Coaching provides an individually tailored approach to executive and leadership development. It’s about working with someone in a collaborative solution focussed way to identify what they want to change or achieve; recognise what will help or hinder them in doing this; and support them in identifying options, agreeing first steps, monitoring progress and being there as a coach to provide support and challenge.
Before I start on any coaching assignment I’ll arrange a chemistry meeting with you or the team. Coaching is a personal relationship in which trust and confidence are the essential ingredients. You and your organisation or you and your team need to feel that you can work effectively with me and I need to feel that I can work effectively with you. If that chemistry isn’t there then experience tells me that its better to recognise that and draw a line. If we decide to go ahead then the next step is to contract with you and your sponsoring organisation.
The contract sets out:
Coaching sets up a triangular relationship and it is important that the sponsor is aligned with the process and has given sufficient thought to his or her goals and expectations and to the investment that he or she is making in the person being coached.
At the beginning of the relationship our focus will be on building trust and rapport and working together to build awareness of what is happening both in your environment and within yourself. There may be feelings of ambivalence to change and powerful arguments and forces for keeping things as they are. These need to be understood and not dismissed as resistance.
I use psychometrics and diagnostic tools such, for example, as 360 degree feedback questionnaires to increase awareness. I am a Registered Test User with the British Psychological Society and am experienced in the use of a variety of ability tests and personality instruments.
During the middle stages of the relationship we will use our time to review progress, identify next steps, options and experiments to try in the workplace and make decisions about possible courses of action. Support and encouragement do not, however, mean that in my role as a coach I will not also question and challenge. We will create and agree self-managed learning activities for you to complete between coaching meetings in order better to embed change and to increase your ability to become self-sufficient and to manage your learning in the future. With your agreement I will involve your sponsor in celebrating successes and identifying new directions.
At the end of the relationship our focus will shift to checking what has been achieved, what that means for you and the sponsor and planning to maintain the momentum. Underlining what has been achieved boosts self-confidence and self-belief and contributes to a virtuous circle of learning and change. I use post coaching questionnaires as one means of confirming the benefits of coaching and reviewing and improving my own practice.
I encourage the active involvement of the sponsor (usually the line manager of the coachee) in any coaching programme. I aim to meet with the sponsor typically togther with the coachee:
What is discussed between coach and coachee must remain completely confidential, but the sponsor has a right to know what outcomes the process in which the organisation is investing is delivering.