The STEER coaching model outlines a coaching process to follow when a manager's role may require them to be both trainer and coach. The mnemonic STEER describes 6 steps in the coaching process: the S – refers to spot the training needs of staff and consider ways those needs could be met; the T – refers to tailor the training content and style to meet the needs of the individual. The E – refers to explain and demonstrate how the task should be done. The next E – refers to encourage the individual whilst they are learning and the R – refers to review their progress during and on the completion of their learning. I can't help myself – I want to add an E – to endorse staff constantly, for their efforts… STEER or STEERE – either way, it's a handy model to put in your coaching toolkit.
I've decided that being literal – doing something in exact accordance with the explicit meaning of a word – is unhelpful. And I am reminded of this whenever I hear busy managers say they've embraced the "open door" concept to the nth degree and find themselves without quality time to do some of their work. It's the interruptions, the pop in staff, the "it will only take a minute" merchants and the noise and distraction of office life in general, that eventually defeat them. They find their day carved up into unworkable splinters of time too small to allow big pieces of work to be done. Pity the poor managers, who in trying to do right by others, often fail to do right for themselves.
An excellent time management technique to use (I really think it should be freely available on prescription) is deliberately making oneself unavailable for chunks of time to concentrate on important pieces of work. The trick is to allocate a big enough piece of time for a particular piece of work, so that the work can be done in a hit or several hits, with more than enough time to do them in – without interruption. My plea to managers – speaking as the Queen of Time Management – is to adopt an open and closed door policy; educate your staff that a closed door means do not disturb; and keep your eye firmly on the outcomes you are paid to deliver, in the time you are required to deliver them in.
Have you ever thought you'd like to "do more" with your life? Or perhaps "be more" in some particular way? Or even "have more" of something or other? If you feel "stuck" and wondering if you are holding yourself back in some way, then now may be a good time to see if you have some self limiting beliefs (SLB) that are getting in your way. Find a quiet spot and ask yourself: (1) What are my self limiting beliefs? Dig deep here and reflect back on the things you may typically say in response to something, like "oh no, I'd never do that, I don't have those skills"; (2) What areas do I have limiting beliefs in? – for example, use of technology; (3) How long have I held these beliefs? (4) How do I currently benefit from holding onto these beliefs? (5) What specific ways do these beliefs hold me back or limit me? (6) What decisions do I want to make about each SLB? – for example, keep it, as it serves me well; ditch it, as it doesn't work for me anymore; (7) What specific actions do I need to take to stop each self limiting belief and develop instead, self actualising beliefs? (8) What will I be like when I've achieved what I want to achieve? (9) What will do I differently, in the future? (10) What will I ultimately have, as a result of moving forward in a different way?
The Foundation of Coaching has been created to support the development of coaching as a profession and as a way of making a difference in the world, through the lives of individuals. http://www.thefoundationofcoaching.org/ is a non-profit, non-commercial, independent resource for coaching research, education, practice and communication. An off-shoot of this, the Global Convention on Coaching, http://www.coachingconvention.org/ is a year long initiative which all key stakeholders involved in coaching (consumers, practitioners, educators, industry bodies) will meet to discuss issues facing the professionalism of coaching. Do take a look at these web sites – they are well worth a visit.
For the first time ever, a non-North American has been elected to become the International Coach Federation's (ICF) 2008 President-Elect – Karen Tweedie, PCC, from Australia. This is such a great achievement and speaks volumes about the depth of experience and strength of the coaching world "down under". Way to go Karen!
The International Coach Federation http://www.coachfederation.org/ say in their latest report that the number of coaches applying for and holding an ICF credential are growing. Currently, 3,221 coaches hold a credential, including 1,464 Associate Certified Coaches (ACC); 1,133 Professional Certified Coaches (PCC) and 624 Master Certified Coaches (MCC). This is a great achievement and augers well for the future of coaching around the world, as there are 150+ local chapters in 41 countries.
Coaching myth No. 4 is the one that says "coaching will fix everything". While coaching is a very effective way of supporting people to improve their personal management practises or achieve specific goals, it isn't a "miracle cure" by itself. A coachee can only do their own work, in their own way, in their own time frame and on things that are in their control. A coachee's ability to change things that impact upon them yet are outside their control, such as an organisation's values, culture and ways of doing things, will be limited. Often coachee's bring to management coaching issues which are symptoms of organisational problems and they generally require investigation as to the core problems themselves. Some organisational problems require a range of specific actions to address them and coaching may be only one of many taken.
I've been reminded this week of the power of simple actions. I had been mulling over a particular issue for several months and while I had no concerns at the beginning of the situation, a month in I felt mild concern and of recent weeks, huge concerns. I felt burdened with thinking about the issue and in considering what steps I could take to improve it. I had analysed to the point of paralysis. The simple actions I finally took was to talk the situation out with a colleague who paraphrased back to me what I had said; then talked me through my options. At the end of the conversation, I had had my concerns validated, had found some solutions that gave me piece of mind and best of all, felt as if an enormous weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Such simple actions – asking for help, talking something out, being listened to and having support in finding options – have a huge impact…I wonder why I took so long to do it!
One comment I hear most days from busy, stressed out people, is how often they find themselves saying "yes" to a piece of work, when they really want to say "no". The reason given for saying yes rather than no is typically the same – they don't want to let someone down – even though it will create more work and possibly more stress for themselves. When I ask people about the factors that propel them into saying the yes rather than a no response, common themes emerge: for example: (i) fear – if they don't put their hand up they may be seen as non-team players and that may have a consequence down the line; (ii) a lack of assertiveness – so they're easy prey for those who may be pushy and demanding; (iii) lack of personal boundary – so they don't have any sense of where their own limits and bottom lines are; (iv) strong personal values that include service and giving – so it comes naturally and effortlessly. Once people have realised that saying no is an appropriate response to some situations, they face the challenge of changing their thinking and behaviours. It can be done and the beginning point is simply a thought away.
I do have a bee in my bonnet about team building activities, I must say. In fact, I'd go further and say it's more like a whole hive. And it's because so many managers arrange them without first determining the specific goals they want to achieve; without determining criteria to measure whether the goals were achieved; and without determining how they will monitor their progress against the goals. And often there is little work done with team members to ensure there is a skills transfer after team or group activities to ensure any new learnings can be integrated into individuals' daily practises. Often too, managers and staff fail to celebrate the successes they have when key achievements have been made. An organisation's return on investment on their training dollar can be significantly increased if they follow training up with individual or group coaching. A 1997 study (Olivero, Bane & Kopelmann, Public Personnel Management, Washington) found follow-up coaching combined with a supervisor training programme increased productivity by an astounding 88%. The same study concluded that training along increased productivity by 22.4%. The bottom-line: coaching increased productivity more than 300%. All in all, it does make me wonder why more organisations don't look at their training dollar, training activities and coaching with a bit more care.