Three processes to choose from
Leadership Coaching is a series of periodic one-on-one consultations, in person or by phone, between a manager and his or her coach. The coaching process typically lasts anywhere from three to seven months but, depending upon the complexity of the issues, may continue several months longer. Generally–but not always–it begins with administration of a 360º feedback assessment prior to concentrated work with the coach.
You should look at coaching as a focused, “scalpel” strategy for the leadership development of an individual manager. For coaching to succeed, there must be two commitments established up-front:
- By the individual manager to work hard to achieve the agreed-upon outcomes.
- By the organization, particularly the manager’s immediate boss, to support his or her efforts in every way possible.
Coaching begins by clarifying among the manager (i.e. the “client”), his/her immediate boss, and the coach the agreed upon measurable or observable outcomes of the process. Frequently a representative of Human Resources is also involved.
Between coaching sessions the manager applies newly learned approaches, skills, and behavior at work, observes the impact, and then with the aid of the coach refines his/her approach accordingly.
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- The manager zeroes in on the specific skills and behaviors that are essential to his/her ability to perform.
- Desired behavior change takes place quickly due to immediate, real time application of learning back on the job.
- The manager begins to demonstrate improved results very soon.
- Greater productivity, higher morale, and lower turnover among the manager’s staff, due to his/her improved effectiveness as a leader and communicator.
1. When performance as a leader is not meeting expectations.
… A key individual at a relatively senior level in your organization has reached a critical juncture. On one hand, his strong technical knowledge and experience means he has a lot to contribute. On the other hand, his interpersonal style is seriously limiting his ability to work effectively with others. Despite discussions you have had with him, he doesn’t seem to know how to make the needed changes. You don’t want to let him go but the negative impact of his style is now outweighing the positive elements he contributes to the organization.
2. Developing skills for growth in current and future positions.
…A strong performer was recently promoted, transferred or hired into a new challenging leadership role, one that is stretching her talents. Or, perhaps you have an identified “high potential” employee who has been in her current role for a while and it is now time to prepare her for advancement to a more complex leadership role.
3. Senior leader seeks a trusted advisor.
…A leader has few, if any, people with whom he can talk candidly about the challenges he faces. Rather than needing regular, focused coaching conversations, what he wants is to be able to contact a coach/advisor on an ad hoc basis whenever he confronts a demanding situation or has an issue he wants to kick around and get advice on.
Five Questions to ask before investing in coaching:
- Will the identified changes result in significantly better performance results?
- Is customized development required (vs. sending him/her on a skills training seminar)?
- Are the development issues sufficiently complex to call for focused guidance over a period of time
- Is the individual genuinely willing (i.e. without feeling coerced) to be coached?
- Are there circumstances involved that call for a private approach, sensitivity, and confidentiality?
To quote management expert Peter Block, “We are born on the wrong side of our eyes.” Our approach is to enable the client to see his or her own behavior, from outside himself/herself. We work not just at the skill and behavior level. We also bring into the process the client’s assumptions, attitudes, habits of thought, and values which combine to significantly drive his/her behavior.
Our instruments of choice are The Leadership Circle Profile and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®.
[Note: See summary table, above.]
1. Full Coaching
Because each coaching client (i.e. manager) is different, each coaching assignment is different. Typically, however, we begin by identifying the client’s behavior change objectives, current leadership style and its impact on his or her performance. This includes a 360º feedback assessment plus, on occasion, gathering the perspectives of peers and/or staff through one-on-one interviews by the coach.
Coaching sessions may include any of the following:
- role playing
- skill modeling by the coach
- observing the client in action (e.g. meetings, typical interactions)
- coach’s feedback
- challenges to client’s existing perceptions, beliefs and approaches
- support and encouragement.
- Includes one monthly half-day face-to-face session, with weekly phone consultations in-between. Phone consultations typically last from 60-90 minutes.
- On occasion, if indicated for the client’s progress, an extra meeting may be scheduled to observe him/her in action and provide feedback.
- We require from the client and his or her boss an up-front commitment to a minimum of three months of coaching.
- Additional months are contracted for as needed, depending upon progress and still untapped opportunities. This is determined by the client and the manager, with input from the coach and perhaps from HR.
2. Support Coaching
This is conducted totally over the phone. It is designed to provide an alternative to the intensity and comprehensiveness of the Full Coaching option. For this reason, Support Coaching is perfect for a mid-level manager or for a senior leader who needs to develop in just a couple of skill or behavior areas.
As well, this level of coaching is a natural follow-on from our Full Coaching process, helping the client over an extended period of time integrate newly acquired skills and approaches into his/her leadership style.
- Includes a minimum of two scheduled phone consultations every month, plus additional phone consultations, as required.
- When not taken as a follow-on from Full Coaching, we require from the client and his or her boss an up-front commitment to a minimum of three months of coaching.
3. Trusted Advisor
This is a flexible, non-directive service intended especially for executives, senior managers, or business owners. The client can set up a phone call at any time. There is no limit to the number of calls or their duration, while accommodating the competing scheduled commitments of the coach.
Initiating a discussion lies entirely with the client. The coach will make himself available for a conversation on as short a notice as possible. Topics are the choice of the client. Typically they address a challenging leadership-related situation or an issue the client wishes to explore and get advice on.