Coaching Corner: Alignment Coaching

In The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner, there is an interesting piece of research on the impact of values clarity on loyalty in the workplace.  The study shows the data across four quadrants, ranking value clarity low to high.  Clarity for an individual is measured in two parts, clarity for their own personal values, and clarity of understanding of what the organizations values are.  The study is not surprising in that the highest degree of commitment and loyalty occurs when the individual is very aware of their own personal values as well as those of the organization.  Following that quadrant, loyalty is at it’s next highest when the individual has high clarity of their own values but low clarity for the organization.  Here is where it gets really interesting, the third greatest loyalty occurs when the individual is unclear about their values and unclear about the organizations. Finally, the lowest quadrant for loyalty is when there is clarity about the organizations values, but not the individuals own.  This research proves that as leaders we will increase loyalty in the workplace by coaching for clarity on what is intrinsically important to those we lead.   At Xponents, we call that Alignment Coaching.

In our workshop the Power of Y, the emphasis is on teaching Leader Coaches the art of Alignment Coaching.  We know that when team members are passionate about what they are doing and see how it is connected to the “big picture” or the “ultimate dream” of how they want to live their lives, there is an unquantifiable factor put into play that impacts performance xponentially.  Aligning the individual’s goals with the organization’s goals will ensure the traction necessary to create a win-win from every perspective.

Coaching Exercise:  Identifying what creates the wow factor that we call the Power of Y is accomplished in part by probing into what is most important to your team member.  Allow a minimum of 10 minutes at the beginning of your coaching time to focus on values clarification.  Listen for enthusiasm and energy as confirmation that you have uncovered an important value.  This will typically show up as increased animation about a topic.  Ask the team member to articulate what’s important to them by naming the value (Example:  Because I want to make sure I’m clear about what’s important to you, what would you call your desire for new challenges, if you were to select a word or two?).  Later reflect on how much this person is experiencing this value at work and what action you could take to support them in having even more of it present in the work place.  Below are some questions to get you started.

  • What’s the best job you ever had?  Why?
  • What do you like most about you current position?
  • What do you wish you could spend more time doing at work?
  • What do you want to spend less time doing at work?
  • What do you want to be doing for work in five years?
  • How does this position support your growth so you can get there?
  • What do you do for fun?
  • What hobbies do you have?