In the last twenty years a new profession of coaching burst upon the scene. From the local workout gym to the main street workplace; from the boardwalk to the boardroom, professional coaching has made inroads in many facets of life.
“Adult coaching is a new career area. Whether it will become a stand-alone profession has yet to be decided.”
Profile of a Coach
According to the International Coaching Federation, the average coach is between 46 to 55-years old, has coached for 5-10 years, and 53 percent of them have earned an advanced degree, either a masters or doctorate.
While professional and executive coaches tend to carve out a niche for themselves, most of them tout the benefits of coaching to individuals as well as to businesses.
Benefits of Coaching
An example of the benefits of coaching from Donna Karlin’s 2010 A Better Perspective:
Main benefits of coaching to recipient:
Generates improvements in individuals’ performance/targets/goals: 84%
Increased openness to personal learning and development: 60%
Helps identify solutions to specific work-related issue: 58%
Greater ownership and responsibility: 52%
Developing self-awareness: 42%
Improves specific skills or behavior: 38%
Greater clarity in roles and objectives: 37%
Corrects behavior/performance difficulties: 33%
Main benefits of coaching to the organization
Allows fuller use of individual’s talents/potential: 79%
Demonstrates commitment to individuals and their development: 69%
Higher organizational performance/productivity: 69%
Increased creativity/learning/knowledge: 63%
Intrinsically motivates people: 57%
Facilitates the adoption of a new culture/Management style: 39%
Improves relationships between people/departments: 35%
I would add four more benefits of coaching for the organization to Donna Karlin’s list:
- Reduces workplace conflict
- Improves employee retention
- Lowers costs and increases profits
- Increases the company’s professional standing
The Promise of Coaching
While the use of coaching is increasing among businesses in an effort to addressworkplace stress, many leaders remain in the dark, seemingly content with a bygone command and control structure that fails to motivate workers today.
The top three causes of workplace stress are healthcare costs, workplace safety, and absenteeism.
WHY LEADERS REJECT COACHING
The promise of coaching is enormous but many business leaders, managers, andbosses remain skeptical or unconvinced of the benefits of coaching in theirworkplace. Based on these benefits, what business leader would not employ professional and executive coaches?
Here are some possible reasons:
- Leaders fear of loss of control
- Leaders are educated and experienced in a command and control system
- Leaders fear of personal accountability
- Leaders are unaware of the discipline of coaching and its benefits
Before the profession of coaching can live up to its promises and benefits, many more business leaders, CEO’s, and managers must be educated. Some leaders view the coaching profession favorably after they personally benefit from being coached.
Here are two examples of employee outcomes:
Opting for Coaching
Joe has worked for a medical office for seven years. He is seen by leaders in the large private medical practice as a fair employee. He does good work when he is at work, but Joe has a lot of absences. Over time some of his fellow employees discovered the Joe was stressed by excessive debt of his own making. He had finally reached a point where he suffered from stress induced depression which began to show in the quality of his work. The leadership discussed what might be done and someone suggested hiring a life coach to help reframe Joe’s priorities and help him get back on track. Additionally it was suggested that the company help him get clinical help for his depression. While some managers balked at the suggestions saying that the company had never done this before, the CEO decided to take a chance on Joe. Turn the clock forward a year and Joe is now considered to be one of the best employees. His positive attitude is contagious, his productivity is markedly higher, and the company saved thousands of dollars despite the costs of hiring a coach for him and helping in his depression treatment. Now, that company has retained the services of a life-coach who has helped several other employees avoid termination, increase their productivity, and saved the company money.
Opting against Coaching
Cindy has worked for a small wellness and fitness company for five years, but recently the company manager and CEO discussed terminating her. She had performed her duties well for several years and seemed to be in line for a promotion to manage another store. Recently Cindy began arriving late and leaving early and the quality of her work decreased. Upon confronting her in the office, she revealed that she was going through a divorce, her baby had been sick, and she had experienced difficulty getting appropriate child care. While Cindy begged for another chance to get her life in order, she was terminated. Consequently, the company spent the equivalent of 150% of Cindy’s salary to terminate her and then hire and train her replacement. (The Real Cost of Retraining Employees)
Coaching is Compassionate
Do an internet search of “how to terminate an employee” and you will get over 15 million results.
