Coach to Lead, Empower and Leverage time
By Renée Giarrusso
“A good coach can change a game… a great coach can change a life”
Coaching is a topic I am extremely passionate about and the awareness of professional coaching is rapidly growing around the globe. In a recent ICF study over sixty-six percent of all respondents indicated that they were very or somewhat aware of the field of professional Business and/or life coaching (2017 ICF Global Consumer study). Of these respondents 31% indicated they had participated in a professional business and/or life Coaching relationship. Willingness to participate in coaching was also found to be high with those that have not yet engaged in coaching.
These findings excite me and with the younger generations coming through looking to be the most aware of coaching the future of coaching is more important and alive than ever.
When coaching, we need to add value when it is needed but “add” value, not just give it away. Don’t feel like you need to justify your position or share everything you know at all times, this is a key barrier many coaches face.
Any high performing team, be it AFL, sales, project teams, the customer frontline or a leadership team have usually had exposure to coaching. Limitless Leaders™ are seen as a coaching resource and know the importance of this in their role. When coaching we need to add value when it is needed but “add” value, not just give it away. Don’t feel like you need to justify your position or share everything you know at all times, this is a key barrier many coaches face. The more others think for themselves and own their decisions the less likely they will depend on you, therefore, thinking for themselves and consulting with their peers to achieve their objective. This gives you, the coach or manager, more time to focus on what really matters and be a truly collaborative partner in their success.
As a coach, you are not unlike a conductor in an orchestra. Your job is to guide, challenge, nurture and empower and to not be playing any of the actual instruments.
There is a plethora of motivations for people seeking coaching with the 2017 ICF Global study identifying the top 3 motivations:
• Optimising individual/teamwork and performance
• Improvement in communication skills
• Increasing productivity
Whatever the coachee is seeking to achieve I believe when coaching there are 3 key areas that need our focus as a coach:
• True commitment
• Know your purpose of coaching, the “why” of what you do
• Effective Communication
• Clear, concise, open and honest
• Deep Connection
• To our profession and clients
Taking a few moments to reflect on these three areas can assist us in collaborating in a transformational experience versus a transactional one with our coachee.
Recently when running our “Leader as Coach” program to senior leaders, one of the participants asked me for my definition of coaching to which I responded, “It’s like delegating thinking”. Until this point with over 24 years exposure to coaching, both as a coach and being coached, I had never really looked at it like
this, but it made total sense. Empowering others to think for themselves by provoking thought and guiding them to come up with their own solutions is simply delegating thinking. So how do we do this? The first step is to start to ask and not tell or in other words coach and make coaching as simple as an everyday conversation.
“The best coaches’ leaders I know are seen as a coaching resource not an endless pit of answers, ideas and responses.”
What I have learnt, without giving you a lesson on how to coach, are the below 5 insights that you can instil right now to empower others to think for themselves:
Let go of needing to add value
of empowerment in others to think for themselves, grow their skill set and develop future leaders in the process. Think about what you are controlling or holding onto that you can delegate to someone else. We tend to hold on to the things we like without even realising they could be delegated. Could someone else chair or organise that next meeting? Letting go requires trust. What will it cost you not to do this?
Create the space for others to be empowered
I don’t believe you can empower others directly. What I do believe is that you can create the space for people to feel empowered and create ownership themselves. Whatever you do, make sure people have the space and choice of how they will achieve tasks. Give them the “what” but not the “how” and stand back and let them go! Check in where and when needed but ask them what that would look like. Ask for permission if giving suggestions and never underestimate the power of simplicity. Always acknowledge progress and action.
Ask Questions and Be Curious
How easy is it to provide the answer when individuals approach you? Take a step back and ask them what solutions they have thought of. Many will say “they don’t know” but don’t buy into this. They usually aren’t stuck but instead are used to you thinking for them at certain times. Be strong on this and get them to go away and come back with possible solutions and then go from there. I call this “coaching on the fly” and is simply an informal conversation that can happen face to face, over the phone and by email. This is a great way to build your coaching muscle. Stay curious, avoid judgement and listen deeply.
Coaching, along with other postures such as mentoring, demonstrating and training can have a huge pay off if used with the right intentions and for the right outcomes.
Maximise Team Strengths
Mary isn’t great at reporting, but Dean is, so how about getting Dean to do the reporting and have Mary assist him? This is a great way for peers to learn from each other and get stuff done without coming to you. I am a huge believer in building a strength-based team by identifying and then leveraging strengths and the things that energise each other. A bit like instruments in an orchestra, it takes all types to play a harmonised tune. Find out what lights your coachee up and help them satisfy this. Leverage a strength-based team.
Cut through Communication
People won’t buy into change if there is nothing in it for them. Communication is all about the response that you get. You need to build rapport as rapport equates to influence. In all the work I have done understanding others, the key is you need to have conversations that count, that are clear and are with intent. Be a bit like the other person. If he or she loves detail, then be more detailed in your conversation. If they are big picture, then ensure you match this. Don’t change who you are but amplify your energy and approach a 20% match to fast track rapport. These conversations get the other person to be more open and honest and trust and respect is built. This will assist in the other person understanding why they need to do what they do and creates ownership and accountability.
Whether you are coaching from a leadership position or as a professional coach you have an important responsibility. Remember awareness and acceptance cultivates transformation and the relationship is about growing the coachee with the added bonus of you growing in that process.
To being Limitless
Renée Giarrusso is an accomplished speaker, author, facilitator, trainer and coach (PCC) who works with leaders, organisations and teams to accelerate mindset, communication leadership and performance.
She founded RG Dynamics 12 years ago after 18 years working in senior leadership, sales and marketing roles within a global FMCG. She has been working with leaders and teams across 24 industries including Telecommunications, Building, Engineering, Fast Moving Consumer Goods, Professional services, Consumer Durables, Government (job services), automotive, electronics and many more.
Renée is obsessed with working with individuals and their teams to fulfil their potential resulting in increased performance and success. She believes everyone is limitless in their ability to achieve through applying skills, habits and a leadership mindset. Her expertise in growing and developing capability and behavioural change around leadership, communication, coaching, presentation skills and sales effectiveness leave her clients inspired, re-energised and with improved results.
Powerful Stories, Tips and Amazing Insight
Ready, Set, Go! Everything you need to know to start coaching from the legends in the field. As well as the Business and Life coaches, our launch edition features David Parkin (AFL), Lisa Alexander (Netball Australia), Adam Commens (Hockey Australia), Simon Cusack (Swimming Australia), Sean Douglas (FFA) and many more!