boss not coaching

Quick…get them a coach!

Sounds like something you would hear in a hospital E.R. (minus the coach part of course), except this is a phrase that is indeed used in emergencies except its’ not in a hospital but in the workplace.

Having an organization invest in their people is the greatest thing one could ask for but only when it’s the right resource matched to the right situation and employee. There are many ways to develop talent within a company.

One of the most popular and common solutions is to hire an executive coach to improve the performance and develop the talent of key employees.

Many times, finding a coach is exactly what’s warranted.

Other times it’s not.

Hiring a coach is quite easy these days but unfortunately many coaches will happily take on companies as clients without thoroughly vetting the situation. I can’t stress enough: it’s the responsibility of the company to ensure hiring a coach is the right approach to begin with and then of course ensuring you have the right coach and process in place should you move forward..

A Quick Refresh On Coaching

According to the AMA: Coaching is a dialogue that leads to Awareness and Action. When an employee has the skills and ability to complete the task at hand, but for some reason is struggling with the confidence, focus, motivation, drive, or bandwidth to be at their best, coaching can help.

Employees typically struggle because one of three things is in their way:

  • Skills and Abilities—They currently lack the skill or ability to complete the task at hand; this relates to Aptitude.
  • Themselves—They currently lack the motivation, focus, chutzpah, confidence, or commitment to complete the task at hand; this relates to Attitude
  • Outside Factors—They currently are being affected by things that are largely outside their control, such as not having the Available Resources, changing market conditions, ineffective vendors and partners (internal and external), or poor relationships with various stakeholders and colleagues.

When determining whether coaching is the right tool to use in a certain situation, first ask yourself this question:

  • Is this about Aptitude? Is there a lack of skills or ability getting in the way of the employee’s success? If the answer is “yes,” then your answer to whether or not this is a coaching situation is “no.”

If, in fact, the answer to the first question is “no” or “not really,” next ask yourself:

  • Is this about Attitude—his confidence, commitment, enthusiasm, focus, chutzpah, frustration? If the answer is “yes,” then you have a situation that is primed for coaching.

Here are 4 warning signs that hiring a coach should NOT be the first option:

  1. The employee in question hasn’t been properly assessed from within their company to understand if the situation is behavioral or technical.
  2. No one has spoken to the respective HRBP, the employee’s manager and/or sought out any previous history or behavioral patterns to determine any existing patterns.
  3. The employee has openly expressed their disinterest in working with a coach, is defensive, deflective and/or closed off to the idea of change.
  4. The employee has a manager who exhibits many of the same qualities of #3.

Here are 4 characteristics you should look for in someone who is coachable:

1. Committed to Change. Individuals who want to improve, and are willing to step outside of their comfort zones are great candidates for a successful coaching relationship.

2. Open to information about themselves. Individuals who are willing and able to listen and hear constructive criticism without being defensive are great candidates for a successful coaching relationship.

3. Open about themselves. Individuals who are willing to engage in topics that may be uncomfortable but recognize how they are impeding their professional development are great candidates for a successful coaching relationship.

4. Awareness about one’s self and others. Individuals who already possess a fair amount of awareness about themselves and recognize the impact it has on others are great candidates for a successful coaching relationship.

  • Note: These are by no means a final or complete checklist. In fact, I would I use these as a starting point to your research.

Final thoughts: Coaching and finding the right coach (for the right situation and the right candidate) is a process. For some, it can be an exhaustive one while for others the chemistry is there and the situation truly warrants having a coach. Whatever or where ever you are, make sure you take your time, do your due diligence and ask others for support in your decision making if necessary. For more info on Executive Coaching, check out my other articles.

The floor is yours: How important is coaching in your organization?

With leadership,

Joshua /

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