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Creating a Coaching Mindset in Organizations

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Thursday, September 27, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, September 26, 2018

*** By Allison Holzer, InspireCorps ***

Leaders today invest in coaching more than ever before. In fact, between 25 to 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies hire executive coaches. According to a recent Harvard Business Review (HBR) article on the subject, leaders “see personal involvement in the development of talent as an essential activity for business success.”

Research supports the investment in coaching in organizations, with meta-analytic reviews showing that coaching significantly increases “performance and skills, well-being, coping, work attitudes, and goal-directed self-regulation” (Theeboom, Beersma & Van Vianen, 2013).

In today’s highly competitive and turbulent market, organizations cannot afford high turnover or the loss of their greatest talent, so there has been an increasing priority on attracting, retaining, and cultivating top talent.

Coaching is seen as a key strategy in doing this. Managers who are either trained to coach internally or hire external coaches do so to invest in and accelerate the performance of their top talent and steady performers.

In our experience collectively, leaders don’t just hire coaches to retain and accelerate the performance of their top talent. Leaders hire coaches because they want their teams to think and act like coaches.

Coaching Mindset Contagion

On a personal note, I first fell in love with coaching in 2006. Participating in a coaching certification course changed my orientation to the world, my mindset, and what I saw as possible for both myself and others.

Prior to that time, I had more rigid views of myself and the world, often judging myself harshly for setbacks or making fear-based decisions. The process of both coaching and being coached shifted my mindset to allow more flexible and growth-oriented views of myself and the world, being more empathetic and emotionally agile, learning from setbacks, and making decisions based on resonance.

After speaking with hundreds of coaches over the years, I have found that this experience is not uncommon. There is power in the process of being coached — it can fundamentally shift how one views oneself and others in a way that has positive ripple effects going forward.

I believe that this coaching mindset and the opportunity for positive change is what leaders seek when they hire external coaches. They do so with the hope that the process will fundamentally shift those who go through it in a transformational way that leads to more effective decision-making, better problem-solving, greater well-being, and more flexible approaches. These shifts benefit not only the client, but also the team and organization at large.

Companies that want to cultivate a coaching mindset culture do not have to send all of their employees to coach training programs, though. These mindset shift and skills can be learned through the process of being coached or even through an internal company training or peer-coaching program that focuses on key characteristics.

Five Characteristics of a Coaching Mindset

Although a coaching mindset includes many different qualities, the following five characteristics align tightly with organizational success. The majority of our clients over the past five years have identified these characteristics as top priorities for their talent to ensure business success:

1. Deep, Full-Body Listening

Coaches are trained to listen deeply with their bodies, eyes, and ears. They listen to what clients are saying verbally and look for what’s being communicated non-verbally. They listen for “resonance” — the emotion behind the words.

And they listen to their own bodies as clues for what is happening for clients. Leaders who more deeply tune in to their team, their customers, and their stakeholders have a better understanding of their needs. This leads to stronger interpersonal connections and better decision-making.

2. Radical Curiosity  

Coaches learn how to ask powerful questions. These are questions that have no clear answer and cannot be answered with a “yes” or a “no.” Instead, powerful questions open up clients to think about a problem differently.

The most powerful questions are those that make clients stop in their tracks, get quiet, and go deep to answer them. Radical curiosity and deep, full-body listening are essential elements of empathy, which has been shown in recent research to be directly linked to commercial success in business.

3. Practical Empathy

Coaches are trained to be empathetic, but in a practical way — with some emotional distance from their client. This allows them to get into their clients’ heads and hearts to understand what they are experiencing without getting pulled in too far. They learn how to be empathetic without experiencing “compassion fatigue.”

Empathy is a critical skill in coaching and in business. As I wrote in a recent InspireCorps blog post and according to a recent HBR article and the 2015 Global Empathy Index ratings: “there is a direct link between empathy and commercial success.”

4. Possibility Focused  

Coaches learn to be possibility focused, rather than problem-focused. They look for emotional “resonance” — what is leading to excitement, joy, optimism.

Leading coaching researcher Anthony Grant has studied the impact of solution-focused versus problem-focused orientation in coaching. He has found that when people focus on possibility and future solutions, they create more concrete and actionable plans towards achieving their goals. A possibility focus can benefit everyone, from managers working with their team in performance reviews to employees generating new ideas for a product launch.

5. Relationship First

Coaching is often referred to as a way to accelerate performance. However, at its core, coaching is about the person first and foremost and the coaching relationship — a relationship that focuses on strengths and possibilities. When the person feels supported, inspired, and motivated through the coaching relationship, the growth in performance happens as a result.

Leaders at all levels struggle with many personal challenges that can affect their business. And it can be lonely at the top, especially for women. The process of coaching often reminds people of their own humanity, the importance of seeking support from others, and cultivating key relationships.

