Coaching is not a solution to your problem

If you are thinking of using a coach to solve a problem for you, think again, it’s a flawed view of coaching. You may end up wasting time, money and the opportunity of really making a difference with the person you want coached.

We get called into organisations a lot to help a CEO or HR Director solve a ‘problem’ they have with one or more of their executive managers. That’s fine, except where they want to ‘delegate’ that problem to the coach and wait for the coach to solve the problem.

You might ask why that is flawed.

If one of your executives is failing, it’s not just their failing – it’s yours as well – in some way you (and the organisation) are contributing. If you don’t recognise this and address your contribution, you won’t correct one source of their failure that they cannot correct themselves. If you cannot see your contribution, use the coach. They should be able to see the dynamic that’s going on and help you correct how you are contributing to the manager’s failure.

For example, if the CEO hasn’t told the manager that they think they are failing, the manager may not respond appropriately and within the right time frame. Communicating some representation of what’s going on as opposed to what’s actually going on is how the CEO is contributing to the problem – avoiding being straight with their manager.

So how should you use a coach to support you in addressing a problem with one of your managers? The coaching is a resource for you to address the problem, so come from getting what you need from the coach and the coachee to correct this problem in your business. With this in mind, before meeting with a coach prepare to brief your coach by answering the following questions –
• What is the problem?
• How am I contributing to this problem?
• What will I have to change to contribute to the success of the coaching and what actions am I going to take to make these changes?
• What are the outcomes I want from the coaching?
• How will I measure the success of producing the outcomes?
• What are the timeframes in which each outcome has to be produced?
• How often will I want updates on progress?
• What are the consequences for the coachee of the outcomes not being produced?

In the briefing meeting, ask the coach for the following input –
• Can you see any way that I am contributing to the problem that I haven’t already covered with you?
• How do I participate in the coaching so that it will support its success?
• How should I adapt my management of the coachee to support them in the coaching?
• Is there any conversation I need to have with the coachee before the coaching that will set up the coaching to be effective?
• How often do you want feedback from me on how I think that the coaching is progressing?
• Is there anything else that you need from me?

Successful coaching is sourced from the coachee and their manager owning the issue together and committing to correct the problem together. The coach then has what they need to get the job done. As a last word, consider using coaching to develop people rather than to solve problems. You may find that you end up with less problems.

Coaching is not a solution to your problem

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