Coaching for performance (5th edition)

Book by Sir John Whitmore.

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Part 1 - Coaching is Bigger Than Coaching

Chapter 1 - What is Coaching

Coaching is all about a journey and nothing about instruction or teaching. It is as much if not more about the way things are done as about what is done

Coaching is unlocking people’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them. After all, how did you learn to walk? Did your mother or father instruct you? We all have a built-in, natural learning capability that is actually disrupted by instruction.

However, mentoring is very different to coaching, because coaching is not dependent on a more experienced person passing down their knowledge - in fact, this undermines the building of self-belief which creates sustained performance (…). Instead, coaching requires expertise in coaching, not in the subject at hand. That is one of its greats strengths. And something that coaching leaders grapple with most - but it is key - is to learn when to share their knowledge and experience and when not to.

Whereas Maslow used the collective term “esteem needs” and made the important distinction between esteem from others and self-esteem, I prefer to use the terms “status and recognition” for the former and “self-belief” for the later.

Self-belief is not created by prestige and privilege, which are more symbolic than substantial. It is built when someone is seen to be worthy of making choices. Promotion without genuine empowerment and the opportunity to express potential is counterproductive. While telling negates choice, disempowers, limits potential, and demotivates, coaching does the opposite

Most business leaders today have reached Maslow’s status and recognition level - and this is where they can do the most harm. They are often arrogant, assertive, domineering, and self-important. They will do anything to get more pay; they don’t need or deserve it, but it is a way of measuring and asserting their status.

However, if a business leader does escape the trap and progress to the next level, the need for self-belief, the leadership news gets better. Leaders who aspire to be there, or are there, will really try to do the right thing, rather than trying to appear to do the right thing or to do things right. Only being authentic gives the feel-good factor that accompanies self-belief. What is all about, of course, is the emergence of broader altruistic values - leading for others rather than for oneself.

Aspiring leaders will hone their leadership skills at lower levels while they are growing into the job, but their power to exercise control over others should be constrained until they have grown up.

In essence coaching is about partnership, collaboration, and believing in potential. (…) coaching and high performance come out of awareness and responsibility. To achieve this requires the foundation coaching skills of powerful questioning and active listening and a framework of compass of our coaching - the GROW model.

Chapter 2 - Creating High-Performance Cultures

Any new culture will have to deliver higher levels of performance, but also be far more socially responsible than ever before. No corporation is going to take risks and suffer the upheavals involved in major change just for the sake of it, ore merely to be nicer to employees; although perhaps it should. While culture change will be, and needs to be, performance driven, the definition of performance is much broader today.

Coaching for Performance is just what is says - a means of obtaining optimum performance - but one that demands fundamental changes in attitude, in leadership behaviour, and in organisation structure.

The greatest influencers of an organisation’s culture are its leaders, so it is not surprising that studies by the Hay Group and others show that leadership behaviours affects bottom-line performance by up to 30 percent. It is the leaders who are the gatekeepers to performance.

Gallwey’s equation states that performance can be enhanced by decreasing interference - inner obstacles such as fear, doubt, self-criticism, and limiting beliefs or assumptions. The command-and-control structure of traditional management creates interference because. by definition, what people are doing is following the rules of what they have been told. There is little room for the potential of the human being to come through, and the result is that both performance and enjoyment levels will be low. Thus, as a top-down, command-and-control approach is replaced by a coaching style of leadership, interference decreases, potential can emerge, and performance will improve.

(…) if blame and criticism are a prevalent communication style and this doesn’t change, relationship failure can be predicted with over 90 percent accuracy.

Part 2 - The Principles of Coaching

Chapter 3 - Coaching Is Emotional Intelligence is Practise

Emotional intelligence can be described as interpersonal intelligence or, even more simply, as personal and social skills. Goleman and others have defined many competencies, including self-confidence, empathy, adaptability , and being a change catalyst, which can be grouped neatly into four domains: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

AWARENESS OF SELF - understanding why you do what you do Learn to recognise your human tendencies, internal interferences, and biases in order to consciously choose responses rather than reacting

AWARENESS OF OTHERS - seeing the person behind the performance Learn to spot people’s strengths, interferences, and motivations in order to manage relationships and inspire and collaborate successfully with individuals and teams.

AWARENESS OF ORGANIZATION - creating a positive impact on the culture Learn to align individual, team, and organizational goals.