Does your coaching client need an Upgrade?
Our piece in International Coaching News
Most coaches find their clients are facing increasing amounts of change, complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity. What if there was a simple but highly effective way to help us all – clients and coaches alike – to ‘upgrade’ our capacity to deal with all that complexity? In this article, Richard shows fellow coaches how to use the four capacities at the heart of Upgrade to enhance their coaching practice – whether they’ve read the book itself, or not.
Podcast: a Game of Teams, featuring our Systems Wheel
A tool for understanding and working with complex systems
Host Tara Nolan invited Richard to share our Systems Wheel approach, featured in Routledge’s Practitioner’s Handbook of Team Coaching. The wheel is designed to help coaches and savvy leaders better understand the complex systems in which they’re operating. It draws our attention to a whole host of important dynamics in and around our teams, including:
- Factors affecting trust, responsibility and accountability
- The ways existing habits, needs and mind-sets enable and inhibit team and their stakeholders
- The connections between authenticity, courage, direction and commitment
- The ways a team’s past and future shape what’s happening here and now
It’s also a source of inspiration when deciding how best to make positive changes to those complex systems.
You’ll find your listening experience enhanced by having a visual of the wheel to hand. You’ll find a copy of it in the show notes, by clicking the link below.
Opposable Thinking in an Opposable World
Our piece in Coaching Perspectives
In a world that’s ever-more polarised, Karen Ellis and Richard Boston encourage us to develop our capacity for opposable thinking to better navigate the tensions of a complex world.
Upgrade: building your capacity for complexity
By Richard Boston and Karen Ellis
What if the ways you think about yourself, the world and everyone in it were the human equivalent of your own internal ‘operating system’? What if you could upgrade that operating system, evolving it as radically now as you did as a child?
Are you ‘reasoning’ as well as you need to be?
What does it REALLY look like to ‘level up’ your ability to deal with complex problems?
When we get stuck, stressed, make mistakes or plateau in our careers, it’s often because the challenges we’re facing outstrip our current approach to interpreting data and making rational decisions. In this article, we explore how your approach to ‘reasoning’ will be evolving through four distinct levels. The level you’re at will have a dramatic effect on your ability to deal with complex problems. So, it’s pretty shocking that so little attention is paid to reasoning in approaches to leadership development.
3 ‘recovery’ conflicts that threaten to drive us apart
There’s a lot we can learn about polarisation from the events of 2020. On one hand, we saw unprecedented attempts to pull together. On the other, we saw a fair amount of polarisation and pulling apart. As we emerge into a post-crisis existence, we need to manage three new polarities that could continue to divide us.
Podcast: a Game of Teams covid special
The new game, as we emerge from the first wave of covid-19
Host Tara Nolan ran a special series of six episodes coinciding with western Europe’s emergence from its first experience with covid-19. Richard was one of a panel of three, exploring the uncertainty, grief and huge variability in people’s responses. Among other things, Richard, Tara, John Baldoni and John McCusker at Bacardi discussed:
- The polarities covid has exacerbated in society and organisations
- The ebb and flow of different values as priorities in people’s lives
- Upturned assumptions around how teams and organisations can or should operate
The ARC of Coaching
Our piece in International Coaching News
What if three seemingly-simple words could open new doors in your coaching – not just for your clients, but for you as a coach? In this follow-up to his book, ARC Leadership, Richard helps fellow coaches use the words ‘Authentic’, ‘Responsible’ and ‘Courageous’ to enhance their coaching practice. It’s an incredibly simple but highly effective tool. So much so, that you’ll find you can use it to coach yourself and others, even if you have no prior coaching experience at all.
What does it mean to belong?
Lessons for life and parenting, not just leading and work
A month into a new school year, when many kids were finding it hard to work out where they belong, Richard looked at the role of ‘belonging’ in leadership, teams and life in general. How important is it to belong? What impact does it have if we do or don’t feel we belong? And how do different people interpret the very notion of belonging?
Who likes to be alone? Apparently, not introverts!
What we thought we knew, apparently isn’t actually true
It seems such a basic differentiator between extraverts and introverts. It’s such a tightly held ‘truth’ that few would even question it.
