– How Behavioral Coaching is being used today:
-in the Workplace
(Adapted from the book ‘Behavioral Coaching’ by Skiffington and Zeus, 2004. -With permission from the publisher McGraw-Hill Professional -New York).
During the years of conducting our coach training and certification courses, we have tracked the ongoing development of Behavioral Coaching (BC). Some of the major areas where we have trained coaches to successfully work/specialize in include: executive coaching (CEO’s), transformational leadership coaching, coaching female executives, coaching in education, business coaching, cross-cultural coaching, sales coaching, coaching in the health care industry and personal coaching etc .
Coaching for leadership development occurs with selected executives, senior managers and teams or as part of a company-wide coaching initiative. Coaches, both internal and external, are also contracted to work within a specific business unit or with individual referrals. Some areas of leadership coaching include: leaders in transition, new hires, high potential individuals being ‘groomed” for promotion, individuals in new positions, management competencies to complement technical expertise, developing and communicating a strategic vision, strategic planning, culture change, ambassadorship, leading executive teams, overcoming isolation and interpersonal skills such as communication and dealing effectively with colleagues and with power.
Business coaches work with small to medium enterprises to develop and grow the business. Coaching entrepreneurs, start-ups, mergers and developing a business in order to sell it are some of the more common areas of business coaching. Within these broad categories, behavioural trained coaches, who usually have a background in small business, coach for business or strategic planning, developing and growing the market, staff relations, networking, life balance, time management and partnership conflicts.
Coaching leaders for transformational changes involves changing the very way they think, increasing their ability to deal better with ambiguity and be more creative and reflective. It effects change in what the leader knows and enhances their ability to step back and reflect on assumptions previously taken for granted. These may be about culture, values, the self, organizational objectives and vision.
Some documented benefits of leadership coaching include: enhanced ability to develop and foster trust; increased accountability within the organization; developing and maintaining more satisfactory relationships with the Board, shareholders and employees; enhanced credibility and influence as an ambassador; increased ability to align others to the company’s vision and mission; successful change management projects; enhanced managerial competencies; a growth in self-responsibility in self and others; developing a culture that truly values learning and development.
The manager as coach
Coaching involves managers aligning their team and employees to the organization’s objectives and vision and fostering independent and creative problem-solving. Another expectation of managers is that they develop their staff. There is, after all, a consistent body of research that shows a direct link between human capital management and superior shareholder returns.
Coaching offers managers a methodology for enhancing the individual or team’s current skills. They thereby develop employees who are committed and trusted to use their discretion and judgment to act in ways that are congruent with organizational objectives and goals. Managers have to manage and coaching is simply a vehicle for them to enhance their management skills.
Coaching executive women
Women executives not only face those issues common to all leaders as discussed above, but have to contend with other challenges, some external and some a function of their internalized beliefs and misconceptions about women in leadership.
Because of the increasing number of women in the workforce and in executive positions, there is a greater demand for women to be coached. Some of the most common coaching issues that surface include: life balance and the expectations of peers and family, political manoeuvring and relationship building with key stakeholders, being assertive, delegating and managing dissent and conflict.
Coaching Program Managers (CPM’s)
Coaching Program Managers, trained in behavioral coaching methods and techniques, fulfill many roles. Typically, they are involved in coaching programs from their inception. As internal coaches, they often introduce coaching into the organization and oversee and manage its delivery. They may also be the person designated to manage a coaching program introduced by an external coach provider.
Behavioral Coaching and Education
One of the expanding areas of Behavioral Coaching is in the field of education. Behavioral trained coaches provide individuals, groups, teachers, students and administrative personnel with a wide variety of coaching interventions. They train senior teachers to coach new and experienced teachers and students as well as establishing and monitoring peer coaching programs. Coaches also work with students on life skills, study skills and social skills as well as career choice and preparation.
