By | Sabih Kidwai | Director Learning Solutions, Talent Management & OD at Schneider Electric Greater India
Some recent conversation refreshed my memory on the subject. Wanted to reproduce some thing that I wrote a few years ago…
We can’t really focus on developing human capital and achieving highest potential if we treat people in ways that diminish self-esteem and limit opportunities. The only way to achieve high performance is to engage the best energies of the people within the organization. The fact is that this energy reservoir already exists and the challenge is to unleash it from within. So, if we want people to fly, we’ve got to look at what influences their initiative and performance and get them involved and engaged.
Effective Coaching addresses these issues. There is a recognized need for objectivity and perspective combined with management support. But because of the focus on personal issues, ignorance and pettiness, many of our employees do not get feedback that focuses on the things they need to correct to improve their performance. Even coaches tend to get trapped in some of these and get distracted from their coveted goals. We as coaches tend to focus too much on the process or coach himself or herself. Though the final test of coaching lies with the effectiveness of the “One Coached”. It does not matter how good the process is or how acclaimed the coach is till such time that the one coached achieves his/her true potential!
Here are my views about coaching as learned from some books, my humble experience of coaching and from my interactions with some established coaches.
Know our self
It is important for the coaches to know themselves first and get out of the way, as well as have their needs met outside of the coaching interaction. Otherwise subconsciously we are merely manipulating the employee in our own service. Coaching to me is like meditation when we have to “FIRST” work on self and understand what are our own strengths and how can they become our weaknesses in coaching others, if not handled well.
Listen and test reality our untested beliefs
It is pertinent to test our own as well as the employee’s assumption. We as coaches must listen more, talk less and use simple delivery. Delivery controls the interaction and if we are controlling then we are not listening, observing, discerning. We need to start with the beginner’s mind, witness the interactions and learn before we prescribe alternative.
Avoid Pygmalion effect
We should not try to create more clones of self rather appreciate diversity. We tend to see the word from our own glasses and forget that the reality for the employee is as s/he perceives it to be. As Maslow said “S/he who is good with hammer, thinks everything is nail”. We need to allow people to try new things and experiment with the systems and processes. By hooking things up in a new way, we can often generate that creative spark and innovation that will make a long-term fundamental improvement.
Do not try and do it all at once
Coaching is an ongoing process and not a tablet to be shoved down the employee’s throat. We need to continuously and consciously look for coachable moments and use them effectively.
Challenge the employee
We tend to “lead the employee” instead of equipping him/her to think and try resolve things to release tension. This leads to the coach taking driver’s seat and driving things through his/her competencies rather than helping the employee deal with it on his own. We as Coaches need to detach our selves from the outcomes and resist giving advice. Do not solve problems for the employee let them grapple with it on their own and enjoy the confidence of being capable of doing so.
“Given the right circumstances, from no more than dreams, determination, and the liberty to try, quite ordinary people consistently do extraordinary things.”