During this week’s webcast on When To Coach At Work, one senior leader said ‘I really want to grow my coaching approach. Where do I start?’
It’s a good question.
The model below shows the journey of developing your coaching capability. Have a look at the left-hand column of the Coaching Capability Index. Where are you operating right now?
When you consider how to grow your own leadership coaching capability to the next level, here are a few ideas to help you move forward.
Remember coaching is all about them
Whether you are working with your team, stakeholders, even your leader, your intention and focus should be about them, and helping them.
One of the things I have noticed in more than a decade of teaching leaders to coach is the best coaching leaders have three things in common:
1. They develop their own self-awareness
2. They develop their own skills to coach
3. They have a genuine interest and desire to help others.
Grow your awareness of what coaching really is.
For many people, they get a surprise when they discover what coaching really is and find that they haven’t really been coaching at all.
Remember coaching and mentoring approaches are both great and they are different and have different applications at work.
Utilising a coaching approach means you no longer need to be the expert in everything and can help your people tap into their own expertise and ideas.
When you start to introduce a coaching approach in your leadership, keep it simple.
- This means, begin using your coaching approach with the people who are likely to be the most receptive to it.
- Stick to the core principles of coaching
- Positive intention
- No judgement
- Don’t try and do it all at once, gradually add coaching tools to your kit, practice, integrate, then add the next layer.
Questions are key
The focus of coaching is asking questions rather than giving answers.
What sort of questions work best? …again keep it simple.
Begin with open questions. Questions that begin with What, How, Which, Who and Where are good.
Another idea is to make your questions specific.
When you ask a general question, you get a general answer. When you ask a specific question, you get a specific answer.
For example, if I ask you ‘How was your day?’ you might tell me it was ‘Fine’.
If I ask you ‘What was the best thing that happened today?’, you will probably give me a more detailed response.
Grow your coaching knowledge and ability
The most effective leaders and coaches are on a continuous learning journey. There are many options to grow your knowledge and ability. You know how you learn best, so choose the options that support your preferences.
If you want to start simply, try reading some of the fabulous books about coaching to expand your understanding.
If you want to accelerate your learning and ability, then undertake some coaching-specific training.
Not sure how to choose the right training. Consider these 3 things:
- What your learning objectives are
- How you prefer to learn
- Who you would like to learn with
This will help you get the right mix of expectations, expertise, and experience to achieve what is important to you in your own development.
What is next for you?
What is your coaching capability goal?
What is the level of your coaching capability right now?
What options do you have to move a step forward?
What will you do? By When?
I’d love to know your thoughts.
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