What Is GUIDE Coaching?
An alliance built on trust between a Coach and a Leader that focuses on strategies for the Leader to achieve optimal fulfillment, effectiveness and impact.
A strategic and collaborative relationship established for the purpose of moving the Leader toward achieving their situational, personal, career and/or life objectives.
The Coach facilitates the Leader in defining their desired outcome, exploring options and ultimately making commitments to fulfill their desired outcomes.
The Coach’s expertise is the GUIDE Coaching Process.
Encourage and Execute
The Coach is the guide on the side, not the sage on the stage.
Why This Book?
Another book on coaching? Absolutely!
Why? Because we believe we are onto something really big, and want to share it with you!
The focus on coaching for high-potentials is a relatively new phenomenon. It’s safe to say that “coaching” has historically been viewed as something that was offered to you when your career was in trouble. People didn’t want to work with a Coach, and if they were assigned a Coach, they more often than not kept that news to themselves. Today, working with a Coach has taken on new meaning. It’s almost viewed as a status symbol. We hear our clients talk about working with their “executive Coach” just as much as they openly talk about working with their personal trainer at the gym. And the analogy is appropriate. Someone who works with a personal trainer does so to build strength which leads to sustainable health and longevity. Similarly, someone who works with an executive Coach does so to build leadership effectiveness which leads to sustainable engagement and fulfillment.
The Harvard Business Review article entitled, What Can Coaches Do For You? (authored by Diane Coutu and Carol Kauffman, published in January 2009) speaks to this trend in coaching. The authors highlight that, “Coaches are no longer most often hired to usher toxic leaders out the door,” and instead cite the following as the top 3 reasons Coaches are engaged:
- develop high potentials or facilitate transition … 48%
- act as a sounding board … 26%
- address derailing behavior … 12%
This is the bottom line and what we are excited to share with you: today’s hottest trend is to develop coaching skills in and across the existing leadership team to ensure that all Leaders are able to provide coaching within their own organizations. This serves to create a true internal culture of coaching, which builds alignment and engagement within the organization. This “pay it forward” approach is ground-breaking, and we have had tremendous success introducing this idea to our clients.
First, let us provide some context. We are ISHR Group. Founded in 1999, we provide leadership assessment, development and coaching services to clients around the world. For years, we have provided coaching to our clients, and we have noticed the ways in which the professional landscape is changing. These changes are positive and will fundamentally refocus the way Leaders lead within an organization. The “I” in our “ISHR” name stands for Incite! To incite means to stir, to encourage or urge on, to stimulate or prompt to action! Our goal in writing this book is that we are able to “incite” you as a Leader to stimulate or prompt you to action -- namely, to become a better Leader by incorporating the principles of GUIDE Coaching into your daily leadership routines!
Our writing mirrors our approach to business, our approach to coaching, and, frankly, our approach to life. We believe in letting our walls down and getting to know our clients to build deep, lasting relationships. We believe you have to focus on both leveraging your strengths, which differentiates you from other Leaders, as well as being aware of the areas you need to develop. We believe that everyone has a story that influences how they work, interact with others, respond to stress, react to change -- and the list goes on.
At the core of ISHR Group stands a passion for developing Leaders. As our business has evolved, we have chosen to focus our service offerings into a trifecta that we define as assessment, development and coaching. We view these three areas as being fundamentally integrated and certainly not as stand-alone items (and you can learn more about our assessment, development and coaching businesses at the end of this book).
The “we” refers to the partners within ISHR Group: Ellen Dotts, Monique Honaman, and Stacy Sollenberger. Our professional backgrounds are grounded in the same approach. We all started our human resources careers at General Electric®, known worldwide as one of the most respected companies for developing Leaders. We did not work together while at GE, but our paths fortuitously crossed, and years later we found ourselves connecting around a common passion for leadership assessment, development and coaching. As with any coaching relationship, our styles are different, but uniquely complimentary. We value the differing perspectives that each of us brings to our business. Our similarities brought us together, but it’s our complementary differences that make us so effective.
Why ISHR Group, and why GUIDE Coaching? Simply put, it’s because we are experienced in working with Leaders. Our approach is practical, not steeped in theory. We believe in making a difference and in moving people forward with positive momentum.
Every one of our coaching engagements starts with what we call the Grounding “get-to-know” phase. This opportunity ensures that “chemistry” exists between the Coach and the Leader. We must make certain that the Leader is comfortable talking and sharing with the Coach and will respect the approach that is taken and any questions, advice, observations and feedback that are given.
