Before the pandemic, coaching was being very effectively and increasingly used as a powerful strategic resource for leaders and their development. Furthermore, a growing number of organisations started to explore how coaching skills and principles could be used to leverage a positive impact beyond individual leaders. Team Coaching is widely utilised to develop teams and a “coaching approach” is now being cited as an important ingredient to inform leadership and organisational culture.
Given the immense challenges faced by organisations and their leaders in pandemic and post-pandemic operation, coaching, as a discipline and a way of leading and communicating, is really coming into its own as a go-to skill and resource.
By way of an example, let’s look at how the goals and objectives that leaders bring into coaching has evolved in the last year or two…
Main Areas of Coaching Pre-Pandemic
Coaching can support an individual or team to address a wide range of goals, however, here are the main areas that coaching clients have tended to bring into coaching to work on in the pre-pandemic years:
- Optimize individual/teamwork performance
- Improve communication skills
- Increase productivity
- Expand career opportunities
- Increase self-esteem/self-confidence
- Manage work/life balance
- Improve business management
Shifts in Coaching Topics
In the last 18-months or so, these are the kinds of topics that I am seeing raised:
- Discomfort with not knowing what to do
- Keeping staff engaged, connected, motivated
- Maintain own motivation, engagement
- Managing wellbeing issues
- Space to breathe, share
- How to ‘re-engage’
- Reviewing life goals
- Ability to prioritise
- Loss of confidence
- How to ‘re-engage’
- Reviewing life goals
Using Coaching for Successful Business
The International Coaching Federation (ICF) has conducted extensive research into the use of coaching within organisations, and there is significant evidence to show that organisations who do fully utilise coaching, experience many areas of improvement and success, both at a business as well as at a people level.
So, how do they do this?
The optimal approach is what I call the “magic mix” of three key elements:
- Utilising the services of professionally trained external coaches
- Utilising the services of professionally trained internal coaches
- Developing the capability of managers and leaders across the organisation to effectively use coaching skills as part of their leadership skillset
Drawing upon the services of well trained, experienced and qualified external coach practitioners always plays a valuable role in supporting, enabling and developing people. The distance, objectivity and confidentiality that external coaching services provide means that there will most likely always be situations where the use of an external practitioner is preferable and appropriate.
However, there is no need or larger/longer term benefit for organisations to solely rely on the provision of this service from external suppliers, when they can more fully leverage the positive impact of coaching by developing internal capability. To that end, identifying a group of people from within the organisation to fully train as internal coaches makes a lot of sense for many organisations. This internal coaching community can fulfil their coaching services either on a part- or full-time basis and there are several models and approaches for organisations to explore in order to nurture an internal service that can underpin many formal and informal development initiatives within an organisation.
Finally, and to take the “coach approach” to a much broader and deeper level, equipping managers and leaders to be able to effectively hold coaching conversations with their teams, their peers and their stakeholders, is really going to see the ripple effect that coaching can have, conversation by conversation.
Not only are many organisations adopting an approach of this kind, but there is also a significant trend towards those who use coaching to be formally trained by attending an accredited programme. Gone are the days when it was considered enough to include a brief module on coaching within a leadership development programme, or when it was common practice to hire someone with no formal coach training but who called themselves a coach simply because they had several years of business experience. The ICF’s research indicated that 85% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that a coach-specific credential is expected and the biggest perceived risk to the profession of coaching is viewed to be untrained individuals calling themselves coaches.
Finding the Right Coach Training
Accessing good coach training, whether it is for fully trained internal coaches or for managers and leaders using coaching skills is easy as long as the organisation ensures they are engaging with the right programme and the provider for their particular needs. Here are a few criteria that I would highly recommend considering when accessing coach-specific training for your organisation:
- Does the training provider offer programme(s) that have been accredited by a reputable and credible professional body?
- What is the level of experience and qualification of the trainers delivering the programme(s)?
- Is the programme curriculum underpinned by a coach-specific competency model and other associated coaching-related theories and concepts?
- Does the programme include a high proportion of observed coaching practice with feedback from credible and qualified observers?
- Does the programme and its accreditation level offer the possibility of the individual progressing toward a formal and recognised qualification with a professional body?
- What is the plan for ensuring that the individual’s coaching skills are kept fresh and up to date over time?
Coach Advancement by Tracy Sinclair supports organisations to develop the potential of their people through coaching, coaching skills and coaching culture. Our Coaching with Conscience services specialise in offering coaching and coaching related services in support of positive social impact and social progress.
Here is a diagram showing how simple it is to support people in your organisation to develop the coaching skills they need to make a difference in your organisation with every conversation they hold.
We train both internal and external coaches along with managers and leaders wanting to effectively use coaching skills. Our flagship programme, the Science and Art of Coaching provides all of the necessary accredited coach-specific training needed for an individual to progress toward their ICF ACC Credential application. We also offer the Mentor Coaching programme needed to take them right up to the point of being able to apply to the ICF and complete the assessment process.
Our programme is modular and incremental and is therefore ideal for managers and leaders wanting to develop good coaching skills as well as for those who want to fully train in this field. We work closely with you to establish the amount and level of training that will give you the best outcome and make the biggest impact in your organisation, whilst working within your budgets and other business criteria.
“There is a lot more to becoming a Great Coach than reading a book or attending one or two coaching seminars.
Learning from Tracy and Hilary has been by far the best way of training to become a coach, learning the ICF Core Competencies and then putting those competencies into practice.
Hands-on coaching practice, after seeing demo of the skills imparted, enabled me to pivot from being a Coach to a Great Coach.“
—Femi, Scrum Master and Agile Coach, Science & Art of Coaching Participant
Don’t Miss Out
Our next Science & Art of Coaching cohort starts in September 2021. This is an online weekend cohort, great for those needing to obtain coach training outside of their regular work schedule. If you’re interested, but have questions about the programme, please join us for our next Think with a Drink on Thursday, August 12, 2021 from 4-5 p.m. (London).