Coach's VIEW

Coach's VIEW is the business column written by coaches in COACH A. It will give you some tips to utilize coaching for organizational development and leadership development through its recent coaching status, recent data related to coaching, and introduction of global publication related to coaching.

Do You Have Any Misconception About Coaching?

Do You Have Any Misconception About Coaching?
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When you hear the word "coaching", what comes to your mind?

I often hear from clients who just started learning coaching,
"Coaching is a communication skill that involves listening to the other person and not dismissing what they have to say in order to change their behavior."
This is often followed by the comment, "It is very difficult to learn that skill."

The main reason for this is that it is difficult to apply coaching as an alternative way to the instruction and orders that we leverage on a daily basis in business. I can imagine how frustrating it is for the supervisors who have been giving orders to their staff to solve their problems and hold them accountable.

On the other hand, some clients have been able to change the behavior of their employees and achieve results as they work to change the culture of their company through coaching.

One of my clients, John's story, was impressive.

"Most of the time when I asked my staff to change their behavior, it did not work. The more I practiced coaching, the more I began to ask myself, "Are there other ways to achieve the goal without trying to change others?"

There are two types of leaders: one is the type who has a common goal to change the behavior of the staff, but finds it difficult to achieve, and the other kind has a common goal and obtains results. I believe the difference between the two can be described as follows;

  1. A leader who sees the behaviors of others as problematic that needs to be improved and focuses on solving it.
  2. A leader who recognizes that he or she sees the other person's behaviors as problematic that needs to be improved and focuses on who he/she is, wondering why he or she perceives it that way.

The difference is that the former type of leader is trying to learn how to change the other person through coaching, while the later type of leader is trying to learn about himself/herself through coaching.

Why do methods that try to change others not work well? In the first place, people are resistant to change. This resistance increases even more when the change is requested by someone superior to yourself. For example, how would you feel if your boss approached you to change? You can probably imagine that this approach would not work.

In other words, coaching is not a method to change others, but more of a way to learn about yourself.

What is Learning About Yourself?

What does it mean to learn about yourself? It can be broken down into three steps;

  1. Take the position that you were your staff in what is happening.
  2. Recognize the impact and intentions that you bring to what is happening from the position of your staff.
  3. Make choices about what you will bring to the future.

People tend to think in terms of two poles when confronting others: good/bad, right/wrong, above/below. When a boss asks an employee to change his behavior, he may tend to take a bipolar position, separating the other person (the subordinate) from himself (the boss).

In other words, you as the manager are "right" and your staff is "wrong" for taking this action. On the other hand, Point 1 above means that you take the position that you are not separating yourself from the other person, but that you are creating together. Also, by taking the position of above Point 1, you can move on to Point 2. If we are creating together, we can think, "What am I bringing into this?" The third step is to think about the purpose of what is happening and what you want to make happen, and then to choose whether you want to continue with what you have been bringing in or bring in something new.

If we apply these three steps to John's case of behavioral change in his staff mentioned above, we can explain it as follows;

  1. Take the position that the staff's behavior is created by both the staff and yourself.
  2. Recognize the influences and intentions that you are bringing into the relationship with your staff.
  3. Choose what you will bring to the relationship in the future.

After going through these steps, John made his decision as "I am here to help my staff" instead of "I have to change my staff." After making this choice, he succeeded in reforming the culture through changes in his staff.

How to Create Opportunities to Learn About Oneself?

Actually, before John made his choice, I had asked him the following questions.
"For whom do you feel you really want to solve the problems you have with your staff?"
"For what purpose are you always pointing out the problems of your staff?"

John thought about it for a while and then replied.

"Maybe it is my own belief that a manager should be more competent than his staff and should always be able to do better."

Subconsciously, we live in unison with our own thoughts and feelings. Therefore, we need to go beyond ourselves to have an objective view on the matter.

For example, when we check the knot in our tie, we look at ourselves in the mirror and make the necessary corrections. Similarly, in order to objectively recognize our thoughts, perspectives, and feelings, we need a mirror to reflect them.
From John's case, we can see that dialogue with his coach plays an important role in helping him to recognize himself objectively.

If you can objectively see what you are bringing to the relationship through dialogue with others, you can choose whether it serves your purpose or not. I believe that this will lead to behavioral change in the other person.

For leaders who work with many people to achieve results, learning about oneself is what leads to more desirable choices, and a coach can be a mirror to help you learn.

Do you learn how to coach in order to change others?
Do you want to leverage coaching to change yourself?

As a leader, which one will you choose?

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