31 May

Can you coach your subordinates?

Quite simple, the answer is no you cannot coach your subordinates. Why, you may ask?

A coaching relationship is seen as an equal partnership between two people and unfortunately whichever way you dress it up, you and your subordinates within the business environment are not equal parties. You are their boss.

It is therefore recommended that you take on a mentorship role, which is the type of relationship which works extremely well in this type of situation as the mentor’s job is to impart their knowledge, experience and learnings onto a less experienced mentee. The relationship is equal in respect, but not in status.

If however you want your team members to engage in a positive and impactful coaching experience then you must accept that you are not the right person for the job and that a colleague from another department or an external coach should be earmarked for the job.

You may have the most genuine of intentions to enter the coaching relationship completely open, unbiased and non-judgemental. You may even verbalise this genuine intent to your subordinates. However, a positive, trusting coaching relationship starts with the coachee feeling completely free to talk about their own experiences, feelings and goals and unfortunately doing this with their boss is not a winning formula. In their eyes, you are not an equal or an unbiased objective voice. They see you as the boss, the person who completes their performance appraisal. The person who they seek advice and guidance from during challenging times. You may merge some coaching techniques into your management style, which is extremely commendable, but it doesn’t make for a coaching relationship.

You may disagree, so for arguments sake let’s turn this scenario around and answer these questions.
1) How comfortable would you feel if you were being coached by your boss?
2) How truthful would you be about how you felt if you were coached by your boss?
3) How would you feel about your relationship with your boss outside of the coaching relationship? Would you be able to draw a clear line between boss and coach?
4) How truthful would you be in the coaching session, if your boss was your coach?

Remember, coaching is not about what you or the business wants for the coachee or what you think is best for the coachee. It’s about them and what they want. Doing what’s best for them, may just include the option of bringing in an external coach.

26 May

What makes a good coach?

Recently I was asked “What makes a good coach?”

There are literally a hundred different answers to this question. There is also no exact right or wrong answer, as it depends purely on who is asking and what they are actually looking for in a coach at a particular time.

Different characteristics will mean different things to different people. Certain personality traits may be higher on your list of importance when it comes to selecting a coach than on someone else’s list. However the one trait that I believe everyone should see as key to what makes a good coach, and that should be on the top of everyone’s list when in the coach selection process, is trust and the coach’s ability to instil trust into the coaching relationship. Here is why I say that:

  1. Trust is first and foremost the most important component of any part of the coaching relationship. The coaching partnership is built on a foundation of mutual trust and respect.  Without trust, there will be no true relationship and the coaching results would most probably be poor.
  2. As a client you are trusting someone to keep your coaching sessions private and confidential.
  3. As a client you are trusting that the coach has got your best interest at heart. There shouldn’t be any hidden agendas or commission kick-backs down the line.
  4. You are trusting that the coach is holding a non-judgemental safe space for you to work through your goals. You need to feel comfortable in your coaching sessions with no fear of being judged.

So the next time you are investigating the services of a coach, don’t just think about what personality traits would work well for you. Ask yourself two vital questions. “How will this coach instil trust into this potential partnership?” and  “Can I trust them?”

Need professional coaching assistance? Contact Nicole nicole@tikumu.co.nz