This may appear simple, but it is certainly not easy. In most organisational settings, there are five clear challenges which must be actively addressed if meaningful development conversations are to occur. Our in-house workshops actively address these challenges, developing the participants' skill and mind-set, enabling them to create an environment where staff are motivated to learn and grow.
Coaching conversations need to go beyond the 'appraiser' or line manager mode.
In environments where the individual's performance is managed, and there is reason to look good, evidence of inadequacy is naturally avoided. It takes attention and careful management to create the trust and security that allow development to be meaningfully addressed.
Coaching requires the ability to stay steady and positive while addressing difficult issues.
Most of us, when facing a difficult conversation, will habitually either seek to please (compliance), or push back (defiance). It takes some self-understanding to hold ourselves steady and to be simultaneously positive towards the individual, while bringing constructive challenge.
Coaching occurs in the context of an active interest in the individual's development.
Performance issues are commonly only thought about in reaction to an upcoming appraisal or to a problem arising. Effective feedback and development needs early exploration of the interests the business and the aspirations of the individual. Later on this avoids unnecessary difficulties and saves time.
Coaching must move beyond a discussion of competency or skill.
The critical element in most challenging conversations relates to the individual's mind-set or motivation. While it's relatively natural to talk about skill and competence, the greatest changes in behaviour are generated by moving to the level of attitude.
Coaching must be integrated into the pattern of regular workplace interactions.
If it remains a 'nice-to-have' extra, it's unlikely to get enough attention, not least because of the understandable and indeed necessary focus of managers on delivering immediate business outcomes. Ongoing coaching that is effective, naturally connects near-term activity with longer-term personal aspirations.