Ask pretty much anyone what kinds of people like to be alone and they’ll tell you it’s introverts. Who doesn’t like to be alone? Extraverts, of course.
World Values Day: whose values are they anyway?
The dark side of values and what to do about it
Richard and co-author Karen Ellis ask us all to take a deeper look at our personal values, their origins and the darkness that can lurk within even the most positive intent. There’s no license to bash those – or others’ – values here. Values could be key to raising our game as a species. We just need to upgrade our relationship with those values and the ways we turn values into action.
The Boss Factor: 10 lessons in managing up for mutual gain
How do you lead the people who lead you?
In this highly practical, thought-provoking book, Richard offers 10 lessons that will help you get the most from your relationships with the people who lead you. Whether you’ve just one boss or multiple senior stakeholders, you’ll find the book full of tips, tools and challenging questions to help you and your boss get the most from what is one of the most important relationships in your working life. Among other places, the book has featured in The Financial Times, The Telegraph and Sloan Magazine, on BBC Radio and even in The Sun. HR Magazine featured it as a “Best of HR” book in March 2018.
Podcast: my career crisis
Richard discusses The Boss Factor with host Ruth Barnes
Ruth hosts an energetic and no-holds-barred podcast, warning listeners to expect “plenty of swearing and tears, life lessons and laughter”. In this episode, ‘Change your attitude, not your job’, Ruth and Richard discuss his new book and its 10 lessons in managing up for mutual gain.
How to manage up, not out of a job this New Year
Richard’s article in The Telegraph
For many people the start of a new year brings with it a rising sense of dread and a resolution to ditch their current job and seek pastures new. Often, though, jumping ship isn’t as wise as it first appears. Instead, it helps to think of your job like a house. If you’re dissatisfied with your living space, you can of course move: but that’s costly, creates an enormous amount of upheaval (both for yourself and others in your life) and can leave you with some truly terrible new neighbours. In a difficult job market, the more sensible option is to stay put for a while, and try out some renovations. So before you throw in the towel, try these tips for upgrading your current job.
Podcast: prosperity kitchen
Gemma McRae delves into the thinking behind The Boss Factor
Richard really enjoyed being a guest on Gemma McRae’s wonderfully eclectic podcast. She starts by asking him about his career to date and life in general. Then we’re exploring his book, The Boss Factor – including 5 ‘top tips’ for managing up for mutual gain, and the biggest mistakes you might be making in those all-important relationships with the people who lead you.
6 reasons why women are paid less than men
(And 4 things we can all do about it)
Richard was both impressed and disheartened when his daughter started a conversation about the salary gender gap. Impressed because at the time she was less than nine years old, and disheartened because he hates that the gap exists. In this article, Richard explains the reasons for the gap and suggests ways to close it.
‘Focus on your strengths’: is it guff?
By Richard Boston and Rebecca Stevens, with contributions from Bernard Cooke
“Focus on your strengths,” many people say. It’s a fantastically positive and life-affirming piece of advice, but is it right? With nearly three quarters of businesses allegedly moving towards a strengths-based model we really need to know. Richard, Rebecca and Bernard explore the the evidence for and against, and suggest the best way forward.
The Practitioner’s Handbook of Team Coaching
Including two chapters by Richard Boston
We’re proud to be included not once but twice alongside some great names in the field. One chapter focuses on our work with Southampton Football Club, going beyond the case study on this website to offer further insights into our approach. Our second chapter introduces other team coaches to the ‘Systems Wheel’, a tool we developed to offer deep, practical insights into the complex worlds in which most teams operate.
Why you SHOULD prioritise screen-time over family and friends
Our definitive guide to why your tech should come first
It’s time to redress the balance. With all these people (often on TED or Facebook) telling us we should prioritise friends, family and colleagues over the plethora of gadgets offering instant access to the delights of the internet, it’s time someone offered a valid counter-argument. So, with our tongue firmly in our cheek, here it is!
