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FCW : August 30, 2013
22 August 30, 2013 FCW.COM In preparing for a recent staff realignment, Kimberly Han- cher, CIO at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commis- sion, consulted her executive coach for some just-in-time training. "She gave me a quick tutorial on how people deal with change and the best ways to communicate the change," Hancher told FCW. As a result, when she announced the realignment to her employees, she made sure to immediately address what the new structure meant for each person and to present clear and honest reasons for the change. She also established of ce hours one afternoon a week so employees would feel free to stop by and ask questions or share their concerns. Her executive coach s suggestions were invaluable for smoothing the transition. "I wouldn t have thought of these kinds of things," Hancher said. As you move up the chain of command, you will increas- ingly nd that the skills and behaviors that propelled you to your current level no longer suf ce to handle the new challenges you confront. Leadership training and executive coaching can ll the gap by helping you develop new skills, competencies and techniques, and by providing feedback and insights into handling dif cult situations. In these tight times, when many agencies are slashing training budgets and giving closer scrutiny to education and travel proposals, it is more important than ever for federal leaders to seize control of career development and look for opportunities to develop the exibility and creativity needed for mission success in an uncertain environment. "From an internal federal government employee s per- spective, it s easy to say it s very hard," said Van Hitch, a senior adviser at Deloitte Consulting and former CIO at the Justice Department. "They really do need to take charge of their career and look for opportunities." The career development pyramid Think of professional development as a pyramid: Early in your career, you participate in broad training with large groups of people, and as you rise through the ranks, you need more targeted and strategic coaching, said Stewart Liff, a consultant, teacher and author of numerous books, including "Managing Government Employees." "As you move up the pyramid, it s more systems- driven, more communication [and] how you manage people, build relationships and forge alliances," Liff said. "Execu- tive coaching is more for people at the higher end of the pyramid." Executive coaching not only teaches competencies but also offers the opportunity to meet your counterparts in other divisions and agencies, which helps you develop a broader perspective and a stronger professional network. Executive coaches are especially appropriate when you have a speci c challenge to overcome, such as a new role or a complex undertaking to manage. "From a leadership course you re going to get some very good tools and approaches and case studies, but if you have something you really want to work on or a barrier you have to overcome...you really need to look to a coach," said Susan Grunin, CEO of Think Strategic Consulting, an executive coaching and leadership development rm. If you re somewhere in the middle of the pyramid, start by taking advantage of the training opportunities at your own agency, where leadership development will be taught in the context of the agency s mission. Your supervisor or Yo u r Career Leadership training in a time of lean budgets BY KATHERINE REYNOLDS LEWIS Now more than ever, it is vital for federal managers to invest in their own professional development
August 15, 2013
September 15, 2013