Active Coping – an Attribute of Successful Executives

Leslie S. Pratch - Blue    A clinical psychologist and graduate of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, Dr. Leslie S. Pratch, PhD, evaluates candidates to determine their ability to perform well as business executives. Dr. Leslie Pratch is also the author of the book LOOKS GOOD ON PAPER? Using In-Depth Personality Assessment to Predict Leadership Performance (Columbia Business School Publishing, 2014).

In LOOKS GOOD ON PAPER?, Dr. Pratch discusses a key leadership attribute called active coping. She gives several examples of this quality, including the following: “When a person always seems prepared, and quickly recovers from any setback, that is active coping. When a person earns the trust of his friends and colleagues by refusing to take unfair advantage of others, and refuses to let others take advantage of him, that is active coping. When a person has the vision and self-confidence to rise above the ‘business as usual’ when necessary, that is active coping.”

She goes on to define this leadership attribute as follows: “To many, the word ‘cope’ has connotations of barely scraping by. I use it quite differently, to refer to a sense of mastery, an orientation to life. Individuals can learn to master themselves and the circumstances that surround them, taking an active coping stance toward the world. Or they can be passive copers, allowing themselves to be defined by their circumstances and enslaved by their personal needs. When circumstances change unpredictably, an individual’s latent weaknesses – or untested strengths – emerge.”

Dr. Leslie S. Pratch on Active Coping

Leslie S Pratch pic

Leslie S Pratch
Image: pratchco.com

A graduate of Northwestern University, Dr. Leslie S. Pratch received her PhD in clinical psychology, then went on to earn an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. She leverages her expertise to conduct personality assessments that help businesses find executives that will achieve positive results for their employer. Dr. Leslie S. Pratch shares her knowledge in her book entitled LOOKS GOOD ON PAPER? Using In-Depth Personality Assessment to Predict Leadership Performance (Columbia Business School Publishing, 2014), in which she explains the skill of active coping.

Although the resumes of some candidates may seem ideal, factors besides past experience are important when predicting success among already high-achieving executives. Chief among these is active coping. Dr. Pratch describes this quality as follows: “Even if you have never heard the term before, you know it when you see it. When a person always seems prepared, and quickly recovers from any setback, that is active coping.”

In her book, Dr. Pratch goes on to explain how she uses this term: “To many, the word ‘cope’ has connotations of barely scraping by. I use it quite differently, to refer to a sense of mastery, an orientation to life. Individuals can learn to master themselves and the circumstances that surround them, taking an active coping stance toward the world.” As part of the developmental assessment model in this book, active coping can help businesses predict which candidates are likely to thrive when tested, and successfully lead their organizations.

The Four Interconnecting Elements of the Active Coping Stance

Looks Good on Paper pic

Looks Good on Paper
Image: amazon.com

A licensed clinical psychologist, Leslie S. Pratch serves as the president and CEO of Pratch & Company, which utilizes the Active Coping Assessment System to prepare business leaders for assuming higher levels of responsibility within their organizations. Leslie S. Pratch is the author of LOOKS GOOD ON PAPER? Using In-Depth Personality Assessment to Predict Leadership Performance (Columbia Business School Publishing, 2014), in which she explores the four interconnected elements of the Active Coping stance. These are as follows:

1. Integrity. This element relates to a person’s core values and that individual’s ability to uphold those values through consistency of action.

2. Psychological autonomy. This is defined as one’s ability to resist giving in to external pressures, internal desires, or personal fears.

3. Integrative capacity. This refers to a person’s capacity to absorb information and use it to learn. Integrative capacity means developing tolerance, awareness and comprehension, both of oneself and the wider world.

4. Catalytic coping. The final element measures one’s ability to confront problems, generate solutions to them, and put those solutions into practice.

Leslie S. Pratch

Book Examines Coping Styles of Real-World Leaders

Leslie S. Pratch

Leslie S. Pratch

Leslie S. Pratch, a licensed clinical psychologist, is the author of LOOKS GOOD ON PAPER? Using In-Depth Personality Assessment to Predict Leadership Performance, a book published by Columbia Business School Publishing in 2014. In the book, Leslie S. Pratch examines real-world leaders to gain insight into their coping styles. These leaders include President Abraham Lincoln and General Ulysses S. Grant, both of whom Leslie Pratch discusses in this excerpt:

“Lincoln didn’t have the option to assess his generals using clinical psychological methods; he had to make choices knowing their overt strengths and weaknesses, but not their covert, unconscious tolerance for stress. Using current methods to uncover his generals’ coping structures, he might have gotten a more accurate picture of how they would handle the trauma of war. A thorough assessment would likely have caught McClellan’s hesitation to act under pressure, and Grant’s underlying determination to push through against all odds. Although Grant was not an active coper in many situations, such as leading the country during peacetime, he was the right leader for the particular situation that had nearly destroyed the Union. His particular coping style made him the right military leader during wartime.”

To read additional excerpts from LOOKS GOOD ON PAPER?, log on to www.pratchco.com/publications/looks-good-on-paper. Readers can also purchase a copy of the book at www.amazon.com/dp/0231168365/ref=rdr_ext_tmb.

Coping Strength and Ernest Hemingway

At Pratch & Company, licensed clinical psychologist Leslie Pratch assists companies by providing psychological assessments of candidates for executive positions in order to determine their potential to become effective leaders. Utilizing her experience in the field, Leslie Pratch wrote the manuscript LOOKS GOOD ON PAPER?, which offers insight into how people adapt to changing conditions. The following excerpt looks at coping strength through an examination of novelist Ernest Hemingway.

“A high level of coping is rated H, a medium level is rated M, and a low level of coping is rated L. A rating of HHH, for example, means that the subject demonstrated high levels of coping across all three levels of awareness, the sign of a person with strong active coping. Someone with an LLL rating would invariably be passive. Most people fall somewhere between these two extremes. Any time there is a large discrepancy between coping on different levels (HHL, HML, and HLL) the rating indicates that the test subject has an unstable structure of coping. …

“As we age, our defenses weaken and our underlying coping styles come to the surface. This effect can cause a noticeable change in behavior and personality. Ernest Hemingway was famous for his toughness and machismo, but his suicide in later life could indicate a weakness in his unconscious coping, an example of an HHL personality. Conversely, some people may seem outwardly passive but have inner reserves of activity and strength. A tired, middle-aged black woman living in the South in 1955 may get on a bus and refuse to move to the back. This may exemplify the LHH rating (although in that time and place, neither women nor African Americans were encouraged to be active copers). Under stress, Hemingway reverted to a passive stance and Rosa Parks to an active one.”