Business magazines from Harvard Business Review to Inc. describe coaching as the management style of choice and the answer to many kinds of organizational ills. It is about making sense of complex experience’s, unlocking a person’s potential to solving their own problems and is more often about asking good questions than giving right answers. If you want a commitment culture rather than simple compliance, coaching may provide a lot of the keys.
At Employee Develoment Systems, our challenge has been to develop a ‘Communicating to Manage Performance’ program that puts equal emphasis on learning and results at both individual and organizational levels. Learning, because we recognize the need to develop capacity for change, for instance, to help new staff get to grips with organizational practices. Results, because our clients have a strong purpose-orientation and no organization can survive long without showing a good return on investment for its stakeholders.
In our performance development program, we identified coaching as a key component alongside goal setting, regular reviews and reward. We provide training in questioning, active listening, giving and receiving feedback, generating options and implementing action plans. However, coaching skills alone are insufficient to engender and support change at individual and organizational levels. The spirit of coaching is about establishing a special quality of relationship and conversation that engenders awareness-raising, learning, responsibility and commitment that extends well beyond simple task achievement. It demands conscious attention to personal intention, ethos, empathy and relational climate.
By fostering a genuine spirit of coaching, developing a deeper level of inquiry and ensuring individuals have the space to find their own solutions, we have found that managers and coaches can make a significant change to the culture of an organization. Individuals will typically experience greater personal satisfaction at work, grow in their ability to deal with complexity, ambiguity and change, and develop emotional intelligence alongside practical skills and enhanced performance.
In order to practice and embed the spirit of coaching, we suggest the following:
- Engage in personal development to understand and address your own motivations, anxieties, hot spots etc. so they don’t impinge negatively on the coaching process.
- Establish a coaching relationship that is underpinned by positive intention, empathy and genuine commitment to the coachee’s development.
- Encourage the coachee to take responsibility for his or her own learning and performance, albeit with your support alongside.
- Agree on goals and standards together, giving the coachee first opportunity to scope out requirements, explore issues, work out solutions etc.
- Challenge coachees to grow in awareness of how they are learning and performing, e.g. by seeking feedback from stakeholders and developing the practice of reflection.
- Review the organization’s culture as a whole to ensure consistency with a coaching spirit.
Leaders with the most impact are those who can build and successfully manage great teams. Every day, we help our clients and colleagues achieve their highest levels of professional presence and personal effectiveness. That includes everyone on the ladder, from company presidents to project managers, to staff members. Contact us at 800-282-3374 to find out how we can help you impact your own productivity and the productivity of your entire organization.