Now do a search of “providing coaching instead of termination” or “coaching instead of termination” and you will get from 2 to 5 million results with only a few of them relating to the real subject of your search terms. Is this an indicator of the “lost promise of coaching?”
The sad fact is that unrealized potential is no potential at all, but developed potential realizes reward for all involved.
Coaching is not only cost effective but it is also a compassionate way to respond to the ups and downs experienced by everyone. It is an investment in the most important aspect of business—human capital.
- What are some additional benefits of coaching to the individual being coached?
- What are some additional benefits of coaching to the company?
This article was originally written by Dr. Tom Cocklereece and posted on Linked2Leadership blogazine. http://linked2leadership.com/2011/07/26/the-promise-of-coaching/
A friend of mine is a successful businessman and entrepreneur who also serves as a board member of a non-profit community organization. On the board, Rob (not his real name) often offers insightful comments and good advice that matches his good business sense. Yet when asked to serve as a board officer, Rob quotes the notorious General William Tecumseh Sherman when asked if he would seek presidential office,
“If nominated I will not run; if elected I will not serve.”
To Serve or Not To Serve
Many would-be leaders have the same attitude as Sherman.
- It is extreme irony that Rob will not serve at a higher level as a leader since he is already leading in a number of roles.
- Rob will not seek a higher level of leadership because he is fearful of failure.
- He has not found the leader within…he has not discovered the quintessential leader that he could be.
Can you relate to Rob? I know I can. Even the best of leaders falter at times…me included. On a weekend vacation I was recently doing a detailed reading of John Maxwell’s leadership book Everyone Communicates, Few Connect in which he lists “Four Unpardonable Sins of a Communicator”: being unprepared, uncommitted, uninteresting, or uncomfortable.
Maxwell’s words hit me head on as I recounted my lack of leadership in one of my roles.
The greatest mistake of leadership is not a failure to succeed but a failure to lead.
In fact, the greatest failures of leadership are not a lack of experience, a lack of training, a lack of education, or lack of resources but usually a failure of one to engage.
Avoiding Leadership Failure
Four ways to avoid a failure to lead are:
- Engage as a leader.
- Engage at the right time.
- Engage with enough energy to see the project through.
- Engage other leaders around you to help and eventually take over the project.
1. ENGAGE AS A LEADER
The only way to lead is to lead! It sounds ridiculous, but it is true. Many people who are in THE prime place to lead never engage. Perhaps you understand the issues better than anyone else, you have the authority to lead, and people are looking at you and anticipating action, but you are waiting.
Perhaps you are waiting for someone else to step up to the plate. Maybe you are hoping the problem will just go away.
Other excuses may include:
- I don’t have the experience.
- I don’t have the time.
- I don’t have the education.
- I don’t think others respect me.
- I don’t want to keep someone else from their opportunity to lead.
- I’m not leadership material.
Based on the listed excuses, you will never be ready to lead. Moses used virtually every one of these excuses in Exodus 3 and 4 when talking with the Creator and God did not let him off the hook but kept handing the job to him. Moses had to engage. It was during the process and time of leadership that Moses became Moses instead of a nameless adopted son of a pharaoh in Egypt.
Only through the action of leading will the leader in you emerge.
2. ENGAGE AT THE RIGHT TIME
In baseball, the difference between swinging the bat too early, too late, and on time can be either a foul ball or a home run. It’s that way with leadership too.
As a leader you must engage at the right time.
Crisis situations require instant leadership. Other situations may allow decision and strategy time, but a large part of successful leadership is timing. Great leaders have an intuitive understanding of timing which creates the highest possible involvement of others who are empowered to assist…also called buy-in.