We believe there should be a Grounding element to this book as well. With all of the business books on coaching that exist today, how will you know if this book is a good match for what you are seeking? It is about understanding who we are, and what we stand for, as that is indicative of the approach we take in coaching.
And here is our big difference: we do not think coaching should only be something that a third party completes with an internal organizational Leader. We do not believe someone should come in, coach, and leave without providing an opportunity to transfer those skills. We do believe in coaching and providing the tools to create a lasting culture of coaching within the organization.
Simply said, we believe in coaching Leaders, and we believe in teaching Leaders how to be Coaches. This two-part process is the key to our success, and frankly, the key differentiator of our business model. Sure, we can come in, coach a Leader, and achieve success in doing that as evidenced by a positive change in behavior. But, isn’t it more valuable to come in and coach that Leader for the same positive change in behavior, while also leaving her with the skills to allow her to become an effective Coach within her own organization as well? This approach moves beyond coaching as a single element, and serves to create a true culture of coaching within our client organizations. Coaching one person is valuable. Coaching that one person to translate the coaching skills to engage and align others creates ongoing momentum with transformational impact.
We see coaching as a process for Leaders to become more effective in their own right, and also as a tool to engage and align their talent. This becomes absolutely crucial for Leaders who are leading or influencing other people (arguably something we all have to do).
This concept of employee engagement has created quite a buzz in recent years. Dr. Beverly Kaye, EdD., co-author of the best-selling book, Love 'Em or Lose 'Em: Getting Good People to Stay, has this to say about employee engagement: “Many managers claim no responsibility for employee engagement and retention. They believe it’s all about the money, perks and benefits, where they have little control. We know that's not true. In addition to fair pay, people want challenging, meaningful work; a chance to learn and grow; great co-workers; recognition and respect; and a good boss. The manager can influence these factors. Sometimes they know it … but need tools and processes to help them become more talent-focused.”
GUIDE Coaching provides those tools and the process that quite simply helps Leaders to become better Coaches. Together, this leads to increased engagement and alignment.
This differentiator mirrors who we are. It’s a practical approach, and we’re a practical organization. We get the world of leadership. We understand the world of business. We understand global implications. We understand the way things work within a corporation. We have played in this arena for years, first on the “inside” as we grew our careers within GE, for the past 13 years as we have worked with clients around the world and across various companies, industries, and functions.
One of our clients used these words to describe our strengths as Coaches and our belief in GUIDE Coaching: “executive prowess.” We really liked this phrase and the image it conveys. It means we are respected by Leaders, senior Leaders and officers. It means we believe strongly in our approach and that we are able to convey that value to our clients. It means we have an inherent confidence in our GUIDE Coaching process. It works. We know it works. We have seen it work time and time again.
We did not make up the GUIDE Coaching process one afternoon over a cup of coffee. We didn’t decide one day to call ourselves executive Coaches. Our “executive prowess” developed over decades of work in the industry and experience coaching business Leaders around the world. It comes from seeing that the process stopped when the coaching engagement was “done” and that the process could live on when we taught those same business Leaders how to be Coaches themselves. It highlights the adage of “Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he eats for a lifetime.”
Our clients tell us we are different because we are more practical in our approach, we are pragmatic, we turn something that tends to be “mystical and intuitive” into something that can be taught, and adapted to others to fit their style. What do we mean by “mystical and intuitive?” When Leaders think of Coaches, they often think of "life Coaches," which for some creates images of “crystals and fluffiness.” GUIDE Coaching is much more business-focused because it focuses solely on the individual. Our clients come to us to employ coaching as a strategic means to drive results for the individual and the organization. It is their reality. They need to drive sustainable, long-term business results. GUIDE Coaching is a strategic approach that has the potential to incorporate the intentions and goals of both the individual and the organization.
We take the same powerful line of questioning that often accompanies life coaching, and we adapt it to fit within the framework of global organizations. Be it through delivery of a two-hour module or a two-day workshop on GUIDE Coaching, the feedback is consistent: we leave our audience with tangible skill development that they can immediately put to use within their business. It’s immediate. It’s relevant. People get resolution. They move forward. This is very identifiable. It’s culturally transferrable. In our experience, all Leaders are trying to influence; all Leaders have a deliverable they are trying to accomplish; all Leaders have some level of strategic problem-solving, either for themselves or for others, which they are trying to accomplish.
