Four Personality Assumptions Used in Assessing Coping Stance

 

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Looks Good on Paper
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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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Looks Good on Paper
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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

 

Leslie S Pratch pic

Leslie S Pratch
Image: pratchco.com

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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Looks Good on Paper
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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.

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How Experience May Not Tell the Whole Story of a Job Applicant

Leslie S Pratch pic

Leslie S Pratch
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As founder and CEO of Pratch & Company, Leslie Pratch helps investors, management committees, and company boards assess potential candidates based on psychological resources and personality strengths. In a recent article for The European Financial Review, Leslie Pratch explained how assessments can detect personality traits that impact leadership abilities that may not be evident by looking at a resume.

The article demonstrates the value of assessments by sharing the example of a CEO named Jack, a successful corporate attorney who was heading a start-up in a fragmented distribution industry. While Jack had experience, assessments found that he had a reactive and avoidant coping style that was likely to undermine his effectiveness as a leader. Pratch explains: “This passive coping compromises the quality of his judgment to the point that would put the venture at risk. Unfortunately, the issues most likely to make his business successful … are precisely the issues likely to bring out his passive coping.”

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.”

Article Examines Cognitive Maturation and Leadership

A licensed clinical psychologist and graduate of both the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and the Northwestern University Medical School, Leslie Pratch has written extensively on matters related to business leadership. In her paper “Tape Measure for a Job Fitting: Introduction to Stratified Systems Theory,” Leslie Pratch discusses the importance of cognitive development as it impacts managerial capability. Below is an excerpt.

“So far, we’ve described a static system. Individuals have a certain level of cognitive power. A job requires a person to have a certain level. Everybody is either at the right level, too high, or too low. But in fact, the system is not static. For one thing, jobs change. […] More importantly, people change. Cognitive power changes over time. Obviously, the person who is able to run a division was not born with that ability. [Social scientist Elliott] Jaques found that individual’s paths of development follow trajectories within distinct bands, which he called modes. […]

This growth proceeds gradually, as physical growth does, but the passages from one cognitive level to the next occur in discontinuities or spurts. When they occur, the individual’s time horizon increases so that he becomes capable of handling more responsibility in a job with a greater time span at a higher organizational stratum.

A person’s developmental trajectory brings him or her to certain levels by certain ages. This is why we can’t learn a higher cognitive mechanism by study or practice. As with puberty or old age, we have to reach it when the time comes.”