Over the last several days I’ve been working with a really wonderful client who offers their entire leader population all sorts of phenomenal development opportunities—including coaching skills training.
While everyone agrees that coaching is a good thing, there is disagreement about how, when, and where coaching should be applied. Here are some myths and misconceptions we have been examining. How many of these statements do you agree with?
- Coaching takes a lot of time
- As the coach, I have to be a subject matter expert and know the job/role/task of my direct report in detail
- There is one best way to coach
- Anyone can be a coach
Let’s break it down.
Does coaching take time? Yes. Does it take a lot of time? Sometimes. Other times, a well placed, open ended question can break someone open to new thinking and new possibilities. In fact, my client and I compared the time it took her to repeat instructions versus the time it took to coach the same people to a better outcome. Turns out that coaching took a lot less time!
Do I need to be a subject matter expert to coach my direct report? No. Of course, your client wants you to have a good grasp of what they do. Once you have that, though, you need to be someone who can facilitate good outcomes rather than someone who knows every little twist and turn of the job. Let go of problem solving. Instead, focus on listening deeply and asking open ended questions and you will succeed.
Is there one best way to coach? Yes. It’s the way that works best for the person you are coaching. A scripted approach will never work as well as being fully present and listening deeply. Every person is different. Pay attention and respond accordingly. That’s the model that works.
Can anyone be a coach? Well, yes, and no. Yes, anyone can learn to be a coach or to use coaching skills, but not everyone has the patience or desire to do it well.
How do these answers match up with your experience? Do you notice a common theme running through those four responses? You probably noticed that coaching is about being in service to the growth and development of the person being coached. As a leader, if that excites you and drives your leadership engine, then coaching skills are an appropriate and successful addition to your leadership development plan.
To learn more about the Blanchard approach to developing these new skills, check out Blanchard’s Coaching Essentials for Managers information page. It’s a great way to get started.
About the Author
Patricia Overland is a Coaching Solutions Partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies’ Coaching Services team. Since 2000, Blanchard’s 130 coaches have worked with 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.