Thursday, July 4, 2013

Coaching: The latest buzzword!

Coaching is the latest buzzword in the world of personal growth and development.  It is a highly personalised one-to-one personal development programme.  Coaching delivers results when a relationship is established between coach and coachee that are based on mutual respect, the intent of the coach and the effectiveness of the communication used.  A great coach will draw on his/her expertise to facilitate and accelerate individual learning and dramatically increase the personal effectiveness of the coachee.  Coaching:
  • focuses on possibilities and potential;
  • is about facilitating learning rather than teaching;
  • enables the coachee to unlock their potential and maximise their performance; and
  • gives the coachee full responsibility and ownership of the outcomes
The workplace is littered with falling stars who may be your most valued and high potential employees who have fallen off course.  The organization also suffers from inadequately performing employees.  Many of the new employees run into trouble because they lack the necessary internal support systems to facilitate them.  It's not always easy to recognize a star in trouble.  Many tend to hide or maintain a low profile while others just buckle down and work diligently on projects that are considered important by the company.  Some don't recognize the problem and are unable to pull themselves up.  Finding and training talented people is a time-consuming.
Few managers are natural coaches.  Few have an inherent flair in bringing out the best from those around them.  Majority of managers acquired coaching skill — a skill that must be honed over a lifetime.  Managers invariably recognise that coaching is of paramount importance.  High performance manager needs both analytical and intuitive skills to know how and when to draw on each.  The two coaching processes are solving problems and improving performance.  Whereas the four functions of coaching are:
  • counselling,
  • mentoring,
  • tutoring and
  • confronting
There is every need to understand the difference between problem solving and confrontation.  Even so there is difficulty in separating tutoring, mentoring, counselling and performance improvement.
The role of the coach is that of active listener, questioner and a partner in the act of reflection.  In reality, effective managers coach in two ways:
  • directive coaching aproach, drawn out of shared problem solving; and
  • a reflective approach where the manager
To foster empowerment in their team, managers have to learn how to do both.  Directive coaching is rooted in a power base linked directly to formal authority flowing from the job.  Reflective coaching engenders empowerment and significantly helped where the arena or dimension in which the coaching discussion takes place based on collaboration and consensus.  Directive coaching must be balanced with a reflective approach to coaching.
The important element here is respect.  Without a basic level of respect the integral chemistry of the relationship represents a barrier and will be difficult to overcome.  A respect inevitably is based on four things:
  • consistency,
  • personal competence,
  • personal commitment and
  • values congruency
Consistency is drawn from an understanding of the values that drive the business while competence is based on pride in striving to achieve results at the highest standard possible.  Commitment to get the job done and importance of shared values speaks for itself.
Coaching and mentoring
Mentoring and coaching have been perhaps the sexiest among many provocative topics, issues and practices.  Often, ‘‘good’’ coaching is considered ‘‘good’’ mentoring.  Foundational to both mentoring and coaching practice is the aspiration and goal of learning.

Coaching in most applications addresses performance in some aspect of an individual’s work or life; while mentoring is more often associated with much broader, holistic development and with career progress.  The difference between coaching and mentoring is that mentoring gives advice and teaches, whereas coaching facilitates learning.  The core skill as a coach is to know which questions to ask and when to ask them.  The impact of the language we use is at the heart of any true communication.  A coaching role is non-directional and operates from the perspective that clients already have the solutions within themselves.

Mentoring should not be confused with training and it functions more like coaching than training.  Mentoring offers added value in the shape of expert advice that is transferred more directly using a wider range of skills and techniques.  The relationship between mentor and protégé´ is much more developmental and the mentor is thus better positioned to:
  • Provide an outlet for the leader to test out new ideas before presenting them in house.  This allows leaders to prepare in advance their response to any potential opposition or resistance that might arise.  They can also be objective rather than emotional about their ideas.
  • Help managers to exploit strengths and improve weaknesses.
  • Ensure that the protégé´ remains challenged and motivated to constantly learn and develop

Coaching vs therapy
Definitions describe therapy as focusing on working with individuals, while coaching, on the other side, focuses on developing models of change, processes and procedures.  The line between the two is less clear because many of the disciplines overlap with each other.  Recent analyses have come to define coaching as a mixture of coaching and counselling.  Therapy is characterizes as past-focused, designed to address painful, unresolved issues in clients with personal troubles or pathology.  While coaching is typically defined as focusing on the present, being geared towards highly functioning, successful people who want to achieve even more.

e-mentoring is a natural evolution of mentoring in the digital era.  e-mentoring allows for faster response and more opportunity for flexibility in creating and maintaining relationships over great distances.  The distance factor often allows participants to express themselves more freely than during face-to-face communication.  It provides a more honest, open, and reflective learning environment.  Mentoring pairs can explore their values, feelings, and objectives more freely than when sitting together in the same room.

Coaching becomes not just a desirable component of managerial competence, but an imperative.  Coaching is found not a function that the majority of managers perform well.  It is also not well understood or easy to develop in others.

Coaching versus therapy in business management; Review articles, DEVELOPMENT AND LEARNING IN ORGANIZATIONS, VOL. 20 NO. 1 2006, pp. 23-25
David Clutterbuck, Feature articles: What’s happening in coaching and mentoring? And what is the difference between them?, DEVELOPMENT AND LEARNING IN ORGANIZATIONS VOL. 22 NO. 4 2008, pp. 8-10
Getting the right help: Some pros and cons of mentoring, DEVELOPMENT AND LEARNING IN ORGANIZATIONS, VOL. 23 No. 1 2009, pp. 30-33
John O. Burdett, TO COACH, OR NOT TO COACH - THAT IS THE QUESTION! PART 1; Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 23 No. 5, 1991, pp. 10-16
John O. Burdett, TO COACH, OR NOT TO COACH - THAT IS THE QUESTION! PART 2; Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol 23 No 6. 1991. pp 17-23
Linda Edwards, Coaching – the latest buzzword or a truly effective management tool? Industrial and Commercial Training Volume 35 · Number 7 · 2003 · pp. 298-300
R. Michael Bokeno, Genus of learning relationships: mentoring and coaching as communicative interaction, Feature articles, DEVELOPMENT AND LEARNING IN ORGANIZATIONS, VOL. 23 NO. 1 2009, pp. 5-8,
Robert Donaldson and Barbara Folb, Catch Falling Stars, HANDBOOK OF BUSINESS STRATEGY

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