The daily pressures of work, the need to fire-fight problems, shortage of time and the demands of other people all reduce the effectiveness with which my clients are able to analyse complex issues. The chances that they will come up with the best solutions, strategies and goals are greatly diminished.
Coaching helps them see the wood from the trees. It unravels complexity and allows them to get a better understanding of the issues so that better decisions can be made.
It also challenges unproductive and ‘woolly’ thinking, helping them to sharpen their responses and question what is familiar and routine.
The underlying philosophy of my approach is that when my clients are unaware of how they limit their performance their minds are closed to the possibility of improvement.
There are many ways whereby they unwittingly prevent themselves from realising their full potential. Habitual or routine behaviour, mind-set, lack of feedback, denial, anxiety, fatigue, lack of confidence, failure to act, fear of ambiguity, all these things among many others, sabotage their ability to respond more effectively to the challenges they face at work.
Coaching holds a “mirror” up to my clients’ attitudes, beliefs and behaviour and helps to develop awareness and self-knowledge. Greater awareness reveals a wider choice of options and actions that may have previously been overlooked. Knee-jerk or habitual reactions are avoided.
What to do? My clients often limit the way they respond to issues by:
- failing to fully understand them
- being unaware of blind spots in their thinking
- doing what is familiar and being risk averse
- not opening their minds to the full range of possible options
- not giving enough time to proper consideration of the options
Coaching increases their understanding of issues and raises awareness of what is possible, increasing the range of options available to them. They put themselves into a position where they can make realistic choices from a wider range of possible actions.
Knowing what to do is one thing, doing it is another.
Coaching helps my clients to commit to taking action: the tasks to be done and where, when and how they will be completed.
Coaching also addresses what might get in the way of them doing what they want to do, and explores what support they might need from others to achieve their declared goals.
Responsibility can be a lonely burden to bear. I support my clients by:
- being available to listen
- acting as a sounding board
- providing feedback
- facilitating reality checks
- coaching during ‘work in progress’
Sharing anxieties, thinking out loud, stepping out of role, experimenting with risk are all productive and liberating activities within the strictly confidential and supportive boundaries of a coaching relationship.
Coaching raises self-awareness and self-confidence. My clients carry these benefits forward into their work and lives and become more effective as a result.
To an increasing extent they become able to coach themselves and manage new challenges with a higher level of awareness, creativity and ability to deliver results.
They can also learn that the skills of coaching can help them facilitate the work performance and development of those they manage. They acquire the option of using a coaching style of management that helps them get the best out of others.