Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 17th 2014 Contents SBG16 COMMENTARY
SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt AUGUST 17 • 2014
"There is always an inner game being played
in your mind no matter what outer game you
are playing. How you play this game usually
makes the difference between success and failure."
Many of us when we hear
the word coaching auto-
matically think about a
sports coach however,
coaching is now widely
known outside the
sporting arena. As Author Malcolm Gladwell
will put it, the tipping point for coaching as
it applies today in other areas, started with
Thomas Lennard in the 1980s.
Leonard, was a budget director for Landmark
Education in the 1980s. As a financial adviser,
he found that people were often seeking more
than just financial guidance when they came
to him. As it turns out, financial challenges
were only part of the problem, and what people
were really craving is advice about their lives
Thomas Leonard started being a life adviser
and calling himself a coach. When coaching
others, he drew together knowledge from a
number of different fields and this is how a
coaching methodology began to take shape.
Thomas Leonard was instrumental in bring-
ing coaching in other fields in the United States
whilst, John Whitmore and Graham Alexander
were influential in spreading coaching in the
United Kingdom and Europe. They drew upon
the approach of Timothy Gallwey from his
book the Inner Game of Tennis.
In every human endeavour, there are two
arenas of engagement: the outer and the inner.
The outer game is played on an external arena
to overcome external obstacles to reach an
external goal. The inner game takes place within
the mind of the player and is played against
such obstacles as fear, self-doubt, lapses in
focus, and limiting concepts or assumptions.
The inner game is played to overcome the self-
imposed obstacles that prevent an individual
or team from accessing their full potential.
In simple terms, the game can be summarised
in a formula: performance = potential-inter-
ference, P=p-i. According to this formula, per-
formance can be enhanced either by growing
"p" potential or by decreasing "i," interfer-
How coaching works
The International Coach Federation (ICF)
defines coaching as "partnering with clients
in a thought-provoking and creative process
that inspires them to maximise their personal
and professional potential".
Coaching is simply a conversation between
two or more person (one-on-one or team
coaching) to get the person to move from where
they are presently to where they want to be.
Applying this definition to employees, a
manager or supervisor can use the coaching
approach to guide and motivate them towards
Let us look at the steps involved in the coach-
Build rapport: when an employee
approaches his/her manager with an
issue, you must first connect with
that person. Establish a space in which you
can move forward together, the person feels
comfortable to be open and share what the
issues are. By taking the time to establish a
connection, opens the door for effective coach-
ing to take place.
Identify issue or goal: what is the
problem or the goal that the employee
wants to achieve? Take your time in
identifying the issue or goal as this will go a
long way in bringing clarity, which will pave
the way for solution to the problem or setting
Create vision: begin the end in mind
as the late author Stephen Covey
said. It pays to take a moment to
imagine what you are trying to do when you
work at solving the problem.
Brainstorm approaches: now that
you have identified the issue or goal
and created a vision of what you
want to achieve, you are ready to brainstorm
on ideas that will help you achieve the vision.
By brainstorming with your employee on ideas,
you will tap into knowledge, expertise, view-
point, awareness and information flowing.
Establish action plan: start off by cre-
ating a simple to-do list for the cho-
sen course of action. This encourages
the employee to take ownership, and be sure
to include a timeline for completing each task
and establish a criteria of how to measure the
employee s progress.
Commitment and accountability:
let s make it happen! Don t take it
for granted that the employee will
take action because they came up with the
solution to the problem or set the goal to be
achieved. Get the person to state clearly that
he/she is ready to get the work done, and do
your part as the manager to help the employee
succeed -- maybe a small reward to help moti-
vate the person.
Acknowledgment: in a rush to get
out the door and get down to busi-
ness, acknowledgment after a coach-
ing session might be overlooked. Take the time
to say "nice work!" or "good idea!. Thank the
employee for participating in the coaching
Follow-up: follow-up is critical with
any action plan and it is no different
in coaching. A chain of meetings
tends to take time away from getting the work
done. However, this will ensure accountability,
evaluation, find out what was learned along
the way and give feedback.
Benefits to the organisation
Coaching will benefit the employee with
personal self-development, but there are many
benefits of using a coaching approach in the
Develop employees competence: imagine a
parent coaching a child to ride a bicycle similarly,
a manager who coaches an employee, helps
that person to become empowered to complete
assignments without being micro-managed.
Diagnose the roots of performance problems:
it is the responsibility of the manager to find
out why an employee is not performing as
they should. A good manager will ask the
employee for their input, listen, ask questions
to discover the root cause and work with that
person to resolve the issue.
Change unsatisfactory or unacceptable per-
formance: not every issue in the organisation
requires training to fix it. Training addresses
a skills issue whilst coaching addresses the
attitude of the individual.
Address behavioural issues: in most if not
all organisations we encounter people who
spend too much time on the telephone making
personal calls, gossiping on the corridors and
more so wasting valuable time on the internet
or social media.
Coaching can address issues such as these
without making the employee feel that they
are being victimised.
Foster productive working relationships: in
an office setting, we cannot avoid working
with people. Our attitudes and emotions affect
others therefore, by applying the techniques
of coaching in the workplace, you foster team-
work and better performance.
Motivated and more engaged: how employees
feel about themselves and their workplace
makes a big difference in their performance.
Coaching employees with respect does a lot
more to improve morale and allows for showing
People join organisations but leave managers
therefore, as managers, it is your responsibility
to grow your employees or watch them go. A
good manager must master the use of a number
of different tools and know when each is appro-
priate and when it is not, coaching is just one
of these skills.
The manager cannot rely solely on training
and in-house workshops to address issues in
the organisation. Managers need coaching to
motivate, support, instil confidence, guide and
empower their people so that they will work
to achieve the objectives of the organisation.
Remember that the manager s job while
coaching is not to fix anything, not to give
advice, not to tell the employee what to do.
The job of the manager as coach, is to build
awareness and move to action.
Mrs Nashroon Mohammed, BA (Hons), Dip LC,
CCC, CLTMC is a workplace coach and mediator with
the Mediation Board of T&T. She is a member with
International Coach Federation (ICF) and board member
of HRMATT. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Coaching for managers:
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