I am delighted to welcome Lynn Scott as a guest on my blog this month. In her post below, Lynn succinctly describes what is true about coaching and helps to demystify some of the questions you may be asking yourself about coaching as part of your leadership . . .
A coaching approach is ‘simply a focused conversation which helps your team member to grow in confidence and competence; take purposeful action and continually improve.’
Here’s are ten truths about coaching and what it is there to do:
- You can use a coaching approach as part of your everyday conversations in 1-1s, meetings, appraisals and at the water-cooler (or your equivalent!);
- A coaching conversation can take two minutes, all day or anything in between……
- Coaching is not a soft option. (If the coaches you’ve met are ‘pink and fluffy’ then change your coaches);
- Coaching delivers business results as well as building good personal relationships;
- Coaching is not about ‘fixing people’. Coaching is about ‘creating the conditions that enable people to change themselves’ (Hawkins 2006) and, let’s be clear, the change that is required is behaviour, thinking patterns, mindset or belief. NOT personality!
- Coaching can be used to explore poor performance but is NOT the answer if problems are extreme. To use a well-worn phrase, coaching works best to move people ‘from good to great’. Think elite athletes;
- Coaching can only work on the bit of the problem that the team member him/herself owns – this is important. Too many people bring ‘other people’ to their coaching conversations as an excuse for something they are not doing. Manager, beware. You can only work with the person in front of you. Coach HIM/HER to find a solution to deal with the OTHER PERSON.
- There’s a belief in some quarters that coaching is non-directive all the time. Well, as a manager you are expected to give direction. Be selective about when you do this and if your direction is clear you can help your team work out the ‘how’ to deliver what is needed; Of course, when there is a clear right or wrong answer that the team member is unlikely to know, where there are legal, ethical, moral or wellbeing issues at stake, when there is a crisis situation requiring fast action or when you have the expertise that the team member doesn’t – you probably need to be directive!
- Coaching is not something you ‘do’ to someone else. Manager and team member are both accountable for making it work;
- Coaching helps us to ‘take the next step’. If your team member is overwhelmed, help her do one thing and one thing ONLY to move forward with whatever it is she is stuck with. For example, one coaching client I worked with gets overwhelmed with ‘too much stuff in my head’ which was leading to panic, lack of confidence and procrastination. Her first step was to get it ‘out of her head and onto paper’. This simple practise has revolutionised her approach to her work and her self-confidence. You see? Sometimes the simple things can make the biggest difference!
Lynn Scott is a Leadership and Team Coach, Coach Supervisor and Coach Trainer and Mentor. Previously Lynn had an international career in the highly competitive and fast moving travel industry which included management roles in Europe, USA and North Africa. She was the first female Head of Operations for Airtours PLC (now part of Thomas Cook) with responsibility for overseas destinations that included Australia and Thailand, before setting up Lynn Scott Coaching Ltd. She trained as an Executive Coach in 2001/2.
Senior managers go to Lynn when they want to align their teams and confidently achieve critical strategic initiatives.
Senior managers in a variety of industries often share with her that they feel overwhelmed, stressed, and rarely able to find time to execute their most important priorities.
Over 15 years Lynn has supported hundreds of leaders to achieve laser-sharp focus, have greater presence and impact, and develop great people who can help their organisations to grow and their careers to advance. At the same time, they become more inspired and fulfilled.
Lynn runs a Lead with Impact 3 day leadership programme in a stunning location. Visit her website here, for more details.