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Differences in Personal and Executive Coaching

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Programmatic coaching is coaching with the fundamental goal of aligning executives with organizational goals and objectives. It will often include many leaders across an organization that is undergoing significant change. To cite one example, programmatic coaching was used to help drive culture change in two newly merged entities. The project was led by coaches/consultants who worked with organization leaders to determine the desired behaviors for their leaders in the “new” culture. The coaches were instructed as a group so they would understand the goals and leader expectations from the change project. They were then assigned executives and given a set number of sessions to assist each leader with the adaptive process of integrating defined new behaviors and cultural goals into their leadership.  In this context, we see the utility of coaching as a powerful tool for supporting change by addressing barriers to change that can often be different for each individual. One of the barriers can be how the clients understand the new behaviors asked of them and how they learn to integrate them into their leadership. Coaching also nurtures personal accountability and ensures that the client is committing to what they own as part of a change process.  Additionally, it helps the client to look at the strategic big picture questions inherent in change such as, “how do I need to work differently?”, “what mindset do I have to change?”, “what systems no longer work for me?” and “what kind of leadership is required in this new organization?”  Ultimately the success of the coaching engagement in programmatic coaching is the success of the organizational goals of change.

Team coaching is the coaching of a team and its leader to achieve better team performance or to achieve strategic goals. This form of coaching can involve team facilitation as well as one-on-one coaching with the leader and individual members. For example, I once worked with a technology group that was transitioning to a new leader. I conducted and summarized organizational interviews and worked closely with the team leader to design several phases of team coaching and facilitation to assist the team in setting new communication style awareness and norms.  The team had been “stuck” in a mental medal of how they worked, including norms of behavior that were blaming and non-collaborative.  With various facilitated exercises we were able to “name” the mental model and associated communication norms in the old way of doing business as a team.  Then we were able to define what new norms and thinking were required for a better model and implement those with the collaboration of the group leaders.

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