Being a Sunbeam – the blog

Coaching culture
In the sixth blog of my “When to Build a Coaching Culture Series” I talk about setting goals and establishing the measures of success. It’s hard to measure the value of time, particularly time to think. If you want to spend money in organisations, you (more often than not) need […]

How will you know that your coaching culture is making a difference?

In the fifth blog of my “When to Build a Coaching Culture Series”, I discuss where to start when build a coaching culture. If you are an individual leader, you can only start with yourself.  So, start there when building a coaching culture. Start asking rather than telling now. If […]

Where to start with building a coaching culture

In the fourth blog of my “When to Build a Coaching Culture Series”, I discuss who can build a coaching culture. Anyone can start coaching, from any seat.  Anyone can create a ripple effect through the people with whom they use a coach-approach. Have you heard the story about the […]

Who can build a coaching culture?

You’ll know it’s time to build a coaching culture when:  Your organisation is going through change (see my previous post) (oh, wait, isn’t that every organisation?!) Decisions are being made at levels that are paid too much for the complexity of those decisions Strategic imperatives that affect the long-term future […]

What does a coaching culture look and feel ...

Clare Norman
In the second blog of my “When to Build a Coaching Culture Series”, I discuss how organisations face and instigate change at an increasing rate.  That’s never going to change if they want to survive and thrive.  But despite knowing that change is here to stay, employees still feel a […]

Want performance to get better?

Why Build a Coaching Culture? Ask yourself these questions… Do you ever notice yourself feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work you need to get done, with not enough time to get it done?  Do you ever notice how you go straight in to problem solving mode when a team […]

Need to Push Decision-making Downwards?

In this series for the Leader as Coach, we’ve looked at multiple conversation points where coaching – or at least a coach approach – will engage your employees more than telling them. In brief, whenever you have any of these conversations, structure them by:  contracting at the start for what […]

When to Use a Coach Approach ~ Summary: ...

Training alone reaps a 20% change in behaviour.  Training plus coach leads to an 80% change in behaviour. So, we’ll get a much better return on investment from the training that our people attend if we add that extra element before and after. What does that look like? It’s simple: […]

Using a Coach Approach Before and After Training ...

Using a coach approach can help us to manage our boss as well as our employees, Coaching Upwards.  Each time I have had a new boss, I have sat down with them in the first couple of weeks to talk to them about my needs of them.  I usually start […]

Coaching Upwards ~ Leader as Coach: When to ...

Coaching and performance management don’t go together.  There, I’ve said it.  Why not? Because, your employees may not trust you enough to tell you their real desires and needs, or share their vulnerabilities with you, if they think that this might be held against them in the performance management process. […]

Performance Management ~ Leader as Coach: When to ...

transition 2
You might think that once a person has handed in their notice and leaving, that’s it.  You can’t afford to waste your precious time on them, when you need to look forward to finding their replacement and getting them trained up. But wait. This person might be a great asset […]

Leaving an Organisation ~ Leader as Coach: When ...

career change
One of your team members appears to be disengaged and bored with his role.  He’s very capable, but his heart just isn’t in it anymore.  You’ve been doing what you can to motivate him, but you haven’t managed to find that sweet-spot in your team that would make the most […]

Career Change ~ Leader as Coach: When to ...

change in role
Often in organisations, the scope and scale of a person’s role can change.  That may be part of a reorganisation so not necessarily welcome, or, more welcome, to give the employee extra capacity to learn and grow. As this person’s leader, we may need to teach them first, before we […]

Coaching for Change in Role ~ Leader as ...

Maternity and paternity returners benefit hugely from coaching.  They’ve been through a massive change, and that will affect their return to work.  Those who have taken a sabbatical, study leave or long-term sick leave might also benefit from support as they are re-joining the workforce. Coaching for endings for those […]

Re-joining the Workforce ~ Leader as Coach: When ...

changing role
One of your team members has found a great new role inside the organisation.  Moving roles internally is a time to celebrate with them – not to feel sorry for yourself because you now need to find a replacement and train them up.  Too many leaders hold onto their team […]

Coaching Someone who is Moving Roles Internally ~ ...

authentic leadership
Your team member has proven themselves to be a strong performer; so much so that they have earned a promotion.  That means things will change.  Not just their status and their pay-grade, but the expectations (yours, theirs and other stakeholders’). So coaching is important to support them through the change, […]

Coaching for Promotion ~ Leader as Coach: When ...

new joiner
You have a new member on your team, new to the organisation even.  How do you support and challenge them?  If they don’t know how to do the job, then of course, training is the right intervention, at least to start with.  But if they have already done the job […]

Coaching a New Joiner ~ Leader as Coach: ...

