You’ll have heard others talk about coaching at work. If you’ve been lucky, you’ve had the opportunity to be coached well and as a result, something that you wanted to focus on changed for the better. You may have coached others and know that it can be a great way to help others to change ways of thinking, challenge self-imposed barriers and help them realise their potential. Coachees can discuss challenges and look to resolving them before they turn into a bigger problem.
Do you know what good looks and feels like? Can you describe it? Most people can learn
to coach; to do it well does takes time, some level of discipline and continual learning and practice. But don’t be put off, the investment is worth it. After years of coaching in previous roles, I decided to study it formally in 2015. I learned that I was doing well in some areas, but conscious incompetence appeared soon into the programme, the realisation was uncomfortable – as good training should always be. It was a positive experience and it paid off before I qualified. I couldn’t compress all I learned in this space, however this article may give you something to reflect on and perhaps the motivation to go out and learn more about it.
Coaching is a useful way of proactively working with others to look at behaviours and abilities and to discover ways to boost performance development. Coaching can be seen as something that happens to people when behaviours or performance levels fall below expectations, it then becomes a reactive performance management tool. The latter isn’t undesirable, but I think prevention is better than cure; it’s also cheaper and more motivating for everyone in the long term.
Coaching isn’t mentoring and it isn’t counselling, it’s not a comfortable chat or an opportunity to impose your way of thinking on others. Coaching works best when everyone understands the reason for using it, agrees expectations around the topics, the levels of support and challenge and when it focuses on getting a result. Coaching is a confidential conversation that happens between a Coach and a Coachee (or a Client if you’re paying for it). The Coach’s focus is always on trust, remaining present and being ‘in the service’ of the Coachee.
Using questioning, listening and reflection, Coaches help Coachees clarify what it is they want to achieve and allowing them time to discover opportunities and solutions for themselves, then gaining a commitment to do something about it. The conversation is both structured and fluid and particularly powerful when the focus is on the whole person, not just the person at work. Coaching can help individuals improve in all areas of their life from discovering how to go about getting a desired role, managing time to create a better work/life balance, to improving tricky relationships.
Clear and positive benefits then for individuals, but what about the macro effect? When collaboration exists between leaders for developing others (not just those in their own teams) coaching can help create a shared accountability for creating a talented and motivated workforce. So everyone wins.
Are you winning? Might you need to sharpen your saw? If you want to learn more, why not start with the following guides, each a small but valuable investment in yourself and others. ‘Coaching for Performance: GROWing Human Potential and Purpose (4th Edition)’ and ‘Co-Active Coaching: Changing Business, Transforming Lives’.
About the author Dyfrig Jenkins
Dyfrig has over 20 years of experience working in Travel and Financial Services, he has expertise of working with senior stakeholders and external partners to develop and facilitate management and leadership programmes, coaching and team development initiatives which support strategic ambitions.