Volume 4, Issue 2 – April 2003
Over the past several months I have had the opportunity to talk to several clients who have coaches and more that do not, and I find that there is a gap for most people between coaching and its value.
I’d like to amplify the value proposition in coaching and offer that coaching can take many forms. If you have a coach, as you read this ask yourself if you are using your coaching to get the greatest value. If you don’t have a coach, ask yourself what you would do if you had someone to support you in your goals the way master coaches do.
The Case for Coaching
World class performers, artists, and athletes have always had coaches. Coaches provide the kind of support, ‘thought partnering,’ objective observer, and co-inquiry that take us to the next level of success.
In a recent study within a Fortune 500 firm regarding coaching services, MetrixGlobal (www.metrixglobal.net) investigated the business benefits and return on investment for a coaching program. The results they found were that coaching produced a 529% return on investment and significant intangible benefits to the business including the financial benefits from employee retention which boosted the overall ROI to 788%.
People are being challenged, as never before, in their roles today. The business challenges we all face are enormous: globalization and the integration of cultures; unheard of technological advances; increasingly sophisticated customers and employees; a struggling economy; and the need to find business performance enhancers beyond cost-cutting and downsizing. On top of this, personal challenges are equally profound - business pressures testing our professional ethics while balancing family and health. Coaching is a development tool designed to assist us in living the quality of life and making the full contribution we desire.
What is Contextual Coaching?
At IWL, when we talk about coaching, fundamentally, we’re always talking about conversations. If you decide to get a coach, your coaching sessions, emails, and voicemails all would be conversations between you and your coach focused on creating an impact. Together you design the kind of impact you want to make for yourself (both personally and professionally), your family, your team, organization, and/or community.
Contextual coaching has a bias towards examining the context from which you operate that forms the basis for your behavior and outcomes. If you unconceal the context that you currently have then you can choose to either keep it as is or change it to evoke new actions from yourself and others.
The purpose of the coaching is to keep you on track, align behaviors that will facilitate the attainment of your goals and to support you in realizing those goals and registering your accomplishments. Coaching, distinct from advice, therapy or counseling, addresses specific work projects, development goals or conditions in your personal or professional life that may be impeding your progress. You can rely on an IWL coach to be honest, straightforward, ask questions and make requests of you in order to fulfill on your goals that you establish together.
Set Inspiring Goals
Working with a coach requires clarifying and setting goals. Establishing these goals enables you stay motivated and gives you a way to measure progress. A coach can be a thought partner for you to define a breakthrough project when you can see what you want to accomplish but can’t see how you will accomplish it. Setting yourself up for a bigger game than you really think is possible right now allows your coach to help you create a new context for that project and get results that you can’t imagine right now.
Here is one example of an alumni using coaching to achieve amazing results and get to a point she had previously thought impossible. She was working on a project where a colleague kept putting up barriers and, from her perspective, kept blocking the project’s success. She set a goal with her coach to be able to sit down with her colleague, change his animosity toward her and get his to buy-in on the project. It was beyond what she had previously thought possible. The coach worked with her to practice generous listening skills and addressing issues so that they “landed on his radar.” What resulted was not that he changed his way of thinking, but that by understanding what each other’s concerns were and finding a common purpose, they began partnering together to create new solutions and approaches to the project. This was far beyond the goal she had set, and in creating this new context for their relationship they forged an alliance that took the project to a new level. She asserts that it would not have happened without her coach.
Breakdowns and Accomplishments
Your coach can be invaluable in helping you deal with breakdowns. While we all know failure and success go hand in hand, it is in the middle of a breakdown when we most need a coach to remind us of what we learned and gained as a result of the breakdown. Problems show us what isn’t working and what needs to be addressed to create the desired result. A coach helps us change our current context within the breakdown, and enables us to see how we can benefit from a situation that might otherwise cause us to stop working towards our original goal.
Most of us are reluctant to register our accomplishments but IWL coaches are committed to having all your successes recognized and acknowledged. Recognizing the links between results and accomplishments will allow you to see how your work is building the future, both in terms of concrete achievements and enhanced capabilities.
Finding a Coach
Selecting a coach is a personal choice and we suggest that you find a coach whose conversational style matches or compliments yours. Just as an athlete recruits a coach, you may want to interview coaches until you find a fit. You may find that different coaches are more suited for one type of breakthrough project than another. You already know the building blocks of Contextual Leadership, but at IWL we also know that ‘practice makes permanent.’ All IWL coaches are trained in Contextual Leadership and it is a coach who will best help you build the Contextual Leadership muscle.
A coach is a resource to help you achieve unprecedented results, but will not be able to do this without your full participation. Establishing an authentic relationship with your coach is key and the more you give to the coach, the more you will get back. To gain the most benefit from your coaching, it is important to develop rigor around when and how often you will communicate with your coach as well as ensure that you come to your coaching sessions prepared, and fully able to dedicate yourself to the process.
If you would like more information about coaching, please call
our office at 650.556.8800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As an organization, IWL has directly benefited from using Contextual Leadership
coaching. It has positively benefited the way we work together as a team.
If you have an interest in learning more, any one of us would be happy
to answer your questions about coaching and talk with you about how Contextual
Leadership coaching could help you reach the next level of success.