So far, we’ve looked at one-to-ones and feedback that uses a coach-approach.  Let’s move on to team meetings. As always, contracting is really important, to ensure that everyone know what they are there for.  What’s the purpose of the meeting, what are the desired outcomes and what will success look […]

Team Meetings ~ Leader as Coach: When to ...

corridor conversations
Coaching, contrary to popular belief, doesn’t need to be a one hour conversation hidden behind closed doors away from the work, it can be short and sweet too, ‘corridor conversations’. Tweet This! Afterall, as Teresa Amabile says, any progress is good progress.         Here are three scenarios. […]

Corridor Conversations ~ Leader as Coach: When to ...

Within your one-to-ones, and as you see things that merit it, you will want to give frequent feedback to keep your employee motivated and on-track. Creating and delivering a specific message based on observed performance is vital to effective feedback.  You may have told a fellow manager, a co-worker or […]

Giving Frequent Feedback ~ Leader as Coach: When ...

Coach Approach
When to use a Coach Approach  – Overview Previously, you’ve read here that it’s more difficult for a leader to coach his or her team members directly, due to the conflict of interest that you have: you want them to perform well in this role, where they may want to […]

One to Ones ~ Leader as Coach: When ...

coaching supervision
The ICF describes Coaching Supervision as; “the interaction that occurs when a coach periodically brings his or her coaching work experiences to a coaching supervisor in order to engage in reflective dialogue and collaborative learning for the development and benefit of the coach and his or her clients.” I’ve been […]

Group Coaching Supervision – A Case Study

Ethical dilemmas are just one of the things you might bring to coaching supervision. We’ve explored just some of the ethical dilemmas that you might face as a leader as coach.  Other things might come into play that we haven’t discussed; keep an eye out for those as you are […]

Ethical Dilemmas for Leaders As Coach: Supervision

International Coaching Federation
Last year in International Coaching Week, I co-created this wonderful animated story about Helen’s journey towards supervision. This year, I am talking at the International Coach Federation UK conference about when to use coach mentoring and when to use supervision. International Coaching Week provides a great opportunity to experience coaching […]

International Coaching Week 2018

conflicts of interest
We’ve discovered that leaders as coaches face ethical dilemmas around boundaries, dual relationships, and confidentiality; let’s turn our attention now to conflicts of interest. What do you do when the talented person you are coaching in your organisation tells you that she is looking to take her career outside the […]

Ethical Dilemmas for Leaders as Coach: Conflicts of ...

As a Leader as Coach, you are becoming aware of ethical dilemmas facing you. We’ll turn our attention today to confidentiality. You know that you are bound to keep anything that happens in coaching confidential, between you and the other person.  It is up to them who and what they […]

Ethical Dilemmas for Leaders as Coach: Confidentiality

dual relationships
Dual relationships are one element to think carefully about for the leader coach The leader coach encounters as many, if different, ethical dilemmas as an external coach, dual relationships are one of them. For example, you may be coaching two people on the same team, and they may tell you […]

Ethical Dilemmas for Leaders as Coach: Dual Relationships

ethical dilemma
We’ve talked about the skills we need as a leader as coach, and the underpinning beliefs, but what about our ethical dilemmas.  What about our ethical position? Every coach is guided by an ethical code, I am guided by the International Coach Federation Code of Ethics, for example. Ethical dilemmas don’t […]

Ethical Dilemmas for the Leader as Coach

boundaries 2
When should you coach, when should you not coach, what are your boundaries? It’s important to know what your boundaries are, where you feel ok to coach, and where you feel out of your depth.  When you are out of your depth, that may be the time to refer to […]

Ethical Dilemmas for Leaders as Coach: Boundaries

I’m going discuss pacy coaching; some people think that asking questions that enable a person to think through a solution for themselves is slower than telling people what to do.  They are right, but only in the short-term. In the long-term, however, telling people what to do does not develop […]

Pacy coaching: Go slow to go fast

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

Please allow images
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
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

coaching-training-mentoring 1
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

corporate-coaching 2
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