Tag Archives: Coachee

What is coaching and how can it benefit me?

What is coaching?

Coaching is a professional, goal-oriented conversation during which different subjects, questions, problems or challenges from your work situation or from the interface between your work and private life are dealt with in a solution-focused way. The outcome is defined jointly at the beginning of the conversation: it may be a decision you have been thinking about, an action-plan for addressing a difficult leadership situation, or a change you want to make.

Coaches aim to support you in dealing with your different roles, your strengths, talents and competencies, as well as with your challenges and difficulties in your daily professional life in an informed and active manner. We believe that the better you manage to do this, the more success and satisfaction you will experience. We apply our long-term experience as coaches, leaders and experts to help you set sail towards your own solutions.

What does a coach do?

Coaches do not provide you with an answer to your questions by giving advice, for example. Instead, they help you find your own answers through a dialogue.

As coaches we aim to support you in the development of your own solutions. This we do by asking you questions, listening attentively, challenging you to formulate your goals, and trying to direct you from your problem to your desired state. We also offer support in helping you to formulate and implement suitable and realistic measures and steps to take towards your goals.

In contrast to “good friends”, who may also often offer support, coaches are professionals in formulating questions, articulating goals and in the choice of suitable coaching tools. We are neutral and have no vested interest in the kind of goals or results that you want to achieve. We are simply interested in you achieving a result that is good for you, whatever that may be.

How much time do I need for my coaching?

  • Sometimes only one session of 30 – max. 90 minutes.
  • Sometimes several sessions (3-7 units) with time-gaps for implementation.
  • In some cases a time-out of half a day can be useful.

Does a good coach have to be an expert in my field?

No. A good coach is first and foremost an expert in coaching and only secondly an expert in a specific work area or sector. Sometimes not knowing anything about an issue can help the coach to ask pertinent and challenging questions that no one has thought about before.

However, usually we find it helpful to have a coach who has some background understanding of the customer´s context (i.e. the sector, the industry, the function). Therefore we usually match up for example a coach who has leadership experience to coach other leaders.

What can I expect to happen in a coaching session?

Every coaching is different because every person and situation is different. Therefore, the coaching process needs to be very flexible. Sometimes it is important to kick off developments, in other situations our customers have to come to terms with going more slowly or accepting the status quo.

However, in spite of the overriding need for flexibility, there is a tried-and-tested approach to running a coaching-unit. This is what it could be like:

  1. Starting the session: What is currently going on in your life? What is better or different since our last coaching session?
  2. Goal-Setting: How will you notice that this coaching session has been useful to you? What do you want to achieve?
  3. Solution-Analysis: Dealing with your issues – Suppose your problem were solved? How would you notice? Describe your solution in detail. What difference would this make to you? How would others notice? Etc.
  4. Planning progress: with regard to your preferred future where do you stand today? What is already working? What can you build on? What would be different if you were one step further on the path of progress? Who needs to do what in order to proceed? Etc.
  5. Concluding the session: What could we still do today to fulfil your goals for this coaching session? What could you set in motion today to move towards your goals?

How can I benefit from coaching?

  • You are distancing yourself from your daily operations and are treating yourself to a consistent, facilitated and structured discussion of your goals, actions and plans.
  • You benefit from having a neutral and professional sparring partner who supports your wishes and goals and gives you feedback.
  • You develop solutions that are tailored for your situation.
  • You find new ideas and discover new possibilities.
  • You develop alternative scenarios and measures.
  • You are simply faster and arrive at your own solutions in a more professional and structured way.

Any further questions? – Please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!

What is better?

In a recent project the importance of the question: “What is better and for whom?”, and therefore the issue of the success of a piece of work in the eyes of different stakeholders emerged in a somewhat controversial and interesting way. During the contracting phase several stakeholders expressed their views of a preferred outcome: the board members, the HR director, the staff council, and the client herself. They all agreed on the two main points, the second of which was a desired improvement in leadership skills as demonstrated by the client.

At the end of the project all stakeholders agreed that with regard to the first point the desired outcome was reached completely. Regarding point two, the improvement in leadership, the opinions could not be more different: whereas the board members felt that the improvement in leadership skills was not sufficient to keep the client in her present position, the client and the staff council felt that the improvement had gone well beyond their initial hopes. This opinion was supported also by the coachee´s team. It went so far that a previously leaderless team volunteered to be led by the coachee, an initiative that was ultimately granted by the head office.

“What do I learn from this?” I am asking myself, and: “Could I have done anything different to foster agreement also on point two?”. My current answer is: Maybe this was not really possible, or even desirable. Let me explain how:

I remember really struggling to get a detailed description of the leadership behavior the board members desired to see and did not get beyond a really fuzzy description. I actually only got a sense of what they might want in the course of the project by observing their own behavior: they were quite stuck in operative details and routines, keen to display their own expertise, wanting to be involved in decisions well beyond their level, etc. They seemed to expect my coachee to emulate their own behavior, which was not really desirable in anyone else´s opinion (including my own), neither for the team´s benefit nor for the commercial success of the company. So: Was it a good thing that I had failed to capture the boards´s “real” ideas? Could I have done the work had they managed to convey them? Probably not.

For me it raised the question: “What do I do if one stakeholder gives me undesirable goals?”. In my case I went with the goals of the client and the other stakeholders, which were more clearly expressed, seemed to make more sense, and worked out in the end. Generating multiple views of “What is better?” is always beneficial. In some cases it adds depth to the picture of the desired future. In other cases conflicts between different views appear. And in my case it gave me the option to simply go with the picture that seemed most promising and realistic.  However, it carries the danger that at the end you cannot really say whether the project has brought an improvement, since the stakeholders´ views on that differ. This is an issue that I find repeatedly in my work in organizations: What is better from someone´s perspective may be neutral or worse from someone else´s. You can rarely be 100% satisfied that you have done the right thing, or achieved anything at all, since depending on whom you ask opinions may differ widely.

A danger and a frustration? Simply a fact of life doing work in the complex web of organizations? Or even an opportunity? I choose to mainly regard it as a fact of life and an opportunity, and to eschew the danger of following unclear outcomes by always aiming for a description of the preferred future that is as detailed as I can make it.

Also, I try to detach myself from the notion of “success” as something that is clear-cut and can always be determined in commercial terms. Maybe I will never get another piece of work from that company because I did not meet their criteria for success. On the other hand I feel that I have done the best I could to do what makes sense for the majority of the stakeholders involved. Whether that will hold true for long is another matter, because things are changing so fast in organizations that you can never be certain of any outcome for any length of time. But at least for that moment of evaluation I can feel that I have done the best for my client and her team.