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EFFECTIVE MANAGERS COACH: Improving Organisational Performance

December 12, 2013 - In Featured, Managing Performance - No comments yet

The Business Case

The practice of coaching is readily associated with the world of sport where it is well established as a means of preparing sports people psychologically and physically  to perform successfully.  In organisations, the use of coaches to contribute to the learning and development of managers and professionals has grown substantially in the last two decades.  Some organisations have developed internal groups of managers to be coaches to less experienced colleagues.

Experience demonstrates that developing managers’ coaching capabilities enables them to manage and develop the performance of their people to achieve better results.  This managerial activity is a big contributor to developing organisational performance.

Coaching has a natural alignment to the manager’s role for various reasons:

It follows that managers should be active in enabling high performance and developing potential; it’s in their interest, as the collective results from their ‘department’ will be greater if everyone performs well.

For managers, coaching is about having discussions and agreeing activities which enable a direct report to learn to undertake a task, solve a problem or develop an opportunity better than without coaching.  As an enabling activity, coaching is a part of managers demonstrating practical leadership.

Organisational performance is a result of many tasks being completed successfully.  When all managers are coaching their people to improve, overall performance will improve and it is recognition of this that has made some organisations foster a coaching culture.

How To Do It

Like most effective learning and development initiatives, involving the organisations’ leading executives in a Coaching Workshop works well.  When the top executives start coaching, the next levels take notice.  The main thing to achieve in running a Coaching Workshop is to arm participants with the confidence to start coaching.  This can be accomplished by developing skills and providing opportunities to practice.

Coaching Workshop:  Outline

Set out below is an outline of a Coaching Workshop that we have run in several different organisations.  Generally, we recommend that managers from the same or a similar level participate together as they are likely to have similar perspectives on the organisation.   Also working together in a practical Workshop builds their knowledge and experience of each other which produces additional benefits.

Preparatory Work

Participants use a diagnostic inventory to review their coaching competence and identify development priorities.  This self-assessment process also causes sufficient reflection to help everyone to focus.

Participants also identify a suitable ‘coaching case’ to bring to the Workshop.  Typically, this will be about someone in their ‘team’ that they believe would benefit from coaching and will be the subject of their practical work during the Workshop.

The Workshop Programme:  Suggested Outline

The purpose of the Workshop is ‘to develop managers’ effectiveness in improving people performance and developing potential’.  Specific learning objectives will be shaped by the needs of the particular organisation and the development aims of participants.  Generally, we recommend the inclusion of the following Workshop sessions.

Leadership and Coaching:  To consider how coaching supports active leadership by managers and stimulate discussion about coaching as a means of assisting people perform effectively to achieve good results, apply strengths and address development needs.

Influencing Capability:  To enable participants to review their approach to influencing and learn the value of developing a range of approaches to meet the needs of different people and situations.

Coaching Model and Coaching Plans:  To provide participants with a practical framework that will cover the main tasks involved in the coaching process.  There are many of these available.  We use a simple five-step process that enables managers to conduct a diagnosis with a staff member of their capability in relation to a specific task through to agreeing development activities to improve performance.

Participants start to develop their own coaching case, from the preparatory work, by applying the coaching model to develop an outline plan that they can shape, ultimately with the input of the staff member.

Coaching Meeting Skills:  This focuses on the skills to conduct a face-to-face coaching meeting.  As a basis for skill development and meeting planning, managers use a diagnostic inventory to review their strengths and weaknesses with respect to the coaching discussion for their own coaching case.

Coaching Styles:  This helps managers adapt their coaching style to the needs of the individual (to be coached) in relation to the tasks and capabilities that require coaching.  The three development levels: ‘new to task’, ‘partially experienced’ and ‘experienced’ are examined along with the three main coaching styles to achieve successful coaching outcomes.

Participants then select the most appropriate coaching style to use for their coaching case and continue preparation for the practical coaching session later.

Skills for Coaching:  To build on the skills examined in the Coaching Meeting Skills session, this focuses on giving and receiving feedback, communication and questioning skills.

Communication – Giving and Receiving Feedback:  This practical session provides participants with the opportunity to practice giving and receiving feedback with colleagues.

Preparation For Coaching Practical:  Participants finalise preparation of their coaching case,  select a partner and brief them about their case.  Essentially, this is a ‘dry’ run of the real coaching session the manager plans to have at work.

Practical Coaching:  Participants take turns with their partners to run a practical coaching session based on the coaching case they have prepared.  Following each practical session, which is observed by all participants and the facilitator, each coach receives feedback.  This is run within the guidelines of a ‘feedback brief’ provided to everyone.  The process follows a sequence of:  coach undertakes self-critique, partner provides their view, then the facilitator invites the other members of the workshop to comment about the structure/process and the appropriate use of skills during the practical.  Finally, the facilitator will summarise the achievements and improvement opportunities for the coach.

Coaching Action Plans:  Participants plan specific actions to augment their coaching approach and style based on the feedback they have received during the practical coaching meetings.

1 (Peter Drucker)

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