Coaching Grows Companies: A 2008 American Management Association Study found that Companies using Coaching perform better in revenue growth, market share, profitability and customer satisfaction then those Companies not using Coaching to develop their Leaders, Managers and Teams. Coaching has a return of six times its investment.
To thrive in the Knowledge Economy, Companies need their people and their operations to continually improve. And continual personnel and organizational improvement requires Leaders at all levels to constantly improve their Skill Sets. A powerful tool to make this happen is professional leadership and business Coaching. Leaders who receive effective Coaching are more likely to set and achieve their goals and generate increased organizational success.
What is Coaching?
Leadership Coaching is focused on enhancing leadership skills. The Coach works with Leaders to:
1. Raise their level of awareness.
2. Identify current leadership skills and strengths.
3. Identify additional skills set needed for increased performance.
4. Overcome internal and external barriers to developing needed skill sets.
5. Establish and achieve outcomes in self leadership and the leadership of
6. Modify behavior/habits so better choices are made and implemented.
7. Develop, implement and follow an Action Plan.
In Leadership Coaching, the Leader and the Coach agree on the goals to be achieved and the Coach facilitates the process through which the Leader can achieve those goals.
Coaches use a variety of tools and strategies to:
1. Assess a Client’s strengths and weaknesses.
2. Explore, and sometimes challenge, the attitudes and choices of the Client.
3. Share professional development information, tools and techniques.
4. State outcomes in a specific, measurable, achievable and timely manner.
5. Identify potential obstacles and limitations and co-design solutions to them.
6. Create and keep the Client accountable to an Action Plan for goal achievement.
What to Look for in a Coach
The Top 3 Reasons Coaches Are Engaged are:
1. To develop potential
2. To act as a sounding board
3. To address disruptive/unproductive behavior
While there are many valuable attributes Coaches bring to the Coaching Process, I believe the following six attributes are the most important to success in the Coaching Process:
1. Interpersonal Competencies: A Coach must have the skill set necessary to handle interpersonal dynamics (i.e. good listening skills; critical thinking).
2. Integrity: Because the Coaching Process often involves discussing personal issues and confidential information, a Coach must have the ability to speak honestly and candidly and respect a confidence.
3. Creativity: Presented with the issues their Clients face, a Coach must be able to act as an authoritative sounding board and present realistic alternative solutions for consideration.
4. Tough Love: Because Performance Coaching is about achieving measurable results, a Coach must assist their Clients to confront tough personal and business issues, and hold them accountable for tangible outcomes.
5. Organizational Insight: To achieve the goal of improving performance as it relates to both individual and organizational objectives, a Coach must be able to understand the organization’s culture and goals.
6. Customization: A Coach must be able to customize their coaching style to meet the unique needs of the Client at any given moment in the Coaching Process.
A Multi-Step Coaching Process
While there are a variety of coaching processes, I have found the following process to be the most effective at establishing where a Client is in their professional development and then determine what actions they should take, and behaviors they should change, in order to get to where they and their Company want them to be:
1. Diagnostic Assessments are conducted. These Assessment are supplemented by a 360 Degree Review with the Client’s primary stakeholders – their manager, peers, and direct reports – and, if necessary, interviews with some of the primary stakeholders. Improvement doubles when coaching is associated with Assessments and a 360 Degree Review. The data gathered allows the Client to change behavior and take actions to increase performance based on an increased self-awareness.
2. Agreement is reached on specific Coaching Goals. Goals for behavioral change and performance improvement are created based on the assessment of the Client’s strengths and weaknesses revealed by the Diagnostic Assessments and the 360 Degree Review to determine if they are realistic and in line with the needs of the Client and the organization.
3. A Development Action Plan is created and implemented. This includes specific agreed upon goals, action steps, milestones, deadlines and measurements. This assists a Client in generating the changes necessary to ensure the Client achieves their stated goals. And provides additional opportunity for the Coach to hold the Client accountable for achieving their goals.
4. "Homework" assignments. To give greater context to the Coaching Process, the Client will be asked to do specific activities between coaching sessions (i.e. recommended reading; implementation of an action item).
5. Additional coaching activities: Based on the Client’s goals, Coaching in addition to the scheduled coaching sessions may be required (i.e. observing the Leader in meetings; helping him/her prepare for critical conversations or presentations).
6. A Second 360 Degree Review is conducted at the end of the coaching assignment. To effectively measure the results of the Coaching Process, the Client’s primary stakeholders – their manager, peers, and direct reports – are requested to participate in a second 360 Degree Review Process at the conclusion of the coaching assignment.