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  • Writer's pictureKim Catania

Coaching- What Gives You the Right?

Any of us who are responsible for the leadership of others know coaching is a critical skill for success; not only our own success, but more importantly that of our team. Some of us see ourselves as phenomenally effective coaches, and others of us yearn for time and guidance to improve our coaching capabilities. And we all have our beliefs about what great coaching looks like.

Think about your own experience. Who was/is your “best coach”? Picture them in your mind.

Now answer the following questions.

• What did they say or do?

• How did they show up?

• What behaviors did they display?

Chances are some of the following came to mind. Your coach:

• Developed your deep trust

• Challenged you to reach higher

• Inspired your confidence

• Truly cared about you as a person

• Listened to your needs and displayed true empathy

• Showed vulnerability and was authentic

• Behaved consistently within the culture and vision of the team and expected the same of you

• Accurately diagnosed how to provide you the right level of direction and support

• Created opportunities to see you in action and provide on-the-spot coaching feedback for improvement and/or reinforcement of a job well done

Your ability to assess your best coach in this way developed over time, and more than likely sprang from his/her own understanding and commitment to earning the right to coach you.

A position of leadership does not automatically give any of us the right to be someone’s coach. That is a role you must earn. Imposing ‘position’ power and authority is never a guarantee your team will buy into your vision and follow your lead.

Great leaders recognize coaching is not a one-way exchange. It’s not meant to be directive. The most successful coaching occurs when both the coach and the coached have a sense of ownership.

“It is critical not to see coaching as simply the transactive learning of a new skill. The most profound and enduring impact of coaching is in the fundamental development of self-awareness, emotional intelligence, character development, values, and purpose clarification.”

-Kevin Cashman, CEO Executive Development with Korn Ferry, and author of Leadership from the Inside Out: Becoming a Leader for Life

When coaches reach the point where they can empower and equip team members to self-evaluate and self-coach, that’s coaching at the highest level.

To get to this level:

• Ensure clear understanding of standards for individual and team performance and drive performance to meet and exceed goals

• Inspire confidence and motivate toward desired behavior and actions using timely feedback, recognition and reward

• Remove barriers and distractions to performance

• Empower individuals and teams to develop abilities and the desire to self-evaluate and self-coach. With the support of a coach who respects and trusts the person and the coaching process itself, people will generate their own insights, which are always more powerful and more motivating than something that is ‘taught’ to them.

According to Alan Fine, founder and president of InsideOut Development and co-creator of the widely recognized GROW® Model, great coaching begins with the premise that the person being coached is capable of closing the gap between where they are and where they need to be and want to be. We all have a phenomenal capacity to learn and perform at a higher level. Many times, the biggest obstacle to performance isn’t ‘not knowing what to do. It’s not doing what we know.

People already know how to be great. The coach’s job is to bring out that greatness.

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