Support and Challenge Matrix

You can use this tool to find out about the level of support and challenge within your work / family environment.

The Leadership Investment Model is originally a model utilised by Virgin Media that looks at how a manager provides support and challenge to individuals within their team.

The model uses 2 axis. The first shows Low / High Challenge, the other Low / High Support, thereby creating a classic 4-box model showing each particular combination.

Below is a list of the possible quadrants, their ‘names’ (for reference) and the pro’s and cons of each style

Low challenge / low support – Abdicator
As a management style this approach may provide useful when you have absolute confidence that your person can handle the task or situation at hand. However this is not a place managers want to spend too long in. If over-used this management style will lead to apathy.

Low challenge / high support – Nurturer
As a management style this approach may provide useful when you have a new person joining the team. It may be someone who is new to the role, or someone who is not clear of what is now expected of them. I.e. a new role. If over-used this management style will lead to comfort.

Low support / high challenge – Task master
As a management style this approach may provide useful when you have a very experienced individual whom you wish to delegate additional responsibility to. However you should be aware that you should ensure you are confident in the person’s ability to perform the task, purely based upon the skills/experience needed for the task in hand. Not ‘just because they were good at the day-job’ or a ‘good person’. If over-used of this management style will lead to stress.

High support/high challenge – Enabler
As a management style this approach is where you want to spend your time in really challenging and supporting your people. This approach should lead to performance. However there will be times where reducing the amount of challenge you give to people is the right thing to do. If over-used of this management style will lead to frustration.

Task:

  • Set up the 2 axis and explain the different positions in detail to the coachee
  • Walk though all positions and ask how they feel
  • Ask the coachee to place himself at the current position “how I am treating other people”
  • Ask the coachee to place himself “where you want to be”.
Essential questions:
  • “How does it feel here?” (can feel uncomfortable in the beginning)
  • “What do you need to develop here?”
  • “What are interferences / obstacles?”
  • “What do you need to let go of in this position?”
  • “What could you do differently for the varied individuals within you teams?”

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