Extend the Benefit of Coaching to Junior Management

More and more companies are reaping the benefits of coaching their senior employees. As a result they want to extend it to the junior and middle management as well. 

Post Covid, virtual coaching has really caught on which means you could have access to the right coach globally, irrespective of their physical location.

Over the past few weeks, some common questions that I have been asked by potential clients are:

Q1: At our company, the perception is that coaching is reserved only for the more senior ‘privileged’ employees. Is that universally true? If not, how can it be extended to the junior employees as well?  

Ans: It is a myth that coaching is meant only for a chosen few senior employees. It can and indeed should be, extended to junior and middle management as well, including individual contributors and new managers. 

‘Coach them Young’should be the mantra! 

A start could be made to jointly identify areas of improvement with them and form cohorts of up to 6 people for group coaching– each session addressing a common area of improvement for the cohort. Let them experience and benefit from a 4 to 6 session coaching journey. Post that, the ones that show potential, and based on the manager and coach’s recommendation, could be rewarded with a few 1:1 sessions, depending on the budget.

Q2: How can we motivate people to get themselves coached?

Ans: It depends on how coaching is positioned in the company. If it is seen as a correctional tool (“Joe is beyond repair, let’s get him a coach”) employees will resist being nominated. Instead if it’s seen as an investment by the company in the individual’s quest for personal development leading to possible professional growth in the company (If Anita can learn how to manage conflict better with her cross functional team, she can surely be looked at for a promotion next year”), employees would like to enroll themselves for coaching. 

Q3: If the organization is the sponsor, what coaching information should it be privy to?

Ans: Coaching is based on trust and hence coaching conversations are confidential. However there can be tripartite milestone reviews between the coach, coachee and the manager and could be done at the start, mid-point and end of the coaching journey.

Q4: There are so many certified coaches. How to select the right coach?

Ans: Today there are a significant number of coaches globally certified as Associate Certified Coach (ACC), Professional Certified Coach (PCC) and Master Certified Coach (MCC) by the US based International Coach Federation (ICF), the global accreditation body for coaches. Coach certification could serve as the baseline criteria for selection. The coach’s background which the coachee can relate to, could be a further filter. After sharing these coach profiles with the potential coachees, let them have a 1:1 ‘chemistry-check’ session for about 30 minutes with all the shortlisted coaches to decide on one. It is important to feel comfortable with and look up to the coach you are choosing to work with over the next 6-9 months. Additionally, one could ask for references of past coachees/clients whom the coach has worked with. 

Q5: How should the coaching outcomes be measured?

Ans: The journey starts with identifying a couple of coaching goals and associated measures of success. The mid-point review is led by the coachee and helps to assess what positive changes is the manager seeing in the coachee and what could further be done differently to be more effective. Since this discussion is focused only on the couple of coaching goals, it is objective. The manager may share instances where the coachee has demonstrated the changes since coaching started. All along, the measures of success are kept track of, till the end review. Besides this, if the budget permits it is a good idea to get a 360 feedback or a mini-survey done for the coachee pertaining to the coaching goals to know how the stakeholders are assessing his/her progress.

Q6: What are some ideal coaching scenarios? 

Ans: Improving communication, managing conflict, being assertive, having difficult conversations, managing teams, strengthening relationship with peers, developing emotional intelligence, among others.

Q7: What if the coaching journey discovers a deep psychological underlying cause that the coachee has been affected with since childhood? 

Ans: Coaching is not therapy. In such cases the coach should consider asking the coachee to see a trained counselor.

Incase you have any more questions or need more details please feel to reach me at suraj@woodruff.in

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