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.”

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Seven Traits and Skills Related to Active Coping

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Dr. Leslie S. Pratch holds a PhD in clinical psychology from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. With more than 20 years of experience evaluating executive candidates, Dr. Leslie S. Pratch is 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. Leslie Pratch describes a concept called “active coping,” which is often predictive of effective leadership:

“Active coping is an attribute of a healthy personality structure. That means that the ‘activity’ is not always overt and observable; sometimes it takes place internally, in decisions made, visions developed, conflicting drives resolved. An active coping stance, however, often gives rise to certain observable traits and skills. These include:

Awareness. Active copers are able to see reality, including their own needs, capabilities, and limitations.

Courage. Active copers are brave. They seek out new experiences; they are not intimidated by challenges.

Resiliency, toughness, and the ability to learn from experience. Active copers, like all humans, make mistakes. Life is too complicated to anticipate every possible contingency. After a setback, active copers regroup and recover.

Energy, fortitude, and the willingness to persevere. Active copers summon their energy and continue to move forward even under the most trying circumstances.

Resourcefulness. Active copers invent solutions to problems by creatively pulling together the resources they have at hand.

Decisiveness. Active coping gives a person the fortitude to handle conflicts among competing goals. Making a choice means giving up an alternative. Active copers face that loss and move on.

Executing a Plan. Active coping involves planning. Active copers anticipate, strategize, and weigh the risks of potential actions. Then they act. Active coping combines introspection and action.”

Dr. Leslie S. Pratch on Active Coping

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Leslie S Pratch
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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.

Four Personality Assumptions Used in Assessing Coping Stance

 

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A licensed clinical psychologist, Leslie S. Pratch leads Pratch & Company, a consulting firm that assesses the personality and overall functioning of business executives to predict their future performance as business leaders using its Active Coping Assessment system. In her book, LOOKS GOOD ON PAPER? Using In-Depth Personality Assessment to Predict Leadership Performance (Columbia University Press, 2014), Leslie S. Pratch examines the four assumptions her coping assessments make regarding personality.

1. Personality is a theoretical constructs, not a concrete object. Even so, the complexity of a personality can still be assessed scientifically.

2. Using the correct methodology and training, it is possible to predict the effects that personality has on decision-making.

3. Though some aspects of a personality can be changed with concerted effort, the degree to which such changes are possible is limited. Personalities act as a function of a person’s individual history, with childhood playing a particularly foundational role. This restricts the extent to which a personality can be reshaped.

4. A personality operates on the unconscious, semi-conscious, and conscious levels, each of which affects how a person feels, thinks, and acts.

The Four Interconnecting Elements of the Active Coping Stance

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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.

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Pratch and Company – Coaching and Mentoring

 

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Leslie S Pratch
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As the president and CEO of Pratch & Company, Leslie S. Pratch oversees the day-to-day operations of this professional service firm, serving as a psychological advisor to private equity businesses. With nearly 20 years of experience in clinical psychology, Leslie S. Pratch directs Pratch & Company in providing programs such as coaching and mentoring for professional firms.

The coaching and mentoring program of Pratch & Company assists executives who are coming up through the company ranks in improving their performance levels, and teaches the skills that are needed for advancement within companies. Coaching and mentoring is provided by a network of experienced CEOs who desire to help create new talent in various industries.

Coaching and mentoring starts by using Pratch & Company’s Active Coping Assessment program to evaluate an executive’s ability to adapt his or her personality to the requirements of the position desired. The coaching and mentoring program helps potential executives create a plan to prepare for an executive position.

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.

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Four Domains to Assess in a Potential Portfolio Company Manager

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A graduate of Northwestern University with a PhD in clinical psychology, Dr. Leslie S. Pratch is the founder and CEO of Pratch & Company. Over the course of her career, she has assessed candidates for top leadership positions and has written extensively on the qualities that make executives successful. In May of 2015, Dr. Leslie S. Pratch published an article on this subject titled What Do You Look for in a Senior Executive?

In the article, Dr. Leslie Pratch outlines four domains to assess when considering a potential portfolio company manager: judgment, influence, management, and personality. The article defines the judgment domain as follows: “Judgment includes all of the technical, professional/intellectual and creative capabilities that let people make sense of the world around them — to see the forest for the trees; analyze complex data; break problems down into their component parts; reach logical conclusions; and generate alternative and new solutions so that they can understand, assess, and determine what needs to be done.”

The article describes the influence domain in the following way: “Influence includes the communications, interpersonal, persuasion, and political competencies that allow someone to work effectively with clients and colleagues: to explain, persuade, sell, cajole, network, negotiate, and lobby so that they can successfully influence others and gain their support to get things done. Influence involves gaining support while lacking formal authority.”

Dr. Pratch goes on to describe what to look for in the management domain: “Management covers project and people management — planning, organizing, scheduling, monitoring, and controlling work; developing, counseling, and directing people; building teams and resolving conflicts so as to ensure services are delivered, results are produced, and projects are completed on time.”

Lastly, the article discusses the personality domain as follows: “Personality includes personal traits and tendencies such as drive, self-confidence, decisiveness, tenacity, flexibility, and resilience. All of these enable individuals to meet and overcome the stresses, challenges, conflicts, and obstacles that may affect performance in the other three domains.”

By evaluating potential leaders for the competencies within these domains, portfolio companies have a better chance of putting the right leaders in place.

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Active Coping as a Healthy Response to Stressful Situations

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As the CEO and president of Pratch & Company, Leslie S. Pratch provides a host of business advisory services focused on identifying executive candidates and evaluating their leadership skills and business potential. A licensed clinical psychologist, 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 Part I of LOOKS GOOD ON PAPER? Ms. Pratch explores the theory and practice of active coping: “When a person always seems prepared and quickly recovers from any setback, that is active coping. When a person earns the trust of her friends and colleagues by refusing to take unfair advantage of others and refuses to let others take unfair advantage of her, that is active coping. When a person has the vision and self-confidence to rise above ‘business as usual’ when necessary, that is active coping.”

Ms. Pratch goes on to note: “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. All human beings encounter difficulties on a daily basis, both internal (to the self) and external. We have intricate internal landscapes filled with drives, values, dreams, and ideals. Some are compatible and some are in conflict. ‘Coping’ is how we reconcile and express these many parts of ourselves, endeavoring to bring into balance our internal needs and the external demands of our environment. Individuals can learn to master themselves and the circumstances that surround them, taking an active coping stance toward the world.”

Further excerpts on active coping and how it relates to responses to stressful situations are available at www.amazon.com/Looks-Good-Paper-Depth-Personality-ebook/dp/B00K4JVSEY.

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Effective Human Capital Management Yields Results

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Leslie S Pratch
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Author and businesswoman Leslie Pratch has dedicated her career to understanding and assessing leadership qualities in executives. In an article for the European Financial Review entitled “Serious Human Capital Management for Seriously Good Performance,” Leslie Pratch discusses the necessity for private equity firms to monitor their leadership teams as closely and carefully as they do other aspects of their companies. Knowing the CEO and all the people who report to him or her can help avert disasters down the line and also can positively impact returns.

For some firms, the article recommends hiring a part-time human capital advisor. The person in this position “gets to know the managers, and with them, conducts a structured analysis of their jobs. With the manager, the advisor identifies key targets and metrics and documents the relationships that will be crucial for the manager’s success.” With the help of data from psychological assessments, the advisor focuses on building relationships, developing managers, and helping the investors achieve their goals.