What is leadership coaching?
JILL: A coaching conversation is different than the type of conversation you would have with a friend. A coach listens, reflects and sometimes interrupts the client’s story, challenging them to explore new possibilities. Our clients, especially leaders at a higher level, often feel like they are alone and don’t have someone to confide in about their situation. Many times, they don’t have anyone around them who will respectfully challenge them.
TRACY: The coaching relationship is about having open conversations that deal with real challenges and day to day issues that arise in the workplace. The coaching process can give a leader a new perspective and focus. Coaching helps leaders implement personal and organizational change by providing support and keeping them focused on attaining their personal and professional goals.
CHRISTINA: A coach is a person who partners with you as you are pursuing your ambitions and is committed to your accountability and believes you can do it.
Who is your ideal coaching client?
PHYLLIS: My ideal coaching client is someone who seizes the opportunity to explore what they want in life through questions, reflection, observation, curiosity and practice. Practicing a shift in thought, approach or action towards the way they go about accomplishing something. I really like for them to have something they are striving for.
CHRISTINA: My ideal clients are already successful and desire that next level or higher competency of success for whatever they want to accomplish. They are already “rocking and rolling” if you will, but they crave that next level of success and, most importantly, are open to exploring alternative observations and perspectives.
JILL: My ideal client is someone who is open to coaching and committed to their own continued development. They see the opportunity for even greater levels of performance and satisfaction. There are two sides to the “coaching coin;” people typically engage a coach when they see an obstacle or an opportunity. Through the coaching relationship they can create new strategies to move them in the direction of the results they are seeking.
TRACY: My ideal client is one that really wants and is open to coaching. A person that is honest about their strengths and opportunities and can embrace change.
Why is coaching important?
TRACY: At a certain level, just as leaders must continually update and increase their technical skills, they must also continue to enhance their leadership skills. Coaching can often provide the missing piece to the leadership development puzzle. It provides a safe environment where the client can talk openly about their challenges, dreams, goals and obstacles. This environment enables the coach and client to explore problems, brainstorm solutions and create action plans. It empowers individuals to reach their full potential and become inspirational leaders.
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PHYLLIS: Because of the position they hold in an organization, the people I have the honor to work with often feel isolated when it comes to seeking conversation regarding their challenges, new situations, insecurities, or generally those areas in which there is no strategy in the playbook. As an executive coach, we can serve as that “confidential sounding board” to explore options or perspectives to find a solid direction about those situations and sometimes illuminate an idea that hadn’t been thought of before.
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What can be accomplished in a coaching session?
CHRISTINA: As stated in the ICF coaching standards, and I whole heartedly believe, as Coaches we “honor the client as the expert in his or her life and work and believe every client is creative, resourceful and whole.” With this foundational understanding, the work in coaching sessions support clients to solve problems, make the most of their opportunities and open up possibilities to produce new action.
PHYLLIS: We help design important conversations – what to say and how to say it for the right audience. Some people will approach important conversations in an overly adversarial manner, others are not direct enough – either can be a roadblock. Sometimes just shifting that allows the words to be delivered in a way that doesn’t sound too aggressive or too passive, but comes out at with the right amount of assertiveness.
JILL: Through the coaching process, clients gain new levels of awareness or “ways of seeing” themselves and their situation. With this new perspective and new distinctions, they are able to design better conversations, deepen their relationships with others and ultimately achieve greater levels of satisfaction.
What is your favorite part about coaching?
TRACY: The part that keeps me passionate about coaching is seeing a client make a meaningful shift and when a client begins to realize their goals. I love to see how the impact of coaching can spread through an organization, change a culture, improve teamwork and inspire future leaders. Read more about how you can create a culture of leadership in your organization.
CHRISTINA: My favorite part about coaching is working together with my client to determine their ideal state for the results that they want and being a confidential sounding board to the situations that they are going through. I appreciate being their confidante for these issues when they feel like they have nowhere else to go.
PHYLLIS: The deep bond I feel with my clients and the many things I learn from working with such a variety of people.
JILL: I enjoy seeing my clients reach a new level of success – however they may define that. I especially enjoy witnessing their “ah-ha” moments when they discover that a small shift in perspective or action can bring about great results.