Coaching. There are many descriptions, beliefs, and biases about what Coaching is. We hear the word “Coaching” to be used to support excellence in sport, and in the workplace we hear leaders “Coach” employees by providing performance feedback, giving directive advice, and correcting poor performance or behavior. The definition and utilization of Coaching is broadly interpreted but ultimately it is used to optimize performance and develop strategies to build and sustain effectiveness.
In this article I will explore Leadership Coaching, specifically in the areas of focus and resulting outcomes in the domain of performance improvement. Let’s quickly identify what Leadership Coaching is …. accurately described, Leadership Coaching is a personalized, in-depth process that enhances a leader’s capability to advance toward organizational and personal goals for short term and long term success.
The concept and application of Leadership Coaching is not new, and many leaders today are working with Coaches to increase or refine their skills as a leader. We have all heard the saying “it is lonely at the top”, and so many leaders struggle to find the support for their own growth and development as a leader or to uncover solutions to critical challenges that they cannot overcome on their own.
How does Coaching fit into the performance equation? There is a direct correlation between leadership effectiveness and employee and organizational performance. The ability to have ongoing feedback-rich performance conversations with our people about the vision, purpose, goals, measures, functions, roles and business processes is essential to enhance behaviors that positively impact performance.
Leading people is complex, no question. Many leaders that I work with find it difficult to develop the discipline to balance the demands of their technical expertise and how to have effective conversations that produce the results that they are looking for. They are having conversations but realize over time that they have fallen short with clearly setting realistic goals and performance expectations, establishing the right measures to evaluate performance and behaviors, and providing regular and timely feedback. Many leaders avoid the tough conversations with hopes that performance will naturally improve over time, but that rarely happens, resulting in missed opportunities to address the performance pitfalls and quickly get back on track.
Coaching helps leaders to think and be different. Through this process they will discover how they can show up differently by gaining more insight and improving their own performance in the following areas:
- Improved communication around delegation, conflict management, and team building
- Develop stronger relationships with peers and stakeholders
- Awareness of blind spots and deeper learning about oneself and how their behavior impacts others
- Awareness of perspectives, beliefs, and attitudes that may be impacting current state
- Greater productivity, getting work done
- Greater confidence to make bold moves
- Clarity on your values and what you stand for
When is Coaching effective? The opportunity to be coached is an experience to cherish, and individuals who seek further growth and development are willing to take their learning to a higher level and want to adopt new skills to positively impact how they lead others. By working in partnership with their Coach, leaders can expect to receive emotional support, empathy, encouragement, and direct feedback.
Could Coaching make the difference for you? As you evaluate your effectiveness as a leader, I challenge you to ask yourself what you are doing to impact the performance of your people:
- Do your people exhibit the behaviors that are required to be successful?
- Are they managing their commitments and delivering on the results that are expected of them?
- What conversations have you had with your people to determine their level of engagement, and the actions taken to address less than desired performance?
- What do you wish your people were doing differently that isn’t happening today?
- What difference would it make if the quality of your relationships were stronger?
- What more would you like to accomplish?
In what ways are you seeing that you could take your leadership to the next level? If you want to have greater impact and influence on the performance of your people and your organization, consider how working with a Coach could help you create the kind of results that you know you can achieve. Top athletes and successful leaders work with Coaches as they know that no one achieves success in isolation.
As a Coach I hold my clients “capable” to the changes that they wish to make, and we work together to create what is possible. I am a thought partner with my clients and I ask questions of them that will stimulate new thinking and perspectives. My clients create their own accountability to the process for change and I support them to deliver on it.
MY OFFER: Throughout our series of newsletters on the topic of performance improvement I have shared documents and supporting tools that have helped leaders design and evaluate their performance improvement strategies. I wish to continue providing support to my readers, and I would like to offer a complimentary 30-minute Coaching session for anyone who has a team or personal performance challenge that they wish to improve. Please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment.
What’s next? The next edition in our newsletter series will be released in September.