Coaching has become over complicated and needs to get back to the basics

View Latest News Publish Date: 15-Aug-2018

Coaching has become over complicated and needs to get back to the basics

Coaching has got over complicated and needs to get back to the basics if it is to deliver results.

complex diagram describes coaching

I am one of those trainers who likes to keep ahead of the game when it comes to new techniques and tools, so, when twenty years ago the opportunity to learn how to be a coach came up I grabbed it enthusiastically.

Little did I imagine that over those twenty years I would see what was billed as a technique develop in to an industry or perhaps a profession, in its own right, which allows some professionals to create a healthy living and has led to the formation of coaching companies and even, dare I say it? one or two mega coaching brands.

This growth in the industry has led to a proliferation of qualifications that coaches can aspire to and numerous products that can be used to support the coaching process.

Paul Furey is one coach who thinks that it is time to call a time-out on what he sees as an over-complication of what should be a conversation that takes place with the express aim of helping someone to improve their experience of work.

The problem is that businesses will talk about keeping everything simple in the KIS type of approach, but when it comes down to buying something they do seem to be reassured by labels and badges of theorists, and duplicating what others have already done, as if they want to create the company that they are competing against rather than a better company, and for some reason they like things that are reassuringly expensive.

In reality coaching is just a focused conversation, which aims to improve someone’s experience of work. And despite managers finding it difficult to have these focused conversations there is copious evidence that managers can get more out of their teams by coaching them than telling them.

Coaching, says Furey, is the bread and butter of developing people, but many organisations over-complicate the process and restrict access to it.

Furey says that coaching, as an approach to work place learning will never achieve its potential until practitioner and purchasers focus on the basics and stop over complicating what should be a simple process.

Taking coaching back to the basics will demonstrate to both managers and employees how they can all use it as a development tool.

Decomplicating or decluttering the coaching process does not mean giving up on every tool that a coach could have in their arsenal. It just means making sure that the tools are fit for purpose and that they do what they are supposed to do.

Personally, I like the simplicity of the DiSC system as a way of helping coachees to understand themselves and how they interact with others.

I have seen eyes light-up on many faces as we discuss challenges that people are facing at work and are able to use the DiSC report to explain, in part, why those problems are happening.

It is interesting how the same report can also be a catalyst for discussions of potential solutions.

I suppose that these straight-forward DiSC reports might be communicating in an unemotional way that not even the best of coaches is able to achieve.

Perhaps the over-complication of coaching is a consequence of it being such a departure from most people’s experience of learning. If you have been through an education system that focused on memorise and repeat, and work place learning that in many ways replicated this you would be more comfortable with a learning process that was a bit more complicated.

But, happily things are now changing. My experience as the governor of a secondary school has shown me that secondary education is much more aligned with what work place trainers describe as coaching.

Secondary school pupils are more likely to treat a teacher as a learning partner helping them to explore issues and find solutions – sounds a bit like coaching to me!

Unless a manager is just a few months away from retirement they would be wise to take note of how different school education is to their own experience and start learning how to coach their new millennial workers.

You can find out more about how to uncomplicate coaching at the London HR Summit on 26th September where Paul Furey is one of the conference speakers.

Members of the Work Place Learning Centre team are available to provide journalists and media organisations with expert comment on all aspects of learning at work.

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