As an activity in one of our Coaching Conversation Workshops, we asked groups of participants to illustrate how they were with their company’s current coaching practice, alongside how they would like to see the coaching going in the future. One group finished quickly, but refused to pin their drawings on the wall. After much prodding, the group finally presented their flip charts to show one chart with an arrow pointing down. The second flip chart had two arrows, one pointing down and the other pointing up. After seeing the results, I couldn’t help but ponder.

“Why is it that despite the best efforts of companies to transform to coaching cultures, they are unable to fully succeed?”

“What ensures a successful coaching culture driven by “Coach Leaders”.

Two Critical Competencies of a Leader as Coach

To be a great coach, there are two critical competencies that every leader needs to possess – conducting a coaching conversation and having a coaching mindset. Companies often make themistake of focusing on only one competency, that is,  equipping their leaders with the skill to conduct a coaching conversation. The leader’s mindset on being and doing, however, remains the same. Change needs to start with the leader before it can be modeled, top down. Let’s elaborate further.

Conducting a Coaching Conversation

A coaching conversation is a dialogue between the coach and the team member, where the coach helps the team member to explore their thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. It is not a lecture, and it is not a performance review. It is an opportunity for the team member to reflect on their own experiences, to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and to develop new skills.

To conduct a coaching conversation, a leader as coach needs to possess active listening skills. They need to be able to listen without interrupting, to ask open-ended questions, and to provide feedback in a non-judgmental way. They also need to be able to help their team members set achievable goals.

Having a Coaching Mindset

A coaching mindset, on the other hand, is a way of thinking that is open to new ideas and new ways of doing things. It is a mindset that is focused on learning and growth, rather than on performance and outcomes. A leader as coach with a coaching mindset is someone who is curious; who is willing to ask questions; and who is not afraid to challenge their own assumptions. They also need to be able to create a safe and supportive environment for their team members to explore their own ideas and to take risks.

Benefits of Being a Leader as Coach

Being a leader coach has many benefits for both the leader and the team members. It helps to create a culture of learning and growth. It also helps to build trust and rapport between the leader and the team members, as the coach provides support and guidance to help team members achieve their goals. Furthermore, it helps to improve communication, as team members are encouraged to share their thoughts and feelings.

This is the Coaching Culture that companies are looking for but are hard-pressed to achieve, because the focus is only on the competency of conducting a coaching conversation. The second competency of having a coaching mindset starts with the highest leaders allowing for the two arrows, that is one pointing down and the other pointing up.

Vicente “Binky” Kilayko

Vicente “Binky” Kilayko is now retired having been previously the Managing Director of Lee Hecht Harrison Phil.  As MD, Binky brought the company to become the Affiliate of the Year in 2015.  Binky is now an active member of the International Coaching Federation Phil. Chapter (ICFP) with focus on bringing coaching to the communities with social impact.

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