COACHING AND MENTORING
One to One Coaching in the Business Arena.
By Roy Scott.
Roy is a trained coach and a full member of the Association for Coaching. Aaron Wallis work closely with Roy Scott who is independent (and no relation to our MD!) and runs his own coaching, mentoring and training company - Profile Consulting Limited. Roy is always looking to help all sizes of companies release their potential together with individuals.
High Performance Coaching
Most people who have even the vaguest awareness of sport would recognise that one of the most important figures in the fortunes of sporting stars is the coach. It is the coach who helps the sportsman or woman to refine their dream and then go about achieving it - and maintaining it! The recipient of this magical service can be singular - as in Tiger Woods, or a group as in any of the world beating rugby or soccer teams - they become performers at a higher level as the result of the coaching.
Are we saying that without a coach these top players would not occupy their lofty positions? Yes! Without the coach, the dream would not be defined enough to compare to reality and therefore what needs to be done to achieve the dream would not be clear.
More and more successful business people are availing themselves of coaches - not to make them play golf, soccer or any other sport better, but to help them define their business goals, understand where they are at present and then structure a plan to move to where they want to be - in a way that suits them
Sounds easy doesn't it? If that's all it is then why do intelligent people need someone to help them?
A good coach will be professionally trained in the many methods of coaching that most non-coaches would be unlikely to be aware of. These models can assist the coachee overcome mental stumbling blocks, unlock old mind-sets, establish ways forward and test commitment. They are also totally objective and often extremely challenging. Two words that are not often used to describe the way we talk to ourselves.
A good coach will themselves have a coach. This helps them to constantly receive feedback on how they are developing their professional expertise as well as find solutions to clients with difficult challenges.
A good coach will also ensure that they frequently undertake their own personal development by belonging to one or more of the well respected coaching bodies, such as the Association for Coaches.
A good coach will give what is termed 'exquisite attention' to their client and be totally focussed on what they, the client, wants to achieve.
Who might need coaching?
Coaching is not just about turning poor performers into good ones! In a nutshell, coaching is all about helping someone to achieve their goals in their own way. So, it can be about turning poor performers into good ones, equally, it can be to help good performers into really great ones.
Coaching can really accelerate someone's take up of a new role or responsibility, as in promotion or moving to a new job. Often, the skills and experience that helped that person get that promotion are not what's needed in the new role. They can become the reason the new appointee fails if the awareness of what IS needed is not realised and worked on.
It can be of tremendous help to a client who has a big challenge to overcome, a behaviour change needed, a relationship problem at work, (and sometimes out of work). Someone's team is a reflection of them. So if your team isn't performing as well as it could, then look no further than the mirror to see who can make the most difference.
In fact, there aren't many areas of work where a coaching approach can't help. Mind you, it's not a panacea for all ills. Look at coaching as if it were a tool to use when it is appropriate. Coaching does not replace training, counselling, managing or mentoring, although this last one often goes hand in hand with coaching.
How coaching works.
A good coach will leave the following outside the office door when he or she is with a client.
- Their own agenda. What goes on is always dictated by the requirements of the client.
- Their ego. A coaching session is not about finding ways to make the coach look good. It's about finding ways to enable the coachee to establish their goals, find the best ways to achieve them and help them to rigorously test all the options to ensure that the client is satisfied that they have chosen the best way forward. A good coach will also test the client's commitment to taking their action plan forward and will often set some sort of 'homework' for the client to undertake between sessions. This tests their commitment as well as helps to progress their plans.
- Their judgemental attitude. Everyone is different and the way one person will solve a challenge can be radically different to another's. A good coach will resist telling, suggesting or advising their client on how to solve their problem - unless the client asks - but even then the coach will do everything possible to get the client to come up with their own answers. Nothing the coachee suggests is right or wrong - it's just different and the coach will help the client assess their own suggestions, strategies, options, solutions and plans. This ensures that the client has fully bought into their solutions and that they will help to achieve their goals.
Most coaches use one or more tried and tested coaching models. The GROW model is probably the most common because it works very well and is easy to understand. This model was introduced by Sir John Whitmore nearly two decades ago. The letters GROW form the sequence that the coach follows to move the client along from Goal, through Reality, Options and finally Will.
Ask most people what they really want and the responses will vary from a perfectly stated goal to a vague 'I don't know.' Establishing a client's goal is fundamental to the coaching - without it one cannot find the best way - anywhere!
This brings us to another very important aspect of a good coach. Everyone is different and a good coach will discover, through questions, how their client sees their world. Why is this important? Being able to talk the same language as the client will create a good, strong rapport that will encourage openness and trust from the client. As an example of how people differ, some are motivated to do something to get what they want and others are motivated to doing something to move them away from what they don't want. It's no good talking to an 'away from' person about going towards an objective. The clever coach will phrase their words along the lines of 'so what do you need to do to ensure that you don't experience that (bad thing) again?'
These 'filters' are what make us so unique and a good coach will be able to sensitively uncover these and use this knowledge to craft the coaching session accordingly.
Most coaching contracts last for up to eight sessions, or over ninety to one hundred days and can last for up to four hours each. After these programmes it is not unusual for the client to keep in touch with their coach for brief talks about issues that might arise and that the coach could help with by being a sounding board.
Who can benefit?
An individual, their team/s, their partner, their family, their company - the list goes on.
How much can it cost?
Prices range from about £90 per hour to over £200 an hour. Like most things in life, you often get what you pay for and a good coach can command £500 for a half day session.
So what's the payback?
Depending on the requirement of the client and the impact of their performance on the company's, payback can range from a less stressed individual taking less time off work and costing the company less money, to a more productive worker, to a higher performing team, to coming up with a solution that realises a dream.
One retail company I know of has used coaching as part of its restructuring strategy. They wanted to be able to get closer to their customers at one level but with fewer management levels. The coaching helped to empower the shop assistants by getting them to decide how best to service the customers - the management went from telling to asking. In a period of just six months the turnover went up by £19 million pounds, customer dissatisfaction went down by over 10% against their surveys and employee satisfaction went through the roof. Coaching helped the managers to work ON the business rather than always work IN it.
One newly appointed Marketing Director went from actually fainting everyone time he had to stand up in front of a large group to becoming so proficient that they are now called on as the guest speaker around the world.
One newly appointed MD went from not being sure what their role and responsibilities entailed to having a well thought through strategic plan that took the company through higher revenue growth than had been predicted.
What payback do you think you could achieve if your good performers became great ones?
Roy is available to mentor and coach individuals, teams and businesses.
Call Aaron Wallis on 01908 764280 for further information.