Exploring Remote Team Coaching with Premier Mentor (Faculty: Andrea Moretti-Adimari)

by Suzi Pomerantz, Community Instigator/Connectress on February 2, 2010

With the help of several world leading coaches, AM-A has dedicated over two decades to modernizing a group persuasive process, called Projections Based Coaching, that is drawn from antiquity and is designed to overcome seemingly insurmountable barriers to Peak Performance (Projections Based Coaching using Premier Mentor 2010-07-09 gives you the complete paper, just click to download.)

In parallel, to deliver optimal cost effectiveness in the modern World, a remote coaching tool, Premier Mentor, has been designed for this process (Premier Mentor Brochure (pdf))

To test the core persuasive potential, “Dismantling the Barriers”, a 51 slide puzzle designed to invite an implicit “bet”, was created to test how many top minds could be “reversed” in their stance between phase I (with no context) and phase II (with context) (Dismantling Barriers (pdf))

The core assumptions for this experiment, whose interim results support other data that ~1/20 are unusually unwilling to Judge & hence exceptionally willing to Explore beyond Conventional Boundaries, is a Conjecture on Navigating Uncertainty (“Navigating Uncertainty” (pdf))

Projections Based Coaching

Being the Best

Jim Collins’ bestseller ‘Good to Great’ makes the point about honesty – if you want to be the best, you can’t hide behind blind spots.

Using the book’s metaphor, one of the greatest challenges leaders face is maintaining the “right people in the right seats at the right time”. In addition, there is then the added challenge of ensuring that every member of the organization, if not supply chain’s mindset is optimal.

In times of change it is necessary to increase the frequency of reassessments. Amongst the standard options available to the leader lie training and coaching. However, most coaching models are unable to overcome the wall of resistance that occurs when there is no core motivation to be coached. Often the greater the stature of the individual, the harder it becomes to convince that individual to re-programme their view of the world.

Such a re-programming of mindsets is a pre-requisite to achieving lasting behavioural change. The anchor is the individual’s core motivator which determines the degree to which s/he is willing to act in the best interest of the organization. Examples include issues of trust such as whether to share a valuable piece of information, or whether to project that making a short term sacrifice will be reciprocated.

Barriers to achieving the optimal mindset, or “Zone”, come with any combination of three underlying hurdles, namely fear, greed and laziness, any of which is capable of skewing motivations.

These biases can create an opportunity cost by skewing the way team members interpret and project available information when making key choices on investment and cooperation.

At the heart of whether value is created or destroyed lies the probability that team members will choose to cooperate with each other, or not, and naturally this is heavily impacted by the “skew” of any potential underlying bias.

The Theory behind Projections Based Coaching

Projections Based Coaching has been developed pooling many years of experience from various leaders in the field. However the conceptual origins date back to the Greek Philosophers. The Sophists, who were the first generation of Greek Philosophers, were famed for winning arguments without confrontation. Aristotle’s influence meanwhile is based on his unwavering pursuit of the truth, and willingness to project long term independently of conventional wisdom. The coaching potential of this long term, non-confrontational approach, is also known as Counter Programming, in that helps to surface, diffuse and gradually programme away powerfully embedded beliefs.

The mechanics are the same for any team member or individual, and indeed the approach is designed to rapidly surface differences of opinions in response to real time events, which in turn helps the coach, to develop and implement both individual and overall team coaching strategies.

Planning and Implementing Projections Based Coaching

Projections Based Coaching consists of four stages; mapping, devising, implementing and then repeating this loop as many times as required until lasting long term performance increase is achieved.

1. Map constructs

By asking each team member to make a series of simple intuitive tradeoffs the coach gains an understanding of

  • How the individual perceives himself/herself
  • How the individual perceives team members
  • How the individual perceives key challenges in the present
  • How the individual perceives key challenges in the future

This of course is ongoing as our mental constructs are continually evolving.

The coach can use any number of systems. The important thing is that the coach keeps an ongoing view across all four levels. Systems that are especially designed to help the coach with this are mentioned in the conclusion below.

