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Assessment for managerial leadership: Cognitive developmental approach

Professor HRM Jan de Visch (Belgium) criticizes the presently predominant competency models, showing that they neglect to take developmentally anchored human capabilities into account and therefore fail particularly at higher managerial echelons. To detail this hypothesis Visch introduces the ´Mental Highways´ model, meant to identify the changes in behavior and competences that are needed at higher levels of managerial accountability. (Wirtschaftspsychologie 1/2010)

Visch emphasizes "that individuals do optimally creative work when they contribute at a level of work complexity commensurate with their present mental processing abilities (current potential capability)." In accordance with Otto Laske Visch presents "a concept of thought forms as a way of measuring the fluidity of individuals´thinking processes beyond formal logical thought. Based on these insights, Laske developed a cognitive-developmental consulting approach that starkly differs from cognitive-behavioral coaching.

The basic argument in favor of cognitive-developmental coaching was that although behavioral coaching provides extensive recipes for action at a certain level of responsibility (namely the critical transitions) no one addressed the question of what mindset is needed to make the scripts proposed work. Indeed, most cometence frameworks are static systems. They do not acknowledge that definitions of one and the same competence differ according to the level of comlexity on which it is used. On the other hand, the cognitive-developmental approach does not define a direct link between mindset (thinking) and action ..."