I have been a practitioner of Leadership for over 40 years and a scholar of Leadership for over 25 years. With these decades of experience and study backing my support, I strongly recommend Coaching to you as a value-added tool in your Leadership and Leadership Development tool kits. Further, I have been coaching professionally for several years. Finally, my team and I now certify Coaches within the International Coaching Federation (ICF) guidelines. As you ponder whether coaching would be valuable for you and your Team, here are five secrets to consider about getting started in Coaching:
- Coaching: The International Coaching Federation (ICF) defines coaching as:
“…partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”
There are countless tools and methods Coaches can bring to their Coaching that will enable them to facilitate growth in the Leader and/or Team of Leaders with whom they are working. Using these tools and methods to facilitate growth in the Leader is the primary purpose of Coaching.
2. Coach: A Coach is a skilled facilitator, trained in the art & science of Coaching, who provides their “Leaders” and “Teams of Leaders” with opportunities to grow their Leadership knowledge, skills, abilities, and experiences through self-discovery and problem-solving. Mentoring is a complement of Coaching in which the Mentor chooses the topics of learning and provides the insights into the solutions. With Coaching, on the other hand, the Leader chooses the topics of learning and guides themselves, facilitated by the Coach, to their own insights and solutions.
3. Leadership and Leaders: For the purposes of Coaching, Leadership is the art & science of espousing a vision, communicating that vision, and then convincing others to voluntarily follow you to accomplish that vision. As such, Leaders then are those people that successfully demonstrate these visionary characteristics of Leadership. Thus, rather than referring to our Coaching participants as “Customers,” as the ICF definitions uses, I prefer to use the title of “Leaders” to identify the People and Teams we Coach. And we are most interested in creating personal and professional Leadership growth in the Leaders we Coach.
4. Leadership Coaching: There are several focus areas within Coaching, with differences mainly in the desired growth areas of the person or team being Coached – such as Life Skills, Business Skills, and Leadership Skills. As a Chief Learning Officer, focused mainly on Leadership Development, I tend to focus my Coaching and Coaching Certification efforts on “Leadership Coaching” – i.e. working with Leaders to facilitate their continued growth as Leaders.
5. Session: A coaching “Session” is a single engagement, steered by the Leader and facilitated by the Coach, in which the participants mutually create Leadership growth, insights, and learning for the Leader being Coached. Sessions can last from just 2-3 minutes to upwards of 90 minutes depending upon the complexity of the topics covered. The frequency of the Sessions – or “Coaching Pace” is determined through mutual agreement between the Leader and Coach. Early in a Coaching engagement, the Pace might be more frequent. In the middle of the engagement, the pace might slow. And towards the end of the Coaching relationship, the pace might pick up again. I strongly recommend at least 12 distinct Leader/Coach Sessions spread out over three months or longer. This minimal number of sessions across this minimal time frame permits sufficient Leader/Coach engagement time and learning absorption.
Good luck to you and your Team! If there is ANYTHING my team and I can do to assist you and your team, reach out to us at 2RL@FlatterInc.com. If you find these blogs valuable, please link to us at www.FlatterInc.com so that others may absorb the same insights. Likewise, please listen to our weekly Podcast, with distinguished guests from the Coaching world, published every Thursday at noon, Eastern Time (USA) at The Secrets of Leadership Coaching. Finally, I am personally interested in hearing your feedback – so please send your thoughts directly to me at JR.Flatter@FlatterInc.com.