Blog

Coaching at Work : Open programme

It has been a few year’s since we’ve run our coaching programme on an open basis, but we have a client with three people who need the training. This is too few for an in-house course and so I’m contacting other clients to see if they have one or two people with a training need in coaching skills. I am looking at late October, probably in the Darlington (North East England) area. I am happy to charge our old price of £750 + VAT per person which covers the 2 days of training and 1 night’s dinner, bed and breakfast

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Using Internal v external coaches

Our working assumption so far has been that coaching is something that ‘managers’ do to ‘staff’. But which managers and what if they are not willing or able to provide coaching? Are there times when it might be better to hire an external coach? Our first decision then is whether to look for coaches internally or externally. Each has its pros and cons as we’ll see and much will depend on the overall climate into which you are trying to introduce coaching. For example, uncertainty about trust and confidentiality and an unwillingness to tackle issues that may concern performance or

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How to coach your boss

I am often asked, can I coach my boss? The simple answer is yes you can and the coaching principles are exactly the same. You do however need to be subtle, making sure you don’t usurp their authority and doing everything you can to work in a relationship of trust. The relationship you have with your boss is very important on both a professional and a personal level. It can have a significant influence on your day-to-day job satisfaction as well as your long-term career success. The relationship is also important to your boss who is counting on you, and

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On being coached

This post is based on the assumption that you’ll value being coached as much as you value providing coaching. I have yet to come across a coaching manager who doesn’t appreciate the benefits of the learning partnerships that coaches and coachees form. You will find as many opportunities to be coached as you will to provide coaching and we need to consider what it’s like to be on the receiving end. This will help you get the most from a coaching relationship from a coachee perspective and also build your appreciation of the thoughts and feelings that the prospect of

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Team coaching. Some final thoughts

By way of summary to my last few posts, let’s round off with a number of ideas that you can put into practice straight away: Devote some time to team development. In any meeting or get together of more than about an hour try to set aside some time or extra time to discuss team development. This does not have to mean fancy management games or self-complete questionnaires. A good, honest exchange of views will bring real progress. Discuss the three stages of development with your team and ask them where they think they’re at. Next, ask them to list

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A coaching approach to team leadership

In the earlier post, The Qualities of a High Performing Team, we saw that effective leadership need not necessarily come from the nominated team leader. But working on the assumption that you probably are the leader in your team let’s turn our sights on how to combine coaching or team development with other elements of effective leadership. Look for tomorrow’s problems and issues today Good leaders tend to be alert, their antennae are permanently raised and they try to spot problems and opportunities early. Try to deal with problems when they are small. If, for example, team members are falling

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Communicating in teams

Throughout these recent posts we’ve seen that great communication is a component of the high performing team and that it is the quality of that communication rather than the quantity that counts. There are countless models and theories on team communication and group behaviour to guide you, but I find the categories put forward by Neil Rackham in Behaviour Analysis in Training to be most closely aligned with coaching principles. In his original research Rackham identified 15 separate communication behaviours that distinguished the super-successful managers from the merely successful. We can extend that thought to recognise that all members of

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Coaching around team Interference

  We’ve already examined one set of interferences, the internal and external interferences that individuals experience and which affect their ability to focus and perform at their best. In team coaching it is also useful to consider another set of interferences that often keep the team anchored at the Assertion stage, unable to move forward. Individual Interferences Evaluation apprehension: This is essentially the fear of being evaluated and judged. Whilst most team members appreciate honest, sensitive, constructive feedback, this is rarely on offer. Instead team leaders fall into the trap of labelling what people are rather than commenting on what

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Coaching a team through ‘Cooperation’

By now you should have worked through a lot of the pain and have a group of people prepared to align to a common goal. Of course you’ll need to make sure the common goal is simply and clearly articulated and communicated and ensure – as far as is possible in a work environment – that it is in keeping with the team member’s personal goals. These issues can be sorted out in individual and team coaching sessions. By now the team will be ready and wanting to take more responsibility and you can move to a more ‘pure’ coaching

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Coaching a team through ‘Assertion’

I think it reasonable to suggest that few teams are ever stuck at the Inclusion stage and that either by virtue of a structured induction process or by simple passage of time, inclusion needs are met and we move on. At the Assertion stage people’s energy turns towards other team members and they begin to focus on the nature of team relationships. This will include sizing up rivals for promotion or deciding who to side with in the event of things going wrong. In larger teams of more than say, twelve people, cliques can form. A clique is not useful

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Coaching a team through ‘Inclusion’

Another list I often ask my training participants to produce, concerns their thoughts and feelings upon joining a new team for the first time. Again the following would be typical: Fearful Lost Nervous Anxious Challenged Excited Isolated Marooned Needing Assurance Needing information Notice that these feelings are introverted and largely negative. At this stage people’s energy is almost entirely inwardly directed and there is little left to spare to think about team or organisational goals or matters of business strategy. It follows that a coaching approach on its own at this stage would not work. Before they are ready to

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The qualities of a high performing team

  When discussing coaching for team development on our training courses, I will often begin by asking my participants to recall a time when they can remember feeling part of a high performing team, and then to make a list of the qualities that team had. No two lists are ever the same but the following qualities appear time and time again and can thus be considered core. As an aside, it is interesting to note that during this exercise the majority of people draw on experiences outside of work. It seems that there is a long way to go

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