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Coaching Leaders in Brazil for Improved Wellness Outcomes

Posted By Cecilia Negrini, Monday, October 29, 2018

Founder and CEO of the company: Cecilia Negrini — Consulting and Advice for the Health Area

runner in brazilWhen we think of wellness for a third world country we must first consider basic principles of human dignity such as security, food, education and health.

Brazil is currently going through a very serious crisis of trust of its political leaders. In a little more than a year President Dilma Roussef was impeached and a few months later we found out that the current president Michel Temer was also involved in serious acts of corruption. These facts have made worse the economic crisis, increased unemployment and especially aggravated the revolution against authority and violence in our country.

In 3 years, the number of unemployed people has more than doubled, rising to 13.7% in the first quarter of 2017, according to the data released on April 31, 2017 by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), through the PNAD survey. The latest data provided in August showed an improvement of this statistic of less than 1%, decreasing to 12.8% in the quarter ending July 2017. This improvement was due to informal work.That is, people who went about developing something on their own, empowering themselves with their personal skills and abilities and not waiting to be hired but becoming self-employed.

brazil neighborhoodThe economic crisis together with the crisis of a lack of trust in the government generates a sense of outrage in the population. The Brazilian population lack inspiring leaders and this has brought about bad consequences in several sectors of our society. We are in a chain effect that has had the consequence of creating great losses in personal wellness and quality of life. The economy is one of the main sectors affected and that brings consequences such as the increase of unemployment, insecurity and outrage, raising considerably the crime rate in Brazil.

Servant leadership has as a principle, the leader being an example of character, justice, and an inspiration for their population. "Be an example of a human being wherever you are, be it in your family, church, community or company. Develop yourself as a leader who has a sense of community and personal values that are fair and guided by what is right to do." Coaching is a tool to help people develop and pursue their goals with their own skills and abilities.

I believe that servant leadership, together with a coaching methodology can promote powerful actions for the promotion of wellness in countries like Brazil where it is common to find leaders with poor regard of person values.

This article aims to clarify how the combination of servant leadership and coaching can help develop Brazilian society by promoting wellness through better individual behaviors and, consequently, generate a more productive, peaceful, and happy society.

Servant Leadership

Servant Leadership was first proposed in a 1970 essay by Robert K. Greenleaf, "Servant as Leader" which was inspired by his experience with institutions and the short reading of Herman Hesse's novel, "Journey to the East." That story is told in the first person by H.H., a musician and member of a brotherhood, who decides to take a long journey. The group followed a servant, esteemed by all, called Leo who was wise, faithful, kind and handsome. At one point Leo disappears and the group falls quickly into a spirit of disorder and he leaves the group. Years later the narrator finds out that despite being seen as a servant, Leo was the chief and spiritual guide of the religious order they belonged to. It was through this reading that Greenleaf solidified that what makes the greatness of a leader is ‘the attitude of first serving others’.

"Caring for people who are more capable and less able to serve one another is the rock upon which a society is built"
– Greenleaf

But it was with James C. Hunter that the concept of servant leadership gained greater prominence in Brazil. Initially named "The Servant," the book "The Monk and the Executive" has already sold more than 3 million copies in Brazil alone and has been on the list of bestselling books for ten years. The author also published two more books about leadership.

While Greenleaf uses the servant Leo as the inspiration for the novel Journey to the East, Hunter quotes Jesus Christ as the greatest example of a servant leader in his book "The Servant". Hunter defines leadership in the book "How to become a servant leader" as: "The ability to influence people to work enthusiastically toward common goals, inspiring confidence through strength of character.”

James C. Hunter defends the thesis that leaders must have character, a very strong spiritual basis and the awareness that leadership is not power but authority, conquered with love, dedication and respect for people.

The author shows that it is necessary to practice every day the skills of the servant leadership so that they become a habit. Simply engage in a process of continuous improvement, accept feedback from subordinates, and be willing to take the risks to eliminate the gap between who you are and what you need to change to become a truly effective leader.

In the writings of servant leadership mentioned above, there is a prominence of some key words that define the characteristics of the servant leader. In analyzing them one by one, note the alignment of coaching posture with that of the servant leadership:

Character - In the process of coaching you do not have to convince, deceive, impress or please anyone. It is the time to be truetoyourself.

