Most businesses now expect their managers to have coaching skills and there are a lot of leaders who are very talented in this. However, these managers should also receive coaching – from their managers or external coaches – to make sure they are fully equipped to be able to support and nurture talent.
I’m a qualified coach with more than 13 years experience and strongly believe that it is important to practise what you preach. As a result, I have a coach.
However, this got me thinking about whether coaches are a pain in the neck to coach, what should people with coaching skills be looking for from their own coach and what the benefits of coaches being coached really are?
Getting the most from a coach
I saw Jenny again this week and, inevitably, as I prepared for our session I asked myself the coaching questions, considering my goals, my challenges and my role as a business leader. Some would suggest this removes the need for an external coach.
I disagree. I want my coaching to make a difference and I firmly believe that you need someone to help you through the challenges and questions you can’t coach yourself on. These are the difficult questions you don’t want to confront or challenge, but you will ultimately have to face.
Before the session I dug deep and looked for things I wasn’t coaching myself on. This process helped to shine a spotlight on what would help to deliver the results I needed. This is something everyone should consider ahead of coaching sessions.
Get this right and, while you may make yourself feel vulnerable, you will get a fantastic sense of perspective, some poignant insights, a clearer direction and will leave with some great answers of your own.
Benefits of coaching for the coachee
When I saw Jenny, like any other session, it is always driven by the coachee and is a discussion around the key issues. The coach should be asking you exploratory questions and helping you to clarify your thinking.
The challenge when you are coaching HR practitioners and other coaches, is that their professional habit is to ask other people questions. The result is that these people can find it very hard to avoid deflecting the question and thinking about others. In these sessions you should stop and think about yourself.
A good coach will always bring it back to those in the room. They will provide a safe space for you to test out your ideas and create a non-judgmental environment that will allow you to access a much-higher quality of thinking.
Crucially, it’s about getting you to look at things differently and leave with something that is achievable and will have high impact. That’s why coaches also need to be coached.