What I learned about culture change from playing Solitaire
In this fast-paced world with all its distractions, it pays to take our learnings where we can
One of Richard’s disciplines when travelling is to take a few moments to play Solitaire (otherwise known as Patience) on his phone. It helps him notice his patterns, impatiences and frustrations and understand where they come from, how they play out in his day-to-day life and – hopefully – get better at letting them go. On this occasion, the game highlighted 10 things the game has in common with the more complex art of managing cultural change.
A step-change for resilience
Are we really making meaningful progress when it comes to building resilience?
‘Resilience’ has been a buzz word for quite some time now and a fair amount of time, money and effort has gone into developing people’s ability to deal with increasingly challenging working environments. Is that investment really making the difference it should? Or might organisations and their leaders be taking the wrong approach?
What’s missing from Deloitte’s 3 ‘types’ of CIO?
Our thoughts in response to an article citing Deloitte’s research with tech leaders worldwide
Deloitte’s research suggested there are three ways of operating as a CIO. We reckon Deloitte is bang on, but ask a) whether this is just another tech fad; b) if it’s not a fad, how does it help us select and develop the ‘right’ CIO; and c) what does the latest leadership thinking tell us is missing from Deloitte’s analysis?
ARC Leadership: from surviving to thriving in a complex world
The influential book by Richard Boston
We’ve a really serious problem out there. People have lost faith in their leaders – and are losing faith in the very concept of leadership. At all levels and in all organisations, leaders face a rising tide of mistrust in a world that’s increasingly complex and interconnected. If they are to survive and thrive, they’re going to need to be simultaneously Authentic, Responsible and Courageous.
The ARC of successful outsourcing
A piece we wrote for Outsource Magazine
Leaders need to be Authentic, Responsible and Courageous (ARC) if they’re to turn the tide of mistrust within and between organisations. The same is true in outsourcing relationships, but it’s not just trust that buyers, suppliers and advisors stand to gain: there are a host of other rewards to be reaped for demonstrating the three ARC qualities.
5 ways to stop leadership development doing more harm than good
Practical ideas that tackle the pitfalls of some types of leadership training
An attention-grabbing headline suggested that many leadership trainers are actually hurting their clients, rather than helping them. The article gave five reasons why this was so, but lacked any tangible way of addressing the issues. Determined to make the world a better place, Richard takes those challenges to the next level.
Podcast: Richard and Dean appear on The Team Coaching Zone
Hosted by Dr Krister Lowe in the U.S.
Krister is a great guy and a great host who has interviewed some really big names in the team coaching world, and we really enjoyed ourselves. We covered a lot of ground, including the learning we’ve taken from the successes we’ve had and mistakes we’ve made over the years. Take a listen and tell us what you think…
How to leverage the top team as a beacon for culture change
Our article in Australia’s InsideHR magazine
Culture change is a whole-system phenomenon, but the exec team has a massively disproportionate impact on the organisation’s ability to change. Richard Boston and Britta van Dyk explain how HR can help the top team be a force for change where all too many execs are beacons for the status quo.
The fine art of successful vacations
How to switch off on holiday
The Financial Times asked our advice on shutting down and making the most of time off work. They didn’t have a lot of space, so we expanded on that article in our blog.
Late for a meeting or deadline?
A sideways look at the serious issue of excuses for being late
“Combine these 3 top tips to turn annoyance into admiration when you arrive late!” Richard’s tips are psychologically sound, but he believes we can all do better and seeks the benefit of your experience…
Brexit or Nexit? Who can you trust?
A look at the in/out debate through the lens of trust
A blog post by Richard’s friend, neighbour and fellow coach Rosalind Turner got him thinking about the whole Brexit debate through the lens provided by the framework for trust he first shared in his ARC Leadership book. It generates questions that Brits and Europeans could all be asking themselves, given the current mood across the region.
The Core Disciplines of Leadership and Team Performance
Andrew Strauss ‘secures commitment’ to lead English Cricket out of chaos
Dean Taylor describes how the England Cricket Board’s newest Director applied LeaderSpace’s Three Core Disciplines to turn the tide of English cricket. Now that we’re working with a Premier League football team, you can expect further thinking on the role of The Core Disciplines and ARC Qualities in the world of soccer.
