Monthly Archives: November, 2021

The six myths of Vulnerability

November 18th, 2021 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “The six myths of Vulnerability”
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In her book “Daring Greatly”, Brené Brown wrote about six myths surrounding vulnerability.

Myth #1: Vulnerability is weakness.

“I’ve asked fighter pilots and software engineers, teachers and accountants, CIA agents and CEOs, clergy and professional athletes, artists and activists, and not one person has been able to give me an example of courage without vulnerability. ” Says Brown. “The weakness myth simply crumbles under the weight of the data and people’s lived experiences of courage.”

Myth #2: I don’t do vulnerability.

Our daily lives are defined by experiences of uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. Pretending that we don’t do vulnerability means letting fear drive our thinking and behaviour. Choosing to own our vulnerability and do it consciously means learning how to rumble with this emotion and understand how it drives our thinking and acting.

Myth #3: I can go it alone.

Or, said in another way: “I don’t need to be vulnerable because I don’t need anyone.”  Neuroscience researcher John Cacioppo dedicated his career to understanding loneliness, belonging, and connection and he makes the argument that we don’t derive strength from our rugged individualism, but rather “from our collective ability to plan, communicate, and work together.” Whether we know it or not, our brain and biology have been shaped to support interdependence over independence.

Myth #4: You can engineer the uncertainty and “discomfort out of vulnerability.

Someone suggests that we should make vulnerability easier by engineering the uncertainty and emotion right out of it, maybe through an app and/or an algorithm to predict when it’s safe to be vulnerable with someone. This is the attempt to engineer the vulnerability and uncertainty out of systems and mitigate risk. However, Brown is talking about relational vulnerability, not systemic vulnerability. “Regardless of what you do and where you work, you’re called to be brave in vulnerability even if your job is engineering the vulnerability out of systems.”

Myth #5: Trust comes before vulnerability.

Conversations about relationships always bring up the chicken-egg debate about trust and vulnerability. “We need to trust to be vulnerable, and we need to be vulnerable in order to build trust.” In a research based on forty years of studying intimate relationships John Gottman was able to predict an outcome of divorce with 90 percent accuracy based on responses to a series of questions. Gottman says that trust is built in very small moments, which he calls “sliding door” moments. “In any interaction, there is a possibility of connecting with your partner or turning away from your partner. Trust is the stacking and layering of small moments and reciprocal vulnerability over time. Trust and vulnerability grow together, and to betray one is to destroy both.”

Myth #6: Vulnerability is disclosure.

Brown is not a proponent of oversharing, indiscriminate disclosure as a leadership tool, or vulnerability for vulnerability’s sake. Google’s five-year study on highly productive teams, Project Aristotle, found that feeling safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other was for team members “far and away the most important of the five dynamics that set successful teams apart.” Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson defines this as “psychological safety.” Vulnerability is the building block.

Adapted from Brené Brown, Dare to Lead, Random House

Planning - Commitment

How you can improve your planning ability

November 11th, 2021 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “How you can improve your planning ability”
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What is planning?

  • Anticipate problems, roadblocks and threats and plan accordingly
  • Develop practises and procedures to get things done the most efficient way
  • Spend time on what’s important directing attention to critical and putting trivial aside
  • Involve the appropriate people at the right time and keep them informed about relevant issues, progress and changes
  • Recognize and take corrective actions when facing undesirable outcomes


To improve your planning skills, ask yourself:

  • Do I have a clear idea of the desired outcome of this project?
  • When was the last time I missed a deadline due to poor planning?
  • Have I created a “sabotage” list of things that could go wrong?
  • Do I know what resources are available for this project/assignment?
  • When was the last time I was surprised by the impact of my plan on another group?
  • Am I using the available technology for planning?
  • Are others surprised by how my plan is unfolding?
  • How much time do I spend planning?
  • Is everyone in my group working off at the same page?
  • How can this problem or project be structured so multiple tasks can be done simultaneously?


Train your planning skills

  • Experiment tools and techniques to organize your work and discuss the usefulness with your coworkers.
  • Work closely with your manager on planning a project meeting. Get feedback on your planning and organizing skills from your manager and those people involved in the meeting. Get feedback on how you prioritize the issues.
  • Identify managers who have good planning and organizational skills. Ask them about what works for them. Apply at least one of these techniques to your projects.
  • Ask to be the coordinator of a special event. List all of the different parts that make up the event. Develop a plan that integrates all the pieces. Seek feedback from those involved on how well you kept people informed and coordinated the different activities.
  • Once collected feedback, think about what you learned and what you would do differently in the future.
  • Organize a forum during which information about your group’s mission, products, services and technology is presented to interested people from other units.
  • Take a liaison role between your team and another team with whom you work, and get feedback on your effectiveness in this role.
Coevolution - Commitment

Transform your coaching programmes into coevolution

November 3rd, 2021 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “Transform your coaching programmes into coevolution”
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One of the greatest breakthroughs in my coaching practise has been the transition from simply working with a coachee to creating a system that works for them.

Traditionally, a coach is hired to establish a productive relationship with one person and help them to improve their ability, attitude and/or skills. The process is very well known: the coach works on self awareness in order to facilitate a change. The coach supports the coachee in finding the best way to solve problems and grow. 

I have always felt that something more could be done. For me, the key is not seeing our coaching activity as directed to that one person only, but instead considering that person inside a larger system. In other words, we can include other people in the coaching process specifically to help the process itself.

A coaching programme usually starts with one or more stakeholders giving their view about the coachee’s expected change. By “stakeholders” I mean people that are impacting for some reasons on the coachee’s career. Typically, I involve the direct manager, the HR business partner, the person who sponsored the initiative (frequently the manager’s manager) and/or the HR Director. So yes, one of my programmes can have onboard up to four people as well as the coachee and coach. I organise three meetings with the coachee and stakeholders together, at each of the key moments of the coaching path: kick off (beginning), mid check (middle) and wrap up (end).

Is the presence of the stakeholders enough to increase the value of a coaching programme? Well, no. Without them the programme would have no organisational direction and the risk of failure is really high. However, involving them is not a guarantee of excellence. It’s actually the way stakeholders are involved that makes the difference.

Often, stakeholders assume a passive position. They feel involved in a sort of space “outside” the program and they get called to give their point of view and advice, but they don’t usually feel like they are an active part of it.

I feel I improved both my coaching skills and my results when I started seeing things differently and making stakeholders feel more responsible for the process. Now, I work hard to ensure their engagement during the kick off and make them feeling part of the coachee’s work on personal improvement and success. I’m clear with them: they are not spectators, but actors in the process.

They are not there to just express their opinion and evaluate results but they are a key part of the process and the results. How do I do this? First of all, preparing the ground with individual calls. Secondly, by agreeing that both stakeholders and coach should provide open, useful feedback in order to plan and deliver the coaching work effectively, and committing to do this for the duration of the program. Thirdly, by being open in sharing their perceptions with the coachee about improvement, setbacks and opportunities, while the coaching is still in progress. This means that I’m working with a system rather than with a single person.

I define this process with a term I’m borrowing from biology: coevolution. Coevolution is a process of evolutionary change that occurs between pairs of species or among groups, as they interact with one another and facilitate their evolution. By taking a coevolution approach to coaching programmes, the added value for all the people involved and the benefits for the organisation are huge.

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