I was encouraged to read from the latest Forbes research that 74% of leading companies see coaching and mentoring as the most important role of managers and business leaders. However, I do have concerns as to what organisations understand as coaching. So often quality assessment is masquerading as a substitute for development and only serves a measurement purpose, rather than any real ambition to elevate performance in a sustained and meaningful way.
To this reservation, I believe business leaders should also challenge themselves to answer this question; ‘what percentage of peoples’ potential manifests its self in the work place?’ The answers will range, but when I challenge people the most common answer is sub 50%! Something therefore is missing in the implementation of effective coaching cultures. In this ‘new-normal’ post-lock-down environment, I cannot help but think that releasing this unrealised potential represents a marvellous productivity opportunity if untapped effectively.
I regularly see ‘organisational’ barriers that limit employee potential, such as a company’s restrictive culture, lack of opportunity and oppressive management styles. When those factors combine they exacerbate the biggest direct cause which hinders employee potential: The Lack of personal self-belief and fear of failure.
Frankly, continual measurement without any effective development and an expectation that it will raise performance sustainably, is a strategy based on hope and serves to illustrate management abdication and they certainly are not fulfilling their coaching role.
So what’s the solution? I always appreciate simplicity. The role description provided by Sir John Whitmore works well for me. He describes the role of the coach in binary terms.
You are either ‘raising awareness or developing responsibility’. How well awareness is raised using effective questioning is at the heart of this and then developing empowering actions that the coachee has identified . This is integral if you are hoping to maximise potential. If only managers were measured on this!
These coachee centred behaviours serve then to raise the confidence of the coachee. From this we can clearly identify the underlying role of the coach/leader is to help build the self-belief of others, no matter what the circumstances or difficulty of task.
Consider what it would be like if after every contact you have with any of your team their self-belief is improved. A positive, reinforcement, fresh direction, new challenge, additional insight or just catching someone doing something right can surely only provide team members with confidence and belief in their own ideas and skills and add new ‘stretch’ all, or any can enhance how they perform; this is high performance coaching. When coaching is a ‘way of being’ rather than merely a technique to be wheeled out and rigidly applied when circumstances dictate, then potential can really start to be tapped.
Consider what really is the coaching climate in your organisation? How well is potential being maximised? In these challenging times where organisations are becoming leaner and leaner why is this not a key priority of your business? What would be the impact of harnessing all that and leaner why is this not a key priority of your business? What would be the impact of harnessing all that potential?
I recognise the answer to changing this is not a simple one, however, I want to draw attention to that it can be done. You can and should be taking responsibility for exploiting the dormant talent in your teams.
If you want to explore more how this can be achieved please reach out. Rocket Training & Development has a twenty year pedigree of helping organisations harness the potential of its people.
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