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In This Issue:

    June 24, 2014

    Chamber member offers executive coaching, assessments

    Defining Moments lgThere is a huge difference between stress and tension, and between confidence and complacency. Those differences are at the heart of a new leadership assessment now being used in the region by Chamber Gold Member and veteran executive coach Paul Heagen.

    “The right amount of tension in our lives and businesses – not too much, not too little – has been proven to generate action and keep us from either being over-challenged or under-challenged,” says Heagen, who has coached senior executives across the country for nearly 20 years and is the founder of Defining Moments Consulting. He recently became the first executive coach in the Cincinnati region to be certified as a teaching professional in the ChangeGridTM, the only leadership assessment tool based upon an individual leader’s actual work activity, rather than just leadership style or behaviors. 

    Heagen, Paul“The assessments that most people are familiar with — Myers-Briggs, DiSC, Enneagram — are very useful to open a leader up to understand more about themselves and their leadership style. I use them because it starts the conversation and begins that essential step toward self-awareness,” Heagen explained. “However, too often someone goes back and has to figure out how to apply all that to the activities in their business and personal lives. That’s sometimes where they can get stuck.”

    Productive tension, as used in the ChangeGridTM process, allows a client executive to better see all the factors at play in their key activities and priorities – the size of the effort, its importance, how much of a challenge it represents and whether they feel they have all the abilities needed to carry it out. From there it portrays the leadership style most likely to be effective and what it will take to move that activity from a point of mere awareness to actual execution.

    ChangeGridTM has proven to be highly predictive in terms of whether an executive has the right perspective on an activity, is engaging in an activity in the right way and is likely to get it done.

    “We tend to see all activities the same way and rank them on a to-do list, thinking we just tackle them in the same way,” says Heagen. “That’s a great recipe for getting stressed, or getting complacent, and missing important nuances and perspectives along the way.”

    Heagen works with clients to break up the to-do list and get a more honest view of what is really in play and needed. Coaching executives on how to change the size, importance, challenge or abilities in each task is intended to disrupt the tendency to attack everything the same way. It is purposefully disruptive – getting people a bit out of their comfort zone if complacent, or back into a comfort zone if stressed. The resultant “productive tension” stimulates action and, over time, broadens an executive’s capacity to manage a range of activities in their business and personal lives.

    Heagen says the value of productive tension goes beyond the performance of just the individual executive client. The approach can be applied to an entire leadership team.

    “Leading an organization is all about balance, perspective, context, and directing the energy and talents of the leadership team, “ says Heagen. “Using productive tension as a leadership style can offer much greater likelihood that things will get done and get done in the right way.”

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