Coaching at Work: All Coaches are not the Same
Do you have a coach at work? Do you think of your
current boss or project manager as a coach? Your direct manager is just
one type of coach available to you in the workplace. Yet there are many
other kinds of coaches and types of coaching if one knows where to look.
Different people, particularly at different stages in their careers, can benefit
greatly from different types of coaches.
Regardless of the type of coach, however, all coaches share
one goal: equipping people with the skills, knowledge, and opportunities that
they need to develop their capabilities and achieve success. The most
common types of coaches that focus on individuals relative to their work are
personal coaches, career coaches, leadership coaches, and executive coaches.
Each of these types of coaches varies by the business knowledge and depth of
specific training required by the coach to perform effectively on the job, the
formality of the coaching effort, and the degree to which the work organization
is proactively involved with or interested in the outcomes.
Personal coaches help individuals by sharing
insights and lessons from their own life experience. A personal coach is
comparable to a mentor with one difference the individual who wants the help
usually initially approaches the coach for help. In contrast, a mentoring
relationship can start with either the mentors initiative or the coachees.
Personal coaching helps to cultivate an individuals skills and may tap into
their unused potential. Personal coaches must build trusting relationships
with their coachees. This trust allows both the coach and coachee to share
personal experiences, which often include success stories but also may include
disappointment or failures. This intimate sharing can serve to energize
the coachee and give them the drive to succeed. If an individual finds
fortunate circumstances at work, a personal coaching relationship may be
developed with a leader within his or her organization. But if that
relationship does not materialize, a personal coach may be found in other
aspects of life, such as sports or community activities.
coaches generally have strong expertise within an individuals chosen
career field or industry. Career coaches, as with personal coaches, may be
found inside or outside of ones current organization. For example, a
junior finance manager might look toward a chief financial officer or controller
to advise them on strategies to advance their finance career. This senior
career field coach might work in the same organization as the junior
manager or could be employed elsewhere. Career coaches may connect their
coachees with senior contacts for networking purposes, or may provide advice on
joining professional associations and obtaining valuable certifications.
This often occurs in career coaching efforts through outplacement firms.
Leadership coaches focus on developing the
management and leadership skills of an organizations high potential talent.
Leadership coaches may either serve as team leaders actively mobilizing a work
team toward common goals, or may serve as a leadership coach through a formal
leadership-coaching program. Leadership coaches develop their coachees
by serving as a model for individual accountabity, inspiring trust, and
leading-by-example. Leadership coaches strive to provide real-time
feedback regarding their protgs management style and tactics, so that the
coachee can adapt quickly to different situations. Leadership coaches also
typically schedule formal feedback and development sessions with their coachees
throughout the year. Leadership coaches serve as a growth engine for the
next generation of organizational leaders. Leadership coaches primary
duty is to develop the bench strength of capable leaders at every level of the
organization. Formal leadership coaching programs exist in several major
U.S. Corporations. Successfully executed leadership coaching programs
provide the human talent for corporate succession planning efforts.
Executive coaches work exclusively with senior
leaders and their teams to build individual leadership competencies and to
promote effective working relationships that improve overall business
performance. Executive coaches focus on developing strategic thinking
skills, broadening emotional competencies, expanding coalitions and networks,
and building organizational culture through living the corporate values.
An executive gains the greatest benefit from an executive coach if that
executive becomes self-aware. Self-awareness suggests the executives
willingness and ability to look at his or her strengths and liabilities and to
seek help where there is need to compensate for what is lacking. During
the process of executive coaching, the executive comes to understand what they
do best and also where they might benefit from coaching. Many CEOs pride
themselves on being master coaches of their managers and promoters of company
values. They tend to support the use of external and internal coaches in
their organizations to enhance executives development and achieve business
When an individual or company begins to looks for coaches,
the best outcome is likely to be achieved when there is a match between a
companys desired involvement in the coaching effort, the formality of the
process, and the purpose of the coaching effort. In particular, leadership
and executive coaches require greater business acumen, a broader understanding
of the organizational context in which an individual works, and more rigorous
training in leadership skills development, group dynamics, behavioural change
and organizational culture and performance. Industrial and Organizational
Psychologists are specifically trained in understanding, measuring and
motivating individuals in the context of work. Please refer to the
Consultant Locator section on the SIOP website (www.siop.org)
to find the right coach for your needs.
Coaching Table of Contents