3 paragraphs of boiler plate providing an in depth analysis of typically 3 to 5 key professional development issues.  The report begins with a brief review of the client executive’s leadership and management strengths.
  • Each issues chapter generally runs 10 to 15 pages and is structured as follows: a) detailed presentation of findings regarding the problematic behavior in all of its various manifestations illustrated by quotes from interviewees; b) detailed discussion of the negative impact of the behavior on others at work and the success of the organization as a whole, again, with quotes from interviewees to illustrate; c) analysis of the possible causes of and triggers for the behavior; and d) bullet point recommendations for addressing the issues raised.
  • The report is presented and discussed in a 3 to 6 hour meeting with the executive client. Generally, no further coaching is required.

THE EPA PROCESS

  • Initial meeting with the client executive  to discuss the process and review issues likely to become the subject of the report.
  • In-depth, open-ended interviews with up to 15 peers, direct reports, board members, and other executives with whom the client frequently interacts.
  • Up to 3 additional interviews with the client executive to discuss their own views of their professional development issues and strengths and weaknesses as leaders and managers, the context at work, past experiences in other circumstances and jobs, what drives and motivates them, and the like.
  • Up to 8 hours of observation of the executive client in typical interactional work situations, such as staff meetings, one-on-one meetings with direct reports, boss, peers, cross-functional meetings, etc.
  • Two weeks of analysis of the data and crafting the final report.
  • A meeting that generally runs from 3 to 6 hours to review the final report in detail, chapter by chapter.

DURATION

  • 6 to 8 weeks depending on scheduling of the interviews.

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