Coaching skills for leaders in the workplace

The first thing that should be said about this book is that it is published by HOW TO BOOKS and that is the key. Essentially this is a practical book that will really help any leader in any organisation to improve their coaching skills.

It starts by defining coaching as being “a way of encouraging and supporting someone to achieve a goal or to develop or acquire skills.” Put as simply as this the book starts to remove some of the mystery that has built up around coaching in the past few years and in this respect the book is very helpful in establishing the difference between coaching and mentoring, councelling, therapy, teaching and training.

It focusses on LEADERS within the workplace and on how to be effective as both leader and coach, a trickier balance to achieve than if external consultants are brought in to undertake employee coaching. Here the book is particularly strong, looking at the importance of creating the right environment and giving lots of useful case studies to illustrate the key points.

It is true that mentoring and coaching have come closer over the years and this book explores the differences and gives valuable insights on when to mentor and when to coach. It gives plenty of examples of coaching models that you might wish to employ in different circumstances. While the explanations of the models are not exhaustive they are more than enough to set you in the right direction if you wish to explore the detail of particular techniques.

The use of appropriate language when coaching and the importance of effective communication are explained in some detail. Since Jackie suggests, correctly in my view, that communication skills are key to a positive outcome for coach and the person being coached it is appropriate that the book spends a good couple of chapters exploring this area in depth.

Even when the coach sets out with all of the right tools and the right motivation for the task at hand there are still barriers to be overcome and the book, again with the extensive use of practical exercises and case studies, lets you know the kind of barriers to progress that can be expected and, importantly, how to overcome them.

If you are thinking of introducing coaching into your business, want to improve your own skills in this area or even if you just wish to have a better understanding of coaching inthe workplace this is a very useful, thoroughly practical book. It is virtually jargon and pseudoscience free, a real bonus and somewhat of a surprise for a book dedicated to coaching, and I’m happy to recommend it.

1. What is Coaching?
2. Become an effective leader and coach
3. Internal and external coaching
4. The differences between coaching and mentoring
5. Establishing the right climate
6. Coaching Models
7. Coaching tools and exercises
8. Effective communication skills
9. Analysing comminications to indentify meaning
10. Respecting others’ worldviews and motivating your coachees
11. Overcoming barriers to coaching and mentoring
12. Understanding the role of power and authority
13. Setting up the first session
14. Presenting a business case for coaching
15. Coaching supervision and super-vision
16. Co-Coaching and team coaching
17. Organisational approaches to coaching

Jackie Arnold is a Certified Coach and ILM tutor/assessor. She holds a Diploma in Coaching Supervision from CSA. She is herself practising coaching skills in her everyday life

Today, as the end of 2009 seems to be fast approaching, I decided to reflect on my ten years of executive coaching in both the private and public sectors. In 1999 I was very excited about my new career. I was in the throws of selling my language school and had begun coaching colleagues and small business people.

Do you remember your first client?
I remember my first real client who was a small business owner who wanted to increase his sales and manage his team of people more effectively. He was very creative and the experience was such fun for both of us. He knew I was just starting out and this made the sessions relaxed yet still focused on his own goals and aspirations. I am in contact with him today as a colleague and service provider. In 2000 having done a three year coaching course I sold my school and went into full time coaching. It felt great to be free and working from home, even if it was a little daunting at first.

I needn’t have worried as I soon managed to build up my clients and got my first internal coaching contact from a large travel firm who employed me for eight months. The following year I worked for a wide variety of companies coaching managers, executives and teams.

I think that being part of the UK International Coaching Federation really helped to establish strong links to the community and I was invited to present at the first two coaching conferences.

My biggest break came in 2003 when I was asked to join an international team of coaches to roll out a coaching programme for Airbus in France, Germany, Spain and Bristol in the UK. I was delighted to receive such an excellent opportunity and this contract lasted for three years. It also gave me the freedom to run coach training for managers in the public sector, and in particular in Education.

Some of the most rewarding work has been for the past eight years where I have been involved with running coaching courses for the Institute of Leadship and Management. With Julia Miles of Quality Education and Development (QED) we have trained over 150 Kent County Council staff for the ILM Levels 3 and 5 in Coaching & Mentoring. In Newcastle and Surrey I have also run ILM courses for more than 100 heads, teachers, learning mentors, AST’s and university staff. This means that coaching is slowly being embedded in the education system and the results are very encouraging. More open discussion, staff taking ownership and responsibility for their development and coaching being recognised as a real support for those taking on promotion and added responsibilities.

It is largely thanks to Julia and the case studies and input from our ILM participants that I have now written my latest book “Coaching Skills for Leaders in the Workplace” – this book has been validated by the ILM as a recommended course book for the levels 5 & 7 Coaching & Mentoring in Management. It has been fun to write and I am looking forward to receiving feedback and comments from both contributors and coaching professionals.

So, all in all I am pleased with the way the past ten years have panned out. I have gained in knowledge (Coaching Supervision Diploma 2007) and experience both at home and abroad but always feel there is so much more to learn. I enjoy coaching with “Clean Language” and have now received a total of eight days training to take this forward for the future.

So as 2009 draws to a close I end with this quote:
‘We ourselves may feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. but if that drop was not in the ocean, I think the ocean would be less because of that missing drop’ Mother Teresa

Supports leaders wanting to add formal coaching skills to those used in a leadership or management role. This book provides guidance on the requirements for the Institute of Leadership and Management.

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