vPsychology for Business


We are dedicated to bringing out the best in you and your employees

Volume 5, Number 4                                                            February 13, 2004


Psychology for Business is an e-mail newsletter written by  Dr. John Weaver, Dr. Lynda Dahlke, and Dr. Paul Glass, business psychologists and independent consultants, provided to you at no charge. It is published bi-weekly. You’ve received this newsletter because you’ve subscribed to it or it was forwarded to you by a friend or colleague. To request your bi-weekly copy, sign up at our website, http://www.psychologyforbusiness.com/. If you wish to cancel your subscription, please see the end of this e-mail for easy instructions

Privacy Statement: We will not distribute the address of any subscriber to anyone.

We invite you to forward this newsletter, in its entirety, to your colleagues.

I have the pleasure of introducing you to a colleague from the Boston area. David Langdon is the Lead Psychologist for Nicholson-McBride, an international consulting firm with major offices in Boston and London. He has been a frequent contributor to HR publications and done extensive work with many major organizations. He has agreed to share some keen insights on the importance of coaching and the valuable skills he brings to this important component of professional success. I am sure you will enjoy his article. Contact him by email at mailto:dlangdon@nichmcb.com or by telephone at (781) 741-8883.  I hope this will be only the first of many articles he will write for Psychology for Business.

        – Dr. John Weaver

Performance Based Coaching

by Dr. David Langdon, Lead Psychologist for Nicholson-McBride

Forget about a “pleasant and safe journey of self-insight”.  If you want coaching to deliver effective and sustainable change in performance – then a challenging journey is required.  Those prone to “self-development motion sickness” should chart a different course.

Here are just some of the coaching principles that create a performance based coaching approach.

Principle One:  Getting deep enough to increase performance? 

Depending upon the nature of the coaching intervention, some individual challenges can simply require a change in behavior (e.g., Learning to set agendas at the beginnings of meetings.)  However, since inner thinking and feelings guide most of our actions, coaching must reach that level to be effective and create personal change.  For example, if a leader is working on ‘softening’ her leadership style, and in particular must learn to be more tolerant of other people, it is fundamental for her to reflect on what causes her intolerance in the first place. 

True insight in to personal drivers can allow people to truly change actions.  The combination of reframed thoughts, feedback from a coach and deliberate and repeated action increases the chance that change will be more effective in the longer term, and can lead to increased performance.  True performance coaching knows its boundaries, but also takes no prisoners, if the feedback is there to be given, it will be given.

Principle Two:  Understanding the “motivation flow”.

The key to successful coaching is understanding what motivates the coachee.  In coaching, it is key is to understand the natural motivational flow.  For example, it is important for a coach to know whether it is the fear of looking inadequate that drives someone to do well in a presentation – as opposed to the excitement that they can / will deliver something thrilling and compelling.  If the fear of failure acts as the motivator, the challenge could well be controlling unnecessary negative self-talk about what might go wrong – and stopping an inevitable erosion of self-confidence.  If this motivator is not consciously (and positively) controlled, the presenter may perceive a challenging question as a threat, instead of welcoming the question as a ‘stretch in thinking’ and being energized with a different perspective. 

Principle Three:  Change is never in isolation.

Individual change is not in isolation; it has context.  People both influence and react within their own context.  Coaching must first seek to understand that context.  The coach must be mindful of where s/he can positively influence the coachee’s context to support the coaching effort.  This opportunity often happens when gathering feedback.  When people know that person X wishes to change. they can assist in that process.  With the right prompting, colleagues can provide valuable information that helps the person move forward.  Also, by inviting people to think about “What they would need to see to in order to know that person X is changing?”, we assist the change process in a very subtle way.  It’s much like the principle of being ‘conscious’ of seeing green cars on the freeway.  At first, we form a quick view that there won’t be many.  Then, as we consciously look out for this specific, we realize that in fact, there are quite a few.  The same principle applies in personal change, when we are ‘consciously’ looking for a change in behavior – we see more of it.  Therefore asking the question in the feedback process about ‘changes in another’s behavior increases the chances that others will notice, and then react to, an individual’s personal change.  And in turn their reaction will impact on the coachee, who responds accordingly and so on…. 

Principle four:  Belief in Potential.

Study after study has shown that if expectations are high, people are more likely to succeed.  Alternatively, if expectations are low, people will underachieve (the Pygmalion Effect).  In coaching, the Pygmalion effect is likely to come through in the way a coach works with the other person to set challenging and stretching goals, and explicitly helps them think about ways to maximize their unique potential.  A performance coach uses the Pygmalion effect to best advantage.

