Coaching-the-coach may be the most underutilized opportunity that exists in today’s organizations.
Excerpt from The Cycle of Transformation by Deb Siverson (that’s me!)
“We don’t have time to coach!” This wasn’t the first time I’d heard this sentiment from mid-level managers. The group I was working with went on to say, “We believe it’s the right thing to do; but we are so busy attending meetings, putting out fires, and responding to requests for information that we just don’t have the time to spend coaching our teams.
Real or perceived time-constraints is a show-stopper when it comes to developing a coaching culture. When mid-level managers don’t model and reinforce desired coaching behaviors, the supervisors who work for them also struggle to find the time to coach, and they lose the opportunity to move toward mastery with newly acquired skills. Managers must find ways to reinforce the coaching behaviors they want more of through observation of coaching activities and by providing effective coaching and feedback to the team members they coach. If they do not, the likely hood for success is significantly diminished.
John Kotter, a change expert and author of the book, Leading Change, claims that 70% of change initiatives fail. He points out that the first error is allowing too much complacency. “They (Leaders) underestimate how hard it is to drive people out of their comfort zones.” And having impactful coaching conversations requires engaging in a different conversation that is less casual and more intentional. Learning how to ask questions that get at the heart of the matter or ways to press into the specifics without it feeling like an interrogation can cause new coaches anxiety and discomfort.
Developing leadership and coaching skills requires regular practice and assessment of impact. Having another observe and debrief a coaching interaction by linking outcomes with objectives, strategy, and skills accelerates learning and supports transformation. To be successful at modeling and reinforcement, managers must practice coaching with those they expect to become good coaches. Below are 10 tips for coaches of coaches.
- Communicate early and often that effective coaching is a way of life, for everyone.
- Your primary role in coaching the coach is to build trust, and the relationship.
- Be masterful at asking questions and listening.
- Observe coaching sessions and take notes on strengths. Be prepared to give specific feedback only on what is a valid strength.
- Identify the one thing that would most propel the coaching you are observing to the next level. Stick to that one main thing for developmental feedback. Be specific about what you saw or heard.
- Always ask the person you are coaching what they did well and what they would do different next time. Then offer your feedback.
- Move into action by asking for one area of focus and one tangible action item. Make it a SMART goal.
- Avoid the temptation to ask for commitments to more than the one main thing.
- Be intentional about follow up and accountability.
- Acknowledge your team member for developing a Growth Mindset.
If you like this blog, I think you will like my book the Cycle of Transformation. Available now!
Deb Siverson is a seasoned executive coach, certified as a PCC through the International Coach Federation. If you want to schedule time to discuss how you or your organization can increase engagement through the development of the Leader Coach, contact us now.