In one of the LinkedIn discussions I participated in recently, the theme was about why coaching is not occurring more in organizations.
I naively chipped in with my comments about coaching and that it should not be something special but something that is a daily kind of responsibility by all the managers, all the time. Coaching for improved work performance is what generates high performance, performance improvements, the sharing of best practices among a work group, etc. Coaching can help generate the intrinsic motivation and the focus on mastery of a skill. Coaching can also help the people in the lower half of the organizational performance curve improve; after all, those who are generating below median / average results probably have the most opportunity for improvement.
But the conversation never really clicked on that kind of thinking.
It turns out, I think, that when non-managers talk about coaching, they are talking about that Certification Thing, that coaches need to go through some kind of paid professional development package to get the certificate and that coaching can only occur if one is a coach and the other is a manager or executive. They are not talking about the skill and behavior of the manager / supervisor, it seems, but that of the income-generating activity of the Professional Coach and the corporate client.
I guess those kinds of gigs are much less common than they used to be. It would appear that companies are not lavishing money on the outsiders who take it as a benefit that they know nothing about how the company operates or the kinds of workplace improvements that exist — already — within the company.
For me, I think the best coaches are the peers and bosses, who can provide some really specific support in getting company goals accomplished and results improved. For me, the coach is the person with the best feel for what needs to be done throughout a team, not someone who sits in the stands and watches the person who is directing the action to provide them with feedback.
Sure, I like to watch Roy Williams as he reacts to the play of my beloved North Carolina Tar Heels basketball team. But I think that his support of them would always be a lot more important than my support of him.
My coaching materials are about performance improvement, not the improvement of the coach. I offer the managers some tools for discussions of what needs to be improved and what might be done differently. My kind of thinking is that if we can improve the play of the TEAM, we can improve results.
But I guess that is not what most people discuss when they talk about coaching — at least that is how it appears… (And I was in a conversation with a consultant trainer who said that her executive coaching program took 12 weeks of one half-day session per week to complete — I did not ask her what the cost was!)
For me, coaching is cheap and easy. It is a natural part of leading and engaging. And we share some simple tools for improving its effectiveness.
You can see my coaching bundle at http://www.performancemanagementcompany.com/Square_Wheels_for_Coaching_p/17.htm