By engaging at the right time, they increase the number of others working on the same problem. If you are waiting for the problem to resolve itself or go away…it will probably only get worse.
3. ENGAGE WITH ENOUGH ENERGY TO SEE THE PROJECT THROUGH
Introverted leaders (S & C on the DISC profile) are often tempted to disengage too early before the full success is achieved. The reason for this is that their reserve for directing energy toward others is less.
On the other hand, extroverted leaders (D & I on the DISC profile) have a tendency to either delegate the leadership role too early or declare victory prematurely. Great leaders see the big picture of the project so they pace their energy or know how to replenish it along the way in order to complete the task. I believe the greatest leaders lead out of energy overflow instead of reserves.
The overflow principle is a Psalm 23 concept by which one does not manufacture her own energy but is continuously using overflow from God’s inexhaustible energy resources. Overflow may be defined as finding one’s fulfillment, satisfaction, worth, and esteem in Christ which results in greater energy overflow.
Show me an exhausted leader and I will show you a leader who is leading out of his own exhaustible reserves that will eventually run dry.
The greatest leaders learn to tap in to the Psalm 23 overflow to the point of directing and investing energy overflow into others on purpose to add value to them. Read Psalm 23 again while considering the Overflow Principle:
1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil;My cup runs over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.
Psalms 23:1-6 (NKJV) (emphasis mine)
Note verses 3 and 5 where the Lord “restores my soul” and “my cup runs over.” These illustrate the Overflow Principle of Leadership.
4. ENGAGE OTHER LEADERS AROUND YOU TO ASSIST
Engage other leaders around you to help and eventually take over the project. A great leader intuitively scans for people in the organization who possess the abilities and willingness to assist and eventually take over a project. “Willingness” is often the only quality that separates a new leader from everyone else.
Mentoring and coaching are often the only disciplines that separate average leaders from great leaders. Great leaders mentor and coach emerging leaders. In fact this may be a distinguishing difference between managers and leaders. The difference between leaders and managers is coaching & mentoring emerging leaders.
Leaders add value to new leaders while managers often feel threatened.
Don’t miss your opportunity to be the leader you were meant to be. Find the leader within! Here is a quote from Kate Chopin’s book The Awakening:
“She was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world.”
It is time for you to cast aside that fictitious apparition of yourself as one who fears to lead and allow the leader within you to emerge. Do it now!
- What are your attitudes toward other leaders? If you distrust other leaders then you will not want to become a leader until you learn to trust.
- What excuses are keeping you from engaging as a leader? There are few legitimate “reasons.”
- How are you using the “Overflow Principle of Leadership” or not?
- List the leadership qualities you and others see in you that have potential.
(This article by Dr. Tom Cocklereece was originally published on Linked2Leadership May 17, 2011.)
Dr. Tom Cocklereece is CEO of RENOVA Coaching and Consulting, LLC
Author “Simple Discipleship,” contributing writer L2L Blogazine
He is a pastor, an author, professional coach, and leadership specialist
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web | Blog | Book | Coaching Site
One way you can get out of your way is to name your gremlin. A gremlin in this sense is a self-defeating behavior that reappears in life, work, and relationships that prevents you from achieving a new level of success. Like in the movie by the same name, gremlins usually are latent and easy to live with until they are activated by external or internal factors, either past, present, or perceived future. Naming them can help you to be aware of your self-defeating behavior so you may make intentional decisions that are edifying and rewarding to all involved. The introductory article to this series is at http://renovacoaching.com/2010/10/05/get-out-of-your-way/ .
It is likely that you have known someone who has the gremlin named “Blamer,” that is, they seem to always blame somebody or something for their failure. They rarely accept responsibility for anything and even when they do, their statement usually includes some measure of blaming. If Blamer is your gremlin, you need to know two things: 1) you are sabotaging your success and relationships, and 2) your future opportunities will gradually diminish. If this is what you want out of life then keep Blamer as your pet and feed him well with criticism of others at every opportunity. On the other hand, if you desire to improve your relationships and increase future opportunities, always be aware of your latent blaming potential and critical spirit. Then,…stop,…accept responsibility,…and do your best with no excuses (another gremlin). You will enjoy improved relationships and more opportunities. However, you may need to get to the heart of the matter.
