Stevenson Coaching Letter #10

Hello, I hope everything is going smoothly.

In this letter, I would like to draw your attention to an article in the New York Times magazine on Amy Cuddy-she is the professor behind one of the most popular TED talks:

And here’s the link to the article:

The article is a cautionary tale.  Professor Cuddy has been tremendously successful, and you’ve probably heard of the idea of power poses, which falls in the same category of recent popular psychology research as mindset and grit.  Power poses came a cropper, as they say in England, when the research methodology, and therefore the results, was challenged.  So this article is a reminder not to get carried away…

But the real reason that I want to focus on this article is because it’s really a story about interpersonal communication, clarity (see CL #7) and feedback.  Late in the article is a perfect little vignette about how a message was intended, how it was actually delivered, how it was received, how it was perceived to be received, and the meaning that was attached to that perception-and the small but very poignant tragedy that ensued, and the regret.  I’m sure I shall be using this as a case study for years.  And these people are psychologists…  I like to think that if they had had a coach, they would have been asked some good questions that would have stopped their assumptions from taking on a life of their own, and would have forestalled some intemperate actions, and would have been a lot clearer, deliberate, and respectful in their communication.

Enjoy watching and reading, and I look forward to hearing what you think, and whether you see an analogy to your leadership work.  And if you have any feedback or suggestions for me, I would be glad if you would share it.

Isobel Stevenson PhD PCC
Program Coordinator
Connecticut Center for School Change
151 New Park Avenue
Hartford, CT 06106
Office: 860.586.2340

Stevenson logo