Who’s Your Work Daddy?
Why Everyone Deserves a Good Professional Coach
Everybody knows about the “work wife” – the person with whom you spend a lot of your work time, who knows all your quirks, likes and dislikes and who’s got your back on deadlines and projects and who will listen to you complain about all the office politics. It’s a role a lot of us fill at one time or another. But who’s your work daddy? Who’s there to kick your butt when you don’t do as well as you know you could have? Who’s there to show you the best technique to deploy when you need the politics to swing your way or to hit a home run on a presentation, to close a better deal, to ask you the tough questions about where you really want to sit at the corporate table and the best way to get there? Where’s the person to help you “man up” to the tough conversations you should be having to get things done? It’s your coach that’s who. Oh, what’s that you say, you haven’t got one?Okay, raise of hands….how many of you have ever been coached? Professionally, by an executive, business or performance coach who’s sole objective was to help you be better than you were, deliver more value than you have, and lift your game significantly as a professional? Great… can’t see you, but know statistically, that there are more of you out there that have NOT been coached than there are those of you who have been coached.
I say, what’s the deal with that? It should be the other way around. Organizations should be investing more in coaching than they do…Why? Well here’s what we know:
Coaching delivers positive changes in behavior*
Coaching is more effective than training alone or mentoring*
Coaching is better at addressing individualized needs*
Coaching increases employee engagement*
Coaching reduces attrition*
Coaching improves teamwork*
“…seismic shifts in an organizations’ performance are possible if coaching is ingrained in the culture. The leaders believe that a coaching culture increases focus on developing others and managing performance; increases sharing and utilization of knowledge; leads to more participative and transparent decision-making; and makes learning and development a top priority.”**
So why is it that coaching has such little permeation within the organization? Why is it consistently limited to senior executives and high potentials? A lot of organizations are spending time, effort and money to launch learning and development platforms that are targeted toward better individualized development: mobile job aides, performance support, and e-learning galore and the new and shiny social learning concept. Maybe that’s fantastic from the organization’s perspective. But what about the manager’s aka learner’s perspective? That’s a lot of tools to learn, logins to manage, in addition to time they’ll spend searching, learning, testing and figuring out how to make it work let alone apply it on the job. Sometimes if can feel like a box of self-development legos got spilled on your desk.
But where to start? Let’s look at middle management (just like the middle kid) they are the neglected ones who carry most of the burden around turning out what’s expected. The oldest ones get to boss everyone around and the youngest ones are excused for the bad behavior because they just don’t know any better. But the middle – well, they should know what to do then on their own. How’s that workin’?
Ram Charan, Stephen Drotter and James Noel in their book The Leadership Pipeline talks about the levels of management. They’ve found, as have we, that the level of management in an organization that is generally the most in need of attention is the middle level(s) (manager of others and managers of managers). And, that when you invest and target development in that layer it’s where you will have the most dramatic impact in terms over overall performance improvement. Precisely because they are in the middle, their impacts are felt both downline and upline as well as peer to peer. The individualized, focused investment in the middle therefore radiates through an organization. Lift the performance capability of the middle ranks and lift the performance bar of the whole.
So while yes, the learning tools are changing, augmenting and putting some more flexibility and reachability into the mix, face time with someone who has no other interest that your specific issues, your specific goals for achievement and your specific level of challenge is proven to be the most effective means for individual performance improvement short and long-term. And when I say “face time” I’m including Apple functionality in my statement. Your coach doesn’t need to be across the desk – he or she can be online or on the phone too – literally a work daddy in your back pocket. It’s possible and affordable. So let’s huddle on that one because if you’ve got the will, we’ve got the way. We’ve been assisting organizations achieve highly successful coaching impacts as well as building a stable and sustainable coaching cultures globally since 2000. Learn how here.
So go get the “work wife” the flowers he or she deserves and go spend time time getting the support and a little discipline to be a better you. I say, round out the work family and get yourself a work daddy. Or not….and just keep doing what your doing and wait ‘til mom finds out….(wink wink)
Coaching, like parenting, when done in combination and done well you find that you get out way more out than what you put in.
* 2013 ICF Organizational Coaching Report – click here to download a copy
** Creating Coaching Cultures: What Business Leaders Expect and Strategies to Get There – click here to download a copy