VOX-POP SERIES – General Ideas from Coaches (Part 2)

What general insights and ideas about coaching are reported by leadership participants in my Coaching Master Class program?

General Ideas from Coaches

Vox-Pop is from the Latin vox populi and refers to popular sentiment or opinion on a subject – in other words, the voice of the people.

In this series of Blog Posts I explore the sentiments and opinions of leadership participants in my Coaching Master Class (CMC) program. What do they think about the main coaching topics we explore together in this program?

In this article I look at some general insights and ideas about coaching as reported by Coaches participating in my CMC program.

The Coaching Master Class (CMC) program runs over a 12-18 week period. We kick off with a full day workshop for Leaders of Leaders and Functional Leaders who work in the same team and report in to the same boss. I then complete a series of follow up coach-the-coach sessions according to the ARCH Model (Activity, Results, Capability & Handover). There is more on this in my 2016 article ‘Coaching the Coach – Who, Why, When & What?

The notes I take during these coach-the-coach session give me valuable insights into how program participants are taking on board and applying the learning from the workshop.

Here are some ideas and insights a selection of CMC participants had about Coaching. This was work I was doing with Maersk in 2012/13. It was a worldwide program covering the eight Network Execution regions. In total I directly trained and supported 85 senior leaders in the 8 regions. I ran train-the-trainer sessions for selected senior leaders who in turn delivered the programme to a further 180 next level leaders. When I read these comments again after 8+ years I’m taken back by the wisdom and insight of these people. Read on ……

Leaders from Maersk West Central Asia, Dubai

“What have I done? Applied to a staff who needed a fatherly kick to understand he is responsible and needs to deliver as he is responsible for a KPI which is very important to deliver. By using FOFI / FOFF / AIDA I got him to understand success criteria and what I expect and see as a success. I also got the person to advise actual facts and opinions and how he wants to go forward”.

“What were the benefits? Impact on the business is that he can deliver more in same time – he is on top of issues, but time pressed i.e. that the decisions is sometime done in a hurry and since his job is important, he need more time to make sure the decisions is a success each time”.

“What did I learn? Every person in my team needs to be ‘handled’ differently and there is no easy way out of it. Therefore you need to prepare yourself for each individual. This means I need a better understanding of each individual and realise everyone is not like me. Preparation and focus on outcome will give the best result, especially if the coachee is coming with a mind-set and willingness to be coached”.

“What did I learn? I was clear on my expectations of him and I made him understand the difference between success and failure, so together we defined success criteria for him. Also looking beyond since performance should not stop when you achieve your success criteria, but it’s a journey where you will get new success criteria. I made him understand what impact same could have on our office, but also on Maersk Line business. I realised during my coaching session that he might be reluctant to take responsible for own actions.  So going forward, I will during my coaching session work on performance but with a link to taking responsibility”.

“Sent out Standard Work calendar to all team members stating that our monthly 1:1s would now feature a coaching component and that they should have some Goal in mind to discuss. Personally checked prior to starting that they had attended the Familiarisation session run by my colleague on the objectives of Coaching for the local business. This set the foundation”.

“What did I learn? That coaching can help not only the coachee to come up with options but also for them to buy in themselves without too much of an obvious push, more a subliminal one from my side”.

What did I learn? “That not all coachees can be expected to make the link between their actions and how changing their actions can affect the desired outcome. For me this means being better at realising when different measures are called for when we seemingly get stuck with a lack of Options or simply a lack of link between actions, impact and desired outcome”.

“What did I learn? That if I respect the coaching process, and with a coachee who’s willing and excited to enter into a coaching dialogue, I can make it work. The synergy is that whilst my staff get something worthwhile out of it, I also learn and get better at the same time, being able to detect even more subtle nuances in what the coachee is saying/conveying, then steering the dialogue with even better specific questions”.

