Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Whistle Not Included

Is Coaching the Answer?

I was recently asked how to know if professional coaching was the best solution to assist someone with ongoing development, versus other options such as workshops or eLearning. I thought it was a great question, so in this week's blog we discuss when coaching may be the best development choice, including how to know who makes the best coaching candidate, types of coaching, and the benefits of hiring a coach to the organization.  Just to be clear, this article focuses on Business Coaching not Life Coaching.


To Coach or Not to Coach? A Guide to Decide

Just a few of the misconceptions about coaching go something like this:  Coaching is only good for fixing problem behavior.  Coaching is just another word for mentoring.  Coaching isn't truly learning because you're being told what to do.  Coaching is for people who lack the natural skills or drive to be self-taught and self-correcting. Life coaches and professional coaches do the same thing. The reality is that for the development of some executive skills (including most of the Emotional Intelligence spectrum) coaching is the only technique that works. And it can be a game changer.


Who Makes a Good Coaching Candidate?


A coaching initiative will have the highest likelihood of success with certain conditions in place. The first thing to ask is how good of a candidate is this for coaching?
Before you get on the phone to hire an executive coach, ask yourself these questions:


  •   Is he/she currently performing at 80% with potential?
  •   Is he/she willing to learn?
  •   Does he/she historically not respond with suspicion or defensiveness when
  •    given feedback?
  •   Does he/she have ambitions for career growth? (laterally or vertically) 
  •   Does he/she seem goal oriented and motivated? 
  •   Do you see areas for their immediate development?
  •   Does he/she appear to lack in self-awareness?
If you answered "no" to more than one of these questions then the success of a coaching intervention may require additional time and effort. It doesn't mean the person isn't coach-able.  


Types of Coaching

Even without an ideal coaching candidate, there are many specific situations in which you can use a coaching solution effectively. Typically, executive coaching involves a fine tuning of key competencies (self-awareness, listening, influence, impulse control, collaboration) and performance coaching involves development of new skills (delegation, leadership, motivating others, strategic planning). Coaching will also improve those needing:


  •  An intervention to bring their job performance in alignment with standards
  •  Development of skills in a "High-Potential"
  •  Short term support through an On-Boarding period
  •  To be assisted in voluntarily transitioning out of the organization  
  •  A technique for providing on-the-job training
  •  Assistance through a transition and managing change (M & A, re-org, downsizing)

Coaching for EQ
If you are looking to develop some Emotional Intelligence (EQ) in the coachee (self-awareness, self-control, empathy, flexibility, influence, optimism, etc) then coaching is one of the most effective methods to employ.Research has shown that EQ is learned differently than other skills. Because it requires that we tap into the brain's limbic system, coachee's must participate in active learning - self-reflection, practice, and feedback - in order to change behavior. This requires a greater time investment and a personalized approach. A "how-to" guide to EQ or a one day workshop will not dramatically change someone's behavior, however, one-on-one coaching can be quite effective.  Plus, another reason that coaching becomes such an effective choice is that there is accountability built in. Executives are incredibly busy, and it is easy for self-paced learning to take a back seat to pressing issues: a pending coaching appointment keeps learning on the priority list.   

Benefits of Coaching for the Organization
If you have identified a good coaching candidate and know they need some EQ development, it is important to identify which results will make the investment into professional coaching worthwhile for the organization. The list of benefits include, but certainly are not limited to:

·  Higher Competence = Better Results
·  Increased Employee Engagement = Requiring Less Oversight
·  Greater Accountability = Fewer Problems Requiring 
Executive or HR Involvement
·  Loyalty = Higher Employee/Customer Satisfaction and Less ReWork
·  Employee Security = Less Reassurances
·  Bench Strength = Succession Planning
·  Retention = Profit
  
Think of your individual development plan (IDP) toolkit as a briefcase loaded with a series of folders. Your briefcase should contain folders marked "customized workshops", "eLearning", "public seminars", and "self development resources" among others. If your briefcase is missing the "coaching" folder, please consider adding it, as it is a vital tool within your development resources.   

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