This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
They all arrive thinking their problems are unique. and then leave knowing they are not alone. Of course the truth is that we‟ve had the coaching approach as long as we‟ve had people and organizations. In 1994 I attended a skills course run by John Whitmore and found that working with these ideas and values was in fact called coaching! Turns out I was a pioneer. it‟s just that now it has a label. write and speak on coaching and its work related disciplines. The Independent Who am I to tell you how to increase the quality of your working life by adopting coaching principles? I‟m Matt Somers and the management and development of people has been a component of my working life for the past 25 years.COACHING FOR AN EASIER LIFE Foreword “As a long standing professional coach I am very selective about my coaches. I have never been coached by Matt but in his case I would not hesitate to accept. I get to work with an incredible range of managers and leaders from all sorts of sectors and organizations. Furthermore they leave with a knowledge and understanding of coaching that they can use in all aspects of work because in the end: All work problems are ultimately people problems. Copyright © 2008 Matt Somers – Coaching Skills Training. Without much formal training I decided that it made most sense to treat people with respect. All Rights Reserved .” Sir John Whitmore Number One Business Coach. I cut my teeth in high street banking. starting at the very bottom but eventually finding myself responsible for the performance of others. These days I train. encourage them to learn – especially from their mistakes and to get them to a point where they could make decisions and get on with the work without needing my constant attention.
If you feel that you or your organization can benefit from what coaching offers then perhaps you‟ll get in touch. I hope you‟ll find these ideas useful and if I can help you take things further do get in touch. Of course I can‟t cover everything we do on our face to face programme here. I‟d rather do this then send expensive glossy brochures to people who have no need for what I do. All Rights Reserved . But I also want to get these ideas out there. I ran eight open programmes in 2007. This year I‟ve only time for two. Whilst I love working with the likes of Citigroup and Toyota it doesn‟t leave enough time for me to work with small organizations and individuals.Why would I package my expertise in a guide and give it away for free? There‟re a few reasons to be honest. but I can get you started. All the best Copyright © 2008 Matt Somers – Coaching Skills Training.
so you can work through it at your own pace. Doing more of the right things and wasting less time. dealing with problems when they‟re small and finding innovative ways to get better at what you do. I‟ve divided the material into five parts . Copyright © 2008 Matt Somers – Coaching Skills Training. It covers the main principles of coaching and is an ideal way to prepare for attending our face to face events or to refresh your knowledge of coaching fundamentals. There are no silver bullets on offer here. I‟ll be as practical as I can and if I can offer a shortcut at any point I will.Introduction First things first. but applying the principles of coaching that I‟ll explain will improve the quality of your working life by getting you and your team more focused. During the next 5 sections we‟ll cover: What coaching is Who should coach Where to coach How to coach When to coach You wouldn‟t expect to be able to develop coaching skills without a little practice so each section will conclude with some homework – straightforward exercises to help you develop the techniques presented. you will be able to work with your staff to identify the drivers and resistors of performance and to bring about real and lasting improvements with an effect on the 'bottom line'. All Rights Reserved . By putting these ideas into practice. I realize it‟s ironic that I‟m offering you an easier working life by taking on a new responsibility – coaching.
Some managers are using coaching as a new label for behaviours they‟ve used for years such as telling people off and dictating the precise ways things must be done. Ways to an easier life… Constantly look for development opportunities for your people. The following points would be typical: Coaching is… About drawing out. training or counseling Offering uninvited feedback Rescuing people and having all the answers Only for poor performers A disciplinary measure Copyright © 2008 Matt Somers – Coaching Skills Training. We must be careful that coaching is not seen as „old wine in new bottles‟. What would change if you viewed your people in terms of their potential and not their past performance? On our training programmes we often ask participants to list and discuss exactly what coaching is and what it isn‟t. But it is also a relatively new field and as such it is often confused with other methods such as training and counselling. All Rights Reserved . but tasks that will stretch them or delegated responsibilities. I don‟t mean courses necessarily. not putting in Helping others to learn as opposed to teaching them things Motivational and enjoyable Performance focused but people centered About releasing potential Helping people move out of their comfort zones Coaching is not… Telling people what to do and how to do it The same as instructing.What is coaching? Coaching is all the rage at the moment in the world of people development.
