Tuesday, 9 February 2016

The 6 key drivers of a coaching culture

After many years of training people in the corporate world to be able to coach, I know I am quite well qualified to advise organisations on how best to develop their coaching cultures. This qualification is based more on my trial and error, the successes and failures I have experienced, rather than any personal brilliance! This is based on practical, down to earth experience.  So let me share what I believe are the six key drivers of a coaching culture.

1. Start with the WHY

Many failed coaching implementations fall at the first hurdle because they have a muddled vision for 'why' they want to develop a coaching culture.  If the vision doesn't get people emotionally connected and excited about being a part of a transformational change, then it has little chance of succeeding.   Doing coaching just for coaching sake, or because it's a requirement from head office doesn't cut it! 
My own view is coaching has to be about improving individual, team and organisational performance or why do it at all! Avoid using neutral titles to describe coaching like 'work based coaching', 'everyday coaching', 'coaching essentials' and just call it 'Performance Coaching'!!! Be honest performance improvement is what you really want to happen, isn't it? 

2. Get the top team championing and role modelling coaching

Here I mean the top team at whichever site you are implementing coaching, so it could be a factory management team or regional sales team. I know I am a passionate believer in the power of coaching to unlock the potential of any organisation. I think the first mistake I made early on was thinking everyone must think the same as I do, because it is so BLOODY OBVIOUS! It's not, and you really do have to get your key stake holders on board before rolling out any coaching initiative. You need to run an away day with the senior team to make sure they fully understand and commit to coaching. My advice is to delay implement until you have this top level buy in, otherwise it is going to take you at least twice as long to get going.

3. Train everyone to use a single simple coaching methodology

We started off training managers as part of leadership development.  Participants loved being coached and were happy to coach their buddies on the programme. However when they went back to work they really didn't put coaching into practice. It was due to a 'lack of'- you know, 'time', 'skill', 'confidence and 'motivation'!I would advise against creating introduction, intermediate and advanced training courses, as a means of drumming up wide spread coaching activity - which in my experience will never happen! It is seldom the content of coaching training that is wrong, it is more likely the methodology.My advice is that you rather train everyone to use a single, simple, coaching methodology. Rather than pushing people into using a GROW process as the key indicator of coaching taking place. Why not just focus on the four key skills that can be used every day, as part of work. We teach this at a school that we support and we encourage participants to practice the skills at school and at home. To illustrate this one of the participant recently told me that she had used it with her son, who had shocked her by saying he didn't want to go on to university. She said she would most likely have lost her temper with him, but instead, she held back on judgement and asked open questions, listened with empathy and ended up having the best conversation she had ever had with him. At the end of the conversation she realised he had really thought through his decision, he felt he was not ready for university, wasn't sure of what he wanted to do, so rather than waste money and time he wanted to start work! At this point she was in tears and happy to support him.  (coaching is amazing!)

The reality is people perform better when they build trust amongst one another, listen better, show interest, ask the right questions and make feedback part of the way everyone works!
In addition to the skills, we also teach everyone to use three really useful tools that can make daily work a lot easier, so people get a real benefit and their performance  really does improve.

4. Integrate coaching into all people development

Another way you make coaching work is to 'wire it into your processes'. Don't leave coaching for those managers (normally the one's with high emotional intelligence) who just just get it and do it. If you accept that the largest part of learning happens through real life experience. If you want to accelerate the development of your people, then design learning experiences for them and provide coaching support to ensure that they grow in the process. This way coaching becomes an essential ingredient of the development process.

The process we have evolved over the years is aimed at helping people to improve their performance and l.e.a.p. ahead.

  • LEARN - learn new skills in small digestible chunks and be coached by a colleague/friend/boss in order to bring the theory to life.
  • EXPERIMENT - now test out what you have learnt is a safe learning environment e.g. within your own team
  • APPLY now apply what you have learnt to your job, still with coaching support
  • PERFECT - apply your growth mindset and continue to grow striving for skills mastery

5. Integrate coaching into high performing team development

The one hugely successful programme we stumbled on, was creating a development programme for teams. Rather than waste our money on fun away days where we would fail to address the real issues in the team. Instead we would run a high performing team workshop that would identify the issues and deal with them, plus excite people about the future (we also have fun!). This was a programme rather than a one off workshop and we would continue over time to work on areas that improved performance.
Over the years we have continued to develop the high performing team model and in the 2016 version we have now embedded peer to peer coaching into the model (in Know and Grow our Skills) to continue to help drive up performance.