How a Coaching Mindset Leads to Business Results

My appreciation for the impact and power of coaching is rooted in both personal and professional experiences. The positive paradigm shifts I’ve seen my executive clients and their teams go through as a result of developing a coaching mindset includes greater emotional agility and empathy, more flexibility and openness, stronger resilience, and better decision-making.

In a business environment characterized by a fast-paced culture and rapid change, hiring an executive coach and developing a coaching mindset is one of the most sustainable, cost-effective, and agile interventions a leader can make today. It is not only an investment in the performance of that leader, it is an investment in a mindset shift that can lead to cascading positive impact across the organization.

 

References

Braunstein, K., & Grant, A. M. (2016). Approaching solutions or avoiding problems? The differential effects of approach and avoidance goals with solution-focused and problem-focused coaching questions. Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice, 9(2), 93-109.

David, S. (2016). Emotional agility: Get unstuck, embrace change, and thrive in work and life. Penguin.

Holzer, A.A. (2017). Empathy Works and You Can Work It. Inspired Insights: https://inspirecorps.com/empathy-works-and-you-can-work-it/

Parmer, B. (2015). The Most (and Least) Empathetic Companies. Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2015/11/2015-empathy-index

Pudrovska, T., & Karraker, A. (2014). Gender, job authority, and depression. Journal of health and social behavior, 55(4), 424-441.

Pritchard, M. (2016). Executive Coaching: The FORTUNE 500's Best Kept Secret. LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/executive-coaching-fortune-500s-best-kept-secret-melanie-pritchard/

Theeboom, T., Beersma, B., & Van Vianen, A. E. (2013). Coaching in Organizations–A Meta-Analytic Review of Individual Level Effects. In Academy of Management Proceedings (Vol. 2013, No. 1, p. 11881). Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510: Academy of Management.

Waytz, A. (2016). The Limits of Empathy. Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2016/01/the-limits-of-empathy

Weintraub, J. & Hunt, J. (2015). 4 Reasons Managers Should Spend More Time on Coaching, Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2015/05/4-reasons-managers-should-spend-more-time-on-coaching

Tags:  coaching  effective leadership  HR coaching  hr leadership 

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How to create a high performing organization in a disruptive environment

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Updated: Thursday, June 21, 2018

Contributed by Sandy Spataro, INSPIRECORPS


Inspired Performance Organizations: The 4 capabilities necessary to create a high-performing organization in today’s disruptive and dynamic environment.


The Story of Change

History has taught us that the only thing we can rely on is the consistency of change. In recent years, the pace of change is accelerating at an unprecedented rate, making it harder than ever to keep up. We are in what the World Business Forum calls the “Exponential Age.”

Read this article on the HR West Magazine Blog

Tags:  effective leadership  HR Leadership  Inspiration  workplace performance 

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Inspired Performance Organizations

Posted By Editor, Laurie, Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The 4 capabilities necessary to create a high performing organization in today’s disruptive and dynamic environment.

By Sandy Spataro, co-founder and Chief Excellence Officer of InspireCorps

The Story of Change

History has taught us that the only thing we can rely on is the consistency of change. In recent years, the pace of change is accelerating at an unprecedented rate, making it harder than ever to keep up. We are in what the World Business Forum calls the “Exponential Age.”

>> Read this article on the HR West Blog.

 

Tags:  company culture  effective leadership  employee communication  employee engagement  HR Leadership  human resources management  Human resources management. HR Leadership  Lead Change  leader effectiveness  management  workforce optimization 

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A Top Strategy For CEOs To Create Intentionally Positive Organizations

Posted By Editor, Laurie, Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Contributed by Courtney Bigony is Director of People Science at 15Five

Most of us go to bed thinking about the work that didn’t get done and the tasks that are still on the list instead of recognizing what went well and how we moved the needle forward, even if only a little. That makes sense, since humans are wired to focus on the negative. This is evolution’s way of keeping us alive.

For CEOs and leaders running organizations, it’s important to acknowledge this natural negative lean and how it affects work culture. This is especially true when people in work organizations are constantly bombarded with problems to solve, roadblocks to remove and a never-ending set of tasks.

Leaders: intentionally create a positive organization or have a negative one by default.

Continue reading on the HR West Blog

Tags:  company culture  culture  effective leadership  hr leadership  hr management  HR West 2018  positive organizations 

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Need more ideas on how to solve your organization’s culture problems?

Posted By Editor, Laurie, Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Contributed by Russ Elliot,SPHR Founder, Chief Consultant, Conscious Culture Group - HR West 2018 Speaker

Do you need to get your leadership team begin (or continue) the discussion on company culture and the connection to attracting and retaining employees? Where are the gaps that lie between your C-Suite and HR’s understanding of how, where and why culture is understood by the employees? 

Take this 1-minute survey and get immediate feed back and ideas for your organization!

Meet Russ Elliot at 

March 5-7, 2018

Tags:  company culture  Conscious Culture Group  culture  Culture Development  effective leadership  Employee retention  HR Strategy  HR West 2018  retention  Russ Elliot 

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