-Coaching the teacher
Behavioral Coaching is not simply another term for traditional mentoring or peer supervision between teachers. Instead, coaching focuses on assessment of the teachers’ strengths and weaknesses, developing a personalized action plan and working to the coachee’s agenda rather than that of the governing educational body. The coach’s role then, is distinct from supervision and is unrelated to performance evaluation. Of course, if the coachee wishes to set objectives around performance evaluation, the coach acts in a strictly confidential role as support, guide and giver of feedback.
Experienced teachers also derive significant benefits from coaching, especially in relation to enhancing their skills and general professional development as educators. The aim of peer coaching is to refine present teaching skills and it has proved particularly effective with senior teachers.
Peer coaching allows teachers to share a professional dialogue about the science and art of teaching. It involves teachers receiving support, assistance and feedback from fellow teachers. Typically, all teachers involved in the peer coaching program are trained in the fundamentals of behavioral coaching including goal setting, action planning, interpersonal and helping skills.
Teachers, of course, have to teach and they do not have the resources or time to individually coach all students. However, two types of coaching, namely Cognitive Coaching and Coaching for children with Attention Deficit Disorder have been translated to the classroom.
Teachers also employ behavioral coaching techniques when coaching students in a group setting. The group may be composed of students who have a common problem to address or may be part of a life skills coaching curriculum. Indeed, a study of socially-rejected fifth graders found that coaching improved their social skills and increased their ability to be liked by peers.
-Coaching for academic success
Because few high schools, colleges or universities have the resources to offer students individualized attention, more students are employing Behavioural Coaches to work with them on both personal and academic issues.
Coaching for careers and career transitions offers individuals support, resources and guidance during what are often stressful times. Many organizations recognize the importance of career development as a means of retaining staff. Hence, they offer internal career coaching programs often conducted by external coaches.
Coaching in health-care settings
Behavioral trained coaches work with individual physicians, supervisors and administrative personnel in hospitals and other public and private health organizations. Some of the coaching areas include: personal leadership, management skills, managing interpersonal conflicts with and among staff, career development and career transition. Executive coaching services around leadership and management skills in hospitals typically focus on competencies for doctors in management and leadership positions. These include resource allocation, strategic planning and meeting the demand for profitability while maintaining medical values and ethics.
In our first book (‘The Complete Guide to Coaching at Work”), we explored sales coaching in relation to the following areas: negative beliefs and expectations that can impact on sales performance and the coach’s role in working with salespersons in the ‘flow’, ‘panic’ and ‘drone’ zones. We also discussed coaching skills for the sales manager. Increasingly, behavioral trained coaches work with sales managers to enhance their management and coaching competencies.
Coaching individuals and teams in cross-cultural settings is a rapidly expanding niche for behavioral trained Coaches. Such coaches are specialists who know about and can guide and support others through the complex process of cultural adaptation.
Chartered Public Accountants (CPA’s) and Behavioral Coaching
Increasingly, Chartered Public Accountants (CPAs), attorneys and other financial advisors are coaching other practitioners and entrepreneurs as an add-on their traditional services. CPA’s particularly, are recognizing the need to become a trusted advisor to their clients, being able to work on vision, mission and strategic planning. Studies show that their clients benefit from coaching especially in the areas of smarter goal setting and a more balanced life style.
Others areas where Behavioral Coaching is used:
The application of Behavioral Coaching is not limited to the above mentioned areas. It also entails coaching coaches including those in the executive, business, personal and sports arenas. Furthermore, behavioral coaching is carried out in the military, the civil service and other public institutions and non-profit organizations as well as the legal profession. Christian coaching and Spirituality coaching also employ behavioral coaching methods, tools and techniques.
In summary, the application of Behavioral Coaching methodologies is employed in a growing number of areas. These include corporations, small businesses, public and private organizations such as health and education and the personal development realm. Within this vast arena, behavioral trained coaches form an alliance based on trust and commitment that aims to foster productivity, growth and well being according to the coachee’s agenda.
Dr Skiffington’s industry-proven, fast-tracked, 4-Day Certified Master Coach Course (in N.Y., London, Sydney etc) meets the critical needs for business and executive coaches to be trained and mentored in the use validated, reliable behavioral coaching models, tools and techniques.