6. Coaching sustainability

If you follow all the above you will get your coaching culture going that is for sure. Having achieved so much it is very important to sustain your achievements and so take steps to make sure coaching becomes self sustained:-
  • Coaching needs time and space to succeed and the top team needs to lead here, allocating peer to peer coaching time at off site meetings. Providing a quiet space in the office that people can go to in order to coach one another. etc
  • Initially use external trainers to get going but very quickly develop internal trainers that can carry on the coaching training.
  • Develop an internal faculty of 'super' coaches who can help with the training, coach the 'performance coaches' and do 'executive coaching within the organisation. 
  • We also see coaching as one of the essential roles of being a leader and have built coaching skills and tools into our inspiring leader training

If you interested in developing a nurturing coaching culture and need some help, then please get in touch with me via Release the Magic.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Future Leaders

First thoughts on the key life skills that we could help to develop and which would equip school leavers to function better in the world of work. What this programme would be doing is creating Future Leaders, so perhaps that is what we should call it.

  • Good work ethic
  • Respect for others and organisation 'rules'
  • Willingness to learn and grow
  • Taking responsibility
  • Self-motivation
  • Realistic about own strengths and weaknesses
  • Understands own personality preferences
  • Lives by a personal vision and values
  • Self-esteem and confidence
Getting things done
  • Goal setting
  • Plans and organises to achieve goals
  • Solves problems and makes decisions
  • Self-discipline and resilience
Working with others
  • Empathy 
  • Communication and networking skills
  • Influencing others
  • Works effectively in a team
  • Works collaboratively to achieve results

Still work in progress but starting to look useful.


Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Aim High v1

I contacted Jo in Canada today to find out what we put into the Aim High programme we ran for 6th formers and this is what she remembered.

"I remember it well... maybe not the exact order though...

1) Problem Solving: we covered a few TQ tools like mindmapping,  forcefield analysis, pareto principle, etc.

2) Assertiveness: this was extracted from a program that Wendy was a trainer on, if I remember correctly - we got permission from the author to use it in an abbreviated form. Assertion vs aggression. Getting to win-win.  Rights, needs, wants.

3) Negotiation Skills: building from the assertiveness, I think we did role plays here, setting scenarios, and offering feedback...? Can't remember the content though....

4) Presentation Skills: we used mindmapping to help them plan their content. Body language & getting the message across. Grounding techniques. Feedback principles.

5) Wrap-up was that unforgettable team presentation/skit where they had to incorporate as many of the things they'd learned over the 2 days into a short summary in the style of their choosing  :)

We prepared A5 workbooks for them too that were really great."

School leavers are under equiped for life

A Google search soon convinces you that school leavers are generally not properly prepared for the world of work. They lack the vital life skills that would ease them into the job market. 

In the late 1990s we created a programme called 'Aim High with Spillers' where we introduced 6th formers to the key life skills that would help them to succeed. We developed a two day training course from our graduate development programme. The course covered problem solving using mind maps, learning to be assertive, communicating through presentation skills and taking action to make things happen. We as trainers covered the theory session and our recently trained graduates acted as table facilitators. We ran the training in the Kingston upon Thames area for 6 to 7 years and it was a huge success.

Sadly a new HR director came in who believed contributing to your local community was to make a donation and the programme got canned.

I have always wanted to create a Release the Magic version that would be freely available to any organisation that wanted to use it to help school leavers in their communities to prepare for life at work. 

So my starting point is to understand what school leavers lack when they apply for jobs. This is what my research has shown.

This is what the Telegraph had to say.

