The Leader as Coach

A predictable reaction of some experienced managers and leaders when learning managerial coaching is that they worry about how their teams will see them when they adopt a coaching approach vs. a tell-them-what-do approach. Their teams have gotten used to going to the boss for the answers.

Many have gotten used to giving their teams the answer instead of helping them learn to think for themselves and come up with excellent solutions to challenges. Managers and leaders need to really know their staff/teams well. Remember, you will still need to adapt your approach depending on the your staff’s/team’s needs and readiness.

Are you unsure about how coaching your staff/team can make a difference? Reflect on your own development as a leader. How did you get to be where you are now? Did your superiors give you all the answers or did they give you more freedom to analyze and develop your own solutions?

Is Coaching and Counseling the Same?

No, they are not.  Some folks may, however, confuse coaching with counseling and this is not unusual. Both coaching and counseling focus on helping people deal with difficult challenges or issues. Both may also focus on helping an individual to change her behavior.  How are they different?

Counseling typically involves people who are experiencing some dysfunctional behavior or internal turmoil. Counseling is often focused on healing past wounds and looking for the cause or origin of the dysfunctional behavior. Going back to the past is intended to help the client get unstuck, to gain understanding on how the behavior may be causing problems in the present and the dynamics involved, and then to be able to move forward in making the change the client wants.

Coaching is for everyone. In the corporate world, coaching is often an investment made to help high potentials progress towards their full potential and prepare them for bigger challenges. In families and communities, it is for anyone who would like to have a “thinking partner” in pursuing her work, life, or other goals. Coaching has a future focus and aims to create a desired state, that is, the goals that the client wants to achieve. It focuses on helping the client clarify her goals, assess the present, and identify what steps or actions she will take to achieve her goals. It is more focused on the future.

The lines between coaching and counseling may not always be clear, especially for a client. What’s important is that the coach can ascertain whether his client needs coaching or counseling. And, unless the coach is also a trained counselor, the coach will refer his client to counseling.

Five Benefits in Joining the ICF Philippine Chapter

If you are a professional coach, one of the self development activities well worth your while is to become an active member of the International Coach Federation (ICF) Philippine Chapter. Whether you are a Life Coach, a Leadership Coach, an Executive Coach, or specialize in a niche of your choice, being a member gives you several opportunities.

Networking with other professional coaches. Getting to know other coaches who share similar passions gives you a larger perspective of the profession, the demand, practices, and trends, among other things. Networking also enables you to build your credibility with colleagues and market your services.

Continuing learning through the monthly chapter meetings. Activities during the meetings aim to enhance the core competencies of the members, as well as share developments in the field.

Participating in peer group coaching (PGC). Some of the monthly meetings focus on the PGC where one coach shares a case, anonymous of course, and the other coaches ask powerful questions that promote reflection, create fresh perspectives, and give valuable inputs that help the case owner to be an even better coach.

Volunteering to conduct learning activities. Each chapter member has unique contributions to make. As each one furthers her own competencies and practice, each one has something new to offer and share.

Earning Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Attendance in the monthly chapter meetings counts towards CEUs necessary to attain and maintain credentials.

The chapter meetings are held every last Wednesday of the month at Fully Booked, Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. To learn more about the ICF and the ICF Philippine Chapter, please visit the websites by clicking on their links in the Blogroll.

Developing Coaching Skills in Managers

So you want your managers to be good coaches to their direct reports and teams?  Where do you begin?  A good way to start would be to get them to attend a coaching workshop and then have follow-up coaching sessions where they are coached as well to help them apply what they have learned in the workshop.

The coaching workshops for managers provide the concepts and skills, and practice coaching sessions. These may focus on skills for overcoming individual and team performance problmes, and developing employee skills. The practice sessions promote gut level learning.  The follow-up coaching sessions is where they coach their direct reports and teams and get support and feedback from a professional executive coach.

Benefits of developing coaching skills in managers include fostering a positive coaching culture in the organization, building on strengths and developing new skills, increasing individual and team productivity, rekindling employee motivation, and creating promotable subordinates.

Depending on the goals of each manager to develop specifc coaching skills, maybe 8 to12 follow-up coaching sessions may be sufficient to help them move forward and achieve their goals.