Our Approach to Coaching

With the advent of coaching certification, most professional coaches who have gone through such a program have developed similar processes. However, coaching effectiveness varies widely.

What Is Coaching?

Coaching is a process that improves human performance and satisfaction. It focuses on the “here and now” rather than on the what happened in the past. Performance usually means on-the-job, but many of our clients are looking for improvement in their personal lives as well.

Why Have a Coach?

  • Increased productivity. Coaching turns your potential into performance: work performance, business management, time management, team effectiveness.
  • Positivity. Improved self-confidence, relationships, communication skills, life/work balance.
  • Return On Investment: According to the International Coach Federation, the vast majority of companies (86%) say they at least made their investment back.
  • Satisfaction with Coaching: According to the International Coach Federation, virtually all companies and individuals who hire a coach are satisfied with the overall experience and would repeat the process.

Our Focus: Process, Practicality, Tools

Use a Process: Repeatable, Teachable

We are great believers in process. It means having a framework for doing something that doesn’t change with the fad of the year but is updated as needed. Ours is deceptively simple. We work with you to:

  1. Find out what outcomes you are looking for. Decide the areas on which to focus, which vary according to the individual and the length of the coaching engagement.
  2. For each area, decide on 1-3 meaningful, simple measurements that indicate progress.
  3. Plan specific activities and assignments, as appropriate. Their purpose is to help you learn, apply, and get results.
  4. Regularly review and discuss your results. We ask lots of good questions. The successes, we celebrate. The failures, we celebrate them, too. We help you learn from both.

We encourage you to repeat this cycle on your own (and with your manager, as appropriate) after we complete our work together to address whatever the future brings.

If you have direct reports, we encourage you to use the same model to be manager-as-coach. In turn, encourage them to use the process and tools for their own continued development. Helping others learn how to manage their own development is one of the most satisfying legacies there is.

Practical Coaching: Our Magic Is in the Details

The details of our coaching can vary widely from client to client. We always customize our choice of assignments and activities to fit your situation. Frequent areas requested, all part of leadership, include:

  • Delegation and accountability
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Communications
  • Difficult conversations
  • Trust
  • Teamwork
  • Managing the work
  • Productivity
  • Strategic and “big picture” thinking

Tools for Professional Development

So many of the terms used in human development are squishy. What is leadership, accountability, trust, teamwork anyway? What do those look like? How do you know if you’re doing those things?

We have had the same burning questions for a long time. We are constantly looking for ways to bring those idealist concepts to ground. We define what they look like in human behavior. We have a large collection of diagrams, worksheets, quizzes, checklists to help put those concepts in practice.

Our path to figuring those things out is simple (though not always easy). We read. A lot. We love to share our book lists. For example, here is the list of books that our “Business by the Book Club” has read. The club consists of a small group of CEOs and senior managers and has been meeting monthly since Mar 2009.

We also belong to informal and formal professional networks with very smart colleagues who are willing to share what they know with us. (And vice versa.)

Should you do those things too? Absolutely. We highly recommend reading and joining professional associations as part of your professional development.

Coaching Compared to Consulting, Mentoring, and Training

From the ICF web site:

  • Consulting: Individuals or organizations retain consultants for their expertise. While consulting approaches vary widely, the assumption is the consultant will diagnose problems and prescribe and, sometimes, implement solutions. With coaching, the assumption is that individuals or teams are capable of generating their own solutions, with the coach supplying supportive, discovery-based approaches and frameworks.
  • Mentoring: A mentor is an expert who provides wisdom and guidance based on his or her own experience. Mentoring may include advising, counseling and coaching. The coaching process does not include advising or counseling, and focuses instead on individuals or groups setting and reaching their own objectives.
  • Training: Training programs are based on objectives set out by the trainer or instructor. Though objectives are clarified in the coaching process, they are set by the individual or team being coached, with guidance provided by the coach. Training also assumes a linear learning path that coincides with an established curriculum. Coaching is less linear without a set curriculum.