The Leadership Learning Log is a journal which evidences learning and skills development. It is not just a diary or record of ‘what you have done’, but more to the point it is a record of what you have learnt, tried and critically reflected upon.
I use the Leadership Learning Log in my Coaching Master Class (CMC) programme as a tool to follow up the training. I call this ‘Activity 1: Looking Back’. At the end the training I challenge participants to run up to five substantial pre-planned coaching sessions over the following six week period. I ask them to select two of these sessions for self-assessment – the ‘Best’ and the ‘Most Challenging’ – and answer the questions in the Leadership Learning Log for each session. This is their preparation for our first on-to-one coach-the-coach session.
For this article we go back to my friend Allen Tu in Shanghai. Allen is KCGFF Sales Team Leader for Maersk (China) Shipping Co and he attended my Coaching Master Class (CMC) programme in 2011. Using my material he kicked off his ‘Buddy’ Coaching programme in 2016 for his direct report sales managers. One of those managers is Jerry Chen who is the senior manager focussing on Electronic key clients. And Jennifer Yao is an account manager reporting in to Jerry.
In this second article about their coaching experience, we look at how Jerry used the Leadership Learning Log self-assessment questions to reflect on his ‘Best’ case coaching session with Jennifer.
Best Coaching Case
Question 1. What did I do?
Jerry. Shared different tender negotiation cases and ask Jennifer to identify the effective way to influence clients and internal stakeholders.
Question 2. How do I think/feel about this?
Jerry. Jennifer highlighted most key points and shared her concerns. I also find my own clients met the same issues.
Question 3. What did I plan to do but did not do (leadership actions)?
Jerry. Planned to improve her communication skills, but used joint sales calls to replace it. Because her communication skill is OK, a joint call can help us to know each other’s cases clearer. We also can recap meeting details during next coaching session to improve efficiency.
Question 4. What additional leadership actions should I have taken?
Jerry. Ask questions regarding ‘how’ to let her think deeply. Practice key outcomes to let Jennifer use it smoothly during daily client meeting.
Question 5. How well (or badly) did it go?
Jerry. Coaching session is smooth, we follow the ‘GROW’ flow, and use it frequently in our sales calls.
Question 6. What did I learn?
Jerry. Active listening is very important, give feedback and we can learn from each other through exchange of ideas.
Question 7. What will I do differently next time (stop, start, continue)?
Jerry. Use our outcomes to do internal communication and influence different functional stakeholders.
Question 8. How will I do it differently next time?
Jerry. Encourage Coachee to do case sharing more and exchange roles to do some practices.
Question 9. What have I achieved – business results?
Jerry. Jennifer successfully run the meeting with ‘FERRERO’, she understands what client’s pain and offers the right solution.
Question 10. What have I achieved – my leadership development?
Jerry. Active listening, give feedback. Use more open questions. Do some roleplay
Question 11. What have I learn about myself as a leader?
Jerry. Open mind, given the opportunity to Jennifer to show her concerns. Coaching objective link to business result.
Question 12. How have I put theory into practice?
Jerry. Following ‘GROW’ model, active and deep listening, ask open questions to lead the conversation.
Question 13. How does what I have been doing lead to me becoming better at a particular leadership skill?
Jerry. Built very good trust with Jennifer, the ideas that came out from the coaching session were useful in the real world, helping Jennifer to win more business opportunities and global contract owner’s trust.
Question 14. How can I use this to plan for the future?
Jerry. Be well prepared for the coaching session, make it link with business result, do more practices and give feedback in good time.
Question 15. How can I use this to plan new learning experiences?
Jerry. Keep an updated Leadership Learning Log, ask for Allen’s (Jerry’s manager) feedback about the improvement areas.
Question 16. How should I use this experience in the next session with my leadership coach?
Jerry. Moving forward, we will focus on the topic ‘how to develop sizable clients’, this is relating to Jennifer’s 2018 business plan, and will help her further growth in Sales.
Sales Team Leader Allen Tu tells me the primary objectives of the coaching was to improve sales competency as well as business performance. He reports that as a result of Jerry’s coaching Jennifer’s business performance improved significantly in the fourth quarter 2017 compared with quarter 3. Allen commented: “It’s rather encouraging to see individual performance improvement through coaching sessions”. Look out for the next article in this series that will focus on Jerry’s and Jennifer’s reflections on their ‘Best’ and ‘Most Challenging’ coaching sessions.
Coaches Toolkit Look for the Leadership Learning Log, GROW Summary, Building Trust and Rapport, Coaching Preparation, Levels of Listening, Purposeful Questions and Feedback.