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A real story about KBC's CTO true behavioral results.

Frank Demonie web‘Last year, during my annual appraisal with a board member, I was told that I had a couple of attention points, I needed to work on. It was suggested I would do so with a professional coach. Not long after this, HR asked me if I would be willing to pilot a new coaching partner with an innovative approach. Did I have a choice? :) My initial reaction was that I would be a good soldier and do whatever I was told, as long as the negative perception during the appraisal would be tackled.
 
I went online to learn a bit more about what coaching is really about and learned that the key to success / failure in any coaching engagement is my willingness to make it either a success or a failure. So, in my first and only face to face meeting with my coach Anne of eCoachPro, I went in with a total open, but positive mind-set. 
 
Already during the very first meeting, my coach was able to pinpoint a number of basic attention points that I could easily correct (how to sit in a chair and speak to someone). In that first meeting, she caught my attention. Anyhow, given the reading and the meeting, I decided for myself that I will give it my very best and that I will judge the effectiveness of the coaching engagement only at the end of it.

Watch the video 'How e-coaching changed this CTOs life' or read the blog.

Creating "SMART" goals

Early on in the process, my coach and I agreed 4 items for me to improve on. I must admit, the first weeks, I had to answer a lot of very direct questions that were going very deep into my soul. I admit, most of these questions, I probably would not even have discussed with my wife… It did certainly not feel easy, but I had promised myself that I would go all the way without obstructing in any form.
 
The way, these interactions with my coach work, is through the use of a "private online platform called Pluform.com". The coach asks me questions, and I answer them at my pace (in the evening, in the weekend). This allowed me to stay focused on my day-to-day job, while being able to take my time reflecting on the question & answer.

To the core of my soul

After about 3-4 weeks of questions & answers going to the heart of my soul, I started to realize that in order to work on my shortcomings, I needed to change my personal beliefs. It felt kind of a 5-Why exercise, but then going for the real root cause of me doing things the way I do.
 
As of then, we worked more practical towards improving the 4 objectives. My coach provided reading materials, YouTube videos, … and exercises I needed to do during the week. We also “Skyped” for about ½ hour each week as a part of the Technology Enhanced Coaching concept. 

Behavioral change in my daily practice

By combining on one side my understanding of the "why" I did things in a particular way and on the other side the "how" to improve things, I took every occasion at work to bring the theory into practice (after all practice is the best learning school). 
 
I also went "public" with my coaching engagement: I told many of my colleagues as well my family at home and asked all of them for constant feedback. Let's call this feedback loop, my constant monitor if indeed I was progressing. In consequence the coaching sessions, became more meaningful with each new session, as I was experiencing the progress (success) myself.
 
At the end of the coaching sessions (about a 4 month process), I obtained spontaneous input from various people that I had indeed changed significantly to the positive in several aspects and I also felt it for myself.

'No free lunch'

Thus, at the end of the journey, I can only recommend such "professional coaching" to everyone to overcome certain shortcomings and to ultimately perform better. However, I also want to make clear, that any such coaching engagement does not come as a free lunch. In my experience, key to success are:
  • Truly belief in a positive outcome

  • Open up completely – withholding anything, will not help you to come to the real root cause, therefore will prevent you to truly change.

  • Tell people around you – seek their help rather than potentially feeling ashamed that you need coaching. For those of us, that have tried to lose weight, you know that telling your objective to people increases your success ratio by > 90%. The same applies here with coaching and behavioural change. 

  • A coaching exercise is time consuming – if you do not spend the time, than no progress can happen. Any excuses of busy agendas are in the end just a matter of setting your priorities correct.
  • Bring theory into daily practice - to improve things, take every occasion at work to experiment with new behaviour, the eCoachPro approach with many contact moments is very helpful to make real steps and try new behavior in daily practice.  
I hope sincerely that through this blog, more of you will look at coaching as a positive way on how to improve. It certainly helped me a lot “and even I changed”! Which many people would not believe would ever be possible.’
 
Frank Demonie
CTO at KBC
 

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