Blaming is often disguised as unhealthy guilt that has never been resolved. Remember that when you point to others there are three fingers pointing back to you—four if your thumb is double-jointed. Ask yourself several questions:
- Has there been a cataclysmic event in my life that provides me with an unending well of anger and resentment?
- Have others ever told you that you are always critical or blaming?
- Do you see accepting responsibility and admitting your failings a weakness?
- Do you repeatedly share blame stories with family and friends? You may find that it’s like a fish story in which the fault blamed on others get bigger with each telling.
I like what Rick Warren teaches in his well know book The Purpose-Driven Life: “Don’t get bitter but choose to get better.” Forgiveness of others and self is the remedy.
Links to the Gremlin series:
Dr. Tom Cocklereece
Hire me as your coach. I useGoToMeetingfor online distance sessions. Coaching sessions and our relationship is confidential but your success will be visible to all. Contact me for a complementary session at firstname.lastname@example.org .
After a long day I turned on an old movie on television only to hear a commercial break a few minutes later. The break went right to a ridiculous discussion between a “life coach” and her client. Of course the vignette was meant to be comical and entertaining; however there may be some who form their opinion of the coaching profession from such presentations.
According to the International Coach Federation, professional and life coaches earned $1.5 billion in 2009 and the figure will likely go up steadily. Of course we are not talking sports here but we are talking about organizational, team, and personal development. Indeed, some do not think highly of the coaching profession and I don’t blame them if their experience is limited to an entertainment segment intended to make fun of coaches and those who hire them. Many people are skeptical of hiring a coach because they are not sure what they do.
WHAT COACHING IS…AND IS NOT
For some, their idea of coaching is of a personal mentor like Mr. Miyagi in Karate Kid giving instructions, “Wax on…wax off.” For others, their idea is of a personal counselor who tells them just what they want to hear. Coaching, counseling, and mentoring certainly share some characteristics but there are distinctions.
- Coaching forms a co-active partnership that seeks to empower and equip the coachee to achieve greater competence and growth in areas they desire. The coachee is essentially healthy and able to work with the coach to partner and develop a plan for growth. In coaching, the coachee is able to co-actively establish goals for the process.
- Counseling usually involves some area of disorder, pathology, or dysfunction that essentially disables the counselee in one or more areas of life. The counselor tends to set the agenda and plan for counseling.
- Mentoring begins with a clear and set agenda for the mentee or protégé. The mentor tends to serve as a supervisor of the training by sort of looking over the shoulder of the protégé. (Simple Discipleship, 97-8), http://drthomreece.wordpress.com/2008/09/14/start-a-christian-coaching-ministry/
A competent coach brings great experience and knowledge of human relationships to bear within the collaborative relationship of the coachee. By great experience and knowledge of human relationships I do not mean the local beautician who transitioned to life coaching. Hearing many years of gossip does not train one to be a competent coach any more than watching many football games qualifies one to coach a NFL team.
There are several general coaching methodologies that are employed by a wide range of life, executive, and professional coaches: personal therapeutic coaching, personal performance coaching, organizational therapeutic coaching, organizational performance coaching, and renewal coaching whether personal or organizational. By the term “therapeutic” I do not suggest the medical definition but rather the meaning from the psychotherapy discipline that suggest “self awareness of behavior leading to improved personal growth and interpersonal relationships.” (http://www.reference.com/browse/psychotherapy?o=100074) Indeed, I am not suggesting that a professional coach is a psychotherapist but in order to demonstrate a reasonable level of competence, the coach must have an understanding of basic human behavior and relationships. (These examples are listed in Renewal Coaching by Reeves and Allison, 2009, pp. 14-17)
- Personal therapeutic coaching may tend to “tell the coachee what she wants to hear.” The focus of the coach is to help the coachee achieve their goals. Generally speaking, the coach resists challenging the goals established by the coachee. Don’t misunderstand, many coaches in this realm are able to help their clients achieve personal objectives and manage their time and relationships better.
