Thursday, March 12, 2009

How Leaders Coach

Effective leadership coaching is strongly associated with employee engagement, retention, and work satisfaction. Yet surveys show that while 79% of organizations report that their leaders coach, only 40% say they hold these leaders accountable with performance coaching measures; and a mere 37% say that their organization has a specific coaching framework. (1) In other words, you may have the responsibility to coach but no methodology. Here are five steps to help you implement a consistent and effective coaching framework:
1. Define the vision. Ask the person you are coaching (coachee) to answer several questions such as, where do they want to be in five years? What type of responsibilities would they like to have? What do they like most about their current job? Do they have any specific goals?
2. Assess what is true today. Use a variety of tools, such as interviews of the coachee's coworkers, 360 feedback, self-assessments... to understand the employee’s strengths and weaknesses.
3. Agree on a plan. Discuss the difference between their vision and today's reality. Brainstorm different approaches to minimize the gap. When I coach leaders, I focus on helping them lead with their strengths while managing weaknesses. This means creating a plan that builds on their strengths and deals with their weaknesses. Dealing with weaknesses includes spending a little time every day working on those weaknesses if they’re important to the vision.
4. Experiment and practice. Encourage them to try new behaviors and test different approaches. This stage also works best if you are able to employ those with whom the coachee interacts on a regular to help reinforce their practice.
5. Conduct after action reviews. Meet with your coachee on a regular basis to assess their progress against the plan. It is also helpful to begin building systems that help reinforce the new behaviors.

These are the fundamental steps I use to coach executives and to teach leaders how to coach. I encourage you to adapt them to fit your organization. In fact, I'd love to hear what methodology you are currently using or how you adapt this one to help your leaders coach.

Keep on coaching,
Dave

1. Annette Fillary-Travis and David Lane; Does Coaching Work or Are We Asking the Wrong Question?, ‘International Coaching Psychology Review,’ Volume 1, Number 1, April 2006, 23-36.

1 comment:

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