This is a guest blog I wrote for SISRA Ltd that they published on their web site – www.sisra.com – a great company that supports schools and training providers understand and use their data.
The promotion of coaching as a leadership style is gaining prominence with lots of people advocating it as an approach. So, what’s in it for you?
The development of your staff is a significant responsibility for every leader. By paying a genuine interest in each member of staff and helping them to improve they will feel more valued, perform better and your organisation will positively benefit. With no cost to you other than a little time it’s also great value for money.
The beauty of coaching is that solutions to problems and new ways of working are all developed from within your organisation’s system; staff understand the context of how your organisation operates that an external solution wouldn’t so that they fit and compliment your existing ways.
So coaching isn’t telling someone how something should be done. Those that do the job are the ones who best understand what works well and what frustrates better working. Coaching is helping the staff member to think deeper, to fully understand how things are and to look beyond the current at an alternative and better future. Once you get started the potential you release will amaze you.
So, what do you need to do?
Listen. Listen to understand your colleagues. Allow them time to think without interruption. Ask open questions to prompt their thinking. For example, ‘Why is that?’, ‘When does it occur?’, ‘When doesn’t it occur?’, ‘How can it be changed?’, ‘Is there anything else?’. The temptation to give your answer will be immense but resist giving it. Your solutions won’t be theirs so they won’t own it and are more likely to be less enthusiastic about implementing it than they would their own ideas. If they dry up of ideas, maybe make an offering; ‘Would it help if I make a suggestion?’. If they are willing to hear your idea, present it as something they can consider, ‘If you tried this, how would it be different?’.
Coaching doesn’t need to be formal. Try the approach in your next 1-2-1 or maybe when a member of staff comes to you with a problem. Fight the urge to give them your answer and try a short informal coaching session – you both might be surprised at the innovative improvements that emerge! p