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Strategic People Management & Talent Acquisition. Executive CoachingWhen organisations decide to set up and invest in a Coaching programme they usuallydo so because they hope and expect the process will positively influence the leadershipstyle, influencing skills or motivation at work of certain key people. The reasonable logic isthat the organisation itself will also benefit from the positive behaviours that the Coachingactivity will hopefully engender or reactivate.In line with this, our feedback is that our own Coaching work does result in people: 1) developing more effective ideas and tactics for making progress on key work issues. 2) placing a greater emphasis on building and maintaining productive relationships at work 3) becoming more aware of the impact they may be having on others 4) feeling a renewed commitment to providing effective personal leadership behaviour at work and having a clearer understanding of any personal behavioural changes this may require of them. 1
Strategic People Management & Talent Acquisition. Executive Coaching Work – An OverviewTaking time out for review and reflection can help individuals develop insight and deeperunderstandings of what “is happening” in their world. Furthermore, undertaking that reviewand reflection in the presence of another person, who takes on a role of “supportivechallenger”, can move a person through to insight and deeper understandings more quicklyand more enduringly than engaging alone in review and reflection.In addition, the experience at times of being “simply listened to” by another person canitself be beneficial psychologically and emotionally.Coaching sessions provide an opportunity for both of these possibilities – for review andreflection in the presence of a “supportive challenger” and for at times being “simplylistened to”. A defining feature of the Coaching process is that two people come togetherto consider and seek deeper understanding of issues pertaining to only one of them.We see there as being several core “Terrains” (outlined below) that are particularlyamenable to being worked on within a Coaching programme.When people are encouraged to take periods of time out to think deeply about issues withinany or all of these Terrains - and are helped to do so safely and confidentially with the helpof a skilled Coach, their performance and contribution at work improves. We know this fromour experience and feedback.The core Terrains are:• Terrain 1 - Understanding work issues of current or enduring concern a) Exploring work issues or problems that are of interest or concern to the individual b) Assessing the nature of the individual’s relationships with others who also have a stake in those issues c) Considering how best to influence those others to bring about desired outcomes.• Terrain 2 - Understanding Organisations Exploring the understandings the individual has developed during their career about the nature of organisations and how they operate. Enriching and deepening this understanding and incorporating insights gained into their own leadership behaviour within the workplace.• Terrain 3 - Understanding Self and Understanding Self in Role Gaining new and useful insights into the drivers and shapers of the individual’s own behaviour, feelings and relationships at work.• Terrain 4 - Career Development Clarifying career development targets, developing plans for attaining them, and reviewing progress towards them. 2
Strategic People Management & Talent Acquisition. The Coach’s role within a Coaching sessionAn Insight Driven Coach’s role within a Coaching session always involves, firstly, listeningclosely to the other person speaking openly about a matter of interest or concern to them.Then as a picture begins to emerge, the Coach uses skilled questioning and offerscomments designed to a) help the person conceive of other useful ways of thinking about (or “framing”) those issues b) to see more clearly for themselves how their own beliefs, emotions and behaviours may have contributed to the issues evolving into their current form.In overall terms, the Coach helps the other person to work across the core Terrains inpursuit of better understandings and enhanced personal effectiveness. 3
Strategic People Management & Talent Acquisition. Our Executive Coaching work – PracticalitiesWhen considering introducing a Coaching programme, it is important for an organisation tobe clear on its orientation to the following two important issues:• whether participation in a Coaching programme is to be mandatory or optional. (It is preferable for it to be optional).• the extent to which discussions within Coaching sessions are to remain confidential and private. Sometimes the organisation commissioning a Coaching programme is keen to hear the opinions of the Coach on the developmental progress of an individual. However, Coaching cannot work well unless the content of Coaching sessions is treated as confidential between the Coach and the Coachee.The structure of a coaching Programme can vary but an approach that seems to work well isfor a Programme to take place over a twelve month period (renewable) as follows:•12 Coaching Sessions within a twelve month period•One Session roughly once per month, diarised in advance.•Sessions take around 2 hours.In addition, the Coach endeavours to make himself/ herself available for ad-hoc sessionsand phone calls from the Coachee should these occasionally be requested.Shorter Programmes can also be agreed, with a minimum of six sessions.Before a Programme goes ahead, a Coach and “Coachee” would normally meet to discussthe Coaching process and the expectations the two parties have of each other. This initialmeeting also functions as an informal “compatibility assessment” - and although it has notyet ever actually happened, it is possible the Coachee may express a preference to workwith a different Coach following that initial meeting.Provided that initial meeting goes well from the perspective of both parties, monthlyappointments would then be scheduled.Experience suggests that it is better for Coaching Sessions to be held somewhere otherthan the “Coachee’s” own office. It is also better if the Sessions take place away from theactual building in which the “Coachee” is based, but it is recognised that this is not alwayspossible due to time constraints.Sometimes a meeting over lunch in a restaurant may be a good option; however, CoachingSessions may include discussion of commercially sensitive or private matters, and this canmake some restaurant / coffee shop venues not suitable. In addition, it sometimes can behelpful to use a flip chart or whiteboard during Coaching Sessions, which is not possiblewithin a restaurant / coffee shop venue.It is sometimes feasible, after a few initial face to face Sessions, for subsequent CoachingSessions to take place over the telephone. Indeed with clients based abroad this canbecome the most sensible option. Face to face is better of course, wherever possible.Given all of the above, it is best if the decisions on a suitable venue for a Session get takenas that Session approaches. 4