Coaching then is about helping people fulfil their potential by allowing them to recognize the things that hold them back and by helping them discover ways around them. Can these be changed? Are any of them now out of date? What would be the benefits of removing them? Can you make a business case for doing so? Think also about sources of internal interference. There may be external sources such as structures or processes. Do you ever hear that voice telling you “You always mess up”. see if you can help others explore their own sources of internal interference. Tim Gallwey (for many the Godfather of coaching) offers the following equation as a way of understanding the true nature of coaching: PERFORMANCE = Potential less Interference This equation has important implications for managers and coaches as it recognizes that high performance occurs as a result of taking things away not adding things in. Homework Think about the sources of interference in your workplace. Think about your own performance. All Rights Reserved . What differs when you perform well? Finally. Become highly aware of the things that vary in your performance. “You‟re not properly qualified” or “Who do you think you are?” Quieten that voice by immersing yourself in your performance. In his book The Inner Game of Work. Good Luck! Copyright © 2008 Matt Somers – Coaching Skills Training.
but can lead to a great temptation to want to tell. it would appear that the following points are most crucial: Knowledge Coaches need knowledge of coaching. The main skill is effective listening. Instead just take a genuine interest in people and get to know what makes them tick. We now need to think about who would be best placed to offer coaching in our organizations. advise or instruct rather than coach. An ability to really actively listen to people probably accounts for as much as 75% of the success of the effective coach. Motivation becomes far easier when you look at individuals‟ needs. All Rights Reserved . skills. and attitudes you think are required in an effective coach. Please grab a pen and a piece of paper and write down the knowledge. Copyright © 2008 Matt Somers – Coaching Skills Training. Fundamentally coaches need a positive attitude and a belief that people are resourceful and already come equipped with everything they need for success. Skills Attitude Ways to an easier life… By all means employ the carrot and stick. They do not need to be an expert on everything people might like some coaching on! Background knowledge can be useful. Treat people like donkeys and they‟ll perform like donkeys. From the discussions we have on our programmes. but before we do that let‟s just think about the type of person we‟re looking for.Who should coach? In the previous section we considered the question of exactly what coaching is.
status. skills and attitudes you listed earlier draw up a list of potential coaches in your organization. background. The question now becomes who could most appropriately provide coaching in our organizations? The answer to this seems polarized in that some organizations encourage their existing team leaders and managers to develop good coaching techniques alongside their other skills. seniority or experience. Each approach has its pros and cons: The Manager as Coach Pros Cons May have to play different roles Can be difficult to find time May have to succumb to short term pressures and resort to command and control Can use coaching as part of a flexible approach Close to the performance of the team Good understanding of team strengths The Specialist Coach Pros Cons May have to search for coaching opportunities to justify role Might need to work harder to establish credibility Might take time to establish rapport and trust with team members Can remain objective Usually will have time to coach on complex issues Can develop coaching expertise Homework Based on the knowledge. whereas other organizations create a separate role for the coach. Remember to include yourself! Why not sound them out about how they‟d feel about coaching others and discuss what you‟re learning in this training with them? Good luck! Copyright © 2008 Matt Somers – Coaching Skills Training. This means that potentially anyone can be an effective coach if they take the time and trouble to learn the principles and techniques. All Rights Reserved . we can begin to see that these qualities have nothing to do with age.So.
