During our work together, the learning leaders and several senior leader pilot participants got into a fascinating debate about the qualities of a great coach.
One participant kept trying to get across his concept that the coach must have positive intent and must care about the person being coached, but seemed to have trouble finding the right language. He finally blurted out, “Loving. A coach should be—loving.”
There was silence in the room and then everybody turned to me, the subject matter expert. What could I say? First, I laughed—and then I admitted he was right. In my opinion, the coach who’s going to make the biggest difference is the one who loves the people who are being coached. Love is the secret ingredient almost no one talks about. It’s one of the dirty little secrets of coaching—and you can’t really teach it. It’s certainly not considered an appropriate topic of conversation in most corporate settings.
Here’s the most interesting part: I was in the room with a group of senior level medical engineering geniuses who all began to nod their heads yes. The group ended up deciding not to actually write the word loving in black and white in the participant materials, instead opting for more indirect ways of expressing it. But there was an implicit agreement among the group—all of whom have self selected to be role models for coaching—that loving is, in fact, a quality they will be cultivating. And do you know what? I believe they actually have a chance of shifting their culture.
About the Author
Madeleine Blanchard is the co-founder of The Ken Blanchard Companies’ Coaching Services team. Since 2000, Blanchard’s 130 coaches have coached over 14,500 individuals in more than 250 companies throughout the world. Learn more at Blanchard Coaching Services. And check out Coaching Tuesday every week at Blanchard LeaderChat for ideas, research, and inspirations from the world of executive coaching.