“Coaching” is most often associated with sports where competition and gaining an edge over your adversary is the name of the game. Star athletes and whole teams rely on coaches for advice and direction. In business as well, coaches provide that extra edge.
Management and leadership coaches are typically
called in for two kinds of assignments. One
where top management recognizes they have someone who shows extraordinary
potential -- the high draft pick with mounds of raw talent. In these cases, a coach works with the individual to round
out areas of ability, suggests avenues and approaches for growth and
development, and then monitors progress. The
second type of coaching assignment is more remedial in nature.
Here an executive with valuable skills and talents, also displays needs
for improvements in areas of management such as communication, leadership, and
teamwork. For these situations, the
coach provides insight and assistance in recognizing what change is
needed, along with programming for how to effect that change.
The concept of “fit” aptly describes the
successful match of person and job. Today’s
good fit, however, does not insure a lasting or future fit. Times change, people change, jobs change, and organizations
change. Where the fit is right, a
coach provides developmental advice to foresee and prepare for change.
good fit can be thought of in the metaphor of a round peg in a round hole.
If people are the pegs and jobs the holes, there are four possible
strategies a coach may use where the fit is not right.
The traditional approach is to simply replace the manager that has become
a bad fit. Outplacement is the tool
and the coach’s part of that process is to assist the executive in gaining
enough insight to assure a better choice in any new assignment.
second strategy is to work with the organization to change the shape of the hole
-- to realign and restructure the job around the executive’s strengths.
Different responsibilities and reporting relationships may be part of
this strategy. Coaches work with
senior management, using their knowledge of the manager’s style and the
company’s objectives to consult and advise.
A third strategy, is to work directly with the executive to provide
insight on management style, strengths, idiosyncrasies, etc. as they relate to
the job/company. The emphasis is on
changing the shape of the peg -- on effecting behavioral changes where needed. Finally, a good coach may use a fourth strategy of working to
effect both behavior changes on the part of the executive and organizational
changes in teambuilding and culture.
the coach emphasizes behavioral changes for the involved executive, or advises
management on organization change, or uses a combined approach, the coach’s
objective is to provide insight, a learning experience, and support. With such tools as 360 degree feedback instruments,
subordinates, peers, and superiors all become involved in the process.
With a professional approach to the change-process, success is more
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