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).
- 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.
- Required Fit
Many years of research in counseling
and psychotherapy have shown that "fit" between
the individual coached (coachee) is probably the single
most important basis for an effective coaching experience.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Characteristics of the Coach
In addition to fit, coaches need relevant
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.
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
As a result, good coaches are hard
- 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.
- 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
even harder to find. But excellent coaches know this,
and search for ways to collect this information during and
after the coaching assignment.
- Combating Extinction
At work, people develop "interlocked
patterns of repetitive behavior" that allow them
to get things done with a minimum of conscious effort
smart habits. Coaching changes an individual's work
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.
other people may very well resist such change. Persistence and appropriate
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
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
If you are currently in a coaching relationship, you may find
the following helpful.
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.