Is It Time to Upgrade Your Coaching Program?

It seems like every time you turn around something needs to be upgraded. We’re constantly adding new bells and whistles to improve the performance and capabilities of the systems we rely on to support us. 

Evolution is a natural part of life. Just because something changes doesn’t mean that what came before it was wrong or bad. It just means we’re learned more. We’ve uncovered new opportunities for improvement and innovated new ways to do things better. Think about operations, for instance, where Quality Circles laid the foundation for Total Quality Management, which opened the door for Six Sigma, which was followed by Lean. Each program built on what came before it in some ways, and cut new ground in its own right. That’s what continuous improvement looks like.

So why is it so different when it comes to coaching programs?

Many organizations take the position: “We’ve got a coaching program. We don’t need another one. Check. Check. We’ve got this covered.” That would be like the head of Sales saying to your CEO, “We’ve had this sales program for years. It’s okay. Everyone likes it, so we don’t see any need to change.” Can you envision the look on your CEO’s face? I’m not seeing a smile.

The world is changing too quickly to be complacent about anything. People, and their ability to learn, embrace change, connect the dots in new ways, envision possibilities and then work together to make them happen, is your single greatest source of competitive advantage. Coaching is the jet fuel that propels your people forward, faster into new frontiers. Just being okay, isn’t okay anymore.

Upgrading your coaching program doesn’t mean it hasn’t delivered value. It’s simply recognizing that how coaching is practiced and how it can deliver value to your organization has evolved, and you’re choosing to evolve with it. This is a good thing.

When coaching was first introduced into business it was often presented as being a new tool that encouraged people to ask questions instead of telling people what to do. That’s a good beginning. We’ve learned a lot since then. Here are a few of the key insights that are driving how coaching is being used to deliver strategic value in organizations these days:

  1. Coaching is much more than a tool. It’s a leadership style that can be integrated into any conversation with anyone, at any time, to encourage others to expand their perspectives and try new ways of doing things. If your organization still thinks that coaching is just another tool, or that coaching is only conducted through long development conversations, you’re missing a lot of potential value when it comes to developing and influencing others “in the moment.”
  1. Coaching-based leadership is the leadership style that turns complexity into opportunity. Many of the persistent disconnects in your organization – slow responses to rapid change, lack of accountability, managers not giving feedback or developing people – may be symptoms of command-and-control leadership being out of sync with our current times of persistent change. Coaching-based leadership enables leaders to get to heart of these perennial problems in their day-to-day conversations, and turn “in the moment” insights into a fresh, focused action.
  1. Creating a coaching culture is a strategic imperative. Take a look at your organization’s strategy. Executing that strategy is likely predicated on leaders in your organization being able to inspire and guide innovation, develop a pipeline of leaders who can think for themselves and take initiative, and attract and retain the best talent out there. Now, take a look at what your leaders are actually doing today. Wondering how you’re going to get there from here? The foundations of more evolved approaches to coaching – recognizing potential in people, igniting insight to open perspectives, appreciating differing worldviews, and learning with and from each other “in the moment” – are the foundations of the culture you will need to grow in order to realize your organization’s strategic intentions.

Is it time to explore upgrading how you approach coaching in your organization?

We would love to be your partner in making that upgrade simple and successful. Click here to begin.

Dianna Anderson, MCC
CEO, Cylient

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