Focusing on the right person with Dick Hannasch

On our podcast this week we have Dick Hannasch, IFC Professional Coach. Dick not only is known for his humor, but he is also known for getting down to the true problems that your company may face. Dick talks about his style of teaching by focusing on each individual and their needs but also gives good examples of what investing in each party, manager and employee, looks like and how to do it well. ADD LINK


Find Dick on his website!

Full transcription below (may contain typos...):
[00:00:00] Dick: [00:00:00] What got you here? Won't get you there. You need to recognize that every time that you're making a shift, a step up in level, that there are probably some things that you need to do a little bit differently.

Keerstyn: [00:00:10] welcome to the podcast stick. I am so excited that you're here today with us. Do you want to give us a brief background of how you got involved in your work and then what you do now?

Dick: [00:00:19] Sure. I've been with principal financial group in Des Moines, financial services for fortune 500 firm.

I've done training and development my entire career. And back in the late 1990s, I got asked to facilitate a coaching training class to teach coaching skills to other people. And then fast forward, about six or seven years, our company decided that we will offer internal coaching to people who are considered targeted talent.

And a few people got to start in on that coaching work and they decided the program was going so well that they said we should expand this and invite some more people to be coaches. And one of the people said we should invite Dick to do it because he's great at teaching these coaching skills.

And so a person came to me and [00:01:00] said, do you want to help with this? And I said, sure. And then after about two years of doing that, they decided they would send seven or eight of us to coaching training. And we've been doing coaching for individual leaders and also some individual contributors inside the company.

I think for, I think it's 14 years now, all in all. So it's just gotten farther along, more involved since that time.

Keerstyn: [00:01:24] Awesome. So that's quite a different way of doing it. We've often had just business coaches that have been external and then they walk into a company, but you are internal, although you do some external as well.

Correct? That's correct. Yeah. Yeah. So that's really interesting. So what made the company just like start realizing that they did need coaching

Dick: [00:01:42] within. What it really stemmed from was we knew that it's important to grow talent, talented leadership in the organization. And it had been proven for quite some time that men during help people quite a bit, but then also more recent research at that time.

It said, Hey, [00:02:00] coaching is getting to be more involved. It's a lot of people hiring executive coaches, leadership coaches. And so the company said, should we start on an investment in that way? And let's try it out and see how it goes. And so the first group of people that they invited to participate, I think it was only something like eight people all in all and people responded well to that.

And so they said we should probably offer this to more. So it's just become something that's been part of our leadership pipeline or there's I think at our peak, we had eight people doing internal coaching. Each of us taking between six and eight clients per year for an engagement of a three to six to nine months, depending on the individual and their need.

So that's kinda how it came to be. The company just realized this is a good investment. We can do it at a low cost, as long as we get the right people in here. And w if we can identify people who are willing to work with a coach.

Keerstyn: [00:02:50] Absolutely. Absolutely. So what was that first? That it's really interesting when they first initially started that.

What was the first. Group of people where [00:03:00] they like the top leaders in the industry where they, the middle managers,

Dick: [00:03:03] this was middle-management people really. So in a lot of companies that might be like assistant director or department director type role. So below a vice president or assistant vice president level, but everybody in a leadership position, we figured these are people who are still trying to emerge as leadership talent, trying to find their way along.

And so helping them get their feet under them a little bit more round out their leadership skills would be a helpful way to ensure that they're growing and being successful as they're doing it. And so gradually grow them into a larger leadership position.

Keerstyn: [00:03:37] Yeah, absolutely. And what were some of those skills that you were teaching?

Obviously there's so many skills that coaches can teach you today.

Dick: [00:03:44] That's an interesting part about our approach there too. There is some that all of us who were asked to come and do this training, where people who were had a training and development background in some ways. The performance and all of us had been in a leadership role in some way as well.

So starting with that training and [00:04:00] development background, I think we went into it with a mindset that we're going to try to problem solve and help fix a little bit, which is really the antithesis of coaching. We're going to be instructing But over time we figured out, it's really great to ask the questions and get them to discover their own answers.

And if we find out that they have a knowledge gap, a skill gap with our training and development background, we could offer ideas or we could offer to say, let's take off our coaching hat right now. Let's put our training hat or let's introduce a tool or a technique that you can try out with your people, with your team.

And so we wound up going that way. And the types of things that people would want help with might be how can I develop the talent that reports to me? How can I be a more strategic thinker? I got paid to be an executer. I got to my leadership role because I was good at completing projects and you're having an impact, but now I've got to lead people.