so stop telling and start asking! Sorry. Now let‟s think about where to coach. but who holds the key to your mind? Notice what you focus on. whose comments do you dwell on for the rest of the day? Use coaching to help you and your team focus on the things that actually deliver your results. Actually it encourages them to stop thinking for themselves and to become reliant on us instead. Increasingly it is being recognized both in business and in sport that „state of mind‟ (attitude) can be a much greater influence on performance than knowledge or skills. We need to ask. There are two aspects to this. then an improvement in thinking will result in an improvement in outcome. We need to pose questions that get people to pay attention to what‟s happening and cause them to have to think before they respond Ways to an easier life… To tell denies or negates another‟s intelligence. What would happen if you did more asking than telling? We‟ll consider this idea some more in the next module when we look at how to coach. Copyright © 2008 Matt Somers – Coaching Skills Training. where in the person being coached we should operate and where in the building we should coach! Where in the person Quite obviously we need to work on and in the mind of the person being coached. The ultimate aim of coaching is to improve the quality of thinking in the people we coach. This is based on the simple logic that because everything we do is preceded by thought. I‟ll rephrase that. All Rights Reserved .Where to coach Last time we considered who should coach. not tell. Ways to an easier life… The mind is key. This becomes crucial when we realize that instruction or demonstration does not really promote high quality thinking in the people we coach. When you need to perform under pressure do you expect things to go well or badly? If twelve people praise you but one criticizes. To ask honours it.
etc)? Will the room be a positive anchor? The last point is vital. This is not just to give people a good time (although coaching is undoubtedly more successful when it‟s enjoyable) but to recognize that successful coaching requires people to feel at ease and free from distractions. we need also to think about the physical location for a coaching session. On our coaching skills programmes we encourage our participants to do their coaching practice outside wherever possible and weather permitting. you are asking questions designed to get people thinking. Remember you are not asking questions to find out information. When you become skilled at coaching you‟ll be able to coach pretty much anywhere and anytime.Where in the building On a more practical level. Good luck! Copyright © 2008 Matt Somers – Coaching Skills Training. but to begin with it‟s probably best to hold coaching sessions in a separate room or office. flipchart.g. Here‟s a checklist of things to think about: Have you allowed plenty of time? Is it easy to listen well in the place you‟ve chosen? Is it completely private? Is the seating comfortable Is the temperature comfortable? Do you have some thinking tools (e. make a point of finding somewhere at work that you would consider ideal for undertaking coaching. Over time it is quite possible for people to feel more motivated and resourceful just by being in these places Homework Make a list of coaching questions. All Rights Reserved . the places in which coaching takes place should be associated with high performance. pen and paper. Here‟s a few examples to start you off: What do you want? What‟s happening now? How big is the gap? What could you do? What will you do? Secondly.
When something happens we can choose our response. All Rights Reserved . Responsibility means. who is best able to deliver coaching and where it should take place. To improve my current level of performance I must make changes and before I can make changes I need to understand how things are now and how I‟d like them to be. but only I can decide to run fast”. Try to notice what you notice and think about your thinking. This just serves to make the people we coach try to please us and follow the „recipe‟. Instead coaches ask questions to encourage people to pay attention and to notice the variables in their own performance. People will only develop a sense of responsibility when they know they can exercise choice. As someone once said “You can make me run. Let‟s now start to understand how we go about coaching by examining the 3 key principles: Awareness Responsibility Trust Awareness Awareness lies at the heart of all performance improvement. Ways to an easier life… You are able to control only those things that you are aware of. an ability to respond. Effective coaches recognize that raised awareness does not come from telling people what to do or even from offering feedback. If we want performance improvement in the workplace we must recognize that people will chose the level of discretionary effort they put in to their work. quite literally. Responsibility The top performers in any field are invariably highly responsible. Once again telling people what to do will not generate responsibility. Copyright © 2008 Matt Somers – Coaching Skills Training. In other words we have choice. Practice becoming more aware of what goes on around you. That which you are unaware of controls you.How to coach We‟ve so far considered what coaching is.
