A New Dawn In Leadership Training
Published: March 28, 2006 (Issue # 1156)
It’s the buzzword in the corporate training world, and every aspiring executive is undergoing a course of it: Executive coaching. In fact, a recent survey by the CIPD showed that in the U.K., 67 percent of HR managers believe coaching is ‘more effective’ than any other form of development training, and 88 percent have plans to use coaching within their organizations in the future.
It first emerged from the States, filtering East to the U.K. and across Western Europe. It’s now come to Russia, and though many see it as a fad, the majority of HR directors would say otherwise.
So what is it? Executive Coaching is a relatively simple leadership development process. A manager will talk with their coach, normally face-to-face, about their career ambitions, the problems they face, their relationships — in fact, anything that’s stopping them from moving forward to achieve their own managerial and company goals, and fulfilling their potential. Through careful listening, asking powerful questions and a series of coaching exercises — such as visualisations, values clarification and perspectives — a coach will help the manager break bad habits, do away with limiting beliefs and negative thinking. The coach will help the manager think more positively, focus on what’s really important, and empower and motivate them to achieve their goals and reach their full potential.
The obvious question is: Why can’t the manager just go and talk things through with their boss or HR? Marie Willis, CEO of Lequin Executive Coaching, a leading UK-based coaching company, explains:
“It’s precisely because a manager can speak freely with an independent source, who has no agenda but the manager’s success, that coaching works so well. The manager can discuss sensitive issues and use the coach as a sounding board in the knowledge that it’s confidential and the coach’s support is unconditional.”
And while some say it sounds like counselling, it’s very different — it’s a forward-looking process, which is about using latent skills to improve rather than overcoming mental problems. Nor is it psychotherapy. Coaching can help people overcome deep-rooted psychological problems, but it won’t cure a mental illness.
Alexei, a well-paid banker from Moscow, can vouch for the success of coaching. He was coached by Natalie Ekberg from LB Coaching, and he’s seen an incredible turnabout in his approach to work.
In a stressful working environment, often with long hours, Alexei found little time to spend with friends, family and on his hobbies. He turned to coaching to think through his career options and find ways to de-stress. So a key component to the coaching with Alexei was building an understanding of his own values, which, together with motivations, are the key to decisive action. And to help Alexei overcome stress, ‘de-cluttering’ was important. By identifying his ‘energy drainers’, both in the office and at home, and getting rid of them from his everyday life many processes became far easier. After 12 months’ coaching, Natalie saw a different person emerge:
“He became more honest with himself and others, and was not holding back anymore. He even started little meditations as part of his daily de-stressing ritual. By the end of our time together I could see a much calmer and more confident individual.”
Alexei’s positive experiences with coaching are not unique. As people and companies become ever more aware of the value and importance of coaching, and its ability to help people think positively, draw out their latent skills and fulfil their potential, and ultimately fulfil their dreams, so coaching will continue to go from strength to strength.
If you’d like to find out more, visit www.lequin.co.uk or www.coachfederation.org