- Personal performance coaching includes sales coaching to name one area where results of the coaching relationship are quantifiable through tracking past and future sales performance of the coachee.
- Organizational therapeutic coaching suffers from the same anomaly as its “personal” cousin—the coach tends to tell the organizational executive what they want to hear. Coaches in this realm provide short term benefit to organizations in conflict but they fail to address underlying organizational behavior problems that tend to repeat conflict. This example may be seen when big businesses go “off track” and executives lead their company to act irresponsibly. Most certainly CEOs and executives have advisors and coaches, but they may tend to be “yes men.”
- Organizational performance coaching is focused on quantifiable results and seeks to change the behavior of the organization in order to sustain improved results.
The problem with each of the listed examples is that each may provide short-term improvement and do not address the underlying foundation of behavior whether personal or organizational—values. This is where Renewal Coaching, also known as values-based coaching comes in. Don’t confuse renewal coaching or values-based coaching with evidence-based coaching. Each of numbers one through four listed above may include the evidence-based methodology that is unsustainable because foundational values remain unchanged.
RENOVA COACHING IS RENEWAL COACHING
I make it no secret that I am a Christian pastor possessing twenty years of experience dealing with human behavior and helping people change…not easy! The word “RENOVA” is a derivative of a French term “rénover” meaning “renovate” or “renewal” and is descriptive of my coaching methodology. Sustained change moves from the activator out to others in concentric circles as seen in the ripples after a small drop of water impacts the surface of a pond. Likewise, the relationship of the coach and coachee results in change activity reflected in concentric relationships for the greater good. I learned that for change to be sustainable values on which behavior is founded must change. You do what you value and you don’t do what you don’t value. The same is true of organizations whether profit or non-profit, secular or religious, private or government.
Renewal coaching seeks to form a co-active and collaborative relationship with the coachee to develop an “eyes wide open” plan for sustainable change and improvement. By “eyes wide open” I mean that the coaching relationship begins with mutual agreement on several points:
- The coach is expected to challenge values and behaviors of the coachee without the threat of retaliation of any kind.
- The co-active and collaboration activity within the relationship is expected to challenge and motivate the coachee to achieve the goals of the relationship.
- The coachee will strive to change self-defeating behaviors or circumventing the mutually agreed upon activities and goals of the coaching relationship.
- The relationship is founded on a mutual goal of improving personal and organizational performance and behavior for the greater good and not just for the coachee.
The above concepts are derived from my own work in Simple Discipleship and Reeves and Allison’s book Renewal Coaching.
When you hire a competent renewal coach, you are not hiring a yes man or an advisor who is going to tell you nice things to make you feel good. In contrast, a great coach will challenge your status quo and it takes a mutual partnership to overcome inertia. Please, don’t shoot the messenger. Many business executives, professionals, and politicians wish they had not.
Renewal Coaching: Sustainable CHANGE for Individuals and Organizations by Douglas B. Reeves and Elle Allison, Josey-Bass Publisers, 2009.
Simple Discipleship: How to Make Disciples in the 21st Century by Tom Cocklereece, Church Smart Resources, 2009.
Co-Active Coaching:New Skills for Coaching People Toward Success in Work and Life by Laura Whitworth, Karen Kimsey-House, Henry Kimsey-House, and Phillip Sandahl, Davies-Black Publishing, Mountain View, CA, 2007.
