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Decision Focus + Situational Leadership: Tools for High Impact Decision Making

Learn and apply our FOCUS tools from our Coach, Heather Tibbles-Vassilev.




The Focus Elite Coaching Corner is a series written by our Senior Coach, Heather Tibbles-Vassilev. Learn more about Heather and who she serves here.


Welcome back readers! If you missed my last post where I called myself the swiss army knife of consulting, you're in luck. Today we're talking more about how our tools help serve clients such as yourself.


Last week I attended my first module of ICF Coach certification training with iPEC. Learning always makes me think, and I left with the questions: "How do you know when to train, when to coach, when to advise and when to support? What is the right tool for the right situation?" Or in Decision Focus Language: "Choose Best Model for Client.”


One of the basic principles I learned in Decision Focus® training 15 years ago was the practical concept of separating needs and wants in order to prevent the multiple forms of bias that can lead to poor decision making. Decision Focus delivers effective strategies to minimize bias in decision making. The first step is to acknowledge biases exist and that they are real threats. Second, use a decision-making process that uncovers errors in thinking before they become disasters in judgment. The process should allow you to accurately assess the decision situation, apply sound reasoning and logic to the analysis, be visible and easy to communicate.


What reasoning should I use to choose the right model for each client?

How do I remove bias from this selection process?

How do the client and I decide what they need?


How Decision Focus Complements SLII I remembered Situational Leadership II (SLII), based on a model from Hersey and Blanchard. For those not familiar with this model, SLII helps you diagnosis the development level of an associate based on their competence and commitment level for each task. A manager can choice the appropriate directive or supportive behavior to help them succeed – basically, a decision to "Choose Best Development Model.” There are four development styles and four Leadership Styles to support.


Here is how the tools intersect for me:

If the client needs Directions, Solutions and Information, I may choose a training style. If the client need is more focused on Questions, Listening and Validation, then I choose a coaching style. And since SLXII focused on the task, the needs might change throughout the client session! It might be a mixture of styles based on how the client directs the conversation. Again, we return to what the client needs.


But wait, how to determine what a client needs?

Do I just assess that on my own?

How do I remove bias of where I think someone is in the SLII model?


This reminded me of a second tendent of successful decision making from Decision Focus: the use of inquiry. Successful leaders know the best way to manage important decisions is the inquiry process. The goal is not to persuade someone to adopt a given point of view but instead to come to agreement on the best course of action. Inquiry encourages critical thinking. Inquiry also makes assumptions visible and provides a collaboration environment to empower the client towards the outcome they need.


It's amazing when you pause and realize that you already have the tools to help clients move forward....when the concept of the tool becomes part of your logical thought process.


Want to learn more about our Decision Focus courses? Bundle the suite together for a discounted price, or contact us to schedule a training workshop for your team!


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