As a member of leadership, you may be responsible for establishing coaching relationships between staff members or inviting outside organizations into the program to participate in a more formal coaching experience. In both cases, it is important to understand your role and the ways you can support the success of your efforts.
Most importantly, as facilitators of coaching efforts, members of leadership need to understand a few basic concepts about adult learners. Malcolm Knowles, a pioneer in studying how adults learn best, identified a number of characteristics of adult learners:
- Adults benefit from being involved in determining what they learn and how they learn it.
- Adults learn best when learning is experiential – they learn through doing.
- Adults prefer to learn about topics that are directly relevant to their work or lives.
- Adults learn best when topics solve their problems.
- Adult motivation to learn is internal rather than external.
- Adults bring their past experiences to new learning experiences.
Understanding these key concepts can help leaders set up effective coaching programs and evaluate outside individuals or agencies that may seek to provide coaching to your staff. Make sure that the approach used in the coaching program:
- Accounts for employees’ experience and culture.
- Allows employees to participate in goal setting and evaluating the program.
- Focuses on the challenges that are relevant to each employee’s current experience.
- Takes into consideration what employees know currently and build on current skills.
- Promotes accountability and active participation on the part of employees.
- Recognizes mistakes as valuable learning experiences.
From this point, it is important to align staff with the spirit of the coaching initiative. Some individuals may not see the point of participating in coaching sessions. Some may see coaching as punitive, while others resent the time that coaching requires. Work with your team, and individuals as needed, to identify the benefits of participating in coaching. Brainstorm the WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) reasons that coaching is worth the effort.
Instill an overall positive attitude about quality improvement and life-long learning in your program that new employees learn about when they join your team. This will require you to participate and demonstrate how members of leadership are on a path of continuous quality improvement before asking your staff to follow your lead.
For the main article Coaching, CLICK HERE
For the article What is Coaching?, CLICK HERE
For the article Characteristics for Coaches and Coachees, CLICK HERE
For the article Structure of Coaching Sessions, CLICK HERE