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Introspective journey and change: is adult development possible?

Final Report Summary - HUMAN DEVELOPMENT (Introspective journey and change: is adult development possible?)

The project 'Competence assessment and development. Introspective journey and change: is adult development possible?' has the main objective of assessing in what ways and to what extent transformational executive programs enhance human development. The project consisted of two main parts related to human development processes in executive programs:

(1) What changes through transformational executive programs? The findings suggest that changing certain leadership behaviours or competencies is vital to accompany a developmental process and enhance individual change. More concretely, increasing self-awareness and skills usually associated to the emotional intelligence of the participants turns to be of primary importance. But the project reveals that there is not only required a behavioural change, but that the identity of the participants should be enriched, especially in role transitions and other personal or professional turning points throughout their careers.

(2) How does it change? And, what conditions make a difference? The research investigates which are the leadership development methods that are more effective for different collectives that enrol in executive programs. In addition, we performed outcomes studies to describe how does change happen and what conditions make a difference in terms of program design and pedagogies. In this sense, group and narrative methods were probed to be particularly effective in enhancing tipping points. Creating a safe space, providing a multi-modular program structure, offering group and peer coaching and create a commitment plan that facilitates bringing the learning findings back to the professional realms seemed to be crucial for designing a curricula that actually help people in their developmental journeys. The research worked also on developmental tools that support individual change throughout transformational programs in organisational settings, especially, we edited a book entitled 'The coaching kaleidoscope: insights from the inside' where we provided a psychodynamic/systemic framework for coaching interventions for leadership development. The book deals with what actually happens in processes of human change that are trigged by group coaching interventions that are part of executive programs at business schools.

The focus of the project was to adopt a multi-disciplinary approach to provide leaders with transformational learning experiences that go beyond transferring tools, knowledge and techniques. The project aimed to reflect on how the interventions can be more effective to create more reflective and self-aware leaders with the purpose of generating better places to work.

Much has been written nowadays about the importance of positive psychology at work. This project intended to show how individual development in transformational executive programs may serve to fuel the basic human need of self-enhancement, which may be tuned to an increase of emotional intelligence and empathy at work with people that care about themselves and about others. Transformational executive programs when designed appropriately serve to create more reflective people who, in turn, will serve to create better organizations with healthier organisation cultures. The findings of this project may be relevant to any professional that wants to re-conduct his or her career in more creative and self-fulfilling ways. But not only that, it may also serve as a roadmap to guide professional development of executives and people working in organisations for human resource professionals, consultants and program directors at business schools.

Links:
INSEAD Global Leadership Centre: http://www.insead.edu/facultyresearch/centres/iglc/index.cfm
KETS de VRIES Institute: http://www.kdvi.com
Center for Leadership Development Research at ESMT: http://www.esmt.org/eng/faculty-research/esmt-center-for-leadership-development-research/.