And how do I do that differently than what I've done? We've helped people with building their professional presence, helped them even figure out how do I deal with my. Boss or how do I prioritize my [00:05:00] work? So those are some of the problems, but all in all, what we really shifted to is how can we help you grow?

How can we help you become more effective as a leader in and build it based on your values, what you want to accomplish, fit with your personality type. So recognize where does your personality play as a strength for you and where does some aspect of your personality or your values possibly work against you?

So it's going to take you more. More mental energy more time, or you're going to have to be more deliberate about being disciplined and getting yourself to do it. For example, if I'm a, if I'm an executer, I love to execute. I want to get right down to the task right down to the project, but I've moved into a leadership role and now I've got to set and drive strategy for my team.

Then maybe I've got to figure out how do I make sure that I carve out that time? And do the necessary strategic planning. How do I carve out the time so that I tie people or get people connected to that connected to that strategy and then let them execute it so I can keep myself free of those moving parts.

[00:06:00] Keerstyn: [00:05:59] Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. What are some of those tools that help people figure out what their personality is at a very higher level, so to speak? We don't need

Dick: [00:06:08] to go. Yeah, we've used a few different assessments along the way. Right now what we're using primarily is the Hogan assessment. Hogan offers a personality assessment and you can get actually multiple varieties.

But the one that we use, we look at a person's values because you're. Values will drive your thinking and your thinking will drive your behavior, but things that you highly value you'll tend to do more of or support more, create a culture that lines up with that. We also look at what Hogan calls, the bright side traits.

So how do you approach people? How do you approach work to get things done and to have effective working relationships? And that's how you do things most days. And then Hogan also looks at what they call the dark side. So how do you respond under fatigue, pressure disengagement that might create some friction in your working relationships or might cause you to not carry out your projects?

So we've used that we've used the Gallup StrengthsFinder. We've used Myers-Briggs type indicator. We've also used 360 degree [00:07:00] feedback assessments as well, to get an idea of how are you showing up to the team around you? What do they need from you? What does your leader expect of you? Where might you need to shift along the way?

Keerstyn: [00:07:09] Yeah, absolutely. And how has that been helpful for the people taking these? Has it been really eyeopening for them? Has it, what does, what has that looked like

Dick: [00:07:17] for them? It really depends on the person, as you might be aware for, from thinking about the people that, there are some people who are really pretty clear on how I behave with others.

They know their strengths, they know their weaknesses, they pay attention to what they're doing, what impact they're having. Other people, they just keep pulling forward oblivious to what's going on. Or though they don't pause and think about, is this really helpful or is it not helpful? Their point of view might sometimes be if nobody's complaining, I'm going to just keep doing it.

So with the three 60 or with the Hogan, when people have been unaware, what we often find is they discover some things that they hadn't thought about before they stepped back and they say, Oh, I didn't realize that my behaviors are causing people to see me that way, or think of me that way. [00:08:00] Or they might get a result that says, Oh yeah, this is a part of my work that I struggle with.

This is really hard. I really try to avoid doing it. I'd rather not do it, those sorts of things. And that gives us some insight into, okay, is this an opportunity for us to possibly help you shift your perspective and see it? Maybe not as a burden, but finding an effective way to do it. And so can we introduce a tool, a different way of thinking at it, or is it something where you can even delegate to somebody who's on your team?

Lean on them, rely on them. Because to be an effective leader, you don't have to be great at everything, but if you can figure out how can I get the work done and engage the people around me to do that, that can help you be more effective as a leader as well?

Keerstyn: [00:08:39] Yeah, absolutely. So if, somewhere in order to say they're an employee, they're very solid in their job.

And then they get moved up to a manager because they're in that space. What would you tell them as some advice.

Dick: [00:08:51] Think it comes right out of Marshall Goldsmith's book. What got you here? Won't get you there. You need to recognize that every time that you're making a shift, a step up in level, [00:09:00] that there are probably some things that you need to do a little bit differently.

Sometimes it might be, he needed to do it to a higher degree of skill. More advanced line of thinking. Sometimes it might be there's some work that I need to stop doing. I need to get out of the weeds. I need to leave the execution to somebody else, or it might be, I need to build relationships in a different way.

And so just being aware of what's different, where I'm. Where I've just moved to, and that could be I've moved up in the organization. So I'm in a different level leadership role, or it could be across the business units, lines, business unit lines. Now I'm over in this business unit where I was in this other one.