Leaders from Maersk Africa, Cape Town

“What did I learn? Coaching is a fundamental activity of being a Leader of Leaders. Having had a lot of coaching experience in previous role I have no fears around coaching. Of course I have so much to learn and it’s a never ending learning process – and it’s one I will continue on until I retire. Keep practising every day – take those little coaching opportunities that arise every day, not just the more formalised 1:1’s – indeed the former can provide very powerful coaching for performance opportunities”.

“The purpose of the session was to set expectations for:

  • What he will learn on the Leading Others course
  • How he will use what he learns when he returns from the programme
  • How I can support him

I needed to engage in a discussion to define:

  • What he expected to get out of the programme
  • Post-programme assignments enabling him to apply what he learns from the programme
  • How I can follow up on his development and support him in the best possible way

The session was well structured and good foundation was laid for subsequent coaching sessions – the red thread that will run through these will be ‘developing as a new leader and building a high performing team’”.

“What did I learn? Raising the Coachee’s awareness leads to skill and creating his responsibility leads to willingness to perform. Ask effective and helpful questions. Let Coachee think and speak up so that hidden talent can be uncovered. Question effectively with open questions by letting him to think and unveil any of his hidden talent. Use helpful but not leading questions when he is on silent mode. Ensure that I listen attentively and listen for any suggestions/issues that was not made clear and require clarification before moving on. Monitor performance thereafter, what, when and who’s who need to know, support require”.

Leaders from Maersk Asia Pacific, Singapore

“What did I learn? That I am not able to provide all answers to staff. Coaching is helping staff, especially very competent Individual Contributors to find solutions for themselves. That the impatience for results caused the slow progress instead”.

“What have I done? I took an impromptu coaching session with direct report to review with him expectations around the project, namely time management and delivering to that time. I believe the project is quite simple to conduct, yet time and focus of coachee has been dis-proportionally spent on the planning stage rather than on possible solutions. It went well in the sense that there were reflections / awareness and dialogue leading to common understanding and follow-up actions.

“What did I learn? I learned that impromptu (instant) coaching can be an important and unplanned source of coaching. I will keep a look out for more of these opportune moments”.

“What did I learn? When I did not think about the stages of the GROW model too hard the flow was natural and easier to follow. When I thought about the GROW model I was not really listening and lost track”.

Leaders from Maersk Southern Europe, Algeciras

“What did I learn? Communication issues could give a false image about a problem, creating some panic which could lead a wrong decision hence a bad solution. Just by basing on ‘awareness and responsibility’ coaching principle, we could calm stakeholders, giving the exact measure of the problem and its solution”.

“What did I learn? Having a big group, with many direct reports, leads me to use my own coaching technique. Now I apply different qualities – patience, detailed supportive, interested. I have created a ‘personal management relationship’ where the coachee feels individually managed instead of being dictated”.

“What did I learn? To be less ‘laissez-faire’ depending on the personality of the coachee. I need to be more forceful and direct with e.g. A (which is not my natural approach). I have a ‘personal preference’ for A over B and this may be a reason for why A’s session worked better. This is not acceptable, and anyone as long as they are on my team should expect and get ‘equal treatment’”.

“What did I learn? To use a more structure (but not rigid) application of GROW and also to use a number of questions (and the following patience to wait for an answer) that were direct and to the point”.

“What did I learn? To put the fish on the dish. It is my responsibility to do so, and I cannot really expect changes if I do not make it clear what I am looking for”.

Further reading

Explore the Coaches Toolkit on this Blog for more information on the Tools and Techniques mentioned above.

Search ‘Leadership Interview’ on this Blog for more insights from leaders on how they applying coaching in their day to day work.

Read more about my Coaching Master Class program.

Author: Trevor Sherman

Trevor Sherman: Author, Blogger and Coach. What do I do? I develop leadership training material and personal learning modules. I am the owner and operator of this Blog. I coach senior executives for their development and role transition. I am based in Northamptonshire UK and operate globally - in person and through technology.

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