My approach to executive coaching is distinctive because I have developed my skills supporting leaders tasked with making sustainable change occur in their organisation.
We therefore help leaders deliver performance outcomes that make a significant difference in their organisation, including supporting them with any changes in personal behaviour and habits required to ensure performance outcomes are delivered as effectively as possible.
At Sensei we coach in both classic terms, eliciting issues, helping reframe assumptions, exploring alternatives, helping energise the will to change, supporting new actions, reinforcing successes, challenging complacency, providing an accountability loop, etc. and by teaching appropriate tools and leadership models. For example: matching and pacing, literal listening, the power of positive focus, inter-personal and intra-personal tools and techniques, selling ideas, managing time, presenting with confidence, etc. Our experience covers many global organisations, different world cultures, tiers in the hierarchy and functional leaders.
With all our coaching assignments we carefully tailor our support to suit the coachee and their specific developmental and performance improvement challenges. The proven framework from which we adopt our approach to coaching assignments is as follows:
Step #1 – Develop the Coaching Contract –In this initial coaching session we will quickly get to know each other at a personal level as a foundation to establishing a trusted adviser relationship. We position our role as one of a ‘critical friend’ and we will use this initial session to clarify ground rules and identify areas of individual and joint accountability. Once this is established we will explore what we want to achieve with our coaching support and your investment and specify what success looks like from their perspective and what outcomes the company will appreciate.
Drawing from information contained in their most recent personal development plan we will create a list of known areas of development. For each we will identify behaviour statements and a simple scoring system that will help us clarify what they are trying to achieve in each area. This simple scoring system will provide a benchmark against which progress can be measured during the year.
We will also ask them to explain the tangible objectives they are committed to delivering in their role and explore how their behaviours may need to change to deliver in a more effective way the outputs required. Together we will identify six key stakeholders, (two senior executives, two colleagues and two subordinates), who they interface with on a regular basis and who can be contacted to give input and reflection into the coaching journey.
Finally, we will discuss and agree how best to work together and schedule face to face sessions, aiming for once every six to eight weeks throughout the remainder of the year. These sessions will be complemented with short telephone coaching sessions, some scheduled and some ad-hoc as required.
Step #2 – Stakeholder Input– In this step we will contact each stakeholder and discuss the areas of development for each coachee. As well as collecting perceptions and examples of recent behaviour and asking them to score the personal behaviour statements, we will encourage them to focus on the future and describe what improved performance will look like through their eyes. This will give each coachee something tangible to aim for. We will also provide the opportunity to suggest other areas of personal development, not identified by the coachee, which they feel will help in their development.
We will consolidate all the stakeholder input and prepare to share this at the second face to face coaching session. We will repeat this stakeholder discussion and scoring in the final formal review at the end of the agreed coaching period (see Step #4 below), and use the result as a measure of progress.
Step #3 – Start the Coaching Journey – here the specific approach may vary for each coachee to suit what we agree in Step #1. Typically the early sessions will be a mixture of stakeholder ‘feed forward’ comments, leading to exploring current behaviours and appropriate behavioural and performance tools and techniques; and agreeing how best toobserve new behaviours in action. We will ensure each coaching session will have a clear set of agreed actions that will be reviewed and learnings extracted at each subsequent session.
In addition to the face to face meetings we will be available for ad-hoc email and telephone coaching as required and will use scheduled telephone coaching sessions to complement the regular face to face sessions throughout the journey.
If practical we will observe each coachee in their own team environment at least once during the journey. This may be at a leadership meeting or some other team meeting where they are exercising a leadership role, (or simply taking a lead for part of the meeting), and our presence as an observer will not cause an issue.
Step #4 Formal Review – here we will have a three way conversation between the coachee, their line manager and ourselves. We anticipate doing this at mid-year and again at year end to formally review the progress of the coaching contract. In addition to these formal reviews we will keep in touch with the line manager on a regular basis to find out how they think it is going and to give them some input into how best to challenge / mentor the coachee.