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On the last weekend of the autumn semester of the Leadership Academy, Marcell Déri, a work and organization psychologist, management and business coach, and a family therapist, shared his knowledge and experience of coaching processes with the students of the training. During the weekend’s joint thinking, he talked about leadership dilemmas, and even simulated an in-house selection process on Saturday.

The recurring motif of the weekend was to systematize and clarify the thoughts that arose in connection with the word 'coaching', as well as to gain a deeper understanding of the coaching process. To do this, we used different methods to compare, examine the tools of the process, and how a coach can provide assistance in the event of leadership dilemmas.

Friday’s opening presentation featured an interactive and unusual presentation aimed at tuning participants to the theme and relaxing the atmosphere. We then clarified the differences between psychological therapy, mentoring, and coaching, so we learned that the coaching process is present-oriented, emphasizing positive traits and experiences to help individuals or groups through relatively few but effective opportunities. Also on Friday, we were introduced to the concept of the I-GROW model, which provides well-defined steps for going through the coaching process. In addition, we received a large number of well-proven questions used in a coaching environment to gain a deeper understanding of what was heard.

On Saturday morning, Marcell Déri, ​​with the involvement of one of the students, presented a typical coach-client conversation, which he stopped several times, analyzing with the students how the conversation is going and where it's worth to direct it towards, thus raising awareness of the process. During the conversation, he first asked the volunteer student to tell us about himself, then step by step asked about his strengths, creating a confident atmosphere, and finally explored the areas to be improved through positive feedback and examples. After that, the next step was to formulate the goal precisely, to examine its reality, and then to define the first step of the path to the goal. At the end of the 15-20-minute conversation, all participants responded to what they heard, drawing conclusions together. For the rest of the weekend, under the leadership of the presenter, we switched to the topic of leadership dilemmas and gathered what qualities we think a good leader and a bad leader have.

In addition to sharing his personal experiences, Marcell Déri emphasized that the organizational leadership and environment fundamentally determine the required leadership competencies, but stressed that self-discipline is a universal leadership trait. Continuing this, he said that the leader’s biggest problem is himself or his constant dilemma of whether what he is doing is good.

The presenter also touched upon family businesses, showing through examples the importance of precisely defining roles in these special situations. He also mentioned the presence of the often-observed informal leader and drew attention to the importance of recognizing and dealing with such situations.

The weekend ended with a simulation, in the framework of which a selection and succession case was processed in group form. In doing so, we envisioned ourselves in the position of a department head, and after our promotion, we had to appoint our successor to the vacant department head position. We discussed the possible choices together and then everyone made their own decision. In front of the group, we presented our personal answers to the questions of: Whom did you choose? What would you develop on it? and How would this affect the department? One of the main lessons of the weekend was when the presenter explained that based on his experience that person would be chosen in such situations who was not voted for by any of the participants in the training. We went through the reasons for this in detail and received satisfactory answers to the many questions that arose.

Over the weekend, we dealt with many issues that may have been articulated in us before, but clarifying them and discussing them in detail made our knowledge of the topic more solid and systematic. From what has been said, it should be highlighted that we consider each employee as a resource that can be developed, and the coaching method is an effective way to achieve the desired goals. Of the various competencies, motivation is paramount, and the universal characteristic of a good leader is self-discipline.

András Zábó, MCC Leadership Academy