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December 2013 Meeting Summary

Category: Newsletter
Published Date Written by Keith Harasyn

Science based coaching with Marc Lacoursière, President Achievement Centre

Martin_Hettwer_with_Marc_LacoursireOn Thursday, December 12, 2013, ASQ London presented Marc Lacoursière, a certified business coach with over 30 years of experience in leadership positions in small, medium and global sized companies.  His expertise includes strategy, leadership, sales operations, and franchise management.


Science based coaching means bridging the gap between knowing what to do and doing it.  It includes both types of factors: ones that are measurable and the 'softer' skills, that are harder to quantify, sometimes referred to as 'people' skills.  Marc began his presentation by soliciting audience experience with barriers to achieving results.  Feedback on barriers included procedures that are not followed leading to unexpected results. 
"if only there weren't any employees to mess things up, I'd be the perfect leader"
In terms of Business Achievement, most challenges relate to 'people' challenges; helping companies develop leadership skills can solve many organizational problems. Company culture and office dynamics often contributes to uncertainty; in response, strong leadership skills help a leader to navigate through these challenging issues.
Marc recalled the Little League Manager's ideal team, "The best team is a team of 9 orphans".  A team uncomplicated by meddling parents and with the full attention of the players who long to belong to a cohesive group.  In reality, leaders must deal with different personalities and adapt to unique situations every day.

Leadership Defined

2013-12-12_meeting_roomA concise definition of leadership is effective execution through others.  This makes effective communication the most critical factor contributing to a leader's success.  Marc demonstrated the power of communication with a quick exercise.  He read a simple story that contained many specific observations, while leaving out key points; the listener then used assumptions, interpretation and bias to paint a picture of events in the story.  This was followed by a 12 question quiz with three options for each question: yes; no; and don't know.  It was revealing how much we assume to be true (or false) based on our perception of the character of a person.  More often than not, our own assumptions lead to inaccurate conclusions; clearly not the outcome we desire.  We often act a certain way based on miscommunication.

Listening: the key to Communication

ForgettingCurveMany leaders think they communicated clearly, however there are many opportunities for miscommunication; the message could be wrong; the message could be interpreted incorrectly; or there could be other barriers to communication, including our inability to recall key points.  Hermann Ebbinghaus extrapolated the hypothesis of the exponential nature of forgetting in his 1885 paper Uber das Gedachtnis (translated into English as Memory: A Contribution to Experimental Psychology).  He postulated that our forgetfulness with the passage of time can be explained with a memory equation based on a logarithmic function related to time over the relative strength of memory.  He also demonstrated, somewhat intuitively, that forgetfulness can be lessened through active recall exercises and review of the subject material.  As leaders how many times do we follow-up with training and instruction?  Does training consist of a one-time presentation then the employee is considered 'trained' and on their own?  Or do we actively support our people, offering to review key steps when required?  Again, this emphasizes the skill of effective listening by asking questions and making connections.

Where to Start?

A typical baseline is achieved through assessment, such as perception analysis.  Recall our assumptions when knowing only part of a story; to know where we are going we need to figure out where we are.  With perception analysis, some caution is advised; often a 360 Report can be dangerous in the wrong hands.  A 360 Report consists of measuring the perception of the person, the person's manager, and the person's peers.  To be effective, the information must be kept confidential and used for improvement and development; otherwise it can be career limiting to reveal honest answers to a vindictive superior.  A 270 Report is similar but involves the person and the person's manager only.  The 180 Report involves the person and the person's peers only.  The Psychometric Report is administered to only the employee.  In each case, a benchmark is used to compare the scores of an employee to someone who has had previous success in a similar position. 
Once the scores are known, steps are taken to mitigate the weaknesses (up to a reasonable degree) and grow the strengths.
A 2013 Bowling Green University Study showed that Direct Reports, where a person's subordinates assess the employee's performance had the highest correlation with future promotion. Credibility, desire, skills and capacity correlated with turnover.  Ironically, subordinate input is the least likely to be considered when evaluating a Manager.  The Self and Senior Manager scores did not correlate with any of the outcomes.

Employee Engagement

When test results are compared across companies and industries, a common trend appears: employee engagement is the single largest indicator of performance of a company, higher than compensation and all other factors.  Employee engagement can best be achieved by fitting the right person with the right job.  This is a scientific process involving such tools as the Personal Management Coaching Survey (PMC) and the Prevue Psychometric Assessment.  Benchmarks of high performers in the same role allow a recruiter to find the best match when comparing potential candidates.
Using Science Based Psychometrics
A Harvard study showed that companies that used Psychometric methods were 5 times more likely to keep employees for at least 14 months than companies that did not use Psychometrics.  Once selected, coaching and experience helps to develop new employees into high performers.  Properly trained leaders contribute to the bottom line, keeping high performers engaged and developing new talent.  In a CTV study, 90% of top managers credited a former boss as having an inspirational effect on their own success.

Coaching vs Mentoring

Coaching is not advice giving.  It involves a belief system of:

  • accountability 
  • formal relationships
  • confidentiality
  • broad spectrum of instruction and feedback (can be profession or personal)


  • Less formal than coaching
  • has narrower focus (than coaching)
  • less accountability
  • may not be be confidential

Factors in Success - Key Points

Effect on Performance
effect due to organizational climate - 30%
effect due to leadership/coaching - 70%
Return on investment (ROI) of Coaching
Compare manager who score higher than average in coaching effectiveness receive 62% more business than under performing coaches.
Impact on performance - calculated ROI
ROI = (Adjusted ROI - Program Cost)/(Program Cost) x 100%
example ROI calculation = (96750 - 15000)/(15000) x 100% = ROI - 545%

Overall Effect

Team managers taht become effective coaches display four main qualities that are critical for coaching:

  • credibility
  • desire
  • skills
  • capacity


In Summary

Marc_LacoursiereMarc Lacoursière, President Achievement Centre presented a succinct and informative presentation on using science based coaching to improve performance.  Marc can be contacted to arrange a personal meeting through the Achievement Centre International, 496 Adelaide Street North, London, ON 519.663.8840. e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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