Good coaching is…
… purposeful, temporary and sustainable. It enables clients to access and use their own untapped potential. Always assuming that they are able to find their own answers to problems and challenges.
Coaching is a conversation between two experts: The client is the expert regarding the content and his situation, which he knows in all its facets. The coach is an expert in the process and the application of the appropriate methods. He leads the client through goal-oriented conversations to his own answers and solutions. Coaching achieves the desired goal through small, effective steps within the sphere of influence of the client. In short: Coaching is help for self-help and acts as an important catalyst for your own development.
But would not it be easier to give advice? That would save a lot of time and effort.
Yes, you would save time and effort by giving someone direct advice and offering answers or solutions. For leaders who want to use coaching methods as part of agile leadership, this is often a great temptation and, at the same time, a great challenge: not just putting the answer or solution on the table, but holding it back and supporting their employees to come to a solution yourself. It makes a huge difference if an employee comes out of the supervisor’s office with the supervisor’s solution, or with his own solution that he or she has come to. This has a direct impact on commitment, motivation, pride and further on the development of the employees. In short, if we provide answers and solutions directly, we save time and effort, but we do not use the potential for development, more engagement, etc. In return, this also means that if quick solutions or answers are needed, then coaching is not the right approach. Everything has its time, including coaching.
What we need the most is someone who can bring out the best in us.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
So as a coach you never give any advice at all?
Sometimes during a coaching session it becomes clear that I have expertise that the client does not have and that he or she lacks in order to find solutions. Then I give helpful impulses from the domain of my specialization, i.e. personal and interpersonal competence in leadership, teamwork and customer contact. But when I offer such impulses, I consciously change roles – at that moment I am no longer a coach but an expert or a trainer. As soon as I have given the impulse, I switch back to the coaching mode and the conversation continues, for example with the question: “What does that now mean for you specifically?”
Are there clients who are coaching resistant?
Yes, they exist. These are usually people who, for example, are sent to coaching and do not want it on their own initiative. For this reason, they tend to have little problem awareness and willingness to change. In such a case it is difficult to coach, because besides being voluntary, successful coaching has some basic requirements: Humility – the awareness that you may have one or the other blind spot in your self-perception. Courage to face other people’s perception and discipline to grow and really make a difference.
What would you say to someone who claims they don’t not need coaching for themselves and their organization?
I would say that many successful people – above all senior executives – are, of course, convinced that they are successful because of their past and present way of doing things. This being said, they are just as often not well aware that they are also successful despite certain behaviors – blind spots that they are unaware of, but that have an impact. The dead angle in the exterior rearview mirror, so to speak. But as long as no one tells them what that behavior is that demotivates the team, they cannot change it. We can only grow through self-reflection to a certain extent: up to our blind spots. Beyond that, we need support and feedback from outside – the Blind Spot Assistant in the outer mirror quasi, which makes you aware of certain important things. Coaching can provide valuable insights and make successful people even more successful by reducing these blind spots. Accordingly, most of the top performers work with a coach, including Bill Gates or Google’s former CEO Eric Schmidt, who said, “Everyone needs a coach.”
Thomas Gelmi supports leaders and their teams worldwide, in companies of all sizes and in a wide range of industries. They include global organizations such as the World Trade Organization, Siemens, Roche, and Credit Suisse, as well as SMEs and private clients. Thomas focuses on the development of personal and interpersonal competence in leadership, teamwork and customer contact.
For more information visit www.thomasgelmi.com
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