The British economy is being put at risk because large numbers of teenagers are leaving school and college “underequipped for life”, according to the UK’s biggest business group.
Too many school leavers are entering the workplace lacking basic literacy, numeracy and communication skills, poor self-management and low levels of customer awareness, said the the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
In a damning report, it was claimed that an overemphasis on passing exams meant large numbers of teenagers were unable to function in real life, leaving companies with a shortage of decent employees.
The study – based on a survey of almost 300 businesses – also found “worrying areas of weakness” among university graduates, with one-in-seven companies criticising their use of English language and a third claiming ex-students struggle to manage their time.
Standards of basic skills are so poor that more than a quarter of companies now run their own remedial training courses in the three-Rs for young staff, it emerged.
The CBI called for a major reform of the education system to make sure young people are better prepared for the workplace. This included:
• A requirement for Ofsted inspectors to focus on the “development of character” among pupils alongside academic results, covering areas such as extra-curricular activities;
• The reintroduction of compulsory work experience placements for all 14- to 16-year-olds after the requirement was scrapped by the Coalition;
• Encouraging more school-leavers towards apprenticeships and vocational qualifications amid fears too many are being pushed on the “academic path” of A-levels and university;
• An overhaul of degree courses to introduce modules on developing students’ “work-relevant skills”.
Ministers insist they are already addressing businesses’ concerns with a raft of reforms, including increasing the number of apprenticeship places and requiring pupils to study English and maths for another two years if they fail to gain good grades in the subjects at the age of 16.
But John Cridland, CBI director-general, said: “There is a crisis in UK skills right now and our incapacity to meet growing demands for higher skills is putting the long-term prospects of the UK economy at risk.
“We need a system that better reflects how well a school’s culture nurtures the behaviours and attitudes young people will need. Success should be measured by where young people go once they have left school or college, not on exam results alone.”
The study, carried out jointly with the publisher Pearson, said that “too many young people leave school underequipped for life” outside the classroom.
Almost three-quarters of businesses criticised school leavers’ “business and customer awareness”, while 61 per cent said they had poor “self-management and resilience”.
More than half cited concerns over communication skills, 50 per cent criticised a lack of problem-solving skills, 38 per cent said students struggled with basic numeracy and 36 per cent claimed “basic literacy and use of English” was a problem.
It said an “undue emphasis on GCSE grades and school league tables risks distracting attention from the need to equip every young person adequately with these capabilities”.
The study also raised similar concerns over university leavers. It said almost all businesses were satisfied with graduates’ IT skills but added: “When it comes to numeracy, powers of analysis and use of English, however, levels of satisfaction start to fall. Around one-in-seven employers reports being dissatisfied.
“These are surprisingly high figures and businesses should be able to expect a reasonable level of competence in all these areas among those completing higher education.”
The study said the skills gap was “getting worse”, with 58 per cent of firms “not confident they will have sufficient highly skilled staff available for their needs in the future”.
Almost half of companies have now been forced to organise their own remedial training to tackle weaknesses in basic numeracy, literacy and IT for adult employees, with more than a quarter running courses for school-leavers.
A Department for Education spokesman said: “This report underlines why our measures to raise standards are so desperately needed.
“We are demanding more through a tougher curriculum and world-class qualifications. We are ensuring young people who don’t have at least a C grade in GCSE English and maths – the two subjects most valued by employers – must continue studying those subjects up to the age of 18. And we are transforming vocational education, improving apprenticeships and opening dozens of University Technical Colleges and Studio Schools so that school leavers are ready for the world of work.
“Delivering the best schools and skills for young people is a critical part of our long-term economic plan to secure Britain’s future.”

I know there is a real need to offer 6th form students the opportunity to grow their life skills, but through my work with schools, I know that the problem is time, with overworked teachers barely able to cover the curriculum and certainly not to the standard that they would like to achieve. However learning from the way we develop young leaders amongst new graduates there must be a way forward.

Organisations are looking for young people with the right mindset, good communication skills and the ability to work effectively with others and to get things done.

I think there is a real opportunity to adapt our leadership model and create an awesome programme for schools!

Applying 'flip the classroom'

This is how I have applied 'flip the classroom' to our 'Coaching with Emotional Intelligence' programme.