And maybe that culture within that part of the organization is a little bit different, or maybe the leader of that business unit expects something different to me than my previous leader did. So trying to figure out where am I now and where do I need to get to.

Keerstyn: [00:09:49] Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. That's very valuable in any part of the organization, too, not just coming from an employee standpoint to now being a manager from [00:10:00] being a mentor, to maybe being a director or senior director.

Absolutely. That's huge.

Dick: [00:10:06] Yeah, we do like to try to tie the coaching into those transition points for people as well, because when I've moved you into a new leadership role, new business unit, those are oftentimes when you feel like I'm maybe a little bit out of my element here, and I'm trying to find my way.

So maybe my confidence is down or maybe my competence doesn't feel like it used to. And so people, when they feel that moment where I'm not quite where I want to be, that causes a lot of people to be more open, to coaching and say, Oh, you're here to help me. You can help me with this. Great. Give me that.

It's the people who have been in a role for a long time, who feel like they've mastered it. They've got it down cold and everything. They're the ones that tend to be a little bit more reluctant to engage in coaching. Their philosophy might be, I know what I'm doing. I trust myself. I don't need additional feedback.

I don't need to waste my time with a coach. And we do run into that from time to time within the company where somebody says, this is a great idea, but I didn't [00:11:00] volunteer for it and I don't want to engage. And so we figured out how to quickly disengage from those and go work with the people who do want to work with us as coaches.

Keerstyn: [00:11:08] Yeah. What does your company say when people do say that when they're not

Dick: [00:11:12] interested? Our practice is. If you feel like you're not interested, you don't want to engage you as the coachee who is turning it down. You need to go have the conversation with your leader. We're all in HR, all of us.

We're coaches. We're not going to go have that conversation for you. And we will send that leader a note to say, and your person is chosen to disengage. There'll be talking with you about that. And that is it. And interestingly, I've not had a case where somebody came back later on and said, Oh, now my boss is going to make me go.

I think the bosses realized that if this person doesn't want to engage, that we're probably going to be throwing money away on the effort. And let's spend that time, that energy, that resource on somebody who welcomes that and who will respond to

Keerstyn: [00:11:56] it. Yeah, absolutely. That's key. [00:12:00] I think that people, when they're reluctant to learn and grow struggle to continue to make changes in their life, obviously For sure.

Dick: [00:12:09] I could share one quick anecdote as somebody in that vein. This was about two years ago. Somebody who got asked to take the Hogan assessment as part of the development process for her and then the Hogan assessment, and there was one particular trait that's called adjustment and adjustment is your ability to handle stress and pressure.

Which is a great thing to have in a leadership position, but what can happen is sometimes when we're high in that adjustment trait, we tend to think things are going to be fine. I know what I'm doing. And because of that, we might not ask other people for feedback, or if they offer us feedback, we might brush it off and say, it'll be fine.

I'm doing great. I don't really need this. Yeah, until they develop a reputation as being resistant to feedback. So there's one lady who took the assessment. We gave her feedback reports to review. Before we talked about the [00:13:00] results and asked her, was there anything in your feedback that caused you concern?

And she said, yeah. And this one report, there's a line here that says I might be resistant to feedback. I'm not resistant to feedback. I said, okay. So tell me about a time when you've asked for feedback. She said just last week I finished a project okay. What did you ask him? She said, I asked them, what did you like about what I did on this project?

And there's a little pause and I'm waiting. Is there something more here? And she doesn't offer anything more. And I said, so anything else you asked him? She goes, no. And I said, did you ever think to ask them about what you could do differently to be even better? She said, no. I would never ask that.

And then her eyes got wide and she said, Oh, now I see. Yeah. I thought I always interested in feedback. I'm just interested in praise. And so sometimes we run into those leaders. They just want that praise, that positive stroke. Hey, you did a good job. Keep it up. That sort of thing. But it's the ones who have more of the mindset to say, even if it was good, even if it was good, how could it be better?

[00:14:00] What can I do individually to be a better leader of my team produce better business results. Those are the people that we'd love to work with because they're going to sell fueling. And all we have to do is show up and ask them questions and they'll find their way with a little bit of help from the questioning.

Keerstyn: [00:14:14] Absolutely. That's a great story, especially with the eyeopening understanding of, Oh, I'm not actually looking for feedback, even though I did think I was questioning could be definitely misconstrued and people's head of Oh That's not feedback. That's not appropriate feedback. It's feedback, both good and bad.

