Home Concepts Best Practices Coaching in the Real World: One Size Does NOT Fit All

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

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Outcomes of this type of coaching include all of those mentioned for self-sponsored coaching, with a few notable additions. Organization sponsored coaching is often focused on a set of competencies that the organization is seeking to develop and/or reinforce. For some, coaching that is offered by the organization is the first time they have had a space to talk about where they themselves feel a need for some shoring up as they progress in the organization. Some of the fundamentals of leading are often discussed here, and coaches may offer specific tools and practices around leadership that become part of the coachee’s offer to the organization. There is a potential for significant return on investment here; as the coachee practices and builds her leadership muscle, she becomes a model of leadership for those she comes into contact with. This produces a multiplier effect of the coaching, where the benefits extend well beyond the individual coachee.

Coaching for improved performance


Contracting in this circumstance is often very specific and must be carefully navigated. A performance weakness has been identified, and the coaching is aimed toward understanding what may underlie the performance issue, then working with the coachee to develop strategies and practices to address gaps. There are always at least two important stakeholders to this coaching arrangement: the employee’s manager and someone from Human Resources. Since this is often one of the last steps in the remediation process, it is important that the coach is provided access to information that supports the manager’s decision to put the employee on a performance improvement plan (PIP). As a matter of fact, the coach in this case may stipulate that access to such information be provided as a condition of entering into a coaching contract. The aim is to not enter into coaching with a coachee who is a blank slate; that would not be appropriate here. The coach in this case would need to have the benefit of the contextual background, and to understand which diagnostic and/or development tools have already been used so that he can be effective quickly. As these are highly sensitive coaching arrangements, it is incumbent upon the coach to provide input and/or feedback to the sponsor on the specifics of the coaching contract, i.e., the duration of the intervention, the timing and nature of periodic check-ins with the manager, and the role of the manager in supporting the coachee as they engage in the practices developed with the coach.

Rules of engagement and process

In some cases, the coachee welcomes the coaching, as she sees it as an opportunity to move forward, either in her current organization or somewhere else. But this is not always the case. By the time the coach is brought in, the coachee has been evaluated, assessed, counseled and perhaps reprimanded. It is the coach’s role here to provide a safe haven, a place where the coachee can look inward, process all of the feedback she has received (solicited or not!), and be self-determinant about her future. As with all coaching engagements, perhaps even more so here, creating a sense of safety is paramount. Willingness of the coachee to participate fully in the process must be assessed early on.

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