Coaching for performance often throws up some of our most complex assignments. The coach is often being introduced to help the individual overcome weaknesses recognised by their sponsor (and perhaps others) but to which they are sometimes personally oblivious – or do not accept.
In many cases the individual has, in the past, been seen as a significant contributor. Frequently a change of situation – perhaps as a result of a new role, new manager or changed business environment – acts as a catalyst to reveal previously unrecognised development needs. In this situation, coaching for performance can often quickly get the individual back on track.
The big positive for the individual should be that the organisation is willing to invest in them and help them to achieve the required level of performance. However in some cases, despite the best intentions of the employer, they can initially see the coach as much as a threat as a supporter – adopting a defensive stance that only a skilled coach can break down.
Typical scenarios that our coaches tackle include:-
- Raising self-awareness – including helping individuals become “consciously incompetent” and ready and willing to engage with development
- Tackling behaviours that have negative impact on colleagues and teams. This can include autocratic or remote leadership style, aggressive or inappropriate communication styles or over-focus on task without considering the human implications.
- Developing key skills – such as decision-making, delegation or communication.
- Restoring confidence – perhaps after a major career setback or business incident.
- Establishing priorities – including balancing personal interests with the wider needs of the team and organisation.
- Managing and improving relationships – with superiors, peers and teams.
In these assignments it is often the coach’s ability to win the trust and respect of the individual that is more important than their industry or professional background. Only by doing this can the coach create an environment in which the development benefits can be fully realised.
We always ensure from the outset that coaching for performance is not being used as an alternative to more appropriate HR interventions.
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