That's one thing that we always remember.

Dick: [00:14:36] Yeah. And the question is, does it offer you an opportunity to see things from a different perspective? And if that feedback is valuable, then the question becomes. What are you willing to do with it? Are you going to try to change your behavior? Are you going to continue the way that you've been?

And we advise people, you don't need to change all your behaviors. You don't need to go from a zero to, I want a hundred or 100 from a zero, but what we try to help you do is figure out what are those [00:15:00] situations, where if I show up and behave a little bit differently, I get a little bit better results.

Yeah. So as a leader, I might need to show up sometimes and be more vocal about some things. Sometimes I might need to show up and I might need to be a better listener. Sometimes I might like to focus on my work and not so much on the people relationships, but sometimes I need to figure out who maybe I need to invest some more time in the relationships and get out of my office, get out of my cuber, get in front of some people a little bit more.

So we look for those opportunities to increase that awareness on where do you, where would you benefit from being more effective and how can we get you there?

Keerstyn: [00:15:32] Yeah, absolutely. I think that's a very a good key point there in terms of understanding more about yourself, but then also what you could improve on.

Absolutely. Absolutely. So I thought about something during that, which might be a little, it might be a little off the tune, but have so coaching the coach, how do you do that with them or organizations that you coach here, leaders to be coaches for their team? What does that look like?

[00:16:00] Dick: [00:16:02] I'm going to ask you to rephrase the question. I think I got it, but I'm not quite sure if I'm picking up on the bit that you want to go. I

Keerstyn: [00:16:06] dunno. So how basically, how do you teach your leaders to be coaches for their teams so that they can coach their employees as well?

Dick: [00:16:16] Right internally, we offer a class that we call coaching, bringing out the best in others and in that class.

And it's a space of about 10 hours spread out over five weeks. We introduce them to a coaching model that we developed. It's a very simplified model. Actually, if you go out to coach Inc com, coach Inc is the organization that provided the coaching training does here at principal. And we liked their model, found it very effective, and we realized, Ooh, this is great for us.

We'd like to teach some of these skills, help people with that. And  we also looked at the bottle, it said it had too many parts for managers, tongue in cheek. We said, we need to dumb it down a little bit, make it simpler. And so we did that. And so in the training class, what we aim to do is teach those leaders some simple shifts in their mindset [00:17:00] and introduce a simple tool, being our coaching model and a set of coaching questions.

And then we'd try to help them build their skills on the mindset. We'd try to help them understand how do I not be a fixer. If somebody comes to me with an issue, a concern, something like that, how do I ask questions to calm them down, help them get their thoughts together and figure out what do they need to get from this conversation here.

Then after we identify and we call it, clarify the focus after we help them clarify the focus of what they want to get from the conversation, then we help the leaders make their mindset shift on how do I not just jump in and give them the answer. I could tell them how to do this thing, how to fix it right away.

Sometimes the leaders have an approach, right? I say did you try a, did you try B, did you try C? So they go through a checklist or a punch list of things and we teach them, how do you ask questions to find out what have you tried? What have you thought about trying? What have you seen other people do?

Where have you done this in the past? So really take the coaching approach and use some simple questions to open up that conversation. [00:18:00] Because very often what happens then is that person that you're trying to coach recognizes. Oh, there's some additional things that I think might work. And maybe they don't need a fix from the leader.

And then leaders often fall down on the last part. And that's the shift into the accountability part. So after people generate four or five ideas of what they could do, we try to help leaders figure out how do I shift into saying, okay, out of all these things you could do, what is most appealing to you?

What are you going to do? When are you going to do it? What help do you need for me along the way or from somebody else? And when will we talk again? And so we teach that to the leaders. We give them two hours in class. We practice a skill. Everybody takes a turn as a coach or coachee or an observer or multiple times as an observer.

And we send them out after each class session and say, go back to the job, try these things out. If you've not been good at clarifying the focus, work on asking those questions to clarify the focus. If you've been too quick to fix work on those aspects of exploring by asking more questions, if you've not been having the [00:19:00] accountability conversations, work on adding those questions to what you do.

And we tell people grout, try it out. Come back next week. We'll talk about how you did and leaders are amazed at how much better they get just in the space of five weeks. And we hear a lot of things like, Hey, I did it with one of my direct reports. I used it on a project that I'm on. And with the whole project team, of course, we also get the people say, Hey, I did this with my spouse or used it on my kids.