Dr. Tom Cocklereece
Hire me as your coach. I useGoToMeetingfor online distance sessions. Coaching sessions and our relationship is confidential but your success will be visible to all. Contact me for reasonable rates at email@example.com
Tim was a CEO of a large and growing medical clinic in a major metropolitan city. His clinic had recently expanded by opening more offices, added more doctors and personnel, replaced the software used throughout their offices, and begun a process of converting to electronic medical records (EMR). Tim had come to his present position from a series of positions with much smaller clinics. He had felt for some time that his present position had outpaced his personal growth and ability. The board of directors had adopted the present expansion and upgrade strategy at a time when the economy and projections were favorable, but then things changed. The economy turned south and much of the strategy was placed on hold or at least delayed. Jim heard comments that confirmed his concern that the board might lay the blame on his desk. He took a deep breath as he prepared to enter the board meeting. If he was terminated, where would he go, and how would it affect his career? If he were not terminated, what could he do?
The character named Tim in this article is fictitious and is meant as an illustration but he is typical of many of the readers of this blog. Gone are the days when one’s education provides all that a leader needs for a whole career. In fact, those days never really existed but it was our perception. It is true however that life and work once moved much more slowly allowing leaders to adjust gradually or maintain their level of performance. The job market was not nearly as competitive as it is today. If Tim survived the board meeting what do you think he should do? I would suggest three things he should have done the moment he felt that his position was stretching his abilities— optimize, organize, and onboard.
OPTIMIZE: EXCEPTIONAL LEADERS DEVELOP A PLAN
Optimize means “to make something function at its best (Encarta). Tim may be able to kick his performance up by up to 10% by improving his efficiency but probably not much more without some help. It is easy to suggest that one optimize but you don’t know what you don’t know. That’s why we need a coach…in this case an executive coach. A good coach would set Tim on a renewal plan that takes advantage of his current abilities and develops a process of continued development. Renewal coaching will motivate Tim to dig deeper and achieve higher and raise his performance level by at least 30%. When coaching is done correctly an individual may be tempted to believe that they could have achieved the new level without a coach. A good coach does not seek the credit or attention and makes the coachee feel that they “had it in them all the time.” Consider that the national champions of last year could not have achieved their success without their coach even though everything the coach engaged and empowered in the team was there all the time. A coach is the catalyst that optimizes all the ingredients that go into success.
ORGANIZE: EXCEPTIONAL LEADERSHIP DEMANDS LIFE BALANCE
Indeed, an executive coach is going to encourage Tim to organize…his life, resources, and habits. This also means to prioritize every area of life. It is essential to recognize that to achieve optimal efficiency, it is also necessary to organize and maintain balance in various life dimensions. Again, a coach can help Tim achieve balance in life, family, and career. These life domains would not disappear in a perfect world but balance would be easier to maintain. Life balance requires a disciplined application of four things—clarity, movement, alignment, and focus (Simple Life,Rainer and Rainer, 2009), and a coach can help you define and refine your process to organize.
ONBOARD: EXCEPTIONAL LEADERS GET AHEAD
Getting even with supers, peers, and reports on a professional and performance level is not enough. Exceptional leadership requires that you get ahead. Many modern executives are familiar with the concept of onboarding. While human resources executives refer to onboarding as an orientation process, professional coaches describe it as a process of accelerated development. A coach would work with Tim to develop an onboarding process that would get him up to speed with all of the current objectives included within the business plan of his organization. Certainly, Tim is able to acquire the information needed regarding EMR, but his coach would hold him accountable to his onboarding plan. Included in a great onboarding plan are intentional relational connections within the organization up, down, and laterally to strengthen and broaden Tim’s relational capital. Thus, he is onboarding both personal knowledge and collaborative knowledge within his organization. Developing the 360 degree relationships within the organization will greatly strengthen Tim’s position with the board, doctors, peers, and reports.
The benefits of optimizing, organizing, and onboarding should not be underestimated. If you have reached a plateau in your organization or you are beginning in a new position, consider hiring a coach before the board meeting next quarter. You may be amazed at the results.
Looking to your success,
Dr. Tom Cocklereece
Hire me as your coach. I use GoToMeeting for online distance sessions. Coaching sessions and our relationship is confidential but your success will be visible to all. Contact me for reasonable rates at firstname.lastname@example.org