Posts Tagged ‘coaching development’

Coaching in the Workplace

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

The following post is by Bruce Clarke, CAI’s CEO and President. The article originally appeared in Bruce’s News & Observer column, The View from HR.

There are more coaches working in corporate America than in all of college sports. What are these workplace coaches doing?coaching

So many kinds of workplace coaching exist because individual circumstances vary greatly. Generally, internal coaches are experienced mentors or managers assisting an employee.  Internal coaches tend to focus on performance improvement or career advancement (succession).  Staff coaches know so much more about the business and how it works than external coaches.

External fee-based coaches generally focus more on employee behaviors. Of course, behaviors affect performance but in different ways than a lack of job skills or experience. External coaches usually have more experience with assessment tools and helping an employee understand the role of behaviors in their success.

Whether called coaching, mentoring, managing or succession planning, the idea is a coach can help someone see what they cannot see by themselves. The coach is there to help create a pathway for change and growth.

The best workplace coaches are great listeners. Before employees trust a coach’s process or guidance, they have to feel heard. This is especially true in behavioral coaching.  Behaviors are so personal and emotional, change often requires an equally strong emotional counterweight created with the help of a coach.

Great coaches are always looking for ways to bring awareness to the employee. Until we see what we do not know, how our behavior impacts others, or how our role (or future role) will test us, we cannot change.

Good mentors, managers and coaches are willing to devote the time needed, first to build a good relationship and second to create the space to process and learn. Performance coaching (managing) can be directive at times with steps and instructions. Behavioral coaching usually includes more questions than answers plus the use of objective personal assessment data. Mentor-style coaching might be mostly about providing a newer employee with helpful context and scope earned from experience.

Logic, emotion, listening, direction, awareness, venting, conversations, context, history-telling, role-modeling, sticks and carrots: all these and more fit under the big umbrella of coaching.

Successful coaching matches the purpose of the engagement with the tools and techniques of the right coach. Is a coach needed to keep an employee’s career train from jumping the track? Or is a coach assigned to help a high potential employee grow into their next role?

The best managers in any organization are already coaches without the label. They use patience, conversations, relationships, listening and direction to provide employees every chance to succeed.  Poor managers need their own coaches to help see the damage created by bad behaviors.

The mistake we often see employers make is offloading a problem employee onto a coach’s (or manager’s) plate expecting a miraculous conversion. Good coaching requires workplace reinforcement by leaders with skin in the game.

Employees sometimes reject the help. Behavioral change is key to success as responsibilities increase, but it is hard.

If offered a workplace coach or mentor, seize the opportunity as a gift to you and your career!

Bruce Clarke c

Bruce Clarke serves as CAI’S President and CEO, and has been with CAI since 2001. Bruce practiced labor and employment law with the national labor law firm of Ogletree Deakins for 18 years. He is listed in The Best Lawyers in America and was selected as one of North Carolina’s Legal Elite by Business North Carolina Magazine. Bruce is 100% committed to helping companies maximize employee engagement and minimize workplace liabilities.

Are You Getting Leadership Development Right?

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

leadership developmentIn today’s post, CAI’s HR Business Partner Tom Sheehan shares strategies HR professionals can take to ensure their next generation of leaders are prepared to fill the shoes of their predecessors and lead their business to future success. 

One topic that is a constant point of dialogue for HR professionals is leadership development. The quality of leadership, more than any other factor, often determines the success or failure of an organization. Leadership development helps to improve leadership quality by ensuring that leaders possess the competencies to achieve the organization’s strategy, continue to improve the organizational culture, and strengthen organizational capabilities.

The best investment an organization can make is in the development of its future leaders. Such an investment yields both short-term and long-term dividends. In the short-term, leaders will be better prepared for the challenges they face in their current roles. They will also be more likely to help foster a learning culture if they themselves are an active participant in learning.

Additionally, and more importantly, the risk associated with leadership departures is greatly reduced by improved better bench strength that is a consequence of leadership development. Many organizations fail to adequately develop the next generation of people who will replace individuals in these leadership roles. Making matters worse is the fact that a significant number of baby-boomers will be retiring in the next 5 years.

On one hand, the responsibility for an organizational commitment to developing future leaders begins with the executive team.

On the other hand, HR should own all talent processes and must play a key role in spotlighting the issue and driving the leadership development and succession planning processes.

Forward-looking HR professionals should begin the process by answering these questions:

  1. What are we doing to prepare our next generation of leaders?
  2. Is our pipeline filled with the talent needed to carry out our organization’s strategy?
  3. Who is the ‘person in charge’ of developing our new leaders?
  4. Is leadership development an organizational priority?
  5. How are our top leaders involved?