Here’s what it really takes to help people learn
The Three Core Disciplines at the heart of teaching and learning
A debate on education in The Psychologist magazine spurred us to write them an article suggesting how the Three Core Disciplines for Leadership and Team Performance can be applied in that context, too. After its publication, Richard edited the article to make it more accessible to non-psychologists and shared it on LinkedIn.
Leadership: What’s lasting and universal? What changes with time or place?
Three Core Disciplines for Leadership
A recent McKinsey debate got us thinking about the lasting, universal “truths” of leadership and the things we know leaders need to keep adapting in order to remain up-to-date and fit-for-purpose for their specific operating environment. So Richard wrote a short blog exploring the topic through the lens of our Three Core Disciplines of Leadership and Team Performance.
ARC Leadership: resolving the ‘Authenticity Paradox’
Richard’s response to a popular article in the Harvard Business Review
In her article in HBR, Herminia Ibarra argues that Authentic Leadership is a pill that has been swallowed all-too-readily by leaders and proponents of leadership development. Richard believes Ibarra’s criticisms highlight four key paradoxes in our quest to be authentic. In this response, he explains how we can resolve those paradoxes by integrating responsibility and courage into our leadership.
The Case for ARC Leadership
With so much other leadership wisdom out there, why should we pay attention to the ARC Leadership book?
It’s easy to say leaders should be Authentic, Responsible and Courageous, but what’s the evidence that these three qualities will deliver genuine value to leaders and their organisations? And why these three over all the other admirable qualities we might look for in a leader? Richard answers these critical questions, offering further insights into the reasons for his first book.
Trial our High Performing Teams Questionnaire
Is your team eligible?
Our cutting-edge questionnaire draws on a wealth of experience coaching leaders and leadership teams, combined with our post-graduate research into team performance. We trialled the first edition while coaching leadership teams at Heineken and the Department of Health. Now we’re keen to trial the latest edition with a handful of suitable teams.
“Wow, very good questionnaire – makes you realise how some of the individuals are not operating as a team when you answer it correctly.”
John, Operations Director for a British household name
Team coaching: the future of leadership development
Answering critical questions about the value and challenges of team coaching
Team leaders and their organisations typically find it hard to understand team coaching. Some find it hard to buy, others find it hard to sell in, and some aren’t sure what impact it will have on performance. In this interview, Richard discusses the value of team coaching and the reasons it’s not more common, and advises on how we should go about selecting the best coaches for our teams.
Is something rotten in the state of
Research paper by LeaderSpace Managing Director Richard Boston and Nick Holley, Co-Director of Henley Business School’s Centre for HR Excellence
There’s a lot of leadership development going on out there, but is it working? We spent two days discussing this challenge with HR and talent leaders at Barclays, B&Q, the British Army, Deloitte, GSK, Kingfisher, KPMG, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, the UK’s NHS, Oracle, Oxfam, Panasonic, Shell, Siemens, Vodafone and a range of other organisations. The result: four key principles for leadership development. These promote developing teams, not just individuals, and helping existing leaders to develop the leaders of the future.
The ARC of moshing
Pondering the power of the pit
Richard discovers that the call for leaders to be Authentic, Responsible and Courageous is echoed in yet another diverse environment – the mosh pit at a concert by the funk-metal outfit, Faith No More!
Get some discipline, muddyfunster!
Further proof that our ideas apply in all aspects of life
With the prospect of another muddy running race looming large, Richard relives the memory a previous event where he realised he was not only at the mercy of Mother Nature, but also at the mercy of his own Core Disciplines of Leadership and Team Performance!
Top team / flop team: lessons from Hollywood Undead
Our thinking takes centre stage
At a recent gig, rap-rockers Hollywood Undead created a high-profile, high-stakes team composed of absolute strangers who were together on stage for a matter of minutes. In doing so, they demonstrated the power and inescapability of the Three Core Disciplines for Leadership and Team Performance.
To explore ways of bringing our thinking and yours together to help you and your organisation, contact Richard Boston on +44 7949 324001. Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org.