The Power of Performance Coaching…

Coaching is one of the few moments in life when someone is truly listened to Most people get few opportunities to be coached – surely you would want to make the most of that opportunity? 

If you think you or someone in your company would benefit from one-on-one performance coaching, please contact us to request more information.  Alternatively, contact me (mailto:dlangdon@nichmcb.com) and ask for our 10 Question Self-Assessment Tool that will help discover if a coaching solution is the right development option. 

The truly effective journey of self development is without doubt a ‘roller coaster ride’ of self-insight and change – and that ‘oscillating’ journey is the very one that gets results!

About the Author: 

David Langdon is the Lead Psychologist for Nicholson McBride, a firm of international business consultants based in Boston and London.
Email: mailto:dlangdon@nichmcb.com 
Telephone: (781) 741-8883. 

David Langdon joined the company in London in 1996 as a Leadership Development Specialist, and now leads the psychology practice of the firm in the North American office.  Before joining Nicholson McBride, he spent his early career as a Detective in the Metropolitan Police Service before returning to education and becoming a Chartered Occupational Psychologist in the UK.  David was elected as a teaching fellow at London University in Organizational Change.

David has worked with clients across a variety sectors in the Americas and Europe to help them improve business performance through developing leadership skills, reinforcing leadership teams, developing stronger organizations, and coaching managers to align their personal talents with the priorities of the businesses they lead.  

Clients include:

·         Audi

·         Freshfields

·         Central Government UK

·         AstraZeneca (US)

·         Gulf Oil

·         Liberty Mutual

·         Airbus

·         KPMG

·         TotalFinaElf

·         BP Castrol

·         Lloyds of London

·         Volkswagen of America


Is your workplace psychologically healthy? Do you encourage employee involvement, work-home balance, employee growth and health and safety? In April of 2004, the Wisconsin Psychological Association will present its first annual Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award. If your organization is interested in applying for the award to be given in 2005, drop me a line at mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com and I will be happy to help you apply. You can also obtain more information online at http://www.wipsychology.org. Psychological health is good for your employees and it is good for your organization.

Award winners in other states:

    Arkansas Educational Television Network          Arkansas
    Bell South                                                                  Kentucky
    Catholic Social Services of Alaska                        Alaska
    DSM Desotech                                                         Illinois
    MITRE Corporation                                                 Massachusetts
    Southwest Airlines                                                  Texas

To order your copy of the book, MANAGING DIFFICULT PERSONALITIES IN THE WORKPLACE: A Manager’s Practical Guide, by Dr. Paul Kenneth Glass, send your name, address, number of copies desired and a check made out to Dr. Paul Kenneth Glass for $12 per book (plus $2 shipping per book).  Or order 10 or more copies for $10 per book and $6.95 for shipping (up to 50 copies).  No fluff, this book gets right to the point. Send orders to:

Dr. Paul Kenneth Glass
Psychology for Business
2717 N. Grandview Blvd. #303
Waukesha, WI 53188   

Email: mailto:pglass@psychologyforbusiness.com

To order the booklet: 41 WAYS TO IMPROVE THE EMOTIONAL HEALTH OF YOUR WORKPLACE, by Dr. John Weaver send a check for $6 and a self-addressed, double stamped business size envelope to:

Dr. John Weaver
Psychology for Business
2717 N. Grandview Blvd. #303
Waukesha, WI 53188

To subscribe visit us at our website: http://www.psychologyforbusiness.com/.  If you would like to learn more about Dr. John Weaver (mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com), Dr. Lynda Dahlke (mailto:ldahlke@psychologyforbusiness.com), and Dr. Paul Glass (mailto:pglass@psychologyforbusiness.com) please visit us at our website.

© Copyright 2004. All rights reserved. David Langdon. Distribution rights: The above material is copyrighted, but you may retransmit or distribute it to whomever you wish as long as not a single word is changed, added or deleted, including the contact information. If you would like to reprint part of this newsletter please contact me at mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com to make arrangements.

Sharing this newsletter with colleagues and friends, under these conditions, is encouraged.

If you have a question or topic you would like to see covered, send your request to mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com.

Dr. John Weaver publishes another newsletter, co-authored by Darlene Weaver, THE CENTERED PENDULUMIt is our firm belief that lifelong patterns of “being” (personality, attitudes, emotions) and “doing” (lifestyle, adaptability, coping skills) interact with our genes and environment to create conditions of a healthy or a diseased brain.  If you would like to read previous issues of the Centered Pendulum newsletter or to subscribe, please visit the archives at http://www.centeredpendulum.org/newsletters.htm.