Coaching is a fantastic learning and development approach that delivers fantastic results. All kinds of organisations are looking to make the most from coaching. One of the things that makes Executive and Leadership coaching different from other forms of coaching is the introduction of the organisation’s agenda to the process.
Generally the organisation’s agenda and outcomes are simple, relevant and really useful as a structure for developing coaching conversations leading to personal outcome development by the coachee.
The kind of agendas that normally pop up when we’re looking at organisational programmes are things like developing leadership skills and capability. This often comes with a preferred leadership model or competency framework. It’s important that the coach puts enough time into becoming familiar with the framework before introducing it to coachees. Where an organisation doesn’t specify a specific leadership model I tend to use Blanchard’s Situational Leadership II, simply because it asks of the leader (the coachee), that they develop an awareness of the capabilities of individual team members and they flex their style and approach to best support that individual. A leader who is able to do these two things well is more than half-way to leadership excellence.
Introducing the agenda
I take a very simple approach here. I’ll take into the first face to face session materials relating to the organisations preferred model, change intuitive, people strategy – whatever it is the organisation has created so people can understand what the outcome is. I’ll introduce the material, I’ll ask about how much they know about the approach the organisation is taking etc. This becomes a part of the initial discussion – an important element of creating the relationship and agreeing the contract. The purpose of contracting is creating clarity around the purpose of the coaching, understanding what’s involved, the boundaries, confidentiality etc. and understanding the outcome for the organisation is part of this stage.
Setting ‘noticing’ as homework. I tend to send coachees away with the material and information about the model and organisational outcome. Particularly where we’re working from a competency framework or a leadership model Like SLII (Situational Leadership II), it’s important that the coachee has time to observe themselves in their role and notice. It’s often quite useful to make the suggestion that having read through and thought about the model they’ll probably start noticing quite a lot about their own approach and skills – and from this they’ll be able to start to formulate personal goals around developing personal capability. It’s amazing just how good coachees can be at looking and understanding themselves once they’ve asked to (had how oblivious they can be when they’re not!).
This simple approach to introducing the organisations outcomes up-front naturally and very effortlessly leads to personal outcomes from the coachee that dovetail with the organisation’s. Simple is almost always best.