I am starting a new series this month to provide tips for tackling Coaching Challenges.
The first in the series deals with a particularly prickly challenge – coaching the uncoachable.
The idea that some people are uncoachable goes against my grain – I like to think everyone can be coached – if we just take the right approach. I’ll admit that there are some individuals that are very difficult to coach. And I guess I must accept that there may be a few who really are uncoachable because they don’t see or believe there is any need to change. Today I’ll give you a few tips on what to do if you find yourself in a position to coach the uncoachable.
You may run across individuals that seem to be uncoachable at many different levels within an organization but you are more likely to find them at the top. These individuals typically have a lot of experience, they have made it to the top on their own, doing things their way. So, their thinking is often - why would they need to be coached? Or, they think it is everyone else who needs to change and others who could use coaching – not them.
But let’s be real – some get to the top based more on politics and charisma than performance and competence. Now, I am not saying that they don’t make contributions to their organizations but it is HOW they got there and HOW they interact with others that is the issue. Because of their approach or style, they often end up creating a toxic environment. Short-term they may be achieving their goals but long-term these same characteristics can end up derailing them. If you haven’t run into an uncoachable yet, you will find that uncoachables at the top of an organization often exhibit greed, arrogance, reckless risk-taking and other detrimental characteristics. Every top executive can benefit from coaching but not everyone sees it that way.
When it comes to coaching these uncoachables you need to flip the script. Rather than focus on their strengths it is more important to focus on what could potentially derail them and negatively impact their organization and their career.
Here are a few tips to get started when you are ready to coach an uncoachable.
- Understand their motivations, goals and personality and work with these not against them
- Help the coachee to see potential issues that could end up derailing their upward trajectory. This might involve gaining insight into WHY their approach has worked so far but then taking a long-term view to see how this approach could turn into a liability for them and their organization
- Help the coachee to discover how they can remain authentic but add new approaches, thinking and tools to achieve their goals that won’t become a liability
If you have an uncoachable challenge I think you will find our Personal Groundwork for Coaching (PGFC) Program™ and the PGFC Workbook particularly helpful. You will learn advanced listening, questioning and framing techniques designed to help with the more challenging coaching situations. Advanced skills will focus on helping coachees get to the root, expose blind spots and overcome resistance to change. In the case of the uncoachable, you will learn how to help them gain an awareness of what can derail their career and discover new approaches that will be an asset to them and their organization rather than a liability.
If you are like most coaches you’ve spent a good deal of time and resources developing your skills. Of course, you want to put your skills to work for your coachees but you also want to gain personal advancement in your career or coaching practice. You’ve invested a lot to get where you are today and just like any investment, you want to maximize your Return on Investment (ROI). But what is the best way to maximize your coaching skills ROI?
One of the traps coaches fall into is taking a narrow view of what a coach is and what opportunities exist. When most people think of becoming a coach they think of coaching individuals within an organization or one on one sessions within a coaching practice. Today I’d like to challenge you to think ‘Outside the Box’ when you think about what you can do with your coaching skills and expertise.
Of course, you can have the formal title and role of coach but don’t stop there. You can also leverage your coaching skills informally as you work with individuals, teams and direct reports. As you apply your coaching skills in these informal settings you are developing and exhibiting attributes that will help you develop leadership skills that will position you for advancement.
Another option for leveraging your coaching skills is to add coaching educator or trainer to your toolkit. Coaches I talk with don’t automatically think of this option but it can be a great way to leverage your skills and improve your ROI.
When you become a coaching educator, you take on the role of educating others, helping them to develop coaching skills rather than coaching per se. Of course, a coaching educator uses his/her coaching skills in the education process.
