Saturday, August 27, 2011

Coaching for People Development

I have just attended a 2-day course on Coaching for People Development. This little post is to share my key take-aways.

First thing first, what is coaching? Besides coaching, there are also other terms such as mentoring, consulting and training, sometimes some of the words are used interchangeable with coaching. However, there are subtle differences.

In the case of consulting, it is more of a company paying an expert to find the solution. For the other terms, the relationship runs deeper.

Training is more the first level which the trainer will focus on transferring skills or knowledge to the trainee. Mentoring is more of sharing the knowledge acquired over the years by the mentor to the mentee. Coaching is about empowerment. No solution is given to the coachee. Instead the coach will guide the coachee through a series of powerful questions, deep listening and keen observation.

GROW Model for Coaching G - goals, R - eality, O - ptions, W - What's next.

This is the model to conduct coaching. Coaching is only possible when the coachee intends to change. One will want to change when there is a tension between reality and goal.

The coach's role is to help the coachee to have awareness and clarity on his goals. This could be done by asking the coachee to imagine a typical day when his goals become true. In other words, it is to dream.

Thereafter, the coach will bring the coachee back to reality and allow the coachee to think about what he should do next. This step will allow the coachee to think and identify the critical areas that will help him to move forward. It is in this step that the coach will have to practise deep listening to identify the mental model the coachee has.

There are basically 4 types of limits that people have. One could use the acronymn MARS - namely, Motivation (e.g. just feel unhappy when Monday comes), Ability (e.g. not good with numbers), Role Perception (e.g. a good employee spends 24/7 at work) and Structure (e.g. no computer access at home).

Thereafter, the coach will have to guide the coachee on the options available to him. The last step is "What's Next" which is to get a commitment to action. The coach's job is to find baby step to help the coachee get started and be motivated to continue the change process.

In conclusion, I would say that it is a skill which one cannot really go very far through passive learning. Just like one can only know how to swim by jumping into the pool, this is another skill which calls for on-the-job training.

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