Have you ever started a new job or position and thought Where do I start? I recently started a new role in my company and it’s also a new position—so there are no past performers to measure against. The stakes are high and although the objective is clear, we are still defining the key responsibilities. It’s a challenge I welcome—and yet I found myself needing to re-engage a coach. I needed someone outside of my company who would be objective and help me through the change I’m leading. This got me reflecting on the value of coaching and inspired me to share with you my perspective on what the best coaches do.
Here’s what I’ve rediscovered: Leaders often engage a coach when they are faced with opportunities and challenges such as a significant hurdle to overcome, an opportunity to be promoted, or a career that is stalled. The basis for coaching is to assist the leader from going from point A to point B and help them grow and learn throughout the process.
While each coach has their own unique approach, coaching in general has universal guidelines that are embraced by the industry and designed to help clients get the most value from their investment. Thinking about a coach for an opportunity or challenge you may be facing? Here’s what to look for.
- Confidentiality. It’s critical for the coach to create a secure environment so that the client feels safe to speak freely.
- Action oriented. Coaching is about personal growth and achievement. In order to have that, the client must take action between meetings.
- Discovery process. The best answers lie within the client, so it’s important for the coach to lead the discovery process for the client.
- Client’s agenda. The client should always lead the agenda for what they want to accomplish through the coaching. The client needs to articulate what will be different as a result of being coached.
Organizations today are in a constant state of change. They need leaders who can adapt and change with them. Coaching has become a sought after development tool because the change it achieves with leaders is visible and significant. If these guidelines are embraced and both coach and client are committed to the process, coaching can be a life changing experience. I know coaching will benefit me in my new role—and I’m sure it will also help you with challenges and opportunities as you take on the new year.
About the Author
Joni Wickline is Vice President, International Growth Strategy with The Ken Blanchard Companies. You can read Wickline’s posts as a part of Coaching Tuesday here at Blanchard LeaderChat for ideas, research, and inspirations from the world of executive coaching.