Building Trust to Coach Stubborn Leaders

Coaching has a somewhat negative legacy in the corporate environment due to leaders often considering it as a programme created to ‘fix’ them or ‘correct’ the way that they work with others. However, as executive coach and experienced people leader Joanna Rouse explains in this informative discussion, this isn’t the case.

In this roundtable, Joanna takes us through her top three areas to consider in changing this perception and delivering a truly robust and thorough corporate coaching programme.

If coaching is the answer, what is the question?

Identifying the main need for coaching is an integral first step to building trust between a coach and coachee. First, the motivation of the sponsor (company) in requiring coaching for their leaders must be established to ensure that coaching is exactly what is required versus competency development, mentoring or psychological counselling (though a pronged approach to coaching and another service should be encouraged if needed).

Explicitly informing the sponsor and assuring the coachee of client confidentiality for the duration of the coaching programme further builds trust and rules out common misunderstandings, such as coachees thinking that coaching is a means for their employer to judge their performance.

From here, the coachee can begin to understand that this process is something for them to own and participate within, rather than something or someone brought in to ‘fix’ them. As Joanna highlights, coachees can then begin to understand “those behaviours and attributes that they could optimise… in a professional environment with an external professional who has a skillset that they can draw on to do the work they need to do from a developmental perspective.”

What is the goal of your coaching programme?

Recognising a specific goal or set of goals for an individual is essential for coach and coachee. This is important not just to give structure to coaching, but also to increase the buy-in for the coachee whilst giving them a sense of control and purpose within the programme.

Joanna recommends working through the GROW model in this case:

  • Goal – What does coachee want? What is the outcome their seeking and how they are going to get there?
  • Reality – Where is the coachee now? Define the distance or gap, where they currently are and the context for this journey.
  • Options – What’s available to the coachee? Their context, considerations and characters. This is where the role of a coach really comes in – helping the coachee to define what is within their control and what isn’t, so that they can focus on the former.
  • Will – What will the coachee do? Change from coaching comes through actions, and a good coach will guide the coachee through this process, helping them put in deadlines and holding them accountable.

Following this model helps with both parts of the coaching process: Getting the coachee to realise a future state that they want to attain and the journey required to get there; and the drive required to do the work in sessions.

The role of a coach here is simply to ask pointed questions and provide the platform for the coachee’s thoughts to be unpacked and considered.

Chemistry is key

A coaching programme or even an individual coach is not a one-size-fits-all. Chemistry between a coach and coachee is a powerful element in building not only a trustful relationship but a successful one.

Though it may take longer to find a match, with numerous coach interviews and back-and-forth between providers and the coachee, when a coach and coachee are perfectly matched, progress will be meaningful and swift.

It is important to remember here that, though the demographic of both coach and coachee may be a consideration – whether age, race, gender, ethnicity or experience level – it is not essential that they match (unless otherwise specified by the coachee).

Remaining open-minded about such elements allows for an appreciation of other personality factors that may capture the needs of the coachee. In this case it’s best to remember that dynamic can outmatch demographic.

Watch the full recording here.

Did you know Trapeze HR has a coaching network?

We’d be happy to make recommendations – please email us at harriet@trapezehr.com.

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