Project managers (PMs) are now put through a training program called Coaching with an Edge™ that focuses on core coaching competencies. One week of practice coaching their colleagues on actual work challenges is sandwiched in between two weeks of classroom training. Trainees must document tangible results with their coachees in order to complete the certification program. Once certified, PMs are assigned to a project team to prepare, attend, and debrief client meetings using their new coaching skills. Sales metrics measure the degree to which additional business results from the coaching engagement.
Three years into the program, 110 of the firm’s 200 managers have gone through coaching skills training. The goal is to have everyone certified by the end of 2016.
Google, Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle, and Hewlett-Packard are among the name-brand tech firms that leverage the power of coaching in their leadership development programs. One of these firms trains leaders at all levels to use a peer coaching process called Action Learning to help people solve their own problems by asking questions, rather than giving advice. Typically a group of 4-8 peers from different parts of the organization form an Action Learning team. One participant presents a real-life problem or challenge. Team members then help the problem owner refine, reflect, and ultimately resolve their challenge by “asking, not telling” them what to do. The less that teammates know about the issue, the better – as it keeps them in coaching (and out of advising) mode. More than 100 certified Action Learning coaches inside the organization now work with teams from the U.S. to China.
“Asking questions had been kind of counter-culture here,” says one early Action Learning coach. “Over time, we started hearing people say, ‘This is changing how I think about myself as a leader.’ And that’s been very impactful to our culture.”Download Article 500 Club