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Ten ways NOT to approach Coaching

Posted by Impronta on October 22, 2012

Challenges faced by Principal Coach, Simon Laws

Sharing_not_telling_cropped.jpgIn my seven years as an Executive Coach I have faced various challenges that I believe fellow Coaches, Coachees and their Sponsors may well recognise.

These represent the beliefs of some Coachees when they start their Coaching Programme. These are not unnatural, because Coaching is not always well understood, but for a Coaching Programme to be successful they need to be addressed.

As a Coachee I may believe the following (my own answers are in italics):

  1. "My Coach is an accessory rather like a Hermes Birkin Bag to be displayed to friends and colleagues as an expensive accoutrement." (I am a status symbol? Flattering though that is, a better term would be 'professional friend.')
  2. "If I have been offered a Coach it is because I am failing." (A competent Coach will always check with a Client that Coaching is being used appropriately. Coaching works best for people who are good and would like to address a few issues to get to great. It is a tailored, pricey option compared to group training and is best deployed for those aiming for the top or in transition or for high potentials.)
  3.  "My Coach alone takes responsibility for the outcome of the Coaching Programme." (Think again! This is a partnership and it needs your full attention.)
  4. "My Coach is a Mentor who will tell me what to do." (You have all the resources you need to do your job well.  I am going to draw out your talents so you play to your strengths and develop your own learning track.)
  5. "The psychometric profile administered by my Coach has statistical faults and the 360 feedback is subjective rather than objective. Or perhaps I filled it in wrongly. Or that person is jealous of me. Anyway, this certainly isn't me!" (Feedback can be tough and it isn't always 100 per cent accurate, but let's be open to finding out and working on what IS accurate.)
  6.  "Do you mean I have to write something down? But I don't have time! It's a pain and it's YOUR responsibility to report back to my Sponsor!" (Confidentiality is the bottom line for Coaches so nothing  goes back to the Sponsors that isn't generated by the Coachee. Any reporting agreed can be completed by the Coachee with support from the Coach.)
  7. Coaching is a chance to offload my day-to-day details and nuances at work." (Your story is fascinating and important, but this is not what I'm being paid for. I'm here to challenge you on your attitudes and behaviours to get you where you want to be. I will interrupt you and bring you back to our goals!)
  8.  "I have more than enough targets at work; I don't see why my Coaching Programme should have goals or measurable outcomes." (It's an L & D intervention and part of your Leadership development. How will you or your Sponsor know if the Coaching has succeeded if there are no measurable outcomes?)
  9. I can change appointments at will with no notice or apology, as the Coach is an employee. (Mutual respect of each other's professionalism is a sine qua non.)
  10. Overall a Coach is there to listen to me and to chat. (We need to reframe this! I am here to support you, challenge you and engage you in robust conversation that makes you think and act differently. I want you to get where you aspire to be and where your organisation would like you to be!)

These are just challenges to overcome and Impronta (www.impronta.co.uk) works with Sponsors and Coachees to address these understandable but misguided perceptions. Our aim is to achieve a newly inspired executive and a measurable outcome – plain and simple.

Simon Laws, Impronta, simon.laws@impronta.co.uk