“What we have here is a failure to communicate.” That line from the movie Cool Hand Luke highlights a fundamental problem. There are many times in our business and personal lives where we don’t achieve a desired result from directing, explaining, or urging action. I would like to concentrate here on the “urging action.”
Dwight Eisenhower said, “Leadership is getting people to do what YOU want them to do because THEY want to do it.”
Let’s now use that quote and relate it to coaching. Coaching is not telling people what they need to do. On the contrary. It is helping them find the direction within themselves to solve a problem. Coaching is a process between a coach and a person being coached that helps the person being coached produce big results in their lives, careers, or business by deepening learning and improve performance and quality of life.
The transformational part helps people see into their own processes, feelings, and thinking. Transformation honors things that are but reaches deep down to find what is emerging and what could be.
Real change is transformational. To effect real change with your employees and your leaders you must be able to help them reach down within themselves and create the transformation. Here is an example.
Focus on them, not what you want changed.
Example of what not to do (this is not coaching) – You: You know the company policy about getting all the information on a new client engagement form. Time and time again your department is leaving gaps. We need to have you address this immediately with your staff. It is your responsibility to hold them accountable. You should be following the training procedures outlined in the manual. I really need to have you start doing this right away. Response: I have done it before, but I will go over it again. (The manager’s conversation with her staff will probably mirror than with she heard from her supervisor. What is the likelihood of a transformational change?)
Now using transformational coaching – You: May I discuss the new client engagement form with you? I noticed that there are several questions that seem to be left blank. Can you give me some insight into that? Response: Yes, I know this is a concern, but it seems that staff thinks the information has already been obtained on another form and that, in their rush, they forget to fill it in. You: I see, so their rush and the duplication results in some forgetfulness. What would your job be like if all the forms came through all the time with all the information? Response: Our productivity would soar, and I would have less complaints. You: Would you be open to ideas on how we can make that happen? Response: Yes, I would like that very much.
The difference is the two exchanges is that the second one focused on the other person so that they could reach down and understand their process and how it could improve.
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