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.”

Seven Traits and Skills Related to Active Coping

Looks Good on Paper pic

Looks Good on Paper
Image: amazon.com

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

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.

Looks Good on Paper pic

Active Coping as a Healthy Response to Stressful Situations

Looks Good on Paper pic

Looks Good on Paper
Image: amazon.com

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.

Dr. Leslie Pratch: The Skills and Personality Traits of Active Copers

Dr. Leslie Pratch received her PhD from the prestigious clinical psychology program at Northwestern University’s Medical School. In her book Good on Paper, Dr. Pratch examines active coping, which she identifies as a key attribute of a healthy personality structure. Active coping is the inclination and ability to effectively adapt to new and varying circumstances.

Dr. Pratch posits that an active coping style can produce a number of discernible traits and skills, which include:

1. Awareness: Active copers possess the ability to see and understand reality, including their own needs, aptitudes, and shortcomings.

2. Courage: Displaying a desire for new experiences, active copers are not threatened by the complications they might encounter.

3. Decisiveness: Active copers are able to successfully manage the challenge of choosing among competing goals.

4. Energy, fortitude, and the willingness to persevere: Active copers seek forward movement, even when conditions are tough.

5. Plan execution: Active copers are planners and consider the downsides of possible endeavors, but they also understand that action is as important as introspection.

6. Resiliency and the ability to learn from experience: After a setback, active copers can regroup, learn from their mistakes, and move on.

7. Resourcefulness: Active copers are inventive and enterprising problem solvers.