Team Coach: In practice, first-come, first-serve phone coaching turned out to be an excellent support tool for clients applying leadership lessons or creating initial awareness of a need for change. I found we could address individual, interpersonal, or organizational questions with relative ease—as long as we were very careful in the first 5-10 minutes to set up the conditions of satisfaction for the client for each call as a stand-alone offering. In each session, I would introduce myself, set up a few ground rules/guiding principles (including confidentiality), then ask what the client wanted to achieve. The client and I would have a short conversation for context (What’s going on? What do you want to be different?), then discuss what we could complete in our call together (Knowing that we have less than an hour, what would you like to walk away with? If we could do XX, would you be satisfied?) Once the client agreed to the conditions of satisfaction, we would start coaching. In several cases, this “contracting” phase took almost 15 minutes by itself. The contracting, however, allowed us to create and then achieve clear goals—and, as is often the case, the more involved contracting conversations often helped create a clearer picture of an emotional or complex situation for a client.
Company X, like many large corporations did not have a limitless budget for coaching and training. In the case of Company X, the cost of providing 1:1 coaching for 65 leaders would have been well over $3M for the year at approximately $25K per leader for a 6-month program. The cost of a coordinated, tiered, multi-layered group, team, and individual approach for all 65 leaders during the first year equaled about what it would have cost for about three executives to have individual 1:1 coaching and they also had the benefit of individual phone coaching office hours if they needed it. Due to the unprecedented impact the first year, the company doubled their investment and expanded the program for the second year.
The Bottom Line
While the case study presented here is not in the hospitality industry, there was a recent study conduced by Tony Simons, Associate Professor of Management at Cornell University Hotel School, that found that of 76 hotels he and his research team surveyed, those whose employees strongly believed their managers followed through on promises and demonstrated the values they preached were substantially more profitable than those whose managers scored average or lower. In the executive summary of the study Simons notes, “Employee perceptions of their managers’ integrity—both keeping promises and demonstrating espoused values—were strongly linked to hotel profitability. Employees’ belief in managers’ integrity, and their trust in managers, have a lot more impact on profits than more traditional issues like employee ‘satisfaction’ or even ‘commitment.’” In those organizations where employees deem their managers to be trustworthy everyone was a beneficiary. (The High Cost of Lost Trust, by Tony Simons in Harvard Business Review, September 2002. Also see http://www.people.cornell.edu/pages/tls11/)
The cost to a company to have trust issues can be great. If your organization is experiencing low morale, lack of employee engagement, issues with accountability, collaboration and communication, these could be the warning signs of a culture of distrust. While there are many leadership approaches, you can take to shift the culture and create trust, coordinating a masterful coaching solution across the horizontals as well as the verticals of your organization can accelerate the impact dramatically.
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