Pragmatic advice for coaches, managers & leaders

Category Archives: Coaching skills

Sector specifics

Coaching sectors

Please don’t call me for a coaching assignment and ask what business sectors I have coaching experience in. Seriously.

Whilst I will be able to say honestly that I have had the great pleasure of working in many industries and organisations over the last 16 years, it rather misses the point. Great executive coaching can be achieved regardless of the coach’s sector experience; in fact there is an argument to suggest that being ‘free’ of what you think you know about a particular sector may prove helpful to good coaching. But if you want someone to tell you or a colleague what to do, then you may be better off hiring a mentor who can share their experiences.

Sector security

Sponsors of coaching often ask about these types of experiences because they want some reassurance that the coach ‘gets’ what the client is going through. Well, let’s assume no-one would be able to do that precisely, so we can drop it as an area of concern can’t we?

It might be more useful for you to know what type of areas of coaching I, or better still my clients, think I am more effective at helping with: For me that would be areas such as growing self-confidence; developing personal leadership style and driving team performance. I’m less experienced, for example, at specific assignments to do with career progression, although many of my clients have gone on to promotion as a result of their improved work performance but as a by-product of our working together. I’ve also done very little ‘life coaching’ specifically, although I am aware that much of the work I do has an impact of the ‘life’ of my clients.

Role Experience

Experience of a particular role is a bit different to sector experience.  There is research suggesting that a coach’s ability may be limited by their own cognitive and social-emotional development (e.g. Bachkirova 2011, Laske, 2006) relative to that of their clients. Coaches who are less ‘developed’ in these areas than their clients, are likely to be relatively less effective than coaches who are more ‘developed’. This makes sense, as these coaches have greater degrees of flexibility in their thinking to access and also possess higher levels of emotional intelligence. My assumption here is that the more senior the client, the more developed along the cognitive and social-emotional scales they are … but I’ll leave you to decide the accuracy of that assumption.

My point is this that coaching is context- and person-specific; it promotes self-reliance, and fresh thinking whilst often getting into some quite ‘deep’ areas. It’s not about me telling you what to do. That’s your job. It’s not my place to share my experiences. It’s your job to design and dive into the positive experiences that can be available to you.

Dr Glenn Wallis is an experienced leadership and executive coach who relishes the opportunities to help people think differently and develop their uniqueness. You can contact him here if you would like to discuss your coaching and leadership needs.

Plain sailing

I want to share a true, short story about learning new skills, which has direct relevance to learning how to be a leader who uses coaching as part of your leadership tools. About 10 years ago a friend and I decided that we wanted to learn how to windsurf. After two very enjoyable and very wetContinue Reading

The value of working on your values

Exploring your values is an area that many coaching conversations will visit where such a discussion might help you understand the times when you are conflicted or feeling things aren’t quite the ‘fit’ they once were. The thing is that your values: are more or less flexible change over time are the internal compass that send yourContinue Reading

A time and a place

If you hold meetings with people that you lead and manage, peers, stakeholders or key clients, this post holds a piece of really helpful information that could help you save yourself and the other party loads of hassle. I could also help you protect your business. I’ve written before about why I find it incredibleContinue Reading

Stop doing 1 to 1s

I’m all for you meeting regularly with the people that you lead. Indeed, one of the most common changes I see leaders and managers make as they assume more of a strategic role than a operational one, is they increase the numbers of these meetings, often quite considerably. However, please stop doing ‘1 to 1s’ orContinue Reading

A matter of scope

Often when I am working with senior execs they raise an issue of losing sight of the things that are important. They have taken their eye off the ball. It got me to thinking about whether there is a good metaphor that might help keep your ‘eyes on the prize’. Telescope According to some sourcesContinue Reading

The Devil’s in the Detail

You’ve heard of Planning Fallacy, right? This phenomenon suggests that we all have a tendency to predict that we can complete tasks and projects more quickly than we ultimately do or that we can achieve more than we eventually produce. We are optimistically biased. Coaching Commitments This has a significant impact on the effectiveness ofContinue Reading

3 Questions Leaders Ask About Coaching

I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with hundreds of senior leaders in organisations of all sizes, complexity and sectors. During the early days of meeting with clients they can seek extra information to help establish what and how I do what I do. Here are three that get asked of me frequently.  I’veContinue Reading

A little less conversation a little more action please

If you spend a good proportion of your leadership time in conversation with your team then that’s great. If you have those conversations in a coaching style then even better still. More conversation less action? However, if you spend your time in coaching conversations with members of your team and as a result nothing happens,Continue Reading

Are you the footfall driver?

As I found out this week from a senior manager in one of the UK’s leading high street retailers, some lines that stores sell make very little profit but are there to attract customers into the store. These items – think Apple products as an example – are known as ‘footfall drivers’. As they drawContinue Reading