The question for leaders in organizations today is how do we go about unleashing motivation, facilitating idea creation, promoting information flow and go beyond being Number One? How do we distance ourselves from our competitors? We cannot relax and take our success for granted. Our competitors are fierce and anxious to take back market share, produce the next blockbuster product, or invent some new technology to better serve customers.
One of our greatest competitive advantages is our people and culture. If we can continue to teach, inspire, and select the best, we can continue to be a premier organization in the world. We will continue to be first in bringing value added and quality enhancing products to people around the world. We will also continue to be the employer of choice.
In order to achieve this goal, managers can subscribe to many leadership theories and concepts. Some of these theories provide only a general awareness of successful leadership techniques. Some are too complex and academic to be useful in the real world. Todays manager needs tools that are specific, detailed, and practical that will enable managers to:
help team members achieve their highest potential
motivate team members to contribute their best effort
maintain core values and standards of conduct
manage performance and results
promote innovation and help others think outside the box
create a culture of continuous improvement
build productive and valued relationships with customers
tap into each employees reservoir of experience, talent, and creativity
achieve maximum teamwork, inclusion, and communication across functions
Leaders today want practical and uncomplicated solutions that they can apply immediately. The Coaching program was designed by Dr. Steven J. Stowell and his team at the Center For Management and Organization Effectiveness (CMOE) for this purpose. Research over the past two decades revealed a lack of effective coaching skills by many leaders. As a result of field research and hands on interaction with 325 organizations in 13 different countries, Dr. Stowell has defined a set of coaching skills used by effective leaders. This road map is not a checklist or a quick fix. Although the steps are easy to learn, effective coaching skills are only developed when managers decide to apply them and tackle the real issues that drive business forward.
A Road Map
Coaching Skills training provides leaders with powerful, proven, and practical skills that help you define direction, shows you the sharp turns mileposts in a coaching discussion. But just like driving, the weather and road conditions change each time you set out on a coaching journey. Good judgment, common sense, along with an understanding of the person is needed to be successful. This will allow managers to gain maximum effectiveness from each interaction.
What is Coaching?
Coaching is a skill that leaders practice as they manage performance, mentor, problem solve, teach, and guide others. Coaching requires:
effective two-way communication and dialogue
observation of performance, followed by constructive feedback
an investment in helping others succeed
a focus on performance and achieving results
courage to address difficult issues, and engage others in growth opportunities
time to help people improve as jobs, technology, and markets change
Coaching is a process, not an event. It is the ongoing and consistent way in which we present ourselves, and through which we build and maintain relationships with others. Coaching is not a top-down weapon you use on a subordinate. Coaching is a partnership designed to tap into the knowledge, information, synergy, and talents people bring to the problem solving process.
A good coach:
promotes open and constructive discussion
is comfortable with differences
uses authority and power sparingly
is not demeaning or disrespectful of others
creates a safe environment for interaction, disclosure, and information flow
shares views, facts, and information in a non-threatening manner
is open to new ideas, and to the possibility that he/she has an incomplete understanding of the situation
focuses on learning and change
strengthens and empowers others
maintains high expectations and performance standards
unleashes motivation and creativity
Coaching skills are not found, they are actively developed by people who want to lead and be an influence in their organization. Coaching takes some time (but not a lot of time). Time is an important ingredient and you will need discipline to manage all the priorities and business demands leaders face today. Extra time isnt going to come looking for you. You have to think of coaching is an investment.
Coaching also takes energy. You will need to pick your battles and decide what is important and what isnt. Your coaching effort is an asset that must be deployed wisely.
Coaching takes courage. There is always a risk that someone could feel hurt or take offense when you put the microscope on some element of his or her performance. Dont take reactions personally. You should be more concerned if people dont react, if they seem indifferent. If you inadvertently touch a nerve, or if people are extremely sensitive, you will need to draw on your support account.
Finally, be patient and persistent. Change frequently happens slowly for people. If you encounter someone who wants to make a quantum leap, its a real bonus. Enjoy it, but remember that the real work of a leader is helping those who dont immediately recognize the need or opportunity to improve. Keep in mind that when you coach you wont be receiving accolades and embraced as a hero. Most people need time to process and grasp the magnitude of what you are conveying to them.
Learning to be a good coach is a life long journey. The learning you are about to engage in represents a solid step along that journey. Enjoy the trip, participate and ask questions in the workshop, trust yourself in the practice sessions, and learn from your colleagues.