10 Elements of Management Coaching 3.0

The world in your eyes

I'm a member of a network of "50-Plus" professionals, focusing on translating our experience into formats that relate to today's business needs. A group member asked me about my vision on coaching senior management and how this differs from what is generally offered today. My observations on coaching today and tomorrow.

Generally coaching is focused on one element of a senior managers portfolio. Either a project, like a Merger & Acquisition opportunity or a topic, like team management are the focal point of coaching. Hardly ever there is a full performance related coaching coverage. 

Most of the time coaching is introduced when things have gone or threaten to go wrong. Interestingly mostly the initiative for coaching is not coming from the senior manager but from the surrounding environment (boss, supervisory board member, HR-director). 

Coaching is often executed as a hidden activity. Of site sessions, preferably outside of office hours, are the standard. It seems that coaching still is seen as something that one should not openly admit to or even should be ashamed of. Asking for help is not a commodity in the macho-like culture of senior management. 

The typical coach comes from one of two main backgrounds. The first group has a social sciences background: with the ability to listen and reflect. The second group has a consultancy background: strong in analyzing situations and presenting alternative solution scenario's. Surprisingly a logical third background, business management, is not seen that often. Yes, board members sometimes are specifically appointed to act as coach but their hierarchical relation to the senior manager limits the options for open dialog and thus the effectiveness. Also seasoned business managers, if available for coaching at all, are often not asked to coach since they are seen as potential "dangerous".

In my opinion today's business challenges require a new approach to coaching. Let's look at an environment that can give us an example: the sports world. Every top athlete or team is supported by trainers and coaches. The higher the level, the bigger and more specialized the supporting team. But there is always one prime coach: from the personal manager for individual athletes to the team manager in professional football. Coaching in sports is normal, even a part of the success or failure. If the athlete does not feel comfortable or the results are not as expected, the coach is the first to go.

Resulting from my observations I strongly advocate the 10 Elements of Management Coaching 3.0:

  1. Proactive: focused to improve overall performance
  2. On-demand: format, frequency and mode aligned with the business dynamics
  3. 360 degree: looking at all relevant elements of person, content & context
  4. Oversight: coach should be a generalist, seconded by specialists were necessary
  5. Visible: coaching not hidden for peers and team but state clearly that the manager remains in charge
  6. Independent: there should be no hidden agenda or conflicting interest between coached and coach
  7. Leverage: coach needs to have an equivalent business background or at least a feeling for the managers role
  8. Consistency: coaching is a long term relationship, trust and respect need time to grow
  9. Commitment: the coach should share success & failure of the senior manager
  10. Maturity: the coach should be seasoned by experience but innovative by attitude

The only things we are now missing is the awareness of senior managers that 3.0 coaches are out there and the coaches themselves that they are different, available and eager.

Contact me to discuss if I would be the right coach for you.


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