Here are just a few benefits of becoming a coaching educator;
- Add an additional source of income if you have a coaching practice
- Add an additional skill to your resume if you work within an organization
- Reach more people, help to put coaching skills in the hands of more people
- Develop trainer skills which are very valuable and different than coaching skills
- Develop presentation skills
- Develop group facilitation skills
- Ability to do some training virtually, giving you more flexibility
- See coaching make a difference in more people’s lives
For more insights on leveraging your coaching skills we have a few different resources for you to check out;
As we’ve discussed in previous articles – there is a lot more to success in coaching than excellent coaching skills. This month we will pull the curtain back on The Business of Coaching taking a close look at the biggest challenges faced by coaching practitioners and strategies for overcoming these potential roadblocks. This pertains to coaching practitioners both external (Solopreneur) and internal (working within an organization) as well as those who have blended the two.
To get a well-rounded picture of coaching challenges I have pulled a few stats from the 2016 ICF Global Coaching Study.
Insights from the 2016 ICF Global Coaching Study
The study was commissioned in 2015 by the International Coach Federation (ICF) and undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers. There were 15,380 valid survey responses from 137 countries. Following are a few interesting stats from this study about the business of coaching.
- The coaching industry has evolved into a coaching continuum that includes internal and external coach practitioners as well as managers/leaders who use coaching skills in the workplace. An individual may exist on multiple points along the continuum.
- It is estimated that there are 53,300 professional coach practitioners worldwide. Western Europe accounts for the largest share (35%), followed closely by North America, with an estimated 33% share.
- Average annual revenue of coach practitioners is $51,000. In North America, the average is $61,900.
- The estimated global total revenue from coaching in 2015 was $2.356 billion USD, representing a 19% increase over the 2011 estimate.
When asked to identify the biggest obstacle for coaching over the next 12 months, the main concern expressed by coach practitioners was untrained individuals who call themselves coaches. The chart below presents the percent of respondents who named a particular obstacle.
Respondents were also asked about future opportunities. Increased Awareness of the Benefits of coaching was the top response. Additional responses, expressed as a percent of respondents who mentioned a particular opportunity, are presented below.
Strategies to Overcome Challenges
The top obstacles and opportunities can be used in developing your strategies for success. Set yourself apart by getting quality training and then make sure everyone knows about your education, training and credentials. Capitalize on the increased awareness that coaching works. Cite the literature and develop your own case studies that provide real world examples of how coaching is making a difference.
Expected and delightfully unexpected benefits of coaching
Last month I shared with you tips on how to know if your organization is ready for coaching. This included a list of the key traits commonly found in organizations that have been successful at bringing coaching in. This month I will take a closer look at the benefits of coaching in organizations, using the healthcare setting as an example. Even if you are not working in healthcare, I urge you to keep reading. There is much to be learned from healthcare organizations that can apply to virtually any organization in any industry. Consider this. Many healthcare organizations are large and complex with multiple stakeholders, from executives to unions and everyone in between. Add to this the pressure they face as they deal with very serious issues daily. If coaching can transform and improve individuals, teams and the healthcare organization as a whole, just think what it can do for your organization.
Let’s start with the literature. The benefits of coaching in healthcare are well documented. Here is a sampling of what the literature tells us about the impact that coaching has had on individuals and teams in the healthcare setting.
Positive impact on client and patient care
- Improved clinician-patient interactions by being more present, more attuned to the patient’s needs, and encouraging them to find solutions to problems
- Self-awareness and perceptivity leading to empathy, an essential aspect of successful clinician-patient communication
Leadership Development 
- The use of coaching has moved away from problem solving to pro-active leadership development
- Coaching is helping leaders with decision making and developing leadership qualities by giving them tools to;
- Reflect on their decisions
- Keep centered on reality
- Be a catalyst for change
- Adjust to change
- Support lifelong learning
- Improved career satisfaction and work commitment
- Improved performance and productivity
- Positive impact on employee engagement
- Improved personal and organizational effectiveness
Unexpected but delightful benefits of coaching
One of the less documented but most powerful benefits of coaching is what we refer to as the trickledown effect of coaching within organizations.
I like to think of it in terms of a waterfall. It starts small at its source, gains momentum as it moves towards its goal, sometimes following well-worn paths but often carving new and unexpected paths when needed. Sounds a lot like coaching within organizations.
