Expert Series Part 3: Getting results fast while coaching
Solving the 4 Biggest Challenges of Coaching Leaders:
Getting Results – Fast!
Kim Ades, MBA
The coaches I work with and train complain regularly about the same basic 4 challenges associated with coaching leaders:
- Establishing Credibility
- Facilitating Transparency and Openness
- Getting Results – Fast!
- Keeping Them Engaged
In this segment, we are going to focus on creating a coaching program that enables our leaders to get results fast.
Leaders typically have a few characteristics in common, and these need to be taken into account when we design coaching programs that are intended to deliver outstanding results.
Speed is vital to leaders: Leaders have no time or patience to wait forever for results to kick in, therefore coaching programs that have a beginning, a middle and an end, at least initially, are far more effective. It is important to structure short, intense coaching programs with leaders as opposed to long, drawn-out experiences. Leaders usually look for a coach when they have a problem they need to solve quickly – it is important that you can help them solve their problems in a reasonable amount of time. In order for this to happen, it is recommended that you have frequent contact with your clients through weekly meetings AND daily touch points via email or a daily journaling process.
Leaders need proof of effectiveness: Tangible evidence of impact is crucial for leaders. It is important for you to document the coaching process so that leaders have a sense for what they are accomplishing with you. You can do it for them by taking notes and capturing measurable data, or they can do it for themselves through the process of journaling daily. Journaling will enable them to monitor their progress on a weekly basis, as well as allow them to go back to see how far they have come. The beauty of journaling is that they are documenting the progress themselves, so the impact tends to be higher and the proof more compelling.
Leaders like to confirm their instincts with data: Leaders tend to lean on a number of inputs to help them make important decisions. As a coach, holding up a mirror to their behaviors or even asking critical questions verbally is sometimes not enough to help the client see things from a different perspective. It can be very valuable to engage the client in a written exchange that gives them time to really process your questions and respond with a layered approach (i.e. question, response, question, response). This method allows you to slow down the leader’s thinking and have them go deeper to identify the real root of their challenges. The outcome is that they are creating a flow of data that enables them to analyze a problem and come up with a viable solution. Seeing data in writing can often be a catalyst for important strategic decisions.
They are busy: Leaders are always on the move, have heavily stacked schedules, and are always ready and wanting to move on to the next thing. Using an online technology for coaching can help you to be in communication with them even while they are traveling and taking care of business. This approach will increase your access to them, as well as increase their access to you, while making sure that the coaching process is moving forward in between meetings (which may be far apart depending on the client). An online technology will help to maintain your coaching momentum in between coaching calls and ensure that you are always focusing on results.
Leaders think differently:Asking your clients to journal daily is one of the most proven and effective ways to access the rich inner life of leaders and identify the patterns of beliefs that are creating challenges for your clients. The faster you can connect the dots and show them how their thinking is preventing their success, the faster they are to see the problem and make a change. Once they can see their problem with clarity, leaders are quick to implement change.