Marianna Amy Crestani
Marianna Amy Crestani is Head of the Coaching Practice at TCO International – Accelerating Global Agility. With over 25 years’ experience, we have supported more than 60,000 people in over 100 organisations across 140 countries. We provide customised solutions and open workshops for individuals, teams and entire organisations in the area of global agility. For more information or questions contact m.crestani@tco-international.com
Coaching, Lifestyle

What do you want to be remembered for?

What?

Last week I coached a Manager on a 3-year international assignment. To kick off the coaching process we used The International Profiler questionnaire – a psychometric tool that shows the focus given by the individual to 22 competencies needed to transfer your technical and managerial skills into an unknown international context.

The results showed a very low focus on Inner Purpose – the ability to provide consistency and balance when dealing with unfamiliar circumstances by holding strong personal values and beliefs.

On the contrary, the focus given by the candidate to Acceptance was incredibly high.

To keep it simple: she instinctively accepts behavior that is different from her own and does not struggle to work with practices that conflict her own sense of best practice… but what is her own sense of best practice? What underlying values guide her actions? What are her roots? What approach really feels right to her?

So what?

In exploring the pros and cons of the high focus on Acceptance and the low focus on Inner Purpose she paused and said:

‘I love jumping into new projects, I get energy out of creating alternative solutions to challenges BUT as soon as I find resistance from others I give up and don’t try twice’.

I replied:

‘What is this telling you about yourself?’

And he candidly answered:

‘I don’t really know what I believe in, what my non-negotiables are… I don’t think I know what I really ­want to fight for’.

We then started a journey of exploration of her values by reflecting on these 3 questions:

  • ‘Tell me about a peak moment in your life…’
  • ‘What makes you angry­­?’

And…that uncomfortable question that we keep at the back of our heads:  

  • ‘What do you want to be remembered for?’

Now what?

I have the privilege to follow an incredible variety of professionals in my coachings. From junior talents to senior managers from all over the world. The VUCA world in which we are operating demands speed, adaptability and anti-fragility. We need to be in a constant state of ‘re-becoming’. But no state of flux can be sustained if it is not rooted in a conscious value system. Values help to determine the ‘rightness’ of choice. They also illuminate unfortunate choices. They fuel the flow and enable congruency with our actions.

What can you do?

  • Voice that uncomfortable question:

What do I want to be remembered for?

  • Accept the shaky feeling that comes from exploring it.
  • Experience the energy that comes from the feeling of ‘rightness’.
VUCA

How VUCA gives energy to our Saboteurs… and how to gain it back!

What?

The other day I coached a Senior Manager who during the past year has had to get used to:

  • A new boss
  • A new team
  • A more operational (vs more creative before) role
  • Learning a new language to communicate remotely with his peers

The Manager also felt disengaged from the job and complained that:

‘There is much less of me in the final product now than in the past… hence I feel that what I am now doing is much less ‘personal’.

So what?

I asked the Manager these 3 simple question:

  • What 3 things have you done this year that you are proud of?
  • What 3 things have you learnt about yourself this year that you didn’t know before?
  • Who have you connected to in this past year that you would have never have imagined to connect to?

As the candidate talked through the achievements and the new insights gained throughout the year she literally breathed deeply, straightened her back and started to move her eyes sideways. Quite different from the ‘leaning forwards and looking down’ professional I had seen up to that moment.

She started exploring her synergetic self and re-accessing her inner resources.

She shifted perspectives and started to replace ‘imposition’ with ‘milestones and success moments’.

She started realizing that she was still making an impact but in a different way from before.

She started claiming a new voice for herself.

Now what?

Let’s face it: we hear a lot about the need to change in today’s VUCA world (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) …but how easy is it to really maintain a positively curious attitude when everything and everyone around you is changing?

Homeostasis – or the tendency to maintain the system – is a strong and human force. All of us have self-sabotaging inner voices that hold us back. Preserving the status quo is part of these Saboteur’s job. It’s no wonder that when everything around us is changing we voice the Saboteurs even more.

But claiming that energy back through deeply growing in self-awareness and leading oneself first is the key to succeed in today’s VUCA world. Having an interest in aligning your behavior with your values is the necessary first step to take in order to consciously think, act and create value every day.

What can you do?

As the end of the year approaches, take stock of 2017 and answer the same questions I asked my Senior Manager:

  • What you are proud of
  • What have you learnt about yourself
  • Who have you connected to

…and note down all the new and unexpected perspectives you get!

VUCA

Why is training + individual coaching a powerful combination in today’s VUCA world?

During the past year I have been involved in the wonderful experience of crafting and delivering check-out coaching sessions.

These individual sessions are the last part of a learning journey that starts from the completion of The International Preferences Indicator (IPI – click here to read more about this tool) and continues with a Global Agility workshop. The workshop is specifically aimed at helping the participants manage the key “trilemma” facing those who work internationally:

  1. How can I get things done by remaining authentic and true to myself (my way),
  2. But at the same time knowing how and when to adapt to others (your way),
  3. While remaining consistent with our values (the corporate culture way)

The workshop is run in a very experiential way leaving the participants with a new awareness of what it means to work globally both on an emotional and on a rational level.

The check-out coaching session takes the learning a step forwards and zooms into what it all means for the individual in their specific context and every day challenges.

How do the check-out coaching sessions work?

I run them virtually and they always last 60 minutes.

Within the 1 hour I cover the full cycle of getting to know the person, co-designing objectives, exploring options and drafting an action plan.

Being very visual myself, I prefer to explain what I mean using this graph:

Quoting one of my clients:

I had a wonderful time with Marianna and appreciated her ease and ability to capture information she needed to help me work through some of my opportunities I need to work on!

What can you achieve in one hour?

My sine qua non condition is to ensure that by the end of the session my clients are always in a state of more resonant connection with their best self. Only by doing this can they make choices and take action.

What does this mean practically?

Most of my clients report that the check-out session helps them to:

  • Give them an unexpected insight into themselves
  • Gain a different perspective on the international challenge they are facing
  • Stop and reflect over issues they don’t normally think about
  • Challenge them in their thinking and action when it comes to succeeding globally.

In conclusion…

Both myself and my colleagues in TCO International believe that nowadays it is not enough to end a training program with happy feedback sheets. It needs to be followed up by an individual coaching session in which the momentum is anchored to the specific context in which the individual is operating and to the challenges faced.

Moreover, offering a learning journey that blends the group dynamics of the training with the coaching approach of asking powerful questions enables to truly make an impact in the longer-term performance of the individual…and in their ability to become more and more skilful in thinking, acting and creating value in today’s VUCA world.

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