A terrific example of this trickledown effect was experienced by Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) as they brought coaching to their organization.
The original intention at PHSA was to work with teams and leadership, but with the infectious spread of coaching it expanded and integrated into unique and untapped projects, programs and groups. It was intended to help with internal relationships and performance but participants began using the skills in all interactions including those with patients and their families.
Why is this so powerful? By implementing a program that not only teaches coaching skills but also creates a coaching culture, organizations and individuals are being transformed. Individuals are empowered and trusted to ask thoughtful questions and listen deeply – in all interactions.
If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of coaching in healthcare, check out the following resources. Register for our free webinar: Coaching in the Healthcare Setting and download our whitepaper Determining the Impact of a Coaching Skills Development Program in the Healthcare Setting
If you have questions or would like to discuss the benefits of coaching in more detail, get in touch by sending an email to [email protected].
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 Knowles, P. (2008). What is trying to happen here? Using mindfulness to enhance the quality of
Patient encounters. The Permanente Journal, 12, 55--‐59.
 Sherpa Coaching. (2012). The Seventh Annual Sherpa Executive Coaching Survey 2012. Retrieved
 (Cassatly & Berguist, 2011; Risley & Cooper, 2011).
 Webb, 2006
 Greco, Laschinger and Wong (2006)
Last month I shared 5 key strategies for coaching success. This month I will take a closer look at strategies for coaching success in organizations. Organizations that introduce and embrace coaching are seeing positive and exciting results. But what is required to bring coaching to your organization and make it successful? When coaching is implemented successfully we see certain commonalities. Below is a list of the key traits commonly found in organizations that have been successful at bringing coaching in. This list can be used as a guide to help you understand the readiness of your organization. It is important to think of readiness not as an absolute but as a continuum. There is not an absolute point at which an organization becomes ready. Rather, each organization will fall somewhere on the readiness continuum. It is up to each organization to understand where it is on the continuum and determine the point at which it is ready to bring coaching in.
- Clearly defined business need. The business need is clearly identified and coaching is a tool that is aligned with addressing those needs. Coaching is a powerful tool that can address many business needs, but not everything. Have a good understanding of coaching and make sure that it is the right tool to address the business need at hand.
- Clearly defined goals and objectives. Successful coaching programs have clearly defined goals and objectives. Just as important, these goals and objectives have been clearly communicated throughout the organization.
- Coaching champions have been identified and are on-board. Champions are individuals with authority and influence who will act as coaching advocates and remove roadblocks. These are often members of senior leadership or HR/Learning and Development leaders or other appropriate individuals. Champions are critical to getting participant buy-in and helping to sustain the program benefits long after the training is completed.
- Flexibility in training format to fit with organizational needs. The training is offered in a variety of formats so that it can be delivered in a format that is best suited for the organization, for example, on-site, remote or a blend. Delivery of the training will be efficient, cost-effective and convenient to maximize participation without putting undue hardships on participants or significantly disrupting business operations.
- Aligned with needs and culture. Regardless of how the training is delivered, successful organizations adopt a program that is aligned with their needs and culture. The program will have a framework that makes it easy to learn and easy to apply so that it can be consistently delivered with reproducible results.
If you are still not sure where your organization is on the readiness continuum, take our readiness assessment. In this assessment, you will answer 25 questions using a 5-point scale. This assessment will give you another view on where your organization falls along the readiness continuum. Take the readiness assessment here. Once you’ve completed the readiness assessment, I am available to help you interpret the results. Just submit the online assessment form or send an email to [email protected]
If you’d like more tips on bringing coaching successfully in to your organization, we are here to support you. View our webinar: How to Bring Coaching Successfully to Your Organization or download our whitepaper: How to Evaluate the Results of a Coaching Skills Development Program
If you have questions or would like to discuss your organization’s readiness in more detail, get in touch by sending an email to [email protected].
Stay informed. Sign-up for our monthly newsletter here.