Executives have many conflicting demands on their time which can often lead to focusing on the detail without taking the time to step outside the role for a while to consider how best to address the issues they face. In this situation having someone who can act as a sounding board and who can facilitate a change in approach can be invaluable.
Some of the major issues facing executives include :-
- Motivating staff
- Delegating responsibilities
- Problem solving
- Relationships between teams and team members
- Appraisal and assessments
- Performance against objectives and targets
What is coaching?
My approach is practical and based on the GROW model – Goals, Reality, Options and Will.
The identification of goals is vitally important, without goals how can you measure performance or improvement. Goals take two forms – end goals and performance goals. End goals can be difficult to control as there are outside factors influencing the end result. For example if you want your company to become the market leader in a product or service, then this will depend on how a competitor behaves. You can’t control the behaviour of a competitor. However if your goal is performance related such as providing the best quality product on the market then this is something that can be managed within your or your company’s control.
When defining goals it is important that they are specific, measurable and realistic. Many businesses and executives have goals but they lack a clear definition and so it is almost impossible to determine if they have been met.
Based on my extensive experience I work with executives to develop and record very clear, measurable goals.
Once we have a realistic goal, we need to assess the current situation. However this can be a challenge as you need objectivity to provide an accurate assessment. Often descriptions of reality are spoken in terms of vague generalisations and judgemental language. For example, we want to be better, what we are doing today is not right. These generalisations don’t provide clarity on what the actual problem is.
So during this phase, we focus on understanding the reality in terms of facts and clear unambiguous descriptions of the current situation. This can often be the most enlightening phase of the coaching process. Often the clarity that this brings to the executive can lead to a very clear solution or set of solutions.
Often in business we feel limited by the choices we have. This can often arise from a set of negative assumptions – ‘this isn’t possible’, ‘no-one will agree to this’ and ‘we aren’t able to deliver this’. Negative assumptions impose limitations on how to proceed. This restricts creativity and flexibility in finding ways to achieve your goals. Remember your competitors will not be limited by your negative assumptions.
At the options stage it is vital to step away from these negative thoughts and to think freely and creatively. By facilitating this process a thorough examination of the options available is possible.
Once we have a set of options we can then assess them objectively to see which is a preferred option to achieve a goal.
What WILL you do?
This is the final stage of the process and explores what the next steps are, what obstacles might come along and anything else that might get in the way of achieving your goals. This can sometimes be the most difficult stage as it can be ‘easy’ to identify tasks. It can be difficult to fully commit to them and not let other things distract you.