Q: What is a business coach?
A: A coach helps you develop an action plan and works with you while you take action. A coach is a business partner who is totally dedicated to your success and helps you get very clear on your most important goals. They help in removing obstacles that interfere with your natural ability to grow and prosper. A coach helps you tap into your expertise and creativity while you rely on your skills, insights and ideas to reach your objectives.
They work with you to create a roadmap to guide you toward maximizing performance. Coaching works with you in the creation of a performance level that will maximize success.
Q: When should a coach be used?
A: Coaches are brought in to deal with a number of situations. On a corporate level, coaches are often brought in to help: increase productivity, build teamwork, improve leadership abilities, aid in resolving conflict, make goals congruent with their mission and the mission of the company and many other areas that affect the overall effectiveness of an organization or the morale of the employees.
Q: Who are candidates for coaching?
A: Employees who have experienced some degree of change in their duties are often prime candidates for coaching. New managers and recently promoted executives are often leery of admitting fears and weaknesses to internal managers and superiors. A coach is much less threatening and thus can help these executives work through the blocks, as well as encourage them to be genuine with their managers and superiors in terms of their abilities. This becomes much easier when they have a plan for improving their areas of weakness.
Q: Does coaching achieve the same or better results than conventional training?
A: A recent study cited by the National Association of Business Coaches showed that employees coached by qualified business coaches increased their productivity an average of 88%, compared to 22% for more conventional training methods.
Q: How would you sum up exactly what a coach will do for me?
A: Coaches function as generalists, drawing from their vast experience to motivate, facilitate, and guide their clients, whose issues may vary. Coaches work with clients on many kinds of issues, ranging from leadership roles to domestic concerns, from financial planning to management issues. Many types of issues are possibilities for coaching.
In coaching, the person is the expert in their field. The coach is the expert in the process of bringing out the knowledge and giftedness of the coach.
Q: Is coaching similar to therapy or counseling?
A: No, the client is a creative, resourceful, and whole human being who is capable of greatness. There may be blocks that the coachee allows to impede his or her greatness. These are seen as unproductive habits, not illness. When the person has blocks, coaching is an appropriate path for overcoming obstacles and experiencing success.
Q: Does coaching help in employee retention?
A: Employee retention is also a growing reason to hire a coach. Many executives are impressed with a corporation that provides them with the added perk of coaching. This shows a true investment in the employee and a desire to help the person reach his or her goals in life. Given the increasingly difficult challenge of attracting and training these high-quality individuals, a coaching program can be a desirable benefit that attracts employees who are interested in constant growth and improvement.
Many times coaches are located and retained to deal with a specific person within the organization. These individuals are usually key players who are excellent producers, yet have some habit or behavior that is preventing them from performing at full capacity.
Q: When is a coach really needed?
A: Some individuals get tense around the idea of "needing" a coach. They would rather focus on the benefits of coaching instead of their need for coaching. If this means they are focused on improving and building on what they have already, this will work. In terms of sports analogies, did Michael Jordan need a coach to be a great basketball player? The answer to this is probably "no". However, did Michael Jordan become an even more incredible basketball player by working with an incredible coach? The answer is surely "yes!" Coaching comes from the perspective of succeeding beyond current levels, not fixing a problem.
Therefore, rather than "When is a coach really needed?" the appropriate question is: "Do the potential benefits our corporation may experience from using a corporate coach justify the investment?"
Q: What are some common challenge areas in which coaching can positively effect change?
A: Fear of failure, fear of success, procrastination, lack of time management skills, perfectionism, negative self-image, lack of assertiveness, poor organizational skills, imbalance between work and home, lack of self-confidence, inadequate communication skills, stagnation in comfort zones, anger/frustration, negative habits, lack of fulfillment at work, poor self-discipline, insufficient goal setting and ineffective feedback to others. However, it is important to remember that coaching comes from the perspective of increasing skills, abilities and talents, rather than "fixing" what might appear broken.
Q: What are the variety of ways coaches are used in the organization?
A: Teams- can often benefit from working with a coach. The coach does not direct the team. The coach aids the team in self-direction. This is often done through the use of questions during a team meeting. What does the team want? How well are team members working together? What would it look like if members were twice as efficient as they are currently? What needs to change in order for the team to meet their goals more quickly and efficiently? These are just a few examples of the questions a coach may ask a team.
As with individual coaching, the coach would also act to support accountability. Too many teams brainstorm wonderful ideas for future change without ever following up on those ideas. Each team coaching session would refer back to the previous action steps to which everyone agreed. The coach then would help the team work through any blocks that arise in the process of meeting the goals that they have set out for themselves.
The coach also works with the team to recognize the unique contributions each individual makes to the team, and that each team makes to the organization. By recognizing and embracing their diverse gifts and talents, the team can create an atmosphere that promotes higher morale, a reduction in conflict, and incredible efficiency.
Executives ´ corporations often fail to recognize that many executives are attracted to the concept of having a personal coach. Coaching becomes a perk or benefit that may help recruit the executive who is considering multiple job offers. The offer of a personal coach for the executive shows that the organization is truly invested in the executive's success inside and outside the corporation.
Also consider what kinds of individuals want to work with a coach. These individuals are invested in growth and progress. They have the insight to recognize their giftedness, and the humility to recognize they are not an island unto themselves. Are these qualities your organization seeks in its leaders?
The executive coach understands the specific pressures and perspectives of the executive. Thus, the coach also possesses the quality to be flexible. In addition, the coach must be the type of individual with the strength to look at the person who has the power to fire the coach and tell that person when they are blind to something important in themselves or the organization. A placating coach can be very destructive to an organization.
Managers- many of the factors that apply when coaching executives also apply when coaching managers. Many managers have been promoted because of their ability to perform and produce. Companies are beginning to recognize, however, that these managers often lack the ability to transfer their performance skills to the people they manage. In addition, at times these managers lack the people skills necessary to perform well in their new function. This creates a frustrating situation for the company, the manager, and the people being managed.
Often the perceived solution is to send the manager to "people skills" training. Unfortunately, companies are discovering that some traditional forms of training are very ineffective. Often the participant does not have the level of awareness necessary to make full use of the training principles and techniques. In addition, the lack of follow-through using the new knowledge, and the lack of accountability in implementation usually result in a meager 10% retention of the material presented as the urgent issues of each day take over and new information is not used or integrated.
Coaching is different. Coaching creates an environment of self-learning and discovery along with the follow-through and accountability necessary to ensure that the knowledge imparted is incorporated and integrated, and serves a powerful and practical purpose. In fact, many corporations are now combining training programs with follow-up coaching in order to reap these benefits. Overall, managers of all levels can benefit from the relationship with a coach.
New managers or managers in transition are often fearful of all of the changes as they grow to their next level. Yet they are afraid to share these fears due to possible perceptions of colleagues and supervisors. Coaching creates a safe place where these fears can be faced early in their career. This saves many people quite a bit of time, energy, and frustration. Other managers also benefit from coaching, as they gain insight into patterns of being and behaving that have prevented them and their teams from "being all that they can be." At times, these blocking behaviors are deeply ingrained, and it may take more coaching for these individuals — as compared to new managers — to shift to new and more effective behaviors.
Again, corporations need to take notice that the best managers will be attracted to environments where their unique talents are noticed and in which they can flourish and grow. If an organization wants to attract the best, it must invest in supporting the best in becoming greater.
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