PODCAST SHOW NOTES - ALEX DURAND

Episode #030: The Frable Method: Insights from a Millennial Executive and Team Coach on the Future of Coaching, Change, and Inter-generational Thinking

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Alex Durand, Founder of Frable Consulting, Executive & Team Coach, Thinker and Writer

#030: The Frable Method: Insights from a Millennial Executive and Team Coach on the Future of Coaching, Change, and Inter-generational Thinking

Join Dr. Krister Lowe and leading organizational coach, Alex Durand, for this week’s episode of The Team Coaching Zone Podcast.  Alex Durand is an Executive and Team Coach, the Founder of Frable Consulting and a Thinker and Writer.  Frable Consulting provides executive and team coaching services to individuals of all generations and centers on The Frable – 3 Phase Coaching Method that leads to sustainable long-term change.  In this compelling episode, Alex shares his journey from completing his undergraduate degree at George Washington University, to landing a “dream job” as an international consultant with one of the Big 5 Consulting firms, to the personal journey and struggles that led him to founding his own firm–Frable Consulting in 2014.

Alex shares his thought-provoking perspectives on a number of themes including: inter-generational thinking; the current and future of states of coaching; on challenging our current mindsets about coaching; The Frable 3 Phase Executive Coaching Model – 1) Vision & Strengths, 2) Values, 3) Action Plan; on being a Millennial executive and team coach; on the nature of change and coaching; on team coaching as a vehicle for engagement, leadership development, developing a teaming culture, organizational learning, organizational fitness and more.

Alex’s perspectives are sure to leave every listener inspired as well as thinking more broadly about their executive and team coaching practice and how they can take their game to the next level.  This is an episode you will surely not want to miss!

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Contact Alex:

RESOURCES RECOMMENDED ON THE SHOW

Articles

Television

  • Netflix series “Chef’s Table”

TED Talks

Books Inspiring Alex At Present

  • Plato at the Googleplex by Rebecca Goldstein
  • Middlemarch by George Eliot
  • The Road to Character by David Brooks
  • Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull
  • War and Peace by Tolstoy
  • Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology by Al-Khalili and McFadden

Articles Written by Alex & About The Frable Coaching Method

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SHOW NOTES

Part 1 – Getting to Know the Coach: Alex Durand

  • Background
    • Founder of Frable Consulting
    • Executive and Team Coach
    • Thinker and Writer
    • Based out of Washington D.C. in the United States
    • Experience with Elite Daily, Price Waterhouse Coopers, International Paper
    • Undergraduate degree at George Washington University
    • Completed Columbia University’s Executive Coach Training Program
    • Born in Mexico City
    • Moved around a lot over the years when he was growing up:  Boston, Istanbul, Santiago, Memphis
    • Parents are now in Brazil; has an older brother
  • Alex’s Story & Journey Into Coaching
    • Thought he originally wanted to go into investment banking but when financial crisis happened in 2008, none of the investment firms were recruiting on the GW campus
    • Took an accounting course and ended up getting an internship with PWC in Forensics – accounting and consulting in the area of financial fraud
    • Had a full time job lined up with PWC after he graduated
    • Started with PWC on a Wednesday and by Sunday he was on a flight to Argentina for his first assignment
    • Thought it was going to be the dream job traveling the world as a consultant
    • Spent a year traveling about 70% of time
    • Alex speaks Spanish and French
    • After a few months the allure of the lifestyle started to fade
    • Started getting a lot of anxiety about traveling – culminated in an “a ha” moment in Geneva Switzerland
    • Having difficulty with post-college transition: started drinking alone, got a therapist
    • The holistic nature of our personal and professional lives is important to understand especially as we get into conversation about coaching
    • Was ranked highest possible at PWC as a first year but saw gap between his external performance and his internal satisfaction – unsustainable in the long run
    • 2013 was a turning point for Alex: had a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist – as he got alcohol and mild depression under control he also got an executive coach to work on his future; gained an appreciation of how different helping professions are similar as well as different.
    • 4 months into coaching was feeling good.  January 1, 2014 had a “strike of lightening” about not wanting to go back to work: Created a prison of his own making.  Got the business model for Frable – take executive coaching out of senior suite down to the millennial
    • Business model turned out to be not quite right: millennial coaching not very common so challenging and a cost to educate about its value; also millennial often don’t have the money to pay for coaching nor want their parents to pay for it
  • Frable Consulting
    • Forever + Able = Frable
    • As coaches we are models of behavior for others: important to be honest about and own our full story
    • Due to Alex’s writing, he was getting contacted by people of all generations
    • Focus is not just on millennials
    • Fable Method: coaching + positive psychology + neuroscience + complexity science
    • Focus on longterm sustainable change primarily through increased self-awareness
    • Has moved away from an age-centric or generation-centric focus

