All my adult life I was interested about psychology and how people think and act. In adolesence it was a form of understanding the world but, in time it developed as professional and personal direction. It was like I put all my dreams, hopes, energy and actions in this direction. During time it becomes a commitment to create value in people’s life, in teams’ life and larger systems, through learning and development. So I met coaching – coaching schools, clients, projects, mentoring, supervision, reinvention, career change – and since 15 years I work as a professional coach.
For me, coaching is a way of being and doing business.
So, today, when I’m wrritting this piece of story, I work as a executive and team coach and as an serial entrepreneur. In this story I’ll put focus on facilitating client growth as a coach and as a entrepreneur.
Before I’ll invite you to take a deep dive with core coaching competency no 8, as defined by ICF „facilitating client growth” my invitation is to let nature inspire us – it is the greates coach of all times, since 4,1 billion yers. Nature teaches us what growth means: season by season, all is alive has a growing cycle or even, cycles over many sessions. A complete growth cycle, in nature starts with planting a seed, developing the plant, blossoming, fruits and hibernation.
So, in a coaching session, either individual or team session, we have some seeds (from the client), we need a fertile soil to nurtuture the seed (from the coaching relationship), we have silence, presence, coaching interventions (from the coach), blossoming, fruits, hibernation and germination (from both, client and coach). Coaching is a growing process – we grow, expand our awareness and options, through a provocative and creative conversation : starts with a an intention and agreement and it ends with an action plan. In between coaching sessions, the flowers become fruits (action, results, achievements).
A good beginning makes a good ending, in coaching (and in any other actions we do ). Coaching is a partnership, from the begining to the end of the session and of the process. Starting properly the partnership for a coaching session means to invite the client to establish a clear agreement on what the client wants to accomplish in this session, or in entire process, together with measure of success for it.
A good ending for a coaching conversation it is also in partnership with the client – trust the client that he/she/it knows what they need best. It is a good space to invite the client to distill the progress they have here and now on their intention, to explore their learnings and to decide how and what they will put in practice. It is a good space also for designing action plans, chose methods of accountability, to think about resources, support and potential barriers. It is also a good space to celebrate what worked well in the conversation, to celebrate progress, small and big steps that client has made.
Coaching is an emergent conversation, is alive – opportunities to capture one insight in a decision and an action plan are in all the conversation.
As humans, either individuals or groups, teams, we grow by expanding our awarenss on current thinking, feeling, values, needs, wants, beliefs or behaviours and chosing something new, a different response, a wise question, a new action. This is how we create new results – and coaching is a good space for growth.
Individual coaching – study case focused on facilitating client growth
One of my coaching partners was an executive in a context of high pressure on him to deliver results with his team in a smooth way. In his current situation, the retention of his collegues, managers and specialists within team is low and also his reputation is not a positive one. The executive is a very result driven person and in the same time a good expert in his fild of expertise. So, his reputation was linked to being a difficult manager, in control of everything and not having people skills.
One of his strengh was his ability to create structures and processes and I chose to acknoledge that strenght and to put it to work for his transformation. It was an invitation to design new management proceses that can create the results he really wanted (not only business results but also people results, like trust, inspiration, care…).
In the same time, I used every opportunity to invite this executive to get in touch with his emotions and to increase awareness on executive presence – how do I choose to be present here and now?
There were moments when the execeutive was telling me „Rodica, when I am in a meeting is like you are on my mind” I remember that question or that observation and I choose a different word.
For me, this was a evidence that „the inner coach/inner voice” was developed and our coaching process is comiing to an end. The client is using new learning from coaching sessions in his day to day activity. Also, being a very structured person, this executive designed for himself few relevant key performance indicators and accountability sistem. And he was using it in monitoring progress on his objectives.
Team coaching – study case focused on facilitating client growth
I partenered as a coach with the management team of an organization, in heavy production field , part of a multinational company present in many countries, and in Romania. This management team profile is dominated by engineers, pragmatic perspectives and with a clear mandate to increase their performance. In this industry, the competition is high, arround Romania there were other similar companies producing the same things and they needed to differenciate and become more productive.
During the coaching sessions, this team become aware of the fact that they opperate more on the operational side and less on the strategic one. As managers, they were acting from specialists perspectives, and their management meetings were full of problem solving and urgencies on the operational side.
It was hard for them to accept what I observed as a coach. It was harder for them to commit to change. I was „persona non-grata” for some months. I was challenging their operating model, their status quo and that was not easy. To all of my invitations to strategic and systemic thinking, the team were postponing actions and find justifications why it is not possible.
Their management meetings were a good space to consolidate the pattern of postponing decisions: 10 managers meet every 2 weeks, take few decions, lots of spredsheets to analize and urgencies all day long.
They learned in this sessions to increase the quality and quatity of their decisions, to create clear action plans, to monitor progress and relevant results.
After 4-5 months there was progress on learning and on productivity and they started to multiply it within their teams.
Their conversations started to change, in management meetings and also in their one to one meetings: as a coach I was hearing long terms perspective, leverage solutions, less focus on talking for being heard and more attention to the value thei bring on a specific topic.