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Press Release | Education

Press Release: Strategy For Coaches 2011 Webcast Schedule

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Strategy For Coaches provides periodic fee-free webcasts on topics related to strategy and geared towards professional coaches. Strategy For Coaches has announced the webcast schedule for calendar year 2011.
The webcast scheduled for 1st Quarter 2011 will focus on Coopetition: The Synthesis Of Competition And Cooperation and discuss how this concept can be applied to the coaching business. Traditional business strategy is organized around competition––win/lose models fueled by market share frameworks. Western culture encourages and sometimes requires competition in order to succeed, so we rarely question whether there are alternatives to competing with others.

A careful examination of nature shows both competitive and cooperative behavior.  It is quite common for organisms to not only compete but also cooperate with one another, often times simultaneously.  Members of a species may hunt in packs (cooperation) while also fighting for alpha status within the pack (competition).  Particular behaviors exist on a continuum of pure competition on one end and pure cooperation on the other.

Ray Noorda, founder of the networking software company Novell, noticed a similar phenomenon in the business world. He coined the term coopetition to represent this.  Coopetition, a synthesis of the words competition and cooperation, was designed to convey the dynamic relationship between the two concepts.  Business often involves cooperation to create the market (the pie) and competition to divide up the market (one’s slice).

Games-as-business metaphor is common. A game is simply a situation in which players engage in an artificial conflict, defined by rules, that results in a quantifiable outcomes.  Game theory is the study of rational behavior in contested environments and offers scientific principles that can be used to predict the actions of others.  Real-life situations are often extremely complicated and game theory only provides a model of that complexity. Despite its limitations, game theory has proven extraordinary useful in providing information for developing strategy. The biggest opportunities and the biggest profits have consistently come not to those who play the game best, but to those who play the right game.  Changing the game can be accomplished by changing any of the key elements that comprise the game. Game theory coupled with the concept of coopetition has resulted in new possibilities for profit by changing the game being played and is worth a careful look.

Most coaching businesses today are still comprised of solo practitioners, although the trend for group practices is gaining ground.  Solo practitioners are at a particular disadvantage due to the significant number of non-billable hours required to run any coaching firm.  A smart business strategy that leverages coopetition could be just the prescription for success.  This webcast will begin with a thorough introduction to coopetition and game theory, discuss numerous real world examples and finish with ideas for profitably applying the knowledge to the coaching business.

The webcast scheduled for 2nd Quarter 2011 will focus on the Blue Ocean Strategy.  An amazing strategy for creating new markets through value innovation has been dubbed the Blue Ocean Strategy after a book by that name from W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne.

Most companies try to outperform their rivals through incremental changes in price or quality - assessing what their competitors do and striving to do the same things better.  As the market space becomes more crowded, supply overtakes demand causing products and services to become commoditized, encouraging price wars and rapid feature duplication among rivals.  Markets that are well explored and already crowded with competitors are called "red oceans".  They are called red because the only way to increase profits is by taking away market share from the competition.  This usually results in bloody battles where few companies emerge unscathed.  

“Blue oceans” on the other hand represent uncontested market space - pools of demand and customers that have not been reached by any competitor.  Blue oceans have always been around.  Just look back a few decades, and you will find that many industries we now take for granted – such as mobile communications or biotechnology – that simply didn't exist.  Technological advances represent one reason blue oceans are developed, but another one is creative thinking that discards conventional wisdom and current product/service design.

Through intuition, trial and error or just plain luck, people stumble on strategies that have a proven track record of success.  Although not likely intentional, the Blue Ocean Strategy was the strategy that started the coaching profession.  After a thorough introduction to the Blue Ocean Strategy, the remainder of the webcast will show how a more complete implementation of the strategy could make the coaching profession far more lucrative for coaches while providing clients with an even better value proposition.

The webcast scheduled for 3rd Quarter 2011 will focus on Evidence Based Coaching.  The term evidence based coaching was coined by Anthony M. Grant to distinguish between professional coaching that is firmly grounded in a theoretical knowledge base from coaching that was developed from anecdotal and other observations.  The concept of evidence based practice grew out of the medical field and is important in psychology, management and other fields besides coaching.

Evidence based practice requires that the practitioner use the best knowledge available, integrate this knowledge with their own expertise and skillfully apply this knowledge in the current context while considering the needs, values and preferences of their client.  It is also critical to assess the effectiveness of any intervention.  Fundamental questions that must be examined include what constitutes evidence, how to bridge the divide between theory and practice and how to access effectiveness.  The webcast addresses these important questions.

The coaching field presents an additional level of complexity since fundamental issues, both theoretical and practical, divide the various approaches to coaching which range from goal-oriented approaches to cognitive development approaches among many others.  Not all approaches work equally well with all coaching situations.  This challenge is not unique to evidence based coaching.  Many prominent academics have leveled stinging criticisms regarding the field of strategy.  One target has been the bitter battles that have yet to be resolved between the various schools of strategy.  The other target is the perceived gap between research and practice, which is particularly troublesome for a field which should have such enormous practical impact.  New comprehensive systems have been developed for practicing strategists that are directly applicable to addressing the many similar challenges within the coaching profession.  The remainder of the webcast discusses this vital topic.

The webcast scheduled for 4th Quarter 2011 will focus on cognitive development. The ability of an individual to manage complexity is a function of their cognitive processing.  In 1984 Hunter & Hunter  published a comprehensive study that showed cognitive ability was the number one predictor of successful job performance whereas experience came in fifth.  

Most cognitive growth in adults involves learning new facts, skills and ways of doing things. This is often referred to as horizontal development, in contrast to vertical development, which is less common and refers to how we change our interpretation of experience and transform our views of reality. For years, researchers postulated that vertical development consisted of several stages, with each stage characterized by a more comprehensive, differentiated and effective meaning-making system, set of mental models and worldview.  Today, most researchers use the metaphor of a web and not a ladder in order to portray cognitive development as a complex process of dynamic construction within multiple ranges in multiple directions.

Cognitive development has important implications for both strategists and coaches. David Rooke and William Torbert studied organizational development efforts for over 10 years and found that the success of a firm is tightly correlated to the development stage of the CEO.  Businesses with CEOs who measured at the strategist developmental stage on a diagnostic test consistently grew in size, profitability, quality and reputation.  

Several coaching instructors have postulated that the development level of a coach can limit his or her effectiveness.  They have also postulated that a coach-client relationship where the coach is at a lower developmental level than the client would not advisable since the coach would be unable to see the limitations of their present stage before having transcended it.  If the developmental levels of coaches are in the same statistical percentages as the general population, this would pose an issue worthy of attention.

This webcast will summarize what is currently known about cognitive development in adults.  Several studies have shown that a type of learning, called transformational learning, facilitates cognitive development.  The webcast will also look at transformational learning – what it is, how to do it and why it is believed to facilitate cognitive development.  The ability to think better will soon become the most significant competitive advantage any individual can claim.

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