Very strong spiritual base - In a process of coaching, beliefs and values always appear as guides or saboteurs of success. Beliefs and structured values in favor of the goals make the expected results closer;

Continuous Improvement - The coaching process aims to help achieve the high performance of people willing to develop;

Accept feedback - Only accepts feedback those who are committed to their personal development and focused on themselves and not seeking justifications for failures in the external environment;

Leadership is not power but authority - Authority belongs to people who know how to listen attentively to the opinion, knowledge and experience of others. That they have respect differences and do not make judgment without knowing the facts in depth;

Love - If you want to become a better person, you have a clear goal and actions to follow, is because there is love for something or someone;

Dedication - In a coaching process the sessions must take place weekly and the actions developed must have an agreed day, time, place to start and finish. The results depend entirely on the coachee's dedication;

Respect - Not judging, questioning what is right or wrong, listening attentively to others are basic principles of coaching and they demonstrate respect for the history, experience, knowledge and learning of the other.

For you to become someone better you will have to use your own resources, because nobody gives what they do not have. The greatest expectation about a leader is not their technical knowledge, but their ability to inspire the team to use the knowledge that is in favor of a common goal. Coaching in this process can be highly effective as it leads to the necessary questioning for the leader to find their essence and inspire others. Is 10% the best you can get? What about the other 90%?

A lot of personal knowledge is stored waiting to be used, but on a day-to-day basis the lack of purpose and clear goals can lead to one’s own resources remaining stacked away. Coaching can help the person to seek within the unused 90%.

The servant leader invites the person to be better. To understand that to lead is to evolve continuously.

The principles of servant leadership can be learned and applied by those who have the will and intention to change, grow and improve. What most leaders seek is to find new knowledge to better perform their tasks. But if research indicates that one uses only 10% of what one learns, what about the other 90%? Accessing and utilizing some or all of that 90% can boost the potential to face the difficult challenges of today's leaders. Coaching methodology has the potential to empower the leader to achieve this.

It is possible and advisable to obtain knowledge about a subject by reading a book or by taking part in a course, but application and practice are fundamental. The exercise of leadership is what leads to development.

There should be willingness to review old behaviors, identifying and altering what is judged to be necessary to achieve good results. The crucial difference in applying the coaching methodology is that the person knows what it is they are looking for. Coaching methodology involves self setting a clear goal and always ends with a personal action plan. Knowledge is not filed; it is sought for the execution of something that brings the person closer to their goal.

Considering that information, the leader must answer these questions:

1. On a scale of 0 to 10 how much am I engaged in a process of continuous improvement and becoming a more inspiring leader?

2. What else can I do to become a better leader?

3. What would the best leader I have ever known say to me to do besides everything that has been mentioned above?

4. From the above list of key characteristics of a Servant leader, which of these actions will I carry out now to bring me closer to my goal?

5. How will I do them? When? (Date/time) Where? (Local / Environment) Who with?

These questions will cause the leader to seek the responsibility for their own development and thus find solutions to overcome the difficulties that exist in the current socio-political and economic scenario of Brazil. Moving from being a victim to be the main character of their life while developing a more just and transforming community. These actions will generate self-esteem, human dignity and inspire admiration and respect, infecting the environment in which they live with progress and continuous actions of personal and social development assisting in the construction of a society that Brazilians can be proud of — a society and culture depicting the rightness of character and growth by honest work.

The aforementioned process of coaching servant leaders has been implemented in hospitals, clinics and medical centers which are clients of our company and the results validate the effectiveness of the methodology. Both health professionals and their patients report that they have a higher quality of life. In a future article I will explain in detail the statistical results of the present program.

Cecelia NegriniCecilia Negrini is business Consultant, businesswoman, coach and speaker.

She is founder and owner of the company Cecilia Negrini – Consulting and Advice for the Health Area.  She had more than 10 years of experience in assisting health professionals. A personal coach by SLAC – Sociedade Latino Americana  deCoaching  and she is affiliated in Institute of Coaching by Harvard and affiliated in National Welness Institute – USA. She is specialist in Linguistics from UNESP – UniversidadeEstadualPaulista and she did MBA in Marketing for Health and  MBA in Business Management from FGV – FundaçãoGetúlio Vargas. She  works like facilitor in training about servant leadearshi by FórmulaTreinamentos and James Hunter – author  of the book The Servant and others.

 E-mail: cecilia@cecilianegrini.com


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