Being a Sunbeam – the blog

Leader as Coach
As we bring this series for the Leader as Coach to a close, let’s reflect on some underpinning beliefs that support the application of the ICF competencies. These  beliefs guide our actions and keep us acting in the best interest of our people. As the leader, we can sometimes be […]

Underpinning beliefs: Leader as Coach series

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In coaching, it’s the other person’s responsibility to manage progress and accountability, not the coach’s responsibility.  But in our coaching role, we can still help them to hold themselves accountable by asking a simple question towards the end of the session: How will you keep yourself accountable? There are many […]

Managing Progress and Accountability: Leader as Coach Series

planning and goal-setting
Your coachee has come up with various options of what they could do to resolve their issue.  Now it’s time to pin those down with planning and goal-setting.  Which of the options are they going to choose to take forward, when will they do it/them, who might they need to […]

Leader as Coach: Planning and Goal-setting

designing actions
Coaching is about change.  To change, we need to take action of some kind.  Before we can take action, we need to consider the possibilities, designing actions, and then make a choice about which action(s) to take. Sometimes, people have come to coaching feeling like they have just two ways […]

Leader as Coach: Designing Actions

creating awareness
Creating awareness comes bit by bit, and then all at once.  Slowly, slowly, we (the leader as coach) help the other person to get clear on what they want to figure out;  we ask questions that get them to a place of new knowing; we listen in a way that […]

Leader as Coach: Creating Awareness

Leaders need to get comfortable with direct communication in coaching conversations.  No flannel, just directness.  I am frequently asked the question, “how can you be non-directive at the same time as providing direct communication?  Aren’t those diametrically opposite?” Direct communication is an offer, to which we should be unattached.  If […]

Leader as Coach: Direct Communication

The most powerful questioning does not require a question at all; but silence.  That silence that allows the person to take their thinking where they need to take it, rather than where you think it should go next. That’s it.  That’s all there is for today’s post!  That’s not true, […]

Leader as Coach: Powerful Questioning

Active listening is as much about silence as anything else.  Silence is golden.  That includes in your role as leader coach. Silence allows the thinker to think.  So get comfortable with silence. And when the thinker does speak, pay attention.  Notice what they are saying, but also how they are […]

Leader as Coach: Active Listening

coaching presence
One of the things people often say as a result of coaching is that it’s the first time they feel they have been really heard, properly heard, fully humanly heard. That’s because of the total coaching presence of the person alongside them.  Being 100% with the person, no distractions.  How […]

Leader as Coach: Coaching presence

trust and intimacy
Establishing Trust and Intimacy with the person you are coaching is paramount if they are to do their best thinking.  They need to feel confident that they can be vulnerable and share their truths, their whole truths and nothing but their truths.  If they keep certain things to themselves for […]

Leader as Coach: Establishing Trust and Intimacy

In this series about coaching competencies, we move to establishing the coaching agreement, or in one word, contracting. If you add contracting to your conversations, those conversations are much more likely to be transformational, as they will be focused rather than meandering. There are three aspects to contracting: The Big […]

Leader as Coach: Establishing the Coaching Agreement/ Contracting

Last week, I set out the International Coach Federation coaching competencies.  Now it’s time to delve into each one in turn, starting with Meeting Ethical Guidelines and Professional Standards. You might think this doesn’t apply to leaders as coaches, only professional coaches.  But it’s just as important for leaders as […]

Leader as Coach: Meeting Ethical Guidelines and Professional ...

coaching competencies
The case for coaching is clear.  Now let’s look at how leaders apply coaching competencies in their work with their team members.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll be highlighting the International Coach Federation coaching competencies, and how they translate into the workplace. As a taster, here they are: Setting […]

Coaching competencies for leaders

In this International Coaching Week, Michelle Lucas, Danielle Brooks and I would like to provoke a discussion about coaching supervision; in particular why some coaches don’t feel the need for it. We’ve written a 3 minute storybook about Helen. Helen is a good coach. Read her story (simply click on the […]

Supervision: Seeing Beyond the Blindspots

blind spot
During an action learning facilitator training day that I ran recently, one of the participants said that she learned about blind spots she had – by practicing in front of others and getting feedback – that had never come out during her supervision of her action learning facilitation.  She was […]

Making blind spots visible through mentor coaching

coaching supervision
Why coaching supervision?  I recently recorded a 5 minute video for coaches who are not yet convinced that supervision will bring them value.  If this is you, take a look.  I’d welcome your thoughts. You can also read more in this article for Coaching at Work: Stay Sharp, Stay Safe […]

Why coaching supervision? Use your full palette of ...

learning cycle
Now you’ve read about action learning as individualised leadership development and seen what action learning looks like in practice, let’s explore some case studies of how people have used the opportunity to step up as a leader.  Bear in mind that these have been anonymised for confidentiality as specific details cannot be shared. […]

Action Learning Case Studies

What is team coaching? “Systemic Team Coaching is a process by which a team coach works with a whole team, both when they are together and when they are apart, in order to help them both improve their collective performance and how they work together, and also how they develop […]

Team Coaching – a definition

Creating A Coaching Culture
Creating a Coaching Culture requires the same kind of rigour as any other culture change.  That includes articulating your end-point and how you will recognise success when you see it, then pulling a multitude of levers to enable you to get from where you are today to that end goal.  Those […]

Creating a Coaching Culture

We’ve concluded our series about how coaching can (and should?) support the employee experience.  For those of you who wish to catch up on posts that you have missed, or if you like to have everything all in one place like I do, here is the full catalogue. The key messages […]

Coaching to Support the Employee Experience

Coaching for SMEs: focus is key As I prepare for the New Forest Business Expo, I’ve been thinking about how best to articulate the benefits of coaching to owners and members of SMEs.  In many respects, the coaching process is no different from the process for any other kind of business person; but what […]

Coaching for Small Businesses

Many people assume that face-to-face coaching must be better than virtual coaching (by telephone coaching or skype).  But a 2011 research study* featured in Consulting Psychology Journal shows that coaching at a distance is just as effective as face-to-face. Coaching by telephone is more effective than face-to-face In my experience, […]

The surprising truth about virtual coaching

Last week’s post on virtual coaching got me thinking about the similarities to walking coaching.  I live in the New Forest, in Hampshire, which is the perfect place for walking in nature – and therefore for walking coaching. What’s different about walking coaching? Walking coaching creates forward motion, physically and […]

The power of Walking Coaching

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I often have to explain that coaching is not the same as mentoring, training or counselling. I thought it might be useful to take a step back and reflect on the differences between various forms of capability development options, and their different uses.

Coaching, training or mentoring?

drama-triangle-rescuer 4
The drama triangle. Like the parent, adult, child model that we looked at on Friday, this is from the Transactional Analysis world. I use it on myself all the time, to work out where I am operating and whether there is a more useful place to be in the Winner’s […]

Drama Triangle to Winner’s Triangle

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Peer to peer coaching for Individualised Leader Development, using action learning Everyone is unique – and so are their leadership development needs.  So ‘one size fits all’ leadership development programmes often fail to hit the mark. Coaching and action learning both provide more individualised support and challenge. Participants in an […]

Developing Individuals through Action learning