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Building the Steps to Commencing Coaching

Building the Steps to Commencing Coaching

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Published by John M. Read

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Published by: John M. Read on Nov 08, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Following our coaching theme this month, I want to explore with you some issues that createsuccessful coaching within an organisation and deal with the limitations of coaching too.David Stratford writing in his book ‘Executive Coaching – The Keys for Performance Improvementthrough Personal Growth’, notes three things are required for change in people:
A level of self-awareness
Development of a personal will to change
A supportive environmentThis simple analysis hides the underlying drivers for change…how do we create the self-awareness, how is the will to change motivated and what comprises a supportive environment.Common sense may drive us in the wrong directions if we use too simple an analysis of personalchange here.Dr Grant (2003) has researched the underlying paradigm for change. By reviewing the last thirtyyears of research, he identified the drivers for change must involve both knowledge andbehavioural elements to be successful. Secondly, he found that coaches needed to create
aroadmap for change
like this:1.Build discontent with the present sufficient to motivate the will to change2.Build a vision of the future, consistent with the coachees’ values and beliefs3.Together build their path to reach their goals by defining a plan of actionSurprisingly, just giving people information about the need to change is not enough. Thus, doingpersonality tests, providing 360-degree feedback, or other sources of career enhancinginformation is insufficient to expect someone to change.The will to change is a fickle phenomena, subject to the traits and states of the individual, their relationships at work, their self awareness and perception of themselves, and their relationshipswith their ‘significant’ others. Like the boss, or especially in Asia, parents and sometimes spouses.Sounds awkward to be discussing family in a business context, but it is the crucible of family lifeand upbringing where identity and the reasons for change are established for each of us. Parts of the roadmap above are written for us as we grow to maturity. Understanding those patterns andpreferences is important to a successful change experience.But coaching faces it’s own challenges, amongst them are these:
How long is this going to take? – a commonly held perception that this is an externalsolution rather than one controlled by the coachee
What will my peers, subordinates and the Board of Directors think about me if I have acoach – more often it is this fear of other’s perceptions that makes the potential learning thatcoaching offers so difficult to accept
There is nothing wrong with me, why do I need to have a coach? – in our Asian context, thisperception, even though it may be wrong, can be a significant roadblock to acceptance of learning.Effective planning and management of coaching within your organisation can help to resolvethese roadblocks.
Approach to Coaching in Organisations
Typical to our process are the following steps when approaching a coaching into a clientcompany:
Pre-program planning
– aiming to identify key stakeholders, identify coachees andcoaches – make slection process, review available literature about the coachees, buildbuy-in to the program through meetings and discussion, define implementation stepsand key milestones and so on;
Culture of the company and acceptance issues need to be resolved through finding programsponsorship from both Line Management and HR at the highest level possible.
Clarify expectations by
building integration with other HR Learning and Development Systems(coaching is only one forum for learning to take place)
Pre-program Communication
- To maximise the acceptance of the coaching program,it is important that the communication piece emphasises the many practical benefits for managers themselves as well as for the organisation as a whole. These benefits andimperatives would include:
Improved performance of their staff 
Greater synergy and support across the organisation resulting in greater overallperformance
Decreased turnover 
Improved succession planning
Informing people before you communicate officially can help your audience to anticipate andreceive your messages well. This may mean briefing sessions, meetings and face to facediscussions are needed before the program is launched.
Conducting a Pilot program with a key senior level participant can help to smooth the way tosuccessful acceptance of communications
Pre-Program Diagnostic
- Recommend that participants complete a pre-coachingassessment. Further discussion is involved to define the best tool to use. The overallpurpose is to develop self awareness of the participants prior to their participation incoaching. This process will help them to be open to their need to learn and to targetlearning more appropriately.
Don’t place too much emphasis on assessment, its purpose is to provide information relevantto the learning needs addressed by the coaching. It is not a pass or fail judgment.
Use the culture of the organisation to help drive the choice of instrument. The more closed theculture the more non-specific and singular should be the data source.
Commence Coaching
– having established the panel of coaches, matched coach andcoachee using a variety of tools and measures, coaching sessions can begin. Clearlydefined milestones and management of coaching are neeeded to ensure that it does notrun off the rails. Recommend that reports from the coach and coachee are taken duringthe coaching to ensure that it remains on target.
Clarifying the responsibility of the coach very clearly and prescribing their brief will help to setthe coaching off on the right track.
Balancing flexibility of coaching whilst ensuring delivery of goals is the Art of effectivecoaching management
Involve the coachee and their immediate supervisor (or another similar level staff if they arethe coach) to monitor progress informally.
Measuring the success of a Coaching Program
– Typical proposal:
Review progress against individual goals set
Review costs and benefits by measuring both. For stakeholder benefitsconsider using 360-degree feedback after the coaching and optional trainingare done to determine overall success.
Survey coachees using online and/or focus group feedback to gather inputsand suggested improvements
Setting benchmarks at the planning stage will help to set expectations for the program
Doing before and after measurements enable justification of progress to be made clearer 
After measuring is done make a presentation to senior management that will enable them todecide effectively about future programs.
The Chinese Symbol for Coach:
is made up from the character representing filial responsibility with parent whocommands respect, implying someone for whom we have respect; combined amusingly, withpractising or training to boil silk, creating a fabric which later can be coloured and stitched to formclothing for the Imperial court! Hence we can say it involves dedication to task, respect for thecoach and practice. This is how the Chinese understand jiàoliàn, coach.

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