Coaching And Being Coached


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The whole topic of coaching stirs up a lot of controversy and misunderstanding.  I’ve decided dive in and stir up the pot a little and will be writing a few blog posts on various aspects of coaching over the next couple of weeks.  I hope to stimulate a good discussion so welcome all your comments.

Coaching is one of the highest leverage activities a manager or leader can to.  Developing the capabilities of people to perform at the highest levels possible, to execute the strategies and priorities of the organization is the core of any managers job.  Being coachable is one of the highest leverage personal development activities any sales professional can undertake.  Actively seeking coaching, actively engaging your coach is critical to each of our personal development.

Active engagement of the coach and the person being coached is critical for coaching to have an impact.  The person being coached has to be coachable.  The person doing the coaching has to be engaged both in coaching and learning, as well.

Coaching is a two way exchange, it is a dialog, each person must take responsibility for challenging and engaging the other.  If a sales person expects to be told what to do and how to do it, the coaching will have little sustainable impact.  If the coach enters the dialog expecting to tell people what to do and how to do it, the impact will not be sustainable.  At it’s core, coaching is about both the coach and the person being coached to think about what’s being done, to challenge what’s being done, to question things and to question each other. 

It requires both the coach and the person being coached to be thought-ful.  I don’t mean “politeness,” (though that’s important), it’s about thinking.  Effective coaching may require both the coach and the person being coached to challenge their own positions, what they think, their preconceived notions, their biases, their previous experiences.  It may require each person to change their positions or their point of view.

As much as coaching is viewed as a developmental or learning activity for the person being coached, it is also a developmental activity for the coach.  In each coaching session, effective coaches realize they are learning as much as the person they are coaching.  As coaches, we are constantly learning how to listen better, how to probe to understand, how to engage, how to understand a different point of view, how to give up some of our biases or preconceived notions.  As coaches, if we aren’t prepared to listen, learn, and develop ourselves, we will never be as effective as we might be.

Coaching and being coached is a process of discovery–self discovery on the parts of the coach and the person being coached.  Learning from each other, working together to develop ideas and approaches we might not have developed individually.  Does this happen in every coaching session—probably not, but we should always challenge ourselves to learn and discover in each session.

Coaching and being coached is a journey for both parties.  We start at a point, leverage different events as opportunities or milestones in the journey we are taking together.  These events happen every day–after a sales call, in a pipeline review, as a part of a meeting.  It’s an ongoing process, not an event.  Between the coach and the person being coached, there is a history or experiences that each builds on–or done improperly, is torn down.  Trust is at the core of coaching.  We have to trust each other and what we are achieving together.

Coaching is a contact sport!  Are you fulfilling your responsibilities as a coach?  Are you coachable?  Without both, it doesn’t work

In my next post, I’ll focus on the coach and different ways of coaching—we can’t rely on just one approach, we have to change based on the circumstance, the person, and a specific moment in time. 

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Brock
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.


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