I’ve recently been giving an “Intro to Coaching” workshop to current and aspiring People Managers. It’s a great way to focus down on what’s really important, and to figure out ways of sharing that with people in a compelling and engaging way.
I start off by breaking down some of the theory of coaching for performance, what it is, and also what it isn’t. Then we move on to some tools and techniques that you can apply in a coaching situation. Finally, we look at how you can apply them in the management context, in the few minutes here and there which are often all we have to spare in the busy day-to-day.
This is a forty-five minute blast of content, it sets some groundwork and gives ideas for future practice.
For the rest of the workshop, we break into small groups and practice applying the techniques and tools we’ve just learnt. This practical session is by far the most valuable time. Once you have the tools, then using them is the only way to get good. This is as true of coaching as anything else.
In the practical session, we have a coach and a coachee, and a supervisor watching to provide feedback. After a ten minute session, the supervisor provides feedback and the coach reflects on what went well and what could’ve gone better. Once this is done, the group swap roles and go again.
I’ve had great feedback from a wide range of people, from those who’ve benefited from a concentrated refresher, to those who’ve encountered these ideas formally for the first time and to managers who have never reflected on their approaches before, and learnt so much in the process.
For me, sharing these approaches with more people is incredibly rewarding. It sharpens my own thinking and practice, whilst giving so many people a great grounding in the world of coaching and a springboard to the start of their journey.
I’ve been working through my ILM Level 5 Coaching Certification for over a year, and I’m really proud to say I’ve just completed and passed my final assessment.
It’s been a really great experience, meeting a lot of new people, learning a great deal of theory and also through practical experience coaching an exciting and diverse group of people.
I’d certainly advise anyone serious about their coaching to seek out the opportunity for this sort of training and structured learning.
Very much looking forwards to getting my certificate and moving on to the next set of challenges.
It can be very hard to measure the impact of Coaching. We’re aiming to deliver positive change to a person, enabling them to learn and grow. It might not be easy to put a number on that impact.
Nevertheless, Coaching can be a significant investment in time and money, so how do you know you are getting the right outcome?
If you are paying directly, then it’s a pretty easy decision. Do you feel like you are getting great outcomes? Are you moving into learning space in each session? Does your Coach listen to your needs and focus their efforts in help you reach those goals?
Answer yes to these questions, then it’s great value!
If you are engaging a Coach for your organisation, then you’ll often want to measure the impact in a more structured way. You need to think about the outcomes you need to see from that organisational perspective. Do you want to improvement Employee Engagement metrics? Are you looking to grow your junior leaders or attempting to refine a senior leadership group?
Once you know what you want to measure, build it into the agreement with the Coach. They’ll be able to work with the Coachees to structure their goals around these areas, using initial sessions to set the expectations with the Coachee so they are aware of the focus of the engagement.
Good coaching can have significant material benefits to an organisation, but directly measuring ROI is hard. Prefer instead to look at the positive impact on Engagement, Team Happiness or overall feedback from the organisation, and if you are hitting those goals, you can be sure again that you are getting great value from your Coach.
Manager as Coach is an introduction to the OSCAR coaching model. This is an evolution of the simple GROW model that’s especially useful to coaching in a management context.
The model is broken out to consider the Outcome, Situation, Choices, Actions and Review. The focus on Actions and Review is the main difference for the model when compared to GROW, and this is what slants it towards a more management focused approach. GROW looks at the Coachee’s Will to commit to change, but the Coachee will not necessarily sign up to a firm agreement to make that change.
In OSCAR, Actions and Review build an agreement to both what will be done and how it’s going to be reviewed. This is familiar in style to SMART objective setting, hence the power of this model in a management coaching relationship.
As well as an introduction to the model, the book covers applying it to Coachees in various mindsets. It also walks through different types of relationship that can benefit from coaching, how you can show the value of coaching to an organisation and how you can build a coaching culture.
There are lots of examples spread throughout the book, with case studies and testimonies throughout every chapter. This really helps to bring to life some of the considerations raised in the main text.
The book may be a little bit long in some places, attempting to apply OSCAR to too many situations beyond the core coaching conversation. There’s certainly sections that are less valuable once you’ve picked up the core model, so don’t be afraid to pick and choose your reading after the first few chapters.
Other than that, it’s a worthwhile read for managers new to coaching approaches and is deserving a place on your coaching bookshelf.
At its heart, the process of Coaching is about enabling change and empowering your growth.
Change can be difficult, and you might not be ready to really commit to it. Coaching is forward looking, and it needs you to be well set to drive that change. You’ll also tend to benefit from having some thoughts about how to shape that change before you start looking for Coaching.
Not everyone will benefit from Coaching, it depends very much on where they are in their lives. With the investment in time and effort required, reflecting on your current status will be extremely valuable before you seek out a Coach.
If you are:
- Committed to change and positive growth
- Coming from a place of stability and are ready to challenge yourself
- Equipped with ideas for your goals
Then you may be excellently placed to seek out a Coach and benefit significantly from the relationship.
If you are thinking about Coaching, then I’m always available to help you work through your options, just get in touch!
I had a really great continuing professional development session last week with the British School of Coaching, spending a morning discussing CBT, getting a basic understanding of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, what it means and how you can consider it during a coaching session.
We talked about feelings, emotions, thoughts and actions, considering how they all might be linked together and talked about productively. There was a brilliant range of attendees, from those just starting on their coaching journey to some who had long term experience in CBT.
The sessions went into enough depth to give an interested practitioner enough information to understand how to go and learn more, whether that was the full CBT or some of the tools and approaches that can help you connect better to emotion in a coaching session.
Continuing professional development is a key part of your growth of a coach, and these types of focused taster sessions are a brilliant springboard to understanding future learning options.
Vital Smarts’ Crucial Conversations is a classic book on the subject of communication. Its core message is that some conversations are far more important than others, that they may suddenly occur without warning and that if you aren’t prepared for this, it’ll often go badly.
It’s set out much as you may expect, opening up with the basic premise, running through how to recognise what a Crucial Conversation is and when you might be about to enter one. It runs through techniques to succeed, methods to deal with complex situations and finally works through how to secure actions and commitments at the end of a conversation.
The newer edition also covers a series of particularly difficult cases or types of behaviour, dealing with a large number of the possible objections along the lines of “Great ideas, but my specific case doesn’t fit because …”.
Altogether, it’s well written and simple to follow. If you’ve read a lot in this area, then you’ll find the ideas and approaches familiar, but that’s probably because newer books build on them or take them as a starting point.
If all you take away from the book is that some conversations are vital, and that if you can be aware of that then you’ll improve your overall communication and effectiveness. If you can go to the next level, and seek to improve how you build dialogue during those conversations, then you’ll really be taking the value from this writing.
I’m available for coaching opportunities in Central London. Leadership development, especially in a technical organisation or with anyone leading a digital or agile transformation. Connect on LinkedIn to kick-off a discussion.