Our aim is to translate those take-aways throughout this book as well. Our fundamental goal is to provoke the concept of coaching to hold the same resonance with corporate leadership as the concepts of effective customer service and bottom-line insight. We focus on deliverables and accountability. It’s practical. People see results. Our goal is to drive results. We want to hear, “That was a tangible result. I saw that benefit. That felt good. I felt the ‘click’ between ‘heart’ and ‘head.’ I saw what can happen when I change X.”
The majority of our coaching clients, probably 95% of them, are fast-track; highly promotable individuals whose companies want to provide them with focused attention to make them even more effective in the workplace by leveraging their natural strengths and learning to work around those areas that aren’t as strong. Most of these people have been told at one point or another in their careers that they needed to delegate more and empower others, but often don’t know how. Coaching is the how! When we can teach someone how to coach others on their team, suddenly the art of delegating and empowering others becomes much easier, and leads to greater success for both Coach and Leader.
Back to our initial question: why this book, and why now? Businesses are realizing that anyone can benefit from working with a Coach. It’s often perceived as a form of reward and recognition. The reality is that you can’t hire external executive Coaches for everyone. It’s cost prohibitive. Our differentiator is that we fill the gap: we take what we know, we take what works, and we teach it to others. That is the gap that businesses have been looking to fill!
Who should read this book? Our message not only benefits business Leaders. Our strategies yield benefits for anyone who seeks to become more influential within their organization. It is not necessary to have direct reports to learn and apply the GUIDE Coaching model. We believe in the concept of the Coaching Pyramid, which essentially states that anyone can be coached – up, down, or sideways – to fit your needs. This book is for anyone who works in an organization who needs to, or will benefit from, influencing others, working on his self-development, and the development of others (this is reciprocal!), needs to problem-solve, or help others to solve problems.
One doesn’t need to be in a specific role or position within an organization to suddenly be deemed a Coach. Often, the best Coaches are buried within the organization while many at the top struggle to coach effectively and instead concentrate on directing their reports. Although straightforward communication is important, “telling someone what to do” is the antithesis of asking powerful questions, which is what effective Coaches do best.
Our coaching model simply requires five steps. As our methodology implies, “GUIDE” is the key word, thus:
Ground – This step embodies the essence of engagement. It is all about the Coach and the Leader establishing a relationship “beyond just business.” This is where the Coach begins to understand what motivates the Leader in terms of her values, her vision for the future, and her goals. They also establish expectations and set boundaries around the coaching relationship.
Understand – In this step, the Coach and Leader gain mutual clarity on their intentions and vision, either for the short-term or long-term, or for their life or their career. They clarify those things that drive intentions and often serve to unknowingly confuse the issues and inhibit positive momentum. In some instances, the Leader may benefit from direct feedback during this time to gain a better understanding of the issue.
Incite – Here, Coaches are encouraged to foster multiple perspectives of the issue and various methods to address the topic being discussed. This is the “meat” of the coaching, and the point at which the Coach facilitates an exploration of opportunities and obstacles while analyzing various options. The pros and cons of each opportunity can be evaluated to drive commitment and to explore the best option for the Leader.
Decide – In this step, the Coach facilitates the Leader to make a conscious choice to achieve her vision by clearing the obstacles, confirming buy-in, and guiding the Leader toward the necessary next steps.
Encourage and Execute – As a final step, the Coach motivates the Leader to build upon the commitments made. The Coach builds confidence, provides encouragement, drives accountability, and generally acts as a champion to ensure the coaching session ends with positive momentum in place.
GUIDE Coaching is a process for coaching others, but it is also broad enough to apply to people who influence one another in a peer or matrixed environment. It’s a process -- and it’s very flexible. In fact, we even hear from our clients that they use this with their friends and with their children (more often we hear it is used with teenagers because they appreciate that GUIDE Coaching is not condescending). Again, anyone can coach and anyone can be coached! GUIDE Coaching allows for proactive coaching (e.g., identifying feedback and how to deliver it in a coaching manner), in addition to general problem solving.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? Do you find it resonates with some of your experiences as a Leader? If yes, then this book is for you! We invite you to continue reading and learn more about what makes our GUIDE Coaching model unique and how to ensure you have created a culture of coaching that aligns and engages every employee in your organization.