It seems that Coaching’s become something of the new rage in a variety of applications, and especially in the world of performance improvement with senior managers. The Coaching approach to equip employees, leaders and business owners, to enhance their performance isn’t new… managers have been, or were supposed to have been, doing this coaching thing for years. In sales management especially, field coaching using a disciplined system of observation and feedback against a checklist of performance and behavioral criteria are a key way exceptional sales teams help create exceptional organizations.
In recent years the use of 3rd party Coaching has been in increased demand as executives have come to realize the benefits. So why Coaching and how is it different from other forms of professional development services? Executives have a variety of options for their professional development to choose from; all have merit.
Read a book… the easiest and least costly self-development resource. There are plenty of good business and leadership books. This builds knowledge, but whether some of that new knowledge actually makes it into new behaviour, and application is another matter.
Take a course… from a recognized university or college. There are many to choose from; enrolment in a 13 week daytime or evening course of several hours per week. Again, knowledge will be acquired and this time with the benefit of some interactivity with an instructor and other students, but workplace application?
Attend a seminar or training event… a 1 to 5 day session at for example an executive education centre. Many Canadian universities have one… and for example The Schulich Executive Education Centre where I “teach” leadership, and sales management seminars, offers a menu of nearly 100 to choose from. New learning, often higher quality instruction and interaction, and an action plan, but workplace application?
Coaching… is all about workplace application and it takes place in the workplace dealing with real, current issues. It’s about new behaviours, stretching outside of one’s comfort zone, growing professionally and personally, and improved performance as a manager and leader. There’s always new learning involved with the best coaches expanding their clients’ knowledge as well. And there are objectives… the desired end-state that both coach and client are working toward. But more importantly, the coach is there to help the client make changes, navigate their own uncertainties and fears, make mid-course corrections, challenge, hold them accountable, and encourage them.