Know thyself? Self-concept can crack under pressure

People with high self-knowledge are more likely to doubt themselves under questioning than those with a low self-concept. In a new study, Jean Guerrettaz and Robert Arkin found that the confidence of self-proclaimed self-knowers is more fragile than expected. The researchers asked 91 undergraduates at Ohio State University in the US,to fill out a questionnaire about their confidence in their self-knowledge (“self-concept clarity”), and then to provide 10 traits to answer the question: “Who am I?” The students were then given the challenge of providing either two or eight examples of when in life they’d shown what they considered to […]

Corporate focus on ‘wellness’ is unhealthy

Is corporate ‘wellness’ making you sick? A relentless focus on health and happiness in the workplace could be making employees feel worse not better. And it could lead to perfectly competent candidates being overlooked for a job because they are deemed ‘not fit enough’. The claims have been made in a new book, The Wellness Syndrome, by André Spicer and Carl Cederström, academics from Cass Business School, City University London and Stockholm University, Sweden. “For many years, governments have attempted to control how much people eat and drink, whether we smoke and exercise, and how happy we feel,” said Professor […]

Self-reinforcing self-talk makes for confident speakers

Confident public speakers tend to be less self-focused and self-critical in the days before they step on stage, compared with anxious speakers, research shows.  Xiaowei Shi and his colleagues surveyed nearly 200 students on a public speaking course at Middle Tennessee State University in the US. The researchers approached the students after they’d given two public presentations on the course and were soon to give their third. The students answered questions about how much they’d engaged in self-talk in the preceding days, and about how much anxiety they feel towards public speaking. Women tended to be more nervous than men. […]

Retaliation gives employees co-worker respect

Employees with hostile bosses feel less like victims when they retaliate, according to research by Ohio State University. “Before we did this study, I thought there would be no upside to employees who retaliated against their bosses, but that’s not what we found,” said Bennett Tepper, lead author of the study and professor of management and human resources at the Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business. “The best situation is certainly when there is no hostility. But if your boss is hostile, there appear to be benefits to reciprocating. Employees felt better about themselves because they didn’t just sit […]

Coaching corridors of opportunity

RESEARCH ‘Coachable moments’ play an important part in coaching cultures, yet research in Australia shows that managers consider informal settings too much of a risk Australian managers are failing to take advantage of informal ‘coachable moments’ with their staff, citing time constraints, concerns about insufficient skills and relationship issues, preferring instead to conduct ‘less risky’ formal coaching with employees in a structured setting. Christina Turner of Queensland University of Technology and Grace McCarthy of Sydney Business School, University of Wollongong, interviewed 10 managers from a regional university in Australia, from 24 who had attended coaching awareness training in the preceding […]


Leading benchmark IMD business school in Switzerland has launched the IMD Global Leader Index, to help executives benchmark their leadership capabilities and identify areas for future development. By taking a short survey, executives get an overview of how they compare to thousands of other executives globally at their level and which capabilities they could strengthen. Executives can share their Index with colleagues and networks, including through LinkedIn.   Be yourself The UK economy could save more than $1 billion (£650 million) annually by better implementing diversity and inclusion organisational policies for LGBT staff. The data, from the world’s largest […]

Coaching common currency at NHS Trust

It took senior buy-in to get internal coaching off the ground at Whittington Healthcare NHS Trust, London. “We thought people would be queuing up to become skilled coaches but momentum was slow. Once we got senior people to help engage with key stakeholders, people caught the coaching bug,” said the trust’s leadership coach Rai Gallo. Now some 700 people have been trained in coaching skills and “if everyone who’s been trained has coaching style conversations, coaching will touch 2,000 people. We’re starting to see coaching become common currency.” Coaching, he said, is not done in isolation. “It underpins and is […]

Leaders beware the shadow side

Exploring emotions and the ‘dark side’ of leadership is becoming more important in leadership coaching as the amount of power wielded by leaders continues to grow, said Erik de Haan. So, too, is exploring happiness and working with mindfulness, he told delegates at the NHS LLA Coaching & Mentoring Summit in February. Professor De Haan said: “Growing wealth inequality may lead to an Arab Spring-like revolution in the West…I find it worrying how much leaders still get paid after the financial crisis… and there are parallels in leadership with a growth in managerial discretion – the amount of power leaders […]

Should we coach men and women differently?

CONFERENCE ROUNDUP NHS London Leadership Academy (LLA) Coaching & Mentoring Summit, London, 4 February 2015 By Liz Hall Coaching the potential differences between women and men can help women navigate the “glass labyrinth”, said Lis Merrick. In her controversial keynote at the NHS LLA Coaching & Mentoring Summit in February, Merrick encouraged delegates to explore whether they coached men and women differently. Delegates included NHS internal and external coaches. Their responses included: (from a female) “Our opinion doesn’t matter; it’s all about the client in front of us”; (from a male) “The impact of having a family and career is a […]

News In Brief

Disabling matters One in five people in the UK feels awkward meeting a disabled person, while 82 per cent say there should be more training at work to ensure employees feel confident about working with disabled people, reveals a poll commissioned by the Disability Matters Consortium, which has also launched a website as an e-learning resource. “We strongly encourage organisations, services and businesses to use these sessions to design additional training for their workforces and volunteers – by doing so, we can begin to bring attitudes towards disability out of the dark ages,” said Dr Karen Horridge, clinical lead for […]