Leadership Coaching with Physical Activities and the Energy Patterns

Posted by Anthony Attan

Jan 18, 2012 5:50:00 PM

Blog rewind: We went back to our archives to bring you our most popular posts from the old blog.  Here is a Q & A written by Ginny Whitelaw, titled "Coaching Clients on Physical Activities for the Patterns."  Enjoy!

Q: How, in an actual coaching session, do you recommend physical activities for developing a pattern, beyond just looking over a list of them?

A: It’s a great question, and one that I invite other coaches to share their experience on as well. For in landing on the right practices by which our clients can cultivate this or that pattern, we make the patterns deeply personal for our clients, and HOW we do that is deeply personal for us as coaches. This is how I do it: start with exactly where the client is starting:

What are you interested in?

What do you love to do?

What renews you?

What did you used to make time for that you no longer do?

These are the sorts of questions I might ask. And then I listen deeply for whether they know what’s good for them or are they lost? In particular, is there something they name that could be done in the energy of the pattern they want to cultivate? And can we identify some strengths that will help them strengthen a weak pattern?

For example, one client, I’ll call her Margie, was a strong Driver and wanted to develop more Visionary. Other things I knew about Margie was she had a strong sense of responsibility (i.e., especially not letting others down), her health was starting to fail, and she was Driver-determined to “make war” (her words) on getting her life back. When I asked her about practices already in her life, she said she used to go to the gym and weightlift, but didn’t have time for it anymore – classic Driver! – but she knew she needed to get back to it. She also loved cooking, gardening, just being out in nature, but didn’t have time for those things either.

Already she had given me plenty of clues. We talked about converting her “make war” determination into committed time for a renewing practice. Using her Driver strength and sense of responsibility, I suggested keeping score (“Give yourself a point each day that you stick to your commitment, and set a target for, say, 70 points this quarter. Make a bet with a friend. If you don’t hit 70 points by end of the quarter, you owe her something you’ve agreed on.”)

Now that we had a wedge of time, how could Margie best fill it? She wanted to get back to weightlifting a couple times a week, and I told her that was great, but don’t expect that to develop the Visionary. It would be important renewal time for her, however, and would keep refreshing her “make war” determination, so I didn’t try to talk her out of it. “In addition,” I asked, and this is where the pattern activity lists come in, “Would you consider Tai Chi once a week? Done with a friend (whom she wouldn’t want to let down, of course!). In general, this is where in a coaching conversation I might bring out the lists. Do any of these speak to you? Which of these are you already doing? Which are you curious about?

As for Tai Chi and Margie, she said she would think about it, but in a way that made me think she’d do nothing more than think about it. But the seed was planted, I let it go. In the meantime, gardening was already a passion (and on the Visionary list); could she commit to an hour a week being one with her garden? And doing it in a sort of Visionary way – creating, making spaces, feeling into the nature of what wants to happen in a semi-shaded part of her yard? She was quite charged about this possibility, and I could hear it would have enough energy to get started. She also wanted to add a Visionary walk at lunch through a park near where she worked – a midday refresher that would also spark ideas for her own garden. Twenty minutes for her walks, an hour a week for her gardening, weightlifting twice a week, and a bet with a friend wrapped around all of it – a perfect starting practice for this Driver!

So there is a place for the lists – i.e., those development activities listed in the end of chapters in Move to Greatness, or in the Development Recommendations of a FEBI report – but I suggest not starting with them, but rather starting with where our client starts, listening for how we can build on strengths and current passions, and making connections to what we hear will resonate for him or her.



Topics: FEBI, Focus Energy Balance Indicator, Coaching Tool, FEBI Certified Coach, leadership coaching, leadership, leadership development, change management, energy, managing energy

FEBI Coaching Tool

Posted by Anthony Attan

Jan 11, 2012 8:33:00 AM

The coaching profession continues to grow.  A recent global survey found that 77% of organizations around the world are currently using coaches to develop their workforce (Coaching at Work, Vol. 6.6, 2011).  As the coaching profession grows, so does the need to differentiate your coaching approach and ensure great coaching.  The question is: what coaching approach will set you apart and deliver the most value to your clients?  How do you ensure you are delivering great coaching that is the right fit for your clients and meets their goals?

If you’re anything like me you’ve heard a range of theories, from a focus only on one’s strengths to only fixing one’s faults.  For me, these have always felt like half the story for real leadership development. Why not help people best utilize their strengths AND help them overcome the hurdles their weaknesses may present. Besides, I’ve found that when people overuse their strengths, those very strengths become a weakness (think of managers who are so detail minded that they don’t see the forest for the trees).  In addition, most approaches focus only from the head up, mostly interested in the different ways we think.  This, again, seems like a partial approach when research tells us how important other elements are to leadership effectiveness, such as how we sense our environment, our emotions, body language, health, and even physical movement. 

This need for a whole approach to coaching is what first led me to the coaching tool called the FEBI® (Focus Energy Balance Indicator). The FEBI is the only validated psychometric assessment based on four fundamental patterns of the nervous system which show up in personality, cognition, emotions, physical movement and behavior.  Theoretically, we have all four of these patterns within us AND we also have preferences as to which we use most or least.  The FEBI measures those preferences, and also goes a step further (relative to traditional assessments), to prescribing what you can do to reach your full potential. 

My journey with FEBI has taken me to where I am now a consultant with the instrument’s developer, Focus Leadership, LLC, and now spend much of my time helping other coaches become FEBI Certified and showing them how to use the FEBI in their own coaching practices.  To the question raised earlier around how to ensure your approach is right for your client, the FEBI will allow you to start where the client is, in terms of these four energy patterns, and show where they likely need to go and how to get there. With this awareness, you can then work with your clients on how to effectively utilize these patterns in a whole way. Leaders who remain stuck only in their strengths or being “just the way they are” start getting marginalized or in trouble when the situation calls for something different (e.g., strategy vs. detail).  In today’s dynamic business environment, our clients count on us to help them learn and be as dynamic as the situations they face.  I’ve come to learn that means effectively using the right energy pattern at the right time. With FEBI Certification, we teach you how to coach your clients to do just that.  And it will, indeed set your coaching apart and help you deliver the greatest value to your clients.     

download-febi-coaching-guide                FEBI cert resized 600


Topics: FEBI, Focus Energy Balance Indicator, Coaching Tool, FEBI Certified Coach

Welcome to the FEBI Learning Lounge

The official FEBI blog

The FEBI Learning Lounge is the official blog of FEBI Assessment.  In this blog we discuss all things related to the energy patterns of FEBI, digging more into each of the patterns of personality and discussing various applications that can benefit from a pattern perspective.

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