VOICE August 2017 - page 4

Employee Motivation and Engagement
AI software to monitor the mood of employees is also
being developed. By monitoring e-mails and other
messages AI can determine whether the tone is posi-
tive or negative. Managers can be alerted to any
changes and can find out the potential reasons why.
Overall mood for the whole organization can be mon-
itored to check levels of motivation and engagement.
These applications require high levels of intrusion
such as monitoring e-mails, computer usage and loca-
tion trackers which can rightly raise concerns about
privacy. For AI to be beneficial to an organization it
needs to be used with care and sensitivity. Employ-
ees need to agree to this kind of monitoring and have
the right levels of reassurance which is more likely if
there is transparency about how AI is being used.
When this happens AI can be an important part of
creating a positive work culture to which people can
connect, and create the right environment to give
people the reassurance they need to be productive,
happy and content.
I was recently in contact with a client I coached some
10 years ago. At the time, this senior manager was in
a global role and was line managed by one of the Vice
Presidents of this multi-national organisation, who
was renowned across the business for being a ‘tough
cookie’ to work for. So, much of my coaching was
about developing my clients skills in upwards leader-
ship, to manage expectations and to influence suc-
cessfully. All went well. After six coaching sessions,
my client was much more confident and had devel-
oped the strategies to handle the day to day rough
and tumble of big business.
In our recent communication, my client talked to me
about his learning from the coaching sessions and
how he could continue to use this learning in his cur-
rent role, some 10 years on. He played back to me
two stories I had shared with him across the duration
of the coaching. Both were metaphors. The first was
the story about the two white water raft instructors
who took groups of people in inflatable boats down a
rapid infested river and how each boat came out the
other end of the stretch of river with different learn-
ing and energy levels.
The first instructor was all about getting down the
river in the fastest time and created high energy in
his team of inexperienced rafters. Every rapid was a
challenge and each member of the boat waited in an-
ticipation for the next rapid. The second instructor
took a different approach, preparing his team for
each rapid with plenty of information and advice, but
between rapids, when the river was calmer, inviting
them to look around and take in the scenery; the
plant and animal life. Well, I am sure you can hear
where I am going with this one and what learning my
client translated from his relationship with his boss?
He connected with the second raft instructor and
learnt to use reflection time to good effect and pre-
pared himself for what came next. He learnt how to
manage his energy levels, so he was well prepared for
any eventuality.
The second story was about a good friend of mine
who had experienced several challenges in her life,
and not known for her swearing, had developed an
anacronym for when the going got tough. She called
them AFLO’s – Another F*****G Learning Opportuni-
ty. AFLO’s for her were a way of reframing what was
often a difficult situation into a real opportunity for
learning, all without making the expletive. Again, my
client loved this story and has continued to use it as a
way of catching himself in the moment to quickly re-
frame his thinking and take learning from adverse
situations or periods of time.
The key for me is that 10 years on, my client is still
connecting his learning from the coaching we did to-
gether and relating this learning to his current situa-
tion. In my mind, that is self-leadership. He is self-
coaching and self-managing without the need for ad-
ditional support and continuing to learn as he goes.
What more could a coach or mentor ask for?
My slight dilemma with this is that my original train-
ing as a coach actively encouraged you to keep it
clean, to listen and to ask questions to raise aware-
ness and for the individual to take responsibility. As
my practice has evolved over the past 17 years, I have
had the confidence to
spice it up
a bit by using a varie-
ty of stories, not too many, making sure there is al-
ways the possibility that the metaphor will connect
and strengthen the learning.
This recent experience also highlights for
me the power of storytelling to engage the hearts and
minds of people. Whether we are coaching and men-
toring someone, or leading in our organisations, sto-
rytelling is a powerful leadership skill.
Spicing It Up!
By Nathan Morgan
By Karen Frost
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