Coaching Leaders for Change - 5 Ground Rules

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Coaching Leaders for Change

Executive coaching offers a tremendous opportunity to leverage the talent and resources of leaders.

Coaching is no longer reserved for problem leaders. It is frequently sought by top performers whose organisations value their growth potential.

But not all coaching is the same.

How do you convince leaders to change?

Executive coaching offers a tremendous opportunity to leverage the talent and resources of leaders.

Coaching is no longer reserved for problem leaders. It is frequently sought by top performers whose organisations value their growth potential. But not all coaching is the same.

Establishing Leadership Coaching Ground Rules

Here are five principles that should be clarified at the outset of the leadership coaching process. In the beginning, coaches must clarify the ground rules with the executive they will be coaching, as well as with the sponsoring organisation.

1. Confidentiality, expectations and commitment

The coach must be clear about what will be shared with the leader's boss and what will be kept confidential. Aligning coaching goals with the organisation's objectives is crucial.

2. Reporting relationships

There must be clarity among the organisational contact (boss or HR representative), coach and leader.

3. Methods of information gathering

Key stakeholders, team members, direct reports and others involved will be contacted by both the coach and the leader.

4. Making judgements, setting objectives and monitoring progress

The coach helps the leader and key stakeholders maintain objectivity. Leadership coaches must focus on one or two behaviours, without judgement, and facilitate honest sharing about progress.

5. How, why and when the leadership coaching will end

Coaching parameters must be set at the beginning of the engagement, with milestones for assessing progress and a completion date (usually 12 to 18 months).

It is critical to clarify at the outset who the client is. When the coach and leader understand that the company is the actual client, then the ground rules are easier to accept. Once the ground rules have been established, they cannot be bent.

Measuring Coaching Success

Success isn't measured by:

- How well the leader performs with the leadership coach's help. It must be judged on how well he or she performs after the leadership coach has left the scene.

- How leaders feel about their own progress. It must be judged on the changes stakeholders perceive.

- The leader's positive feelings toward, and relationship with, the leadership coach. True success is measured by results.

Coaching can be daunting for some leaders, as they must be willing to be vulnerable and open.

It is exhilarating for those who embrace it and commit to change. Unlike management science, academic theory or consulting, leadership coaching is an exciting interpersonal journey.

Leadership coaches and their clients form strong bonds built on trust, openness, confidence and achievement.

This article was contributed by Patsi Krakoff, Psy. D.

Patsi Krakoff, Psy. D. writes articles for business and executive coaches and consultants.

She provides articles on leadership and executive development for sale, and formatted into customised newsletters.

 

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