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Performance Improvement Coaching Principles  

Individual Performance Improvement coaching is the "new" approach to developing valued individuals. WCI's approach is based on the following principles. Our 3 levels of performance improvement coaching are described in more detail on a separate page (click here for more details).

  1. Required Motivation

    Individuals must be motivated in order to develop themselves. Substantial behavior change on the job involves changing one's self concept.This takes a lot of personal energy. Performance improvement coaching only provides a return when the "coachee" clearly believes that there is something to be gained from the experience.

  2. Required Fit

    Many years of research in counseling and psychotherapy have shown that "fit" between coach and the individual coached (coachee) is probably the single most important basis for an effective coaching experience.
  3. Fit is an intangible that can only be determined by the two people involved. Lack of fit can undermine the effectiveness of a coaching relationship very quickly. It is the responsibility of the coach to assess "fit" and to make alternative coaching arrangements when it is not present. Superior coaches adjust their behavior to enhance the fit between their client and their selves.

  4. Not Therapy or Training

    Coaching is essentially a "self exploration" in which individuals explore and extend their self concept about their work capability through dialogue with another person.

    • It is not therapy. Therapy deals with "life issues" and is usually focused on redemptive education. Therapy allows a person to make up lacks in one's life experience or get "by" life experiences that interfere with the normal activities of living.

    • It is not training. Work oriented skills development is best done in technical training or professional development environments.

  5. Use of Instruments

    Because coaching is work oriented self exploration, coaching often involves the use of structured self descriptive and 360° feedback tools. These act as "data based" mirrors that give the coached individual a different view of the self. Coaches need certification and training in the use of such tools if their use of them is to be effective.

  6. Characteristics of the Coach

    In addition to fit, coaches need relevant business experience in order to work effectively with business individuals. Good coaches have a dynamic combination of self-awareness, personal maturity, self confidence, individual development know-how, feedback tool certification and the "right" business experience.

    Many coaching courses (as taught in colleges and universities) or coaching certification programs do not stress the need for all of these. No matter how well structured or well-taught, they do not have the time to develop deep self-awareness, personal maturity, and self-confidence under a variety of working conditions. These need time and experience. Coaching training or certification programs may give individuals useful "individual self development" and "business" models that they can pass onto their clients. But if this is all that happens in a coaching relationship, then it is simply "personalized training", which may be appropriate in some coaching situations. Business coaching is often focused on helping an individual learn to apply useful business concepts and frameworks, as opposed to dealing with personal performance improvement.

    As a result, good coaches are hard to find.

  7. Organizational Knowledge

    In order to be effective, a coach needs to know about the culture of the organization and its reward structure: promotion conditions and norms, bonus schemes and career development processes, including the norms surrounding developmental assignments. As well, the coach needs to know about existing performance appraisal, professional development and individual feedback processes.
    The coach can obtain this knowledge through dialogue with the right HR players, and the "coachee's" superior.

    As well, the coach needs to know a lot about how the "coachee" works, under both normal, exceptional and stressful conditions. This may require dialogue with the individual's superior(s), peers, clients, business contacts and subordinates. The coach must introduce this knowledge into the dialogue with the coachee in a way that protects the individuals from whom this information was obtained.

  8. Behavior Change on the Job

    Coaches who believe that the coachee's behavior change on the job is the only real measure of the coach's effectiveness are even harder to find. But excellent coaches know this, and search for ways to collect this information during and after the coaching assignment.

  9. Combating Extinction

    At work, people develop "interlocked patterns of repetitive behavior" that allow them to get things done with a minimum of conscious effort - shared smart habits. Coaching changes an individual's work habits. When a coachee start to display new behaviors, the people with whom the coachee interacts have to change theirs to match. The existing patterns of shared smart habits will have to change.

The other people may very well resist such change. Persistence and appropriate explanation are two of the skills that coaches must impart to their clients. Individuals will have to find ways of letting the others that they work with know they are going to behave in new ways (appropriate explanation). They may have to persist through several attempts before the others start to change their matching behaviors (persistence). Once this happens, new shared smart habit will have developed.

If the coachee does not do this, there is a risk that the coachee's new habits will be extinguished because others are not prepared to change their behavior in response. If the coach does not prepare the coachee to work through this period with existing co-workers, there is a good chance that the coachee will revert back to old behaviors.

This need for reciprocal behavior change is normal in all types of interpersonal skills development. When the coachees or trainee stop exhibiting their new skills because of their inability to get their co-workers to change their reciprocal behaviors, the value of the training or coaching is lost. It is known as the "extinction" effect.

WCI's Coaching Services

WCI offers 3 levels of performance improvement coaching services. They are described in more detail on a separate page. Clicking on any of the following will take you there.

If you are currently in a coaching relationship, you may find the following helpful.

    "A Guide for "Coachees": Things to Reflect on when Entering a Coaching Relationship" provides perspective on some of these issues for individuals who are about to start working with a coach.




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