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Coaching is an indispensable tool to help leaders manage the transition, new responsibilities, challenges faced as a leader, or the need for fresh perspectives on their potential and business strategies. A survey conducted in 2021 revealed that 67% of the participants said that coaching increased employee engagement and satisfaction, while 60% said it improved employees’ perception of leadership quality.
So, what is high-impact coaching, and why is it needed? Let’s take a closer look.
The Need for High-Impact Coaching
Today’s business landscape is dynamic- constantly evolving, becoming increasingly complex and competitive. The Leaders battle leading diverse teams, navigating the organizational maze while adapting to the ever-changing market conditions. It throws up new challenges for the leaders requiring them to acquire new skills and competencies to stay current.
Unfortunately, traditional leadership training and development programs fall short of preparing the leader with the required skills to be nimble. While traditional Leadership programs offer a sound set of foundational skills, they often overlook the leader’s unique individual needs and circumstances. Consequently, leaders often find themselves ill-prepared to tackle the challenges they face in the real world.
What is High-Impact Coaching?
High-Impact Coaching creates a safe and private environment where senior leaders can explore their personal development goals. The coaching process begins with a diagnostic assessment that delves into the leader’s recent experiences, contexts, circumstances, and communication styles. The coach’s guidance helps the leader gain insights into how they are perceived and how this perception influences the desired impact. The High Impact coaching philosophy is grounded in enhancing self-knowledge and developing leadership qualities and competencies crucial for effectiveness. This approach helps coaches enable leaders to unlock their full potential and achieve their goals with greater clarity and confidence.
Let us use an example to understand how high-impact coaching works.
Let’s say there is a Senior technical manager with a solid technical background who has come up the rungs. Very proficient in technical jargon, wordage and communication. Now he has a team with people from diverse backgrounds and skills that he needs to communicate with on various topics and subjects – technical & non-technical. While he is excellent at communicating technical with his tech-savvy peers, he is not so successful when speaking to the less tech-savvy team members or on non-technical issues. The result is unrest and frustration among the team members and declining morale. A coach stepping in here can help. Using High-Impact Coaching, he can quickly identify the gap and work with the manager to develop communication skills to help bridge the gap between technical and non-technical team members. The process would involve the Coach analyzing the manager’s communication style and the team’s perception of their leadership. The coach would then work with the manager to develop a communication strategy that blends with the manager’s style yet enables him to build confidence in the team and convey his message effectively when communicating outside of his comfort zone, thereby improving his management skills.
The Essentials of High-Impact Coaching
Personalized Approach: High-Impact coaching is tailored to the Coachees’ needs, taking into account their strengths and weaknesses and specific challenges faced in the role, whether in the organizational context, market conditions, or competitive landscape. The coach uses various assessment tools, such as 360-degree feedback surveys and personality assessments, to understand the leader’s style, preferences, and behaviours.
Goal Oriented – The coaching process to be successful should be structured to help leaders achieve specific outcomes aligned with their personal goals and the organization’s strategic objectives and improve their executive presence. To accomplish this and stay focused, the coach and the leader need to identify the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure progress. The coach can use a framework like the OKRs (Objectives and Key Results), which involves setting specific, ambitious objectives and identifying the key results to help achieve those objectives.
Actionable Feedback: A high-impact coach would give specific and actionable feedback to help the leader change or improve. For example, a coach would never say, “you need to be a better communicator,” instead, the coach would identify specific communication behaviours that the leader needs to work on, such as being more clear and concise when delivering a message and guiding on the how with approaches that the leader could use. High-Impact coaching should also provide opportunities to practice and apply new skills in real-world situations, such as role-playing and simulations, allowing leaders to receive immediate feedback.
Ongoing Support: For results, high-impact coaching requires ongoing support, including regular check-ins, follow-up sessions, and on-demand support as and when needed. A success coach is nimble in adapting the program to the leader’s progress and changing goals. In addition, they help the leader build a network of support, including peers, mentors, or other leaders who can provide additional guidance and support.
Confidentiality: a good coach maintains a safe and confidential environment allowing the leader a safe space to share challenges and fears without the fear of prejudice or ridicule, the Coach acts as the coachee’s sounding board, thus building a strong and trusting relationship. It enables the coach to understand the coachee better and provide personalized and tailored feedback that helps address the leader’s specific needs and concerns. It provides the leader with the freedom to experiment with new behaviours and strategies without the fear of being judged or criticized.
Flexibility: The good coaching program has an inbuilt flexibility to adapt to the leader’s changing priorities, goals, and circumstances. For example, a coach could be working with a senior executive who may initially focus on improving the executive’s communication skills to better engage with their team. As circumstances change, the coach may shift the focus to developing the executive’s strategic planning abilities to support the organization’s long-term goals. Coaches also incorporate flexibility in their coaching style, switching between a structured and exploratory approach as required.
High-Impact Coaching is effective for leaders challenged with complex business challenges. Leaders working in dynamic markets, high-pressure roles or those transitioning to a new leadership role will find high-impact coaching, another form of executive coaching, invaluable to hit the ground running and unlock their full potential and overcome obstacles that traditional leadership training and development programs often overlook, ultimately helping organizations achieve their strategic objectives.