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The Art of Coaching: Improving Talent from Good to Great


Thu Aug 20 2015

The Art of Coaching: Improving Talent from Good to Great-89b8a4802e7acf6510ae59a18bcb2587057c1e50d546fb03427c77f7dd91c9bd

Why Does Coaching Matter? 

We want our employees to grow and do their best work. Adult learning, however, is not a straightforward thing. We each have different learning styles and preferences, and we come to learning with years of baggage that can lead to inaccurate assumptions, hang-ups, and unhelpful beliefs. While classroom learning is an important tool to help employees grow, it is not where the majority of learning will occur. Coaching is an excellent method to accelerate an individual’s growth and application of new skills because it offers personalized support that can cut through these common learning barriers. 

What Is the Most Important Characteristic of Great Coaching?

Think of coaching as bespoke learning—made to order. Great coaching is just what performers need, right when he or she needs it—that nudge outside the box or the encouragement to go for a new promotion. Coaching is special, noble, and highly satisfying because when we focus on helping performers make progress, our contribution to individuals and organizations skyrockets. 


The Chasm Between Great and Poor Coaching 

Simply put, coaching has the power to catalyze breakthroughs in individual performance . . . when it is done well. 

  • From the coach’s perspective: Don’t waste my time if you are being or feeling uncoachable!

  • From the performer’s perspective: Don’t waste my time with advice in cloaked in a 5-step process you call coaching!

Great coaching is a powerful learning tool and an important part of any learning strategy, but it will be a waste of time and resources if not done well or when welcomed by the performer. You have likely received ineffective coaching at some point in your career. From coaches who seemed more interested in telling their stories and pushing their advice. From coaches who have been certified in a 10-step coaching process they mechanically use without deviation. From coaches who fail to inspire bigger thinking or pull you into the conversation. These coaching sessions don’t help, won’t work, and will fail to be worth either the performer’s or the coach’s precious time. 

By the way, I prefer—highly prefer—calling the person receiving the coaching a “performer.” That is who he or she is—the one who is in the position to take action and make something happen. If you approach coaching with your partner being a performer, you will be less likely to treat him or her as a “mentee” or “coachee”, which sound more like what you’d call someone just before pontificating your sageness upon them (ok, that was a bit sassy, you get my point, though, right?).

When I work with coaches and aspiring coaches, I tend to take what many feel is an unconventional approach—I focus on the things that coaches can and should do to provide flexible, one-on-one transformative facilitation. That is what great coaching is to me. When I create the coaching workshops found in Coaching Training, I tapped into this goal and designed the learning experiences so that any trainer could help coaches grow. 

I hope you check out Coaching Training, and I’d welcome your thoughts and feedback! I endeavor to be highly coachable, too!


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