Effective coaching practices can be considered a personal and professional discovery process. Coaching is a learning experience that empowers individual enhancement of insights and capabilities. The development and reflective activities come from the heart and quality of the coach and serve as a path for the coachee to grow and build self-confidence. The depth of collaboration is driven by the coaching relationship along with strong use of active-listening connections. This process embraces an educational and psychological approach to increase skills and abilities to influence others as well as develop new competencies at all levels of leadership.
Coaching is not therapy or counseling, which would typically look at past individual patterns and emotional problems to drive behavioral changes. It is not mentoring or cheerleading, which normally uses skill-modeling and success-sharing with a more tell-oriented assertiveness approach.
Coaching is a craft of boosting individual abilities to enhance business results and drive innovative organizational transformations into the future. The relationship connections and direct involvement can be short-term focused or a long-term commitment. The process will build stronger leaders, develop managers into leaders, and strengthen employee capabilities based on the coach’s skills and a rigorous development environment. It is a process that requires individual resilience, personal tenacity, and a coachee's desire to learn and grow with courage.
There are two primary coaching-targeted groups specific to driving the focus on an organization’s learning and discovery activities.
One group is the use of external executive coaches with targeted leaders. This coaching process is focused on carefully selected leaders with the desire for growth-oriented one-on-one relationships with a professional coach. It is driven by enhancing personal selfdiscoveries along with self-awareness and is highly connected to specific leadership competencies and capabilities. This is a long-term activity and an extended, broad-based development "partnership" that will occur over many months. Usually soft-skill issues are addressed and the activities are structured to examine formal company team or group aspects and findings by the leader. These learning sessions must be conducted by a highly qualified and certified coach who facilitates tremendously intense development discussions with evolutionary insights.
The other group is the use of internal managers as coaches with their direct reports.
This coaching process is focused on people performance within a growing company and an evolving culture. It is more involved with direct reports and employees specific to their hard skills and their abilities to impact business results. These coaching engagements are more short-term in nature and are less structured. They provide shorter spurts of feedback discussions and conversation-sharing based on smaller issues and concerns.
Active listening is also utilized to enhance communication, collaboration, and connections so that business acumen and new skills can be enhanced to help employees achieve personal and company accomplishments. The growth of positive behaviors can impact problem-solving and decision making activities, reinforcing the learning culture and motivating the organization to handle evolving challenges. This "spot" coaching by managers and leaders at all levels will help develop the capabilities of direct reports, including their ability to bring about effective business outcomes and successes.
The coaching process at the executive growth-focused level has a defined flow that is powered by a clear purpose, a specific vision, and a personal leadership accountability. There is always a strong psychological connection and engagement that drives creativity, full emotional involvement, and true developmental growth by the executive coachee.
There are four interconnected and interactive coaching components:
- The initial step is to establish purpose and set the stage. The coaching process is carefully defined and ethical guidelines are established along with the specific value of the coaching relationship. This first step is based on trust, rapport, and coach-client chemistry.
- The second step is to probe and construct an in-depth picture of present needs and desires that can be addressed through the coach-client relationship. Targets and clear goals will be established based on reflective thinking by the leader and an interactive review of the current situation.
- The third step is built on future desires and a motivating direction. There is further review and assessment to gain an understanding of data and facts regarding what is working and not working as well as the need for change. In this process, a future vision is constructed that can benefit the client and the organization.
- The fourth step is utilizing the coaching discoveries and self-awareness to assemble a strategic action plan. It will embody key attributes of the client along with the overall performance and personal satisfaction with work and life.
Internal manager coaching will follow a more modified and less structured approach compared to executive coaching. The assessment of employee performance is a constant and regular practice by managers beyond annual reviews. By utilizing active-listening and open-ended encounters, a discussion regarding contributions and productivity and behaviors associated with the established organizational cultural values will become the norm. These brief meetings and connections can enhance the working relationships and help individuals become stronger decision makers and goal achievers. Feedback is a critical management activity that can result in competency improvements based on focused action plans.
All coaching relationships are based on trust and openness as well as an inspired commitment to the process. This partnership between coach and coachee is built on the desire to cultivate inner growth and to support self-driven learning and development. Clients (coachees) are encouraged to take intelligent risks and utilize newly learned competencies that are focused on driving clear business strategies. There is a special path founded on resilience and adaptability in the everyday learning journey.
Both coach and coachee are leaders within their roles and responsibilities. They need strong leadership competencies, outstanding business acumen, and self-awareness—as well as integrity, courage, humility, and heart.