Coaching could unlock the next level of success for most CEOs, entrepreneurs and founders, yet it is often misunderstood, incorrectly planned or poorly structured and delivered. This isn’t necessarily the fault of the executive being coached, but if you knew what to buy and what to look for in your service provider, purchasing would become a lot easier and the results would lead to a far wider uptake of coaching services. This in turn would lead to more leaders becoming better leaders, which is good for all the businesses involved.
There is a clear framework for operating a coaching relationship, and it has a number of clear components. Apply these in assessing your suppliers, planning the relationship and structuring the sessions or interventions.
The 12 components of the coaching framework:
- Tailored to needs – how is the relationship customised to you and your needs? There’s no point in just applying out-of-the-box standard approaches. Your coaching programme needs to assess your individual needs against a high performance leadership framework, and with your agreement be tailored to ensure your progress accordingly. Equally, this tailoring has to be reassessed on a frequent basis as your performance should shift fairly rapidly.
- Goals & objectives – you have personal and professional goals and objectives. How are these captured in the coaching relationship and integrated into the coaching programme? How are you prompted to achieve progress? This provides a strong link between your life goals, your business goals and you and your current abilities.
- Skill development – how are your skills going to be constantly developed against your assessed needs? Development programmes need to sit behind each of the areas you need to develop, and your required new skills systematically developed.
- Learning – how will you learn and keep on top of all the latest business thinking that you need to be most effective in your role as CEO/ entrepreneur/ founder. This is an area which unfortunately slips for a lot of leaders as they become more and more time poor and their piles of unread business books and business school articles grows ever higher. Again, this learning is best done when aligned with your needs and included within specific programmes to address those needs.
- Challenge – how does the coaching challenge you? You can go into the relationship with known blockers, but the best relationships constantly challenge your thinking to keep you out of mental ruts and always evolving. Try and ensure you’re constantly being challenged and that the coaching service doesn’t hold back. You are the most important person in your organisation to be mentally challenged, but so frequently this doesn’t happen.
- Time – how does the coaching fit your time? Busy executives often embark on coaching or personal development relationships only to cancel fairly quickly because it’s so hard to make and keep time for the long term important. As leaders become increasingly time poor it is important to challenge how you can make your coaching service fit more 24/7 needs.
- Attention – how does the coaching relationship get your attention so that the coaching interventions have the best chance of success? It is too easy for your coaching to become another task on your to-do list. This isn’t how it should work. Your coaching relationship should be something that feels like it is with you all the time and is tailored to your attention to ensure that it’s working on you all the time.
- Traction – how do the coaching interventions get traction with you? Time and attention are two elements, but the nature of the coaching intervention is the third. The form, format and presentation of information is hugely important for it have maximum impact on you. How is this tailored to stick with you and avoid just being information that is transiently important and then drifts away.
- Action – how are you prompted into action, and how is progress and momentum against the actions you have committed to – as well as your goals and objectives – maintained? Humans work exceptionally well with action rather than theory. Ensure that your coaching service tailors actions for you based on your skill and learning needs.
- Embed & retain – how does the coaching relationship embed new skills and knowledge? What methods are used to ensure retention in memory? This is one area that most coaching services fall down on because a systematic or programmatic approach is required to ensure that your key learning interventions are repeated – preferably based on some form of spaced learning principles.
- Support – what type of support do you need? How timely, how in-depth and in what format (face to face/ remote). Remember that when you need help, the most important thing is to be able to articulate your problem and know that you can get an answer as soon as possible. The act of getting the blockage, concern or question out of your head and heart is vital.
- Progress – how is this tracked and against what set of benchmarks? Again, another tricky area for a lot of coaching services as a leader’s development would appear hard to measure. Keys to this are first benchmarking against a high performance leadership framework (as emphasised in point 1.), second, setting goals and objectives and then third, assessing progress on a regular basis.
Unlock your next level of success by avoiding misunderstood, incorrectly planned or poorly structured and delivered coaching. Subscribe to emails below for more information on how to scientifically do better in business.