But people find that if I make small changes in my behaviors, in my conversations, That I can get a much better result and I don't have to fix everything for everybody. I wind up with people who are more empowered, more capable, which means my team can perform at a higher level. And I don't have to do as much heavy lifting myself as a leader.

Keerstyn: [00:19:43] Yeah, absolutely. You can use that in any aspect, really in terms of what you're teaching these leaders to do and how to change their personality, but then also change their. Even their language.

Dick: [00:19:55] Yeah. We've had people who are agile scrum team leaders come through the training and they find it [00:20:00] immensely helpful for their scrum discussions.

We've had individual contributors come through who say I'm on a project team, but the project struggles. And they say, Oh, and introduced some of these questions. Let's start using that. The quality of our project team member. Project team meetings, the outcomes for our meetings improved immensely just by bringing some more coaching into it.

So we've been teaching this class now for 10 years. And so we've got, I don't know if it's several hundred coaching advocates out there. They're not all like ACC master certified coaches or anything like that, but they coach enough better that it makes a difference in their work area.

Keerstyn: [00:20:33] Yeah, absolutely.

That's so valuable, especially just learning those few cute key things in order to be able to change and just make the conversation slightly different, that you get better outcomes and better results and faster results for that matter. Yeah.

Dick: [00:20:49] Yeah. Awesome. We have some leaders who say, I want to come back through the class again.

I went through it three or four years ago, but I feel like there's so much more to learn and me say, if you want to come back, you're welcome to come back. [00:21:00] Ah,

Keerstyn: [00:21:00] that's so good too, especially to have that reinforcement to grow them on a deeper level. They already know the concepts, but now they can even dive deeper.

That's really valuable.

Dick: [00:21:10] And naturally we got some good evidence of the success of our program, too. We started off, we did the usual kind of smile sheet at the end of the class, but asking people, did you learn something that you can apply back in your workplace and have you been applying it and seeing results?

So we started seeing some of that already. Which is really a soft measure. But after we had done the class for her, I think four or five years, what we did was we looked internally around we looked at our annual employee opinion survey results, and we have an employee engagement index, which looks at things like does my leader have conversations with me about my development as my leader helped me learn and grow.

Things in that sort of vein. And we found across the organization that the departments where the leaders came through our coaching skills training program scored at a significantly statistically significant higher level than leaders in the [00:22:00] departments who didn't come through the training. Wow.

And  we can't say it's all definitely tied to coaching, but there was enough evidence in there to say something is going on in these areas that the leaders are doing something different to engage with their people, they're getting a better result. And so that, that was really a very gratifying thing for us.

And so we've continued to offer the class since that time.

Keerstyn: [00:22:22] Yeah, absolutely. That's huge. A huge for your organization, but then also huge for you guys who are teaching it and implementing it into the organization. That's powerful for sure.

no: [00:22:32] Yeah. Yeah.

Dick: [00:22:34] Yeah. It's a ripple effect thing. You don't know where it stops.

But it is very gratifying to say somebody came away saying, I feel so much more competent and confident as a leader. And then to have that show up in a evaluation results or employee opinion, survey results from somebody that we don't get to talk to, we don't get to see them face to face, but we know that their leaders are getting the benefit and they're, the employees are of giving their testimony to say, yeah, we're seeing something different, something better [00:23:00] here than we used to see.

Keerstyn: [00:23:01] Absolutely. Absolutely. That's awesome. Derek, if people want to work with you, obviously, probably not internally, where can they contact you or get

Dick: [00:23:12] ahold of you? They could certainly find me on LinkedIn. So I'm guessing that this podcast will have my name out there in some way, shape or form, so they could go through that way.

Also I have my own company that I operate called aware and willing.com, so aware and willing.com. And is spelled out as a and D rather than as a ampersand. So you could use that to contact me. There's a form to fill out. You can send that way, but I'd be happy to share. What I know about, here's how we designed our program.

If you want to talk about coaching for you, if you want to talk about anything related to the assessments that we've used, anything in that vein, I'm happy to give you my time where I can.

Keerstyn: [00:23:51] Absolutely. Awesome. Thank you so much for joining us today. This has been really fun. All right, you're welcome.



Teams also need to get away and have time to think together and reflect together. Be able to spend just an hour to be curious about each other. -Denise Van Eck, Owner of Thought Design

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