Internal coaches may find themselves working with an array of situations from front-line to boardroom. Some managers seek out coaching to strengthen communication or another specific skill. Others want a sounding board when making professional or personal decisions. While some people have heard of coaching, few have personal experience working with a coach.
The internal coach may be someone recognized as wise, kind, compassionate, or someone who holds up a mirror. Over time, internal coaches develop a process that allows them to serve the needs of a wide array of situations and needs of the organization.
Here are six essentials to help build your process:
- Always an Option
We can’t force someone to participate. I had a client once who wanted me to work with one of his direct reports, but that person wasn’t interested. The only thing the individual was interested in developing was his persuasion techniques. While it might be possible for me to sell him on the benefits of coaching, I wouldn’t be able to change someone who isn’t interested in changing themselves.
- Coaching is Long-term
Working intimately with people allows them to share dreams, desires, and failures. When someone connects with a coach, s/he is likely to stay with that coach over the long haul. Long-term relationships can be beneficial as long as the coach and coachee find mutual rewards; the coach develops new or improves existing skill sets and the coachee’s life also improves.
- You Work For the Client
You may have been hired by an organization, but keeping the agenda of the client foremost in the conversation is the secret of credibility. A client’s interests trump those of his supervisor or company unless it becomes an issue of safety or ethics. Managers have input on the expected outcomes, but they cannot control the process or determine how the person I am working with defines success. For example, I may have a client who wants to start her own business in five years. With this in mind – her motivation to change would be driven from this objective.
A conflict of interest is avoided 99% of the time because the resulting behavior changes will benefit the company. The experience, connections, and references gained will enhance her career prospects and increase the likelihood that she will remain with the company.
- Focuses On the Soft Stuff
Most of my work is focusing on behavioral change – the soft stuff.
- Old Fashion good manners
- Showing appreciation
- Sharing good news
- Staying positive
- Avoiding gossip
A client’s success lies in the more difficult work of shoring up, eliminating, reducing, or leveraging soft skills, including the ability to develop strong relationships, communicate effectively, and work collaboratively. Soft stuff will lead to the right hard stuff and give the coach room to work on both.
- Coaches Must Deliver
Imagine coaching as the opportunity to help smooth rough edges, provide candid feedback, and encourage and support behaviors that influence both organizational and personal performance. Coaching should be guided by business needs. Your work may indeed improve charisma so that your client will be able to influence and motivate more effectively. The best coaching engagements are interactive and require agreements that are short-term and measurement-focused.
- It’s Not About Nice
Everyone wants to be liked. However, when people begin to work with a coach, they are in effect agreeing to change – it’s a contract.
People like the idea of change better than the reality, so the best coaches have to practice tough love. Change happens when coaching sessions are stimulating and challenging. The challenges in between create the opportunity to learn, practice, and ultimately grow.
Coaching releases energy and shows up in motivation, initiative, responsibility, and accountability. Those who seek out coaching want to expand their potential and want opportunities to use that potential, and desire satisfaction in work and at home. Coaching energy motivates all involved to perform at the highest level– and brings fulfillment for the individual and the organization.