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Coaching in the Real World: One Size Does NOT Fit All

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Outcomes

We have said that the “enhancement of individual lives” is the core of our work as coaches. How is that measured, you may ask? The quick answer is: through self-reporting by the coachee. There are other ways that we can measure return on the coaching investment. For this type of coaching arrangement, one of the most common, and arguably most important, outcomes of coaching is increased self-awareness—awareness of strengths, preferences, predispositions and blind spots. Clarity about these things allows the coachee to make clear-eyed decisions about the strategies and practices that will be most effective in moving the coachee towards hisi personal and professional goals. Specific outcomes of this type of coaching include: a decision to change to a career field that is a better fit for the coachee, successful advancement in a current job, and improved interpersonal relationships. All of these outcomes enhance personal wellbeing which yields innumerable benefits to the individual and the business, personal and societal systems in which they operate.

Organization sponsored coaching engagements

Contracting

Contracting for this type of intervention is typically more involved than an individual coaching engagement. There are more stakeholders here, including the coachee’s manager, development program sponsors, peers and colleagues of the coachee, the legal department, contracts and finance departments, and human resources. Each of these stakeholders will have their own requirements and expectations of the coaching arrangement which range from compliance with established standards and rules for an organization wide coaching program, to periodic progress reporting and check-ins with key stakeholders (which may include the coachee’s manager and the contract administrator), to reporting against project budgets. Coaches can expect more administration of the coaching agreement necessitated by required reporting by the various stakeholders.

Rules of engagement and process

There is not a singular experience that defines coaching in an organizational context. In some cases, clients are part of a development program; in others, an astute manager may simply understand the benefits of providing coaching for her people. This is often the case when a manager has had the experience of being coached herself. In either case, what distinguishes this type of coaching from self-sponsored coaching is that there are typically several entities within the organization who have a vested interest in the process and outcome of the engagement in addition to the coachee. First and foremost, the coachee’s management has an interest in their employee coming away with a greater awareness of who they are, where they are going, and what they need to do to get there. The manager needs to understand his role in helping his employee to succeed along the way. Also, whoever is footing the bill for the engagement, whether it be the manager or a component within Human Resources, has an interest in getting a return on their investment and making sure that expenditures are accounted for and are within budget. The legal or labor relations department may want to make sure that the arrangement is compliant with organizational contracts and agreements with employees. All of these influences can burden the coaching process; our job as coaches is to create a sanctum for the coaching sessions that keeps the space free of the externalities so that the coachee is free to do the work, and play, of the coaching dynamic in a protected space. It is important that other stakeholders understand and appreciate the importance of keeping the coaching space clear. Managers must also understand that these are confidential conversations, the content of which is the property of the coachee, and can only be shared by them.

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