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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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A CEO Coach's Tools for Optimizing Your Performance

March 10, 2014, 7:19 PM

"In the twentieth century coaching was seen as a remedial activity: 'Something’s broken – I need to call Steven or somebody else because I need to be fixed,'" says Stephen Miles, C.E.O. and founder of The Miles Group, an advisory service for executives. "One-hundred percent of my coaching today is actually not that. It’s about working with high performing people and helping them get better."

How does Miles help high-performers become even better? He explains his four-step approach in the latest installment of Big Think's Edge.

The Diagnostic

First, he says, he works with executives to identify ingrained leadership styles.

"So when I’m under stress or when I’m in a situation, I’m going to revert to my 'base case,'" he explains. "And we want to understand that fundamentally. And then we want to understand, 'Okay, when is your 'base case' the best leadership style? What situations is the application of that leadership style going to give you the best outcome?'" 

Advance Preparation

Once a "base case" style is identified and understood, Miles works with an executive to modify his or her leadership style to produce desired outcomes. He works with each individual to expand a range of styles that best suit intended audiences and outcomes.

Listen for Content

Miles advises executives to foster dialogue by refraining from using "listening to win" tactics. He advocates demonstrating interest through non-verbal communication, asking clarifying questions, and fully immersing in what opponents have to say.

"A common trait in many executives at every level inside companies is just talking too much," he says. "And if it’s not a monologue then what it becomes is 'I want to win the interaction with you. I want to prove that I’m right and anything you say to me I’m just going to pick on that and you’re wrong.'"

Facilitate the Opposition

Miles advises executives to instead affirm an opponent's point of view and take a Socratic approach.

"If you can hold your ground, not be defensive, facilitate them using affirmation to start and then facilitate them, you’ll end up in the higher place and the higher ground," he says.

For more on Miles' approach to coaching leadership strategies, watch Big Think's latest installment of Edge.



A CEO Coach's Tools for Opt...

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