Coaching….what exactly does it mean? Often coaching is deemed to be only for high performers, in other words, people who, for whatever reason, have been identified as “top talent”. Not surprising when you think that the foundation of coaching approaches and techniques borrow heavily from the worlds of sport and military – areas where optimal performance is essential. Yet, all coaching conversations usually start with finding out people’s “starting points” – their visions of life ambitions. Then it moves on to explore the directions in which people need to move to achieve those visions, and the steps they need to take to change the way they think and realise their ambitions.
In other words it is all about helping people to reach their full potential, in any area of their lives not just the top talent. It also has a variety of other benefits from increasing collaboration to improving team dynamics, resolving conflict to helping people change they way they think, as well as implementing change or helping people change career direction. It’s a valuable activity, and it’s an essential management and leadership tool.
So, when is coaching helpful? It’s particularly useful for the following:
- Long-range career or life planning – some people may prefer not to have a “life plan”, however there is credible evidence that shows that people who have clear plans and goals are more likely to be successful in the long-term.
- Navigating career change points – for example, the transition from being primarily viewed as a manager to being seen as a leader – someone who offers clear guidance and genuine inspiration. Coaching can be instrumental in helping people navigate the changes they will need to make in terms of behaviour, communication, strategic thinking etc., more successfully.
“I worked with Louise for over 3 years and, throughout this time, she has been exceptional in encouraging me to excel at developing myself and to reach my own professional goals. Louise helped me to keep aiming higher and I will continue to do this.”
Dr Alison Elderfield, Head of Lindsey Stewart Centre for Audit and Clinical Informatics, Clinical Quality, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
- Making significant and sustainable changes to performance or behaviour – not to dissimilar to the athlete who needs to break bad habits, and relearn basic skills the right way.
- Handling major life setbacks – from time to time many of us may experience a major life set back, whether that is business or personal. It can also help people address work-life imbalances, or deal with major episodes of stress or burnout.
- Improving team dynamics – coaching is a great place to start to understand the dynamics of a team. In other words how team members relate to one another. Everyone has different styles of working and communicating, and when we encounter a person with a style that’s different from our own, we can often get frustrated with that person, and fail to recognise his or her unique strengths and before we know it a conflict situation has arisen which impacts the whole team.
“Louise’s facilitation skills were fantastic, ensuring that we explored the issues, reached workable solutions in a collective way whilst ensuring that the overall brief given was met.”
Jason Tetley, Chief Executive
- Support individual development – individual team members may need support to learn new skills, behaviours or even develop resilience. Coaching is a safe place for them to talk about how they really feel and explore what they can do differently and/or better to progress.
- Executive or Leadership coaching – leadership is an ever evolving concept and what worked in our parents’ day, that is the old “top down” style of management just doesn’t work anymore. Staff generally want to be fully engaged, and committed to what they’re doing. They want to feel valued and know that their contribution is recognised. These higher expectations place additional pressures on leaders who in turn need to know how to inspire passion and confidence in the people they’re leading. Well developed leaders inspire trust in their teams and consequently staff will often go the extra mile for a leader they respect.
“I decided to attend executive coaching sessions as I was taking on my first senior management role. Attending coaching was a way to explore how to develop an effective personal style, and to deal with specific leadership challenges, in a natural and safe environment.”
Kate Fitch, Head of Public Policy, Sense
I am a firm believer in quality coaching and always emphasise that the coaching follows the client’s agenda and therefore the coaching fit must be exactly right. Through an initial, free discussion a coaching brief if taken and the coaching programme only commences if both you and I feel we can work together.
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Using a coaching methodology, I also offer a full range of bespoke team building programmes to develop teams to work better together through understanding preference and appreciating difference.
Working with you, your team or organisation I can help you to develop a solutions focused approach, feel empowered and change what isn’t working.
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TO DISCUSS HOW I CAN HELP YOU ACHIEVE YOUR FULL POTENTIAL