“I never cease to be amazed at the power of the coaching process to draw out the skills or talent that was previously hidden within an individual, and which invariably finds a way to solve a problem previously thought unsolvable.” –John Russell, Managing Director, Harley-Davidson Europe Ltd.
The DCLC approach to business coaching has been described by previous clients as a co-creative partnership. My clients usually seek a coach to assist with visioning, planning, and achieving accountability for improving personal or corporate performance. Ultimately, I help the client to engineer his or her success by focused planning (with my input) and then take deliberate steps to become successful (with my oversight and counsel). Unlike traditional consulting engagements, a coaching relationship includes a mutual awareness of inherent strengths and weaknesses; bringing value from objective assessments to reinforce and assist the client; and growth in a relaxed environment through the process of learning new skills and adjusting nonproductive behaviors.
DCLC Coaching Approach – Best Practices
- Establish a relationship of trust and respect with the client, form a set of measurable goals
- Develop mutual confidence through honesty and reliability, form a road map for success
- Guide the design and implementation of the plan with the associated behavioral goals
- Work hard to ensure the client maintains the agenda for regular check-ins using the goals and road map; make defined measurable progress
- Monitor progress toward goals and watch for and reinforce positive change
- Provide active support for behavioral change using active listening and clear feedback
- Refine and accomplish course correction to with specific steps to support change and progress
- Deliver solid attention to detail through appreciative, reflective inquiry on goals and road map progress
- Demonstrate ability to consciously hear and advise on the basis of wisdom and best practices
- Formulate and ask direct questions to stimulate learning (Socratic methodology)
- Using positive regard and respect, model and reflect possibilities for growth — engage in direct communication
- Model clear, straightforward exchange of information; stimulate self-reflection and self-awareness
- Model and reflect back information and images that support the ability to respond with personal mastery
- Honor confidentiality and demonstrated ability to maintain privacy
Essential First Steps
Coaching begins with 4 essential steps: gather intelligence on the current state of the client, define the end state, form a plan with a roadmap to move from the current state to the end state; set the stage for weekly encounters with a positive mind set and a rigorous agenda; collect status appropriate information through asking the right questions; and deliver measured advice, course correction, and positive reinforcement for successful actions.
After the initial meetings; the goal definition, and planning sessions, a road map for success is implemented. Then the weekly encounters begin. The client is responsible for establishing an agenda for each coaching session. The coach serves to clarify and transform the agenda into action steps through listening intently, asking powerful questions, and serving as a catalyst in moving the client toward taking action and achieving desired solutions with suggestions, best practices, and problem analysis. The coach’s total focus is on the client, and the client must be willing to be coached as demonstrated by such behaviors as providing the agenda for each session, developing meaningful projects for the area of responsibility, and changing behaviors and processes that do not work from a personal or corporate perspective.
As a coach, my primary responsibility is to listen to the coaching agenda, empower the client toward solutions, and to focus on what the client wants. The client is responsible for bringing the agenda, making a commitment to achieving goals, providing feedback to the coach regarding what has worked well and what has not, and participating actively in the coaching session. These sessions are not therapy sessions. Rather, my role could be described as a “thinking partner” who empowers the client to achieve the described goals. The coaching relationship develops optimal momentum when the commitment to meet, in person or by phone, is established at the beginning of the relationship. Typically, the commitment is for a 6- to 12-month time frame and the coaching pair meets 3 to 4 times per month, or once per week. Sessions are for approximately 60 minutes, with some flexibility for regular e-mail contact.
“What’s really driving the boom in coaching, is this: as we move from 30 miles an hour to 70 to 120 to 180……as we go from driving straight down the road to making right turns and left turns to abandoning cars and getting motorcycles…the whole game changes, and a lot of people are trying to keep up, learn how not to fall.” — John Kotter, Professor of Leadership, Harvard Business School.