Part 2 – Perspectives on Coaching & Team Coaching

  • On Inter-generational Thinking
    • We tend to go to extremes: either too much focus on differences or similarities
    • Big consulting firms like Deloitte, PWC, CEB doing some great research on inter-generational thinking
    • We don’t acknowledge that generational labels have now become a substitute for talking about age
    • There are big gaps between how Millennials describe themselves and how they act: once they are in the workplace they often tend to act similarly to other workers regardless of generation; they adopt the dominant organizational culture
    • Gap between values of how Millennials want to live and the reality of living those values
    • Millennials have been pretty good at adapting to existing organizational cultures.
    • Thinks Generation Z may do a better job of living their values more fully than Generation Y
    • Feels it would be better to focus on similarities first and then explore the differences and how they can help us
  • Era 1 of Coaching
    • Field of coaching is still in early stages – need to challenge some fundamental assumptions
    • Tends to focus still on privileging sectoral expertise – both on the coach side as well as the client demand side
    • Still averse to focusing on the past because it might feel too much like therapy
    • Expertise and past-aversion is still very dominant in coaching
    • Hopes that in 20 years coaches won’t have to wait 20 years to get industry experience before they can call themselves a coach; we all need coaches at different stages of our lives
    • Just like psychology wasn’t always mainstream, coaching and team coaching also aren’t quite mainstream yet
    • Need to have more debate in the coaching community. Being open to exploring the flaws of our own model and really learning and growing.
  • On Being a Millennial Executive Coach
    • Not thrilled about label of “executive coach;” Best of the worst. Doesn’t seem himself as a life coach or career coach
    • Approach is evidence-based and finds that executive coaching seems to fit the best
    • Majority of clients are not executive coaching per se but some of the elements of executive coaching is what he identifies with
    • Alex comfortable coaching the whole person including focusing on the past
    • Some of the elements of executive coaching according to Alex:
      • Part leadership
      • Where a lot of the research is being done
      • A cache perspective – perception that it is more legitimate than career and life coaching
      • Creating the intention on “where you want to get to”
      • More evidence-based
      • Based on modeling
      • Focusing on helping individuals achieve some type of professional agenda
      • Attractor is normally something in the professional arena
  • On the Frable Coaching Method: Vision & Strengths, Values, Action Plan
    • Focuses on long-term sustainable change: draws on Intention Change Theory by Boyatzis
    • Draws on Emotional Intelligence by Goleman
    • Daniel Pink’s works on motivation
    • Gives some sense of structure to a process that often times isn’t associated with structure: the process of change
    • We tend to think of change as something that happens to us or something that we initiate as something that is random
    • Change in nature, science and complexity and dynamical systems: distinguishing between randomness and chaos
    • Randomness may have a self-organizing schema that we can’t necessarily observe
    • Change often happens roughly in 7 year cycles
    • We are not a closed system; we are open system: change is always being pumped into an open system
    • How do we take what science can tell us about change and where does the human element come in?
    • The Frable Method:
      • Typically over 12 sessions
      • 3 phases: each phase 4 sessions (not rigid)
      • Phase 1 – Vision and Strengths: might use an assessment like the NBI or other instruments to help identify strengths; ICT looking at ideal self and vision of what you are trying to bring about in your life.
      • Phase 2 – Values: values drive how we make decisions; surfacing our automatic thinking processes so people can see how their brain is wired; many decisions we make are based on routines derived from past models; this is why looking at the past is so important; acknowledging the past is important to understand what gave rise to one’s mental model; as an adult we change our mental models; Example of evaluation – 18 years of schooling expecting to be evaluated, then get GPA and try to get a job where you are then subjected to performance evaluations; evaluation is linked to the release of dopamine that we get when we get “validated;” is that how we want to live? If so we can be more intentional about it. If not then what other values do you want to drive your decision-making. Model is scalable to teams; when you get people together and get them to open up and acknowledge their intentions and values helps you give rise to things that you couldn’t have gotten otherwise. Developing a teaming mentality. Values are a fascinating way of understanding thinking patterns.
      • Phase 3 – Action Plans: Process vs. goal oriented action plans; goal setting tends to be too narrow especially when we are looking over the long term; process – scientific method: first two phases generate data which can lead to creating a new hypothesis: What is the change you are trying to evoke? What is the experiment that you want to test? Results then feed back into your hypothesis.  Goals are useful once you have a vision and a strategy but it often can hinder us to creativity, innovation, randomness, openness, etc…Goal-setting not a substitute for culture change. A catalyst.
  • On Team Coaching
    • Applies 3 phase Frable model to teams as well
    • Researching and implementing where you use a mix of individual coaching and team coaching
    • Also a mixture of technologies: clients don’t always have budgets to do face-to-face but often ask can you be effective virtually? Alex hasn’t found a decrease in quality just because it is virtual.
    • If we wanted to get really creative you could use periscope, twitter, etc…there are technological opportunities we haven’t tapped into yet.
    • Example of Facebook and power of big data being a better predictor of behavior of an individual than what friends and family of that individual predicted.
    • Team coaching tends to be privileged to people higher in the organizations.
    • Alex feels team coaching should get pushed down to developing team and teaming skills and culture before people get into leadership roles
    • Team coaching as a vehicle for engaging employees and leveraging diversity of those lower in the hierarchy
    • Team coaching as a prime vehicle of organization learning
    • Need both top down and bottom up investment into team coaching
    • Next phase of team coaching: need to have conversations with leaders about beginning a team culture from the beginning when one enters into the organization; teaming becomes the norm; people become more adaptable.
    • Teaming will become more of a natural phenomenon. Millennial could really benefit from this.
    • Teaming not just about performance but also about organizational fitness –teaming as source of competitive advantage
  • Part 3 Parting Advice/Resources/Contacting Alex
    • What has Alex most excited now: inspired by cooking and yoga; recently reading fiction to help him think differently; we are living in the age of scientific article;
    • Recommends Scott Barry Kaufman Harvard Business Review article on the emotions behind creativity; emotional intensity as a factor determining creativity.
    • Alex publishes articles frequently on Twitter and LinkedIn which people can check out as well on his website:
    • frableconsulting.com look under About section for list of articles Alex has written
    • Alex Durand on LinkedIn

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