Expert Series Part 1: Establishing credibility while coaching
Solving the 4 Biggest Challenges of Coaching Leaders:
By: Kim Ades, MBA
After working with hundreds of leaders and training coaches worldwide to have more impact as a coach, I have discovered that by and large, there are 4 key challenges associated with coaching leaders:
- Establishing Credibility
- Facilitating Transparency and Openness
- Getting Results – Fast!
- Keeping Them Engaged
In this series, we will address each one of these challenges and provide some tools and perspectives on how to overcome them.
Let’s begin with establishing credibility. For many coaches this is a difficult hurdle to overcome. How does a coach, particularly one with little experience or track record, build the level of trust that is necessary for transformative coaching to take place? How does a coach deal with the resistance or even disregard that a leader might have about coaching? Even more importantly, how does a coach overcome their own insecurities about coaching leaders who may have achieved more than them?
Here are a few tips and suggestions:
- When one lacks experience and the credibility of a track record, the ONLY thing they can replace it with is enthusiasm and dogged determination to just be given a chance. Leaders love persistence, they love passion, and have great respect for individuals who politely keep asking for a chance. Don’t be afraid to share your enthusiasm and don’t let a silly little ‘no’ get in your way.
- As a coach, don’t try to sell your experience or your track record – instead, sell your coaching process and explain why it’s so powerful. Share your philosophy about coaching and share why this is the approach you take as a coach. Describe the length of your coaching term, how often you will meet, and what you will do to extract crucial data that is necessary to move the client forward. Consider using assessments, a journaling tool, or a series of worksheets and exercises to gain better insight to who they are, their values, their perspectives, and their past experiences.
- Suggest a pilot. Leaders are always hesitant to engage in long-term commitments, but they are far more willing to experiment in short term trials. Suggest a week long coaching period with a phone call at the beginning, a week of daily journaling, and a phone call at the end. As a result of the daily journaling you will certainly be able to drill down and identify one or two key issues that you can help to address. You may even be able to demonstrate your effectiveness by responding to the journals and wrapping it up on the second call. With leaders, demonstrating insight usually goes a long way. The key to this approach is to ensure that you are collecting enough data to gain crucial insight related to the thoughts, beliefs, values and behaviors of the leader.
- Don’t be afraid to be bold and challenge them when it’s appropriate – they look for people who can see them clearly and really help them grow.
Establishing credibility is really about knowing with every fiber of your being that you can make a difference and have a methodology to back it up.