Trust and Technique: A Winning Combo for Coaching
Leadership/Management Development – By Patrick Veroneau
Developing a high level of trust is critical for the coaching process.
According to research by the International Coach Federation (ICF), organizations that develop a strong coaching culture have increased employee engagement and higher profitability compared to organizations without a strong coaching culture. The ICF goes on to suggest that building a coaching culture offers employees at all levels the opportunity to grow their skills, enhance their value and reach their professional goals.
The concept of internal coaching has become a popular initiative in the industry over the last several years. An internal coach is a person that is an employee of the same organization as the people they coach, whereas traditional coaching involves hiring someone from outside the organization. The most attention is currently focused on developing coaching skills in those that have direct reports. Often this is with first-line managers.
Internal coaching provides a challenge to the traditional role of management because it requires the manager to shift from controlling and monitoring employee behavior to a more consultative approach. This shift requires the development of a partnership between the manager and employee to uncover, outline and agree on what needs to be achieved. As a coach, the manager does not tell the employee what needs to be done. The belief is that the employee can solve the situation at hand. The manager is there to help the employee remove any obstacles or beliefs that are getting in the way through effective questioning, listening, support and accountability.
Developing a high level of trust with the coachee is critical for the coaching process to be effective. Trust is formed when the person being coached feels there is active and sincere listening, they are being treated fairly and there are mutually agreed upon expectations that are being consistently honored. If the person being coached feels as though they have not been listened to or that what they have said has been used against them or to manipulate them, the value of coaching will be lost.
After trust has been established, the work of coaching can begin. Effective coaching involves the ability to challenge current perspectives and encourage new ways of thinking, while maintaining a safe environment for the employee. This is accomplished by the effective use of questioning and listening. The GROW Model is one that I have found helpful for managers. It outlines four steps needed for effective coaching: Goals, Reality, Options and Will (or Way Forward).
There are a number of free resources online that can help you develop your skills using the GROW Model. Also, a great book I would recommend is The Coaching Habit, by Michael Bungay Stanier. It provides a simple and effective coaching outline you can follow.
As with any new skill you learn, coaching will seem awkward at first. Stick with it: It gets easier and more impactful for those you coach. Remember, trust must come first for coaching to have a chance. Whether you are new to coaching or have been coaching for a while ask yourself, “Have I built trust?” and “Have I developed effective techniques?” Answering “Yes” to both of those questions will allow you to help others develop and succeed on a higher level.
Patrick Veroneau is the founder of Emery Leadership and Sales Group. Email Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.