Many of these coachees have come from the same organisations where I have been engaged to coach a number of managers from the same team – and quite often also their boss.
There has been a significant benefit to the coachees themselves, meaning it is not only organisations and individual managers who benefit from what individual coaching can offer. I have not lost any of these coachees during the middle of a series of coaching sessions and all of them have gone on to complete the committed number of sessions and nearly half of them have carried on beyond their original coaching plan.
I have also been regularly recommended and asked to coach 4 other people who are colleagues of some of the original coachees.
Here are some themes that this year’s coaching sessions have reinforced in my mind:
- Confidentiality is absolutely crucial – especially when coaching people from the same team or in the same management reporting line. When professional links, relationships and other complexities are involved, it would be very easy to ‘put your foot in it’.
- The relationship between coach and coachee is fundamental and it needs to be a supportive, non-judgemental, trusting one.
- Using my intuition as the coach and knowing when to be truly authentic and honest with my feelings and thoughts about their situation is more likely to produce breakthrough thinking and actions that will really make a difference.
- It is important to support each person that I am coaching- even if they get into difficulties with their sponsoring organisation. This has happened with two managers that I was asked to coach who were employed in an F.E. College but who were then asked to leave their employment under “compromise agreements”. Whilst it is not my role to give them advice about the merits or demerits of their situation or advice on how to negotiate the best deal with their organisation it was gratifying to know that they both wanted me to continue to coach them and to support them with their new career search outside their original organisation.
- When we have surveyed our coachees and asked them what they would like me to do more of or do differently for them in their coaching sessions, the main thing that they ask me to do is to challenge them more. I am conscious of this and also aware of the need to strike the right balance of challenge and support for them, in order to maintain an appropriate level of openness and disclosure from them. My sense is that it will not be conducive to our coaching relationship if they feel that I am being too critical of them and constantly judging them. This is one of the criticisms some of them often level at their line managers!