Executive Coaching at Work: The Super-P Compass

 An effective leader has a clear understanding of the organisation’s Vision and is also aware of core principles that guide action. In Toyota, for example, the ‘global’ corporate principles include the statement: ‘Dedicate ourselves to providing clean and safe products and to enhancing the quality of life everywhere through all our activities’. Look more closely, and we see that Superordinate Principles (Super-Ps) guide the organisation’s Superordinate Goals. They set the rules concerning what is done, and how activities are conducted. This contributes to the strategic alignment of individual and team activities, and also ensures that resources are directed effectively. Leaders need to relate Super-Ps to operational goals. Executive Coaching helps clarify important issues.

Agile, Authentic Leadership

An appreciation of Superordinate Principles is required to support agile, authentic leadership. People need to understand the underlying standards that guide actions. Consistent standards, plus the leader’s ability to respond quickly to new challenges, are important in developing trust. Organizations need agile leadership to respond to unexpected demands, backed by Super-P conviction on how best to make progress. To develop future capability, authentic leaders build on the guiding principles, so they can start to shape its culture. The core values of the business – the Superordinate Principles –  are then expressed through its systems and procedures. 

In Unilever, for example, Alan Jope (CEO) has set out the company’s position. By 2030, Unilever will require all suppliers to pay employees a living wage, which is greater than the legal minimum wage in the country of operation. In an interview with BBC Radio 4 ‘Today’ on 21 Jan, 2021 . He stated:  Unilever is well-recognised for the work we’ve done over the years on sustainability, and (in 2020) we took a number of important steps to regenerate and improve the health of the planet… so things like climate action, regenerating nature, working on waste and plastic waste… and today we’re sharing our plans to be a positive force in the world, in tackling this persistent and worsening issue of social inequality. Without healthy societies we don’t have a healthy business.  

Leadership Essentials:  Solution-Focused Coaching

Coaching creates an opportunity to clarify key issues and reflect on options. Successful organizations build on feedback and look for opportunities to develop more effective solutions.  A Solution Focused Coaching system builds on this approach. The aim is to reach a desired ‘future state’ that is meaningful to the person. The Coaching Methodology includes discovering your ideal future self (i.e. how you want to be); discovering your real self (i.e. how you behave and think at present); creating a personal development plan; experimenting with and practicing new habits; and finally, getting support (e.g. coaching and support) that will help you overcome challenges and reinforce the new behaviour. The first step in Executive Coaching is to explore issues and raise awareness of the current situation. It’s then possible to decide how to move forward.

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