How to use a range of coaching approaches
Coaching, in any form, is known to benefit businesses and individuals. It promotes growth, increases engagement and empowers smart leaders to tackle difficult questions and bring about change.
But what is the best approach to incorporate coaching into your organisation?
Coaching versus mentoring
While many of the skills and techniques used in coaching and mentoring overlap, the two approaches are quite different. Biran Yiancioglu, Design Partner and Coaching Practitioner Programme Leader at TPC Leadership, clarifies that the key difference is in the attitude of the coach and the mentor.
The role of a mentor is to give advice, set goals and share experience. A mentor will actively guide a mentee and provide resources, answers and solutions. David Clutterback, an international pioneer of coaching and leadership, says, “A mentor is a more experienced individual willing to share knowledge with someone less experienced in a relationship of mutual trust.”
Biran explains how a coaching approach differs. “You create an environment where curiosity can thrive,” she says, “One in which the coach can ask powerful questions to help the coachee find the right solutions themselves.”
Instead of giving advice, the coach empowers the coachee to think and answer questions for themselves. In the words of Nancy Kline, president of Time to Think, “Most coaches would say that their greatest satisfaction, their reason for coaching…lies in the moments when their client’s mind is…soaring.”
A coach pays attention to every cue so they understand which questions to ask. They will listen deeply, but also notice body language, the individual’s energy and their thought cycles.
There are times when, like a mentor, a coach will share experiences. However, there is a difference. When coaching, experience is shared if it brings value regardless of whether the outcome was right or wrong. The focus is to create a perspective, trigger a reflective thought process and provide an opportunity for the coachee to reposition their own experiences.
A range of coaching approaches
A coaching culture is an environment where employees are routinely supported and developed through coaching techniques. And it can only thrive when a company has an ethos that values training, growth and regular feedback.
If your organisation already has an established coaching culture, leaders across the company will be well versed in employing these range of methods to improve employee engagement and performance.
The range of coaching approaches can be understood through TPC Leadership’s concept diagram, which demonstrates how coaching methods progress and flow.
You can’t just apply coaching approaches out of context. There is a difference between asking questions and reflecting, between summarising and sharing an experience, or between listening or suggesting a goal. It’s essential for the coach to tune into the coachee, to be sensitive to slight changes in tone, word-choice and body language. Then, once they notice a keyhole, they can use the right tool to fit the lock.
Much of this can only be achieved through experience. But you can accelerate your coaching development by learning from experts like Biran who have spent a lifetime applying coaching approaches in context.
What kind of coaching do you need?
There are times when companies benefit more from external coaching, which can complement and reinforce a coaching culture. External coaches are highly skilled, independent professionals who can be purely objective. They focus solely on the needs of individuals, without the distraction of other responsibilities within the company.
In-house coaching within a coaching culture is often provided from the top down. But external coaching providers can offer executive coaching for senior leaders, allowing them to approach coaching from a safe, trustworthy environment, lead by example and embed the coaching ethos into their organisation.
But regardless of the approach a coach takes, the coach will utilise a range of different methods to prompt a leader to find their own solutions. They will listen actively, ask powerful, open-ended questions, allow time for the leader to think and reflect, summarise and offer feedback in illustrative ways.
When businesses approach coaching ethically and with purpose, the benefits can be diverse and far-reaching. Want to explore how to use different approaches to coaching in your organisation? Contact us now.