Coaching : When Coaching Is Appropriate?

Coaching tends to be most appropriate when:

1. Performance makes an important difference to the employer. Almost by definition, the contributions expected of senior executives fall into this category. Managers at other levels who are in especially significant roles also are responsible for making an important contribution, so they too can be appropriate coaching clients. Managers may receive coaching simply because they are considered to be “high potential,” regardless of the nature of their current organizational role.

2. The relevant learning issues are in the “soft skills” area. Improving any person’s performance in these areas is often difficult and requires an intensive effort. Many of these coaching assignments fall into familiar categories:

a. Helping people with personal or self-management issues, such as a need to micromanage, time management difficulties, or integrating work and family life.

b. Helping people who have assertive, dominant, or controlling styles become better able to build relationships, create trust, delegate, work in teams, or develop their subordinates.

c. Helping people who have good “people” skills to be better at calling the tough decisions, setting and enforcing standards, and handling conflict in productive ways.

d. Helping people develop leadership skills when they have moved (or are about to move) into a more prominent role. Some typical leadership issues are providing vision and strategy, performing symbolic roles, and functioning in a much more “alone” position without receiving much valid feedback.

3. Used in conjunction with formal succession planning programs.

4. Associated with executive development programs. With increasing frequency, lessons learned offsite may be combined with on-the-job assignments and the support of a coach when the formal program is over.

5. People are struggling because there are no right answers. Clients need to develop their own solutions to certain of the puzzles of executive life and it’s hard for them to do it on their own. If there were right answers hidden away somewhere, the task would be a lot easier.

6. The learning needs to happen according to the client’s schedule, and quickly. So timing is critical. People who are moved into important positions with little advance notice can be supported with a coach.

7. Assimilating a new hire. Another term for this is “on boarding.”

Source : Executive Coaching: a guide for the HR professional / Anna Marie Valerio, Robert J. Lee. 2005

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