Good luck! Copyright © 2008 Matt Somers – Coaching Skills Training. The first is that good coaches encourage the people they coach to trust in themselves. I want you to explore the improvement that follows naturally from increased awareness. All Rights Reserved . Again you will notice a smoother (and much more interesting) experience merely by heightened awareness. For example you may notice a tightness in your arms or leg whilst running. next time you‟re driving. Well formed coaching questions can encourage people to challenge these beliefs by asking about when they have displayed certain qualities or exploring whether these sorts of beliefs are useful or not. ask yourself what you notice most in your own performance. The second aspect of trust in coaching concerns the coaching relationship. etc. The coach must work hard to establish coaching as a sincere means of raising performance but we must recognize that this can take time. Next time you are at the gym. Much workplace coaching fails when there is suspicion that it is only for poor performers or a form of discipline in disguise. Alternatively. You might like to commentate on what you‟re doing and describe to yourself the process of moving up through the gears or lane positioning. Coaching can often expose a raft of limiting beliefs in people such as “I don‟t have the right qualifications” or “I‟m too old” and so on. turn off the radio or other distractions and concentrate on your driving. Rate the level of tightness on a scale of 1-10 and then simply concentrate on this tightness for a few minutes without consciously doing anything differently. You will notice that the tightness lessens just by becoming so highly aware. Homework Before you look at the next section.Trust There are 2 aspects to trust in relation to effective coaching.
you may struggle. coaching requires and generates a positive belief in the huge untapped potential of all people. This might be a problem they have or it might equally be something that‟s already going quite well but which they‟d really like to develop. If you‟re going to try coaching as a means of subliminally persuading people to see things the same way you do.When to coach Over the last 4 sections we‟ve considered: What coaching is Who should coach Where to coach How to coach To round things off we‟ll look now at when to coach. it is a way of moving things forward or taking the next step and it is useful in virtually all aspects of working life. All Rights Reserved . Sometimes we need to „tell it like it is‟ and then when people have agreed on the underlying issue we can use coaching as a means of dealing with it. We can see from this that there are few if any situations in which coaching isn‟t useful. Furthermore. However that is an over-simplified view and there are a number of important considerations in deciding when to coach: Whose issue? Coaching is going to work best when an individual has approached you with something they want to move forward. Copyright © 2008 Matt Somers – Coaching Skills Training. Take a look at this slide that we use on our training programme: Typical situations for which coaching is used: To accelerate development To improve performance To develop new attitudes or behaviour To develop skills To support people through change To help people address workplace challenges To help in developing a learning culture as part of a change programme To help develop team working To help improve motivation In fact.
How much time is available? Sometimes the needs of the situation may dictate that coaching is inappropriate. We can always review the experience later. Coaching can then kick in as a way of developing their ability to do those tasks well.What’s the desired outcome? Are you looking to get the job done. then tell – if you must. All Rights Reserved . If neither is. learning takes a back seat to getting things done. processes and procedures and be given the information they need to complete their tasks. or are you looking to get the job done well? Ways to an easier life… If either the quality of performance or learning from the experience is important then coaching is a must. They‟ll need to know the rules and regulations. Sometimes people need a rubber ring before the swimming lesson! Homework Think about the last few weeks at work and recall some times when you‟ve issued instructions and other times when you‟ve tried more of a coaching approach. In an emergency or against a looming deadline. Review what you‟ve considered in this report and decide whether you would have changed anything that you did in light of what you‟ve learnt. What does the person need? When people are new to a role or team there is a need for some telling because they will have a need for knowledge. Copyright © 2008 Matt Somers – Coaching Skills Training. Coaching might also be counterproductive in the middle of a crisis.
He illustrates how coaching provides a simple yet elegant key to this lock and how releasing potential in this way transforms the performance of all organizations. my books Instant Manager: Coaching and Coaching at Work are available by visiting www.. We hope you‟ve found this report interesting and a useful introduction to the art of Coaching You can build on this knowledge and skill by attending our training programme Coaching at Work.com.mattsomers. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.S. 2008) Matt understands that people are working with their true potential locked away. Matt Somers has been training managers as coaches for many years.coachingbloke.mattsomers.com Thank you Matt P. Alternatively. 2006) and Instant Manager: Coaching (Hodder and Stoughton/Chartered Management Institute.com or call us on +44 191 516 6237. Details on our website at www.com Copyright © 2008 Matt Somers – Coaching Skills Training.blogspot.Lastly…. He is a Fellow of the CIPD and the author of Coaching at Work (John Wiley and Sons.mattsomers. if you would like to do some further reading.com www.com +44 (0) 191 516 6237 www. they can get their own copy by visiting our resources section at www. If you have a friend or colleague who would benefit from this training. All Rights Reserved .