get what u negotiate

I recently attended a class as part of my graduate studies in Executive Leadership. I have always thought of myself as a decent negotiator and this class expanded my thinking on the topic. As Leigh Thompson says in her book, The Truth About Negotiations, “any time meeting your goals requires the cooperation of others, you must negotiate.” Negotiation happens on a daily basis and I hope my take-aways from negotiations class will be useful to you as a leader and/or a coach:
1. Think of “others” alternatives versus merely focusing on self. When entering a negotiation conversation, we often think about what we have as alternatives (i.e. what will happen if I don’t get what I am negotiating for)? Next time you are negotiating, put yourself in the shoes of the person you are negotiating with and ask yourself, “What are their alternatives? Why might they be interested or not in what you are negotiating for?” The key here is to put yourself in “others” shoes and consider their perspective in addition to your own. This will give you more to mull over when preparing for a negotiation.
2. When considering “others” point of view, think about their interests versus their position. What are their motivators, desires, needs and fears? It is these interests that help define the problem and the position. By separating the interests out it opens the door for bigger possibilities. A position is typically singular versus interests are multiple.
3. Always tell the truth. Apart from the obvious moral and ethical reasons for telling the truth. The worst position you can be in when negotiating and lying (or exaggerating the truth) is having the other side call your bluff. There is too much at stake; like your reputation.
4. Preparation is key. Perhaps the greatest learning for me is to prepare and over prepare when negotiating. As Fisher and Ury describe in their book, Getting to Yes, you need to figure out: interests, options, standards, people and alternatives for every negotiation. The main benefit in preparation is the psychological support you get from coming to a negotiation conversation prepared. Whether the negotiation is simple or complex, it requires confidence. Preparation builds confidence.
We joked in our class that “negotiation” should have just as many credits (hours) as “finance” does in our master’s program because to be able to negotiate and get your interests heard and supported in the organization will steer your success. I believe negotiation is a skill that all leaders should continue to master.

Executive shifts focus from business to leadership

I recently interviewed an executive who had just completed a year of coaching.  This executive is a President and in addition to receiving coaching, he also utilized our coach to help him with his leadership team doing team chartering among other things.  One of the learning’s that came from the coaching was his shift in development focus.  He said, “I have always been a student of ‘business’ and it’s probably one of the contributors to my success.  I am now a student of ‘leadership’.  I realized, through coaching and working with my team, that as the President of my company, I need to focus my time on how I am leading others and it’s through leadership that I will be successful.”  We are in the people development business and to see an executive have this kind of shift is really gratifying.  For years Ken Blanchard has been talking about the research that proves that it is inspiring ‘people’ and engaging others to perform that make leaders successful.  Do you think all successful leaders truly believe it?  I meet many who don’t, but I do hope that they in time begin their journey of being a student of ‘leadership.’

Boss’s Feedback During Executive Coaching: Pro or Con?

Asking a manager to provide feedback to shape the coaching focus – is it always necessary?  Some clients would dispute and others would agree.  What do you think?

We recommend managers come to a coaching session early in the coaching relationship and share their thoughts and perceptions about the person being coached.  It can be something as simple as sharing what this person should start, stop and continue in their role as a leader in order to be successful in the organization.  We state this as a best practice and we leave it to the person being coached to drive this to take place.

Regardless of whether this takes places, ultimately the manager has the ability to impact salary, promotion, and more and why not give the manager the opportunity for input into the coaching? After all, the organization is paying for it.  What do you think?