When it comes to executive coaching people tend to fall into one of two camps. It either is viewed as a panacea that will magically “fix” a manager experiencing performance problems, or it is viewed as a superfluous expenditure that will reap very little benefit for the person being coached or the company-at-large.
How can you ensure investing in executive coaching will produce positive results for the individual being coached and the organization? To answer this question we must look at three key variables – the person being coached, the person/organization requesting the coaching, and the coach.
The Coaching Recipient
Nothing sabotages the potential effectiveness of coaching faster than attempting to force an employee into coaching without their consent, particularly without a clear mutual understanding of what needs to look different at the conclusion. She/he must have an internal desire to do this for themselves; it cannot be done to them, or for them. Ask the recipient:
- Are you participating in the process willingly?
- Are you clear about why coaching is being requested, the expected results and how the success of the process will be measured?
- Are you committed to investing the time and energy necessary to achieve the desired outcome?
Regardless of who initiates the process, there must be strong support on the part of the organization to ensure the success of coaching. The ideal coaching situation is when the recipient has a self-identified need for performance improvement and makes the request for her/himself; however, it is far more common that an employee’s manager makes the request on their behalf.
If the organization does not have faith in the recipient and is not willing to fully support her/his success, coaching will have a much lower chance of success. In fact, many times coaching is abused/misused as a strategy for getting rid of a problem employee when a decision already has been made privately that the person needs to go.
- Is the organization committed to seeing the recipient succeed?
- Will the targeted behavior changes be integrated into the recipient’s
performance management plan?
- Will successful change on the part of the recipient be reinforced and rewarded to encourage ongoing development?
There are varying styles of coaching that are strongly influenced by educational background, past experience and personality type, just to name a few factors that differentiate coaches. It is critical that you take the time to find the right fit for the organization and the employee because without a high level of comfort between the coach and the recipient very little will be accomplished. Ask yourself:
- Does the coach possess a communication style and coaching philosophy that is a good match for the personality type and needs of the recipient?
- Does the coach have a clear understanding of the desired outcomes and can she/he articulate a recommended approach for achieving those goals?
- Does the coach have the skills, abilities and other essential qualities that will help cultivate trust with the recipient?
If you are able to answer yes to each of the key questions below, you likely have set the stage for a productive and worthwhile coaching relationship that will bear positive results for both the recipient and your entire organization.