The objectives: 

After completing this learning programme you will:-   
  • Understand the importance of coaching to individual and organisation success.
  • Be able to effectively use the skills, behaviours and tools of coaching.
  • Have completed at least 1 coaching assignments and received feedback from your coachee and your coach.
  • Have assessed your capability to coach, identified your strengths and areas needing improvement, plus created a development plan for the coming year.

This is a ‘flip the classroom’ programme that has the following attributes:-       
  • You will need to learn most of the theory via online modules prior to attending twilight sessions.
  • You will have access to coaches who will work with you throughout the programme.
  • Reflection is a very important part of the programme so you will need to commit to maintain a learning blog throughout the programme and sharing the link with your coaches and fellow participants.

How you will learn to coach
The power of emotional intelligence
How to improve your empathetic listening
How to improve thoughtful questioning
How to improve constructive feedback
TOOL The Coaching Wheel
TOOL The Coaching Funnel
TOOL Root Cause
TOOL Overcoming Blockers
TOOL Scaling

1.   Kick off meeting

1½ hours from 1615
The kick off session:
1.   Personal introductions (TOOL: Building Rapport)
2.   How the programme will work and your time commitment
3.   Agree how you will work together with your coaches
4.   Learn how to set up your on-line learning blog
5.   Agree dates for future twilight sessions

Action based learning
Within 2 days you will need to set up your learning blog and capture your personal objectives for the programme sharing the link with your coach. 

2.   Twilight session

2½ hours from 1615

Training session – the basics:
1.   What is coaching including the different types of coaching
2.   Understanding coaching vs mentoring
3.   Debunking common coaching myths
4.   The key principles of coaching
5.   Emotional Intelligence.
6.   The 4 coaching skills (Building Rapport, Listening, Questioning, Giving Feedback)
7.   TOOL – the Coaching Wheel
8.   Assignment – prepare your coaching wheel

Action based learning

You will go through the process of preparing your Coaching Wheel making use of the online module. Once you complete your assignment, write up your reflections on your learning blog.                                                                            

3.   Twilight session

2½ hours from 1615

One to one coaching session:
1.   You will be coached and coach someone using the Coaching Wheel and the Questioning Funnel + GROW
2.   You will receive feedback from your coach plus other participants on your coaching performance
3.   Learn how to set up your 360º feedback survey (launch and feedback will be planned in later in the programme)
4.   Assignment: update learning blog and answer 3 questions that will be given to you at the end of this session
Action based learning

Update your learning blog and answer the 3 questions from the theory session.

4.Twilight session

2½ hours from 1615

Training session - drilling down deeper:      
1.   Learning review
2.   Discuss barriers to coaching
3.   Your coach you using the Root Cause tool
4.   Cover the theory of using the Root Cause tool
5.   Assignment: You will be assigned someone outside the group who you will coach. Note: you will be fully briefed on what you have to do

Action based learning
Capture your reflections to your learning blog.

Complete your coaching assignment and update your learning blog.

One-to-one session

1½ hours

One-to-one coaching session – results of 360:

You will receive the results of your 360º feedback via a one-to-one coaching session with your coach.

You will be taken through the details and will identify your strengths and struggles as a coach.

You will agree your personal development plan and then share the results via your learning blog.

5.   Twilight session

2½ hours from 1615

Training session – overcoming blockers:
1.   You will complete the ‘blockers and drivers’ spreadsheet prior to the meeting
2.   Your coach will take you through the theory for the Overcoming Blockers tool
3.   You will receive the results of your self-assessment
4.   Prepare your coaching assignment – to use Overcoming Blockers you’re your coachee

Action based learning
Coach your coachee using Overcoming Blockers and capture your reflections to your learning blog after the session.

6.   Twilight session

2½ hours from 1615

Training session – solution based coaching:
1.   Learning review
2.   Solution focused coaching
3.   How to use the scaling tool
4.   Final coaching assignment – coaching your coachee using a solution based approach

Action based learning
Complete your final assignment fully updating your learning blog.

7.   Twilight session

1½ hours from 1615

The final session:
1.   You will review your full ‘journey’ to make sure lessons have been learnt
2.   Receive feedback from your coachees
3.   Plan how you will continue with your own development as a coach
4.   Farewell