When you call
Coaching engagements usually start with a call from a senior executive – sometimes they are calling on their own behalf, or they may have one of their direct reports in mind.
Typically the person needs help with specific issue: maybe a transition, or maybe a slump. Other times, they are looking to raise the bar on their performance. In all cases, the feeling is that there is more potential waiting to be released.
During the call, Andy gets an overview of the situation and its importance to the wider organization. He also wants to learn about the coacher’s willingness to engage in coaching, and about any approaches that have been pursued previously.
If Andy believes there could be a good match, he speaks individually to the coachee and the coachee’s boss – often face-to-face, but otherwise over Skype. This stage is crucial – all parties have feel comfortable that they can work together, and be prepared to agree ground rules about commitments, confidentiality and so on. At this stage the parties also agree a set of objectives and measures for the engagement, enabling Andy to make a written proposal, typically offering a range of options.
The Coaching Process
Once the organization hires Andy, he meets the coachee to reaffirm the objectives and get started.
Unlike other coaches, Andy doesn’t rely on a formula or standard template. Because of his background, he is able to call upon an extremely wide range of interventions. Rapid progress is ensured by a feedback-driven cycle from session to session: appraise the situation in light of goals, generate and select alternatives for action, plan to act, take action, reflect on feedback, and repeat.
Andy and the coachee communicate through a combination of media: email, Skype, phone and face-to-face as appropriate. Where necessary, Andy will go and get feedback on the client’s behalf, using for example, 360 interviews, talking to colleagues, suppliers, customers or other key people. He may also provide personal observations of the client in their presentations, meetings and other interactions. The emphasis is on new behaviours, since it is these that will bring new results.
Throughout, Andy is looking for the coachee to exceed their expectations of themselves and others, to think bigger and achieve more.