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Coaching Using the Business Acumen Gauge

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In looking at the needs of a person seeking coaching, often the first steps are to identify the difference between what the person’s needs and development opportunities are and what they or their manager describe as the issue or problem/s. While many individuals seeking coaching are involved in development or succession programs that have a battery of assessments to draw on, there are far more that seek support and development based on individual needs or interest. While there are many coaching disciplines that focus solely on the individual’s personal needs, there is a broad demand for coaching the enables personal development and role achievement, particularly by those in the C suite or working to be promoted to it. In all roles, there is a requirement to manage and lead across the activities required to achieve the strategic goals of the organization. Business acumen is the framework of those activities, the questions are, what is business acumen, how important is each capability and is this what is being demonstrated?

Business acumen is what achieves strategy and supports the many activities, decisions and leadership behaviours that are required to be successful as a leader. It is not dependent on whether the individual is working in a for profit or not for profit environment, it is about business acumen, not profit generation alone. The need to demonstrate business acumen in alignment with role deliverables has been referenced, used in development programs and often taught in academia and by private providers. Unfortunately, there is no common definition that allows all of these approaches to deliver consistency and clarity to the individual striving to develop and achieve or those seeking to assess or develop them. Frequently what is called business acumen is financial literacy or strategy planning. While both are important they represent only a part of the discipline of business acumen.

The Business Acumen Gauge was developed as a direct result of this lack of a common definition and understanding in the literature and the application in the coaching industry, and as importantly, to provide the leaders striving to be better to have an objective, defined framework of capabilities that provides clarity of role expectation and demonstration of behaviours. The BAG has been used globally, across industries since its development, consistently delivering clarity and opportunity for leaders and their organizations to rapidly identify areas of alignment and gaps in the tactical and strategic capabilities the role requires, and what the individual is doing. There are eleven capabilities in the BAG, derived from exhaustive research. These are; Mindset, Foresight, Broadscanning, Strategic Alignment, Collaborative, Resource Management, Systems and Processes, Decision Making, Talent Development, Duty of Care and Financial Literacy (Part A and B). Having defined Business Acumen, the assessment methodology selected was that of an on line three sixty. Critically important in the design of the assessment is the two-step process of first – What is the rating of Importance in the Role? – for each of the eleven capabilities, and then – What is the rating of frequency of Demonstration of the behaviours that are part of each capability?

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