Where to Start

Step 1: Align with strategy

Ensure that the leadership development efforts are aligned to the organization’s mission, vision, values, and strategic plan. Senior leaders also must accept that leadership development is a lengthy process.

Step 2: Create common set of values

Ensure that there is a common set of leadership values and standards that permeate everything the organization does including-  recruiting, hiring, succession planning, and performance management.

A good starting point for the values may include the following:

  • Results Focus
  • Accountability
  • Respect for Others
  • Leveraging Diversity
  • Effective Communication
  • Building Trust

Step 3: Communicate the philosophy

Create a leadership development philosophy statement that defines the principles the organization champions. A leadership development philosophy provides direction for those crafting the plan and a communication tool to help the organization understand leadership development.

Step 4: Agree upon objectives

Make certain that all leaders are aligned to the following objectives:

  1. Make improving bench strength a top priority (including succession and retention plans)
  2. Ensure each leader takes responsibility for developing future leaders
  3. Measure the business results of leadership development
  4. Making learning an organizational priority
  5. Create formal development plans for emerging leaders

Lack of true engaged support from current leaders is one of the key reasons that leadership development fails. Your role as an HR professional is to help senior leaders see leadership development as a strategy as opposed to being the project du jour. Identifying and improving the quality of leaders must be a top priority to ensure a filled pipeline of experienced employees ready to be placed.

For any further questions about how you can support leadership development, please give our Advice & Resolution team a ring at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746. If you have any suggestions as to how to improve leadership development, we’d love to hear them in the comments section!

CAI’s June 2011 Training Showcase

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

On Friday, June 24, more than 45 HR professionals and company executives visited CAI’s Raleigh location to attend its June 2011 Training Showcase. CAI’s Training Showcases are free events, held three times a year at the company’s Raleigh and Greensboro offices, and they offer opportunities for company decision makers to gather information on CAI’s diverse training options.

The June event began with CAI’s Director of Learning Services, Colleen Cunningham, asking participants why they decided to attend. Several enthusiastic audience members interjected various reasons, such as seeing the event in CAI’s management newsletter and wanting to help employees improve in their positions.

“Our company is growing, and we need to expand our training, so we wanted to see which programs were best,” said Bonnie Wooten, HR Generalist at Implus Footcare.

Following a brief introduction of CAI’s staff and principal training facilitators, Colleen shared with the audience some of the training services that CAI provides, as well as the organization’s overall education philosophy. The Learning and Development Team members base each of their courses on CAI’s learning model, which includes items to measure learning results, such as self-assessments; defined learning objectives; and interactive exercises, role-plays and case studies. After guests learned how CAI strives to maximize training results, they were free to attend sessions that offered snapshots of what potential participants would expect to experience. Some of the sessions included:

CAI facilitators work to ensure that all of their programs are interactive to keep participants alert and engaged in the information they receive and the activities that they perform. The June 2011 Training Showcase facilitators, Brad Geiger, Maureen Bertolo and Kelly Barefoot, also added passion and expertise to their sessions.

For example, in Maureen’s session Fundamentals of Management Certification Program, she asked all participants to stand up and walk around the classroom to introduce themselves, which involved saying their name, title and company they represented. This activity helped them become familiar with each other while also teaching them that getting to know staff members is an important part of being in management.

Brad and Kelly utilized real-world examples to relate to audience members in their sessions.  Kelly asked her participants in Developing Others Through Coaching to think of great coaches—job, school or sports related—and the qualities that made them effective teachers. This exercise helped attendees discover strategies to grow successful employees.

“Their use of interactive role playing is very effective,” said Janice Willmott, Chief Administrative Officer at Disability Rights NC, when describing the facilitators’ teaching methods.

The following are additional descriptions participants used to characterize the teaching styles of Brad, Maureen and Kelly: energetic, dynamic, knowledgeable, well-informed and efficient. Their teaching approach encouraged participants to interject frequently, ask thought-provoking questions and cooperate in problem solving.

Not only did participants get to sample programs that generally run for two days, but also they received binders full of each program’s key objectives, learning deliverables and main points of discussion.

The evaluations from CAI’s June 2011 Training Showcase revealed that participants obtained a good sense of each session’s layout, and several participants commented that the event exceeded their expectations, making the experience great.

If you’d like to learn more about CAI’s training programs, please visit our website at www.capital.org or contact a member of CAI’s Learning and Development Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.