2. Develop Strategy

Behaviour is interdependent with vicious circles, virtuous circles and a whole host of complex hidden dynamics. In planning a team development strategy, coaches assess the interplay between the members, in order to maximize the positive knock-on effects and minimize destructive confrontation.

3. Effective implementation

While the coach has a starting map and a strategy, it is normally in the immediate aftermath of events, both welcome and unwelcome, that a coach can best glean true differences of opinions, and potentially gently help team members with targeted interventions, either one on one, in small groups, or as an entire team.

Remote team coaching systems can help the coach implement his/her the strategy in a tailored, dynamic and cost effective way, and also more importantly minimize disruption to executives. The coach remains connected to the team members through PCs and PDAs, with a mixture of periodic events such as quick 360-style temperature checks, and reactive exchanges to intercept potential crises or mobilize the team for a sudden opportunity.

4. Long term behavioural change (“Review and repeat”)

Coaching is about re-programming. It’s about “how to bring every detail into logical focus if you really want to maximize your odds of winning Gold at the next Olympics”.

When it comes to potentially limiting sub-conscious beliefs, re-programming is about challenging people’s horizons to give them the option to modify them for their own benefit.

To use a light-heated example, if a European skeptic was taken to America in 1492, s/he might still choose to cling on to the counter-belief, firmly anchored in a logical blind spot, that the “World’s End is simply further West”, that the “Ship had sneakily done a loop” or whichever hypothesis still defended the ingrained construct about the world being flat. In the end, repeated introduction of new construct-challenging information can never fully guarantee that there will be a willingness to change the original construct, and in the extreme, this can be referred to as “Dogma”, or “above the facts”.

Therefore soft landing a change in construct is by no means easy. If feedback is delivered correctly by a trusted mentor, and for example linked to direct self-interest such that sharing in the short term may yield more in the long term, then over time any change is possible.

Social biases, such as xenophobia, sexism, and ageism are often sub-conscious, taboo and emotively explosive. However when these can be captured objectively, and delicately played back, then there is a genuine probability that even the most complex blind spots can be surfaced and diffused, thereby removing the barrier to a shift in mindset closer to it’s “Zone”.

When faced with highly emotive topics, projections may be dropped in light-heatedly and opportunistically through the use of humour, in part as per the niche clinical technique of Paradoxical Intentions that was developed by Victor Frankl to help surface and diffuse, with humour, the deeply anchored constructs of holocaust survivors. But regardless of how complex the challenge may be, the core skill always lies with the coach’s sensitivity, timing and charm, when slowly and warmly teasing out the differences between dysfunctional constructs.

Assessing Projections Based Coaching

The strength of Projections Based Coaching is that, practiced correctly, by an experienced top tier coach, it is a very powerful technique. It can surface and diffuse deeply anchored biases, and in the extreme, even flip constructs. While the base principles date back thousands of years, and the historical track record is there for all to see, the technique is only becoming viable again in modern business culture thanks to technology. Another advantage is that it can easily work in tandem with any existing form of team coaching, for example by filling the voids between key events.

However this is a long term technique. Full results are unlikely to surface in short term assignments. The team should have performance markers in accordance to its raison d’être, and a review panel should assess changes in the team’s functionality and performance at the end of the allotted 6, 12 or 18 month assignment.

In Summary

Projections Based Coaching, through specially designed interfaces such as www.premier-mentor.com, is a unique performance coaching and mentoring approach that offers all teams unprecedented interaction with a world class coach in a highly cost and time efficient manner. The coach can interact consistently with both individuals and the whole team to surface difficult issues, change mindsets and modify behaviour, thereby building winning teams. Technology enables a highly convenient end-user experience that seamlessly fits around busy business schedules. This enables coaching to be about outputs, not inputs, navigating teams towards their true economic potential in their step change from “Good to Great”.

~Andrea Moretti-Adimari

With special thanks to the thought leaders who helped resurface these timeless techniques which, to all intensive purposes, worked miracles throughout the ages (see essay on “Navigating Uncertainty” at link above for a historical re-construction by analogy).

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