“What comes first, coaching or the need to coach?” This is a very interesting question and one that has been asked before in CMOE’s Coaching Skills Workshops. If this question is one you’ve found yourself asking as well, I hope to be able to answer it for you in this second part of the blog. If you have not yet read Part 1 of this discussion, please click here.
According to CMOE’s definition, coaching is not done strictly on a need basis. While coaching is effective for addressing problems and challenges, CMOE feels coaching is more effective and should primarily be used for preventing such problems and challenges. So, rather than view coaching as merely a corrective action, consider it more as a pre-emptive strike. If leaders spend time influencing, developing, and assisting their employees on a regular basis, problems and challenges are less likely to arise. Additionally, if leaders are conducting coaching sessions on a regular basis, a constructive relationship will be established, efficient communication processes developed, and employees will know what to expect from such discussions. Thus, if a problem does arise, the coaching conversation is likely to be easier for the leader to conduct, easier for the employee to participate in, and a more straightforward and positive experience for all.
So which comes first? In most situations, the need for coaching will present itself and require coaching before a leader takes action. In the ideal situation, coaching comes first and is repeated on a regular basis. If you find yourself in a situation where the need for coaching comes first, I would like to challenge you to ask yourself why you waited for the need to arise and what is holding you back from taking a pre-emptive strike by coaching to influence, develop, and assist your direct reports. If you don’t have the answers or tools to change your behavior for the better, I would encourage you to read up on the subject. To ensure you are spending your reading time on something that will yield results, I recommend CMOE’s book, The Coach; the first research based book on the topic of coaching in the business environment. In the meantime, please post comments and keep your eyes peeled for Part 3 of this blog, which will review four types of coaching opportunities and further address the question, “Which Comes First, Coaching or the Need for Coaching?”