What can I do to be a better coach? The Eight Step Coaching Model describes the process, yet too often the focus is on techniques only. "How can I say it to win my point, get others to do things my way, or convince them?" Focusing only on one technique is fundamentally manipulative. Good leadership coaching, like good parenting, is a way of being as well as doing. This way of being, or our values, drives our behaviors. Like Olympic figure skaters, coaches should evaluate themselves in two areas; skills and style, the expression of your values.
Neither Gandhi nor Martin Luther King ever took a course in non violence; Harry S. Truman on straight talk; Abraham Lincoln on valuing diversity; or Walter Cronkite on integrity. They trusted their values to guide them toward doing the right things. They were the essence of their values. Similarly, how many times have we admonished our teenagers before departing for a night out with friends: "Don't forget who you are!"? Your values are on display throughout your coaching discussions and particularly in Step One of the Coaching Model - Be supportive. Note it doesn't say Do Supportive. Support is an inside job, an inner decision, about how you want to relate to others and the values you will attempt to live in your relationship with others.
Partnering with, versus managing and controlling those you coach, is based on two different value sets. Partnering is predicated on a basic value of helping other achieve their goals. Without a partnering/helping core value, focusing only on supportive words and actions results in shallow words with no heart felt meaning or motivation and disingenuousness.
Which of these two coaches would you like to work with? One who had excellent technique, a real smooth communicator who valued control and getting their way; or the other who lacked good technique but had a fundamental belief in others, and a desire to help them achieve their goals?
Fortunately we are not faced with these black and white distinctions. Effective leadership coaching from a helping value base requires both skills and a critical assessment of how you view your role: a resource or gate keeper; helper or competitor; catalyst or controller; facilitator or salesperson; mentor or boss; teacher or teller?
Before entering into a coaching discussion, ask yourself one simple question: What is my mindset or paradigm, adversary or ally? Your answer to that question will have the most impact in your coaching relationship. Self evident? Then, why in a non-business setting does conventional wisdom make the case that parent-adolescent relationships are unavoidably adversarial? Why is there such a dark history of labor management relationships? Why do managers have such a difficult time with letting go and trusting others to do the right thing? Partnering is predicated on the coach wanting to create an alliance and a helping relationship. This inner decision to live this value will drive the collaborative partnering behavior upon which effective leadership coaching and the Eight Step Coaching Model are based.