By Jim Brimeyer, Executive Coach
I have had the opportunity to coach several individuals during my short career as an executive coach. What has become apparent to me is the lack of understanding among many about what coaching is, how it differs from other leadership development tool. Coaching is gaining in popularity among motivated managers who want the individual and organizational growth that can result from a productive and positive coaching relationship.
What Coaching Is…
- It involves short meetings which generate important insights, gain clarity, provide focus and make decisions to improve performance.
- It is an efficient, high impact process that helps high performing executives in leadership roles to improve results that are sustainable.
- Coaching is a dialogue where high performing clients need support to perform better. Coaches work with people who are already highly functioning and successful.
- The goal is to improve results in ways that are sustainable over time. Clients want outcomes, career success, organizational effectiveness, career
andpersonal satisfaction. It is about helping people to improve their own capabilities and effectiveness so that results and improvements last.
- An effective Coach works with a client to get from Point A to Point B. The Coach intervenes and provides advice, when appropriate, and customizes a tool or solution that works for the client’s unique situation.
- Coaching is working one-on-one with clients to encourage them to make difficult decisions, step out of their comfort zone, stop destructive behavior, embrace change and shift performance.
What Coaching Is Not…
- Coaching is not therapy meant to fix someone. The emphasis is on helping a healthy individual overcome challenges and be more effective. Coaching is asking powerful questions that inquire why a client behaves the way they do.
- Coaching is not the same thing as management. Coaches are not going to step in to do the job for the client. The coach is a “shadow leader” working behind the scenes to help the client to succeed and improve.
- Coaching is not consulting. The primary focus is not to analyze and make recommendations. When appropriate and at the right time, coaches can add value by sharing observations and insights. Coaching is more about having the client develop their own insights and then take action to improve results. Coaching is not a “crystal ball” that magically provides an answer.
- Coaching is not training or teaching, which focus on sharing knowledge and best practices. This usually occurs in a classroom setting and the trainer/teacher leads the session – very much similar to the modern-day webinar.
- Coaching is not mentoring. Mentors are seasoned professionals who show less experienced people the methods for how to do things. Many mentors also can play the role of coach and many coaches have years of experience to share with the people they are coaching.
- Coaching is not progressive discipline. Many organizations use coaching for this reason which can cause coaching to be seen negatively. Coaching should be seen as a standard leadership development tool and an investment in the talent the organization wants to develop and retain.
By, Jim Brimeyer – Talk to Jim about coaching.
City Manager – 22 years, Owner/Manager of Executive Search firm – 22 years, City Council – 8 years, Regional Planning Agency – 4 years and Certified Executive Coach