My role is to support client staff in achieving their goals, providing a space in which they feel safe to explore and reflect on their experiences and plan for the challenges they face.
Initially, time is spent getting to know each other, sharing background information and testing the chemistry between us. Beyond this, work is required to understand the context in which the coaching is set,
- The organisation’s strategy, structures, culture, values and narrative;
- The coachee’s place in the organisation, role and performance;
- The coachee’s career progress to date and aspirations;
- The challenges the coachee is facing;
- The leadership model the organisation aspires to;
- The line manager’s definition of a successful coaching outcome.
Having this understanding provides valuable information to inform the coaching.
Reflection and Challenge
Once the coaching partnership has been established, the work really begins and is both challenging and rewarding. Indeed, without challenge, the relationship is unlikely to move beyond a comfortable conversation.
Many coaches talk of ‘pure’ language, and non-directive interventions. This helps build rapport, but on its own will not drive behavioural change.
I see critical reflection and challenge as key to learning from experience. Reflecting on the content of events, the experience individuals went through as those events unfolded and on the motivations and assumptions that underpinned the experience.
Goals and Actions
I support my coachees through attentive listening, encouraging critical reflection on their experiences of the topics brought to coaching and by challenging perceptions to drive out new ways of thinking and behaving.
The purpose is to bring greater clarity and focus and to move those coached to take action, action they feel fully motivated towards taking and fully accountable for achieving, and to help them embed learning through that action.
The average leader at any level needs to be able to put new concepts into action. To achieve this on the job learning, coachees need support. In particular, actions, once implemented, need to be evaluated and, if necessary, refined. This support comes from me as coach and should also come from colleagues, managers and mentors.