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Strength-Based Leadership Coaching In Organizations
Strength-Based Leadership Coaching in Organizations
An Evidence-Based Guide to Positive Leadership Development

By Dr. Doug MacKie

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About the book
Positive organizational psychology, with its focus on the identification and development of strengths, is a natural ally to executive development and leadership coaching. However, this approach is only just beginning to come to the attention of organizations and consequently, the research base for strength-based coaching is in its early stages of development. Strength-based Leadership Coaching in Organizations reviews strength-based approaches to positive leadership development and evaluates the evidence for their effectiveness, critically assesses their apparent distinctiveness and considers how strengths can be reliably assessed and developed in their organizational context.

This book reviews key areas of leader and team development are reviewed and outlines and describes a model of strengths development in organizations. The application of strength-based leadership coaching will be discussed from the managerial and external perspective within the context of career stage, seniority, role challenges and organizational need in order to facilitate meaningful change. Finally, the limitations of the strength-based approach to leadership development will be discussed together with the challenges of integrating positive leadership development. Strength-based Leadership Coaching in Organizations will show the reader exactly what a strengths focus is and that there is increasing evidence that this approach does get results. Where other books in the field only focus on one model of identifying strengths, this title will offer a balanced and critical examination of the field, and show how to actually apply a positive strength-based approach.

Strength-Based Leadership Coaching in Organisations: An evidenced-based guide to positive leadership development
Dr. Doug MacKie Published by Kogan Page 2016

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 – An introduction to strength-based approaches in organisations.
Historical origins of the strength-based approach, current trends in positive leadership theory and development, coaching and positive psychology. Overcoming the negativity bias. Definitions of positive leadership. Rationale for a strength-based approach to developing leaders.

Chapter 2 – Strengths: definitions and models
What is a strength? How are they defined? Does it differ from talents and predispositions? Review of the existing strengths model – domains, capacities, traits and processes. How do strengths link to performance? Strengths overdone & strengths in context.

Chapter 3 - Positive Leadership Theories
The origins and evolution of leadership theory. History of positive leadership including transformational, authentic leadership, psychological capital and positive global leadership. Implicit leadership theories – mindsets and developmental readiness. How do strengths link to positive leadership? Outcomes in positive leadership development.

Chapter 4 – Strengths Identification & Assessment
Assessment in strength-based leadership coaching. Types of data- psychometric, interview & multi-rater. Review of self-report measures measuring strengths, Strengthfinder, the VIA, Realise 2 etc. The challenges of self-report data. How assessment impacts on development.

Chapter 5 – Evidence for the Effectiveness of Positive Approaches to Leadership Development
Levels of evidence in applied research. Review of the evidence for positive psychology interventions, positive leadership interventions and executive coaching. The challenges of coaching research – lack of outcome consensus, methodological heterogeneity, reliance on self-report data and protocol adherence. Mediators and moderators in coaching research. Strength-based leadership coaching as a coherent methodology.

Chapter 6 - Strengths Development
Development planning and developing professional expertise. Positive goal selection and prioritisation. Goals gone wild. Four core ways to develop strengths – awareness, utilisation, pairing and alignment. Matching technique to the level of strength utilisation. Managing weaknesses and derailers. Developing leadership specific strengths.

Chapter 7 - Coaching for Positive Leadership Development in Organisations
Assessing readiness for individual and organisational change. Mapping the stakeholders and socialising the coachee to the strength based approach. Managing delivery – coach, coachee and organisational success factors. Aligning goals with strategic imperatives. Ensuring visibility and sustainability of change. Conducting a leadership coaching evaluation.

Chapter 8 - Using Strength-Based Approaches as a Leader/Manager
Reviewing your strength-based coaching capability. Developing competence as a strength-based leader manager. Managing your biases and implicit theories of leadership. Extending the strength-based approach; positive appraisals, strength-based career planning, recruitment, engagement and motivation. Common objections to the implementation of a strength-based approach.

Chapter 9 - Using strengths-based approaches for Team Development
Theoretical underpinnings for a strength-based approach to team development. Team structure, maturity, leadership and process. Distributed leadership and high performing teams. Assessing team strengths through psychometrics. The positivity ratio controversy. Strength-based team coaching.

Chapter 10 – The context and limits of Strength-based Leadership coaching.
The context of a strength-based approach to leadership coaching. Horizontal and vertical leadership development. The limits of strength-based leadership coaching – research, practice, cultural, simplicity, ethical and political issues. Enough about leaders, what about followers? Developing as a strength-based leadership coach. Best practice strength-based leadership development.
Endorsements for Strength-Based Leadership Coaching

“This ground-breaking book provides a comprehensive and insightful discourse on Strength-Based Leadership Coaching in Organisations. Dr Doug MacKie has written a tour de force on this important and contemporary subject. “

Professor Stephen Palmer, President, International Society for Coaching Psychology

"My frustration over the years with buying and participating in leadership development programs is not knowing which bits really work. Doug combines his skill of being a first-rate leadership coach with a research-rich approach to cut through to what really matters. This book is equally applicable to practitioners as it is to leaders who want to practically understand what they can do to improve organisational performance."

Guy Templeton
President & CEO, Asia Pacific
WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff

“This is a book that needed to be written. It not only nails down the lid on the coffin of deficit-based leadership development, but provides a pragmatic and practical agenda for moving to a strengths-based approach at both individual and corporate level. A must read for anyone serious about building the capacity of existing and future leaders to manage in a complex and dynamic environment!”

Prof David Clutterbuck
David Clutterbuck Partnership

“While many executive coaches are increasingly seeing the value from using a strengths-based approach in their work with leaders, Dr. Doug MacKie’s book, Strength-Based Leadership Coaching in Organisations, takes both the science and the application of strengths coaching to another level! Based on the latest research, this is a must read for any practicing coach, both internal and external to an organisation, looking to further develop their people and teams. “

Katherine Tulpa, Global CEO, Association for Coaching

“Strengths-based leadership coaching in organisations provides a rare and timely combination of scholarly critique and pragmatic application on the topic of positive leadership development. The overview and critique of leadership development research, and strengths-based approaches in particular, in the first half of the book is impressive in both its breadth and depth. The second half of the book, written for coaching psychologists, leaders and managers, and leaders of work teams, spells out clearly how to apply the concepts and theories introduced previously. The author concludes with well-considered cautionary comments and criticisms of strengths-based coaching illustrating his extensive experience as a researcher and practitioner in this space, and his credibility as the book’s author. The book represents a valuable resource for both researchers and practitioners who have few similar quality alternatives to consult in terms of combination of evidence-based and applied information.”

Sandy Gordon, PhD, FAPS l Associate Professor, Sport & Exercise Psychology, University Western Australia
ICPR Co-ordinating Editor (Australia)

“Dr. Doug MacKie’s book, Strength-Based Leadership Coaching in Organisations, takes on some of the key frustrations in contemporary leadership development theory and practice such as the focus on negative traits, lack of evaluation, lack of practical application and lack of evidence-based decisions and instead offers a new approach. Most of all the book offers hope. A hope that through focusing on a proven strength-based approach, leaders may more regularly inspire others, find their passions and deliver sustainable performance outcomes. This surely must lead to more authentic and courageous leadership and help us start to shift the sometimes demoralising fear-of-failure based, negative and judgmental approach to leadership cemented in place following global financial crisis.

The book will become an important guide and manual for any serious professional working to develop better leadership at the individual, team and organisational level.”

Rolf Moses | Director People & Development 
Norton Rose Fulbright