A series on Coaching by Ian White, our Leadership Coaching Specialist
What is coaching anyway? And why is it so effective at improving performance in your organisation?
Just about anyone can call themselves a coach, and whether you receive coaching, mentoring, or maybe even therapy may not be certain. Identifying a coach that is qualified and accredited by a recognised awarding body, such as the European Coaching and Mentoring Council, is a vital first step.
Coaching is not giving advice but involves conversations where the outcome is intentionally unknown. If the conversation is working towards an outcome that you have in mind, then you are not coaching.
Coaching is non-judgemental and removes blame and criticism. Coaching believes that each one of us has a reservoir of untapped potential and that by asking probing, often direct, challenging and incisive questions we can develop, grow, and perform. Not only that, but also this process is accelerated and results in far higher performance through coaching than other leadership approaches.
The challenge for us as leaders is often not the learning of effective coaching questions and developing excellent listening skills, but it is to stop giving instruction.
We need to believe that when someone is highly motivated by their own ideas that is more effective and leads to better results than telling them to do our own ideas, even if our idea is better.
Leadership coaching is not soft; it holds people to account and focuses on the needs of the organisation.
The main aims of leadership coaching are:
- To raise self-awareness
- To raise levels of responsibility and therefore accountability
- To reduce dependency and co-dependency, and promote independence and inter-dependency
- To raise levels of performance
- To raise self-confidence
- To remove barriers caused by limited beliefs
- To remove judgement, blame and criticism
- To provide a solution-focused approach
- To provide a robust decision making framework not based on binary choices
Just by raising awareness, change takes place. Once we become aware, we automatically make adjustments. Once we move away from an audit culture of judgement, blame and criticism, we remove defensiveness and open the way for untethered development.
Here are some questions from “The Coaching Habit” by Michael Bungay Stanier’ to get you started. In his book he explains why each one is effective and what it aims to achieve.
My challenge to you is, “Ask more questions and give less advice” this week.
- What is on your mind? (Get to the point)
- What else? (Get more than one idea)
- What is the real challenge for you here? (Get to the heart of the matter)
- What do you want? (Break down assumptions; do they know what they want?)
- How can I help? (Break down my assumptions that I know what they want!)
- If you are saying yes to this what are you saying no to? (Get commitment)
- What was the most useful for you? (Consolidate learning, break down my assumptions)
If you are interested in Executive or Leadership Coaching, please give one of the team a call on 01924 827869 or take a look at our upcoming training courses.