Every so often, I will anonymously share a conversation some has had with me via email, messenger or in person. This will be a conversation related to coaching, training, leadership, wellbeing......something related to Cara Consulting's work anyway! I'd love anyone from within the community to get in touch with their thoughts on any of these topics. Have a read of this one and let us know what you think. - Fiona
I read with interest your post on coaching and in particular why we seek external coaches. I had some feedback which fits outside the box (perhaps) of the scope of your question but in saying that I was moved by the question and I felt it important to share. My experience of external coaching is limited; yet in many cases it's my view the coachee is referred to the external coach at the behest of their manager. Again, my personal view, is that this happens because in a lot of cases the coachee's manager lacks the coaching skills or confidence to coach effectively. I know this is my experience. I absolutely feel the strong need for professional external coaches yet the question baked into my mind is how is it that so many managers reach their position without the skillset to coach effectively? The next question I immediately fall to is wondering what happens to those newly-coached professionals who go back under their manager's care potentially to be left to wilt as the manager in question may well feel they have done all that's necessary. As you will know far better than myself, coaching is a continued journey and not a one-hit wonder. I realise you will be more than familiar with all of these points but I am passionate about coaching and really enjoy it. I just really wanted to engage with you and share my thoughts. You are most definitely filling a void and the need is great. Keep going Fiona!
Thanks for taking the time to write. I can completely resonate with your thoughts. Our people leaders are generally not equipped with the skills needed to lead people and often, we end up with good managers (who manage things well) moving into leadership roles because of tenure and subject matter expertise because it's earned rather than deserved, instead of actually having the skills they need or at least be given the appropriate training and coaching. I also see the issue that many are amazing technical leaders and subject matter experts, but because there is no clear progression path for them, they have no choice but to be forced or force themselves into people leadership when it doesn't fit for them, but what are they supposed to do? Your second point is also a very valid one in relation to newly-coaching people. It can go either of 2 ways.....they just go back to their old ways that required them get coaching in the first place because it's too hard for them to continue their growth without the accountability and support that their coach gave them and their manager does not. The other way is that they notice this shortfall in their manager, realise they can do better and often leave their roles because their eyes have been opened to what's possible. I often see that in people who get onto aspiring/emerging leader programmes - it's not uncommon that these people see a better way and if the barrier to continued growth is their manager, then they will leave the organisation, if not move somewhere within the organisation to move beyond the barrier. What do you think?
Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a well thought out and detailed reply, it really was a pleasure to read your thoughts. It just goes to show how your knowledge in this area really is "expert" level as your response has certainly padded out my own thoughts. You are - of course - absolutely right that the technical leaders/subject matter experts who want to "move up" have no other option than to take on people leadership (outside of their comfort zone and traditional strengths). It's really easy to look at the coachee as missing out by not having people capable leaders and not getting the career guidance. The empathy needs to go both ways as those subject matter expert - and now people leaders - are just as brave by stepping into people leadership. They will feel that dis-comfort and anxiety knowing they are lacking skill in that area and I wonder how readily they would call out for help. They deserve our empathy too just as much as the coachee. That appreciation I've outlined has really come about from your amazing reply where you set out your thoughts so well. Thank you for moving my thinking on this matter, I mean that genuinely.
So what do you think? Feel free to continue the conversation by popping Fiona an email on email@example.com
If there is another topic you'd like to talk about, do get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org