Nothing new, just solid discipline

I spend most of my time these days coaching senior managers in large multi-national organisations. This usually takes the shape of an intense 4-5 hour day per month for about six months, broken up with a walk around the business or having informal chats with the manager’s reportees or sometimes their line manager.

My coaching sessions use a Personal Development Plan (PDP) created by;

  1. Understanding the current situation in the business and the current level of experience and skills the managers have to deal with the business needs. Always important to link the two!
  2. Brainstorming a vision of success for the manager. This is not a piece of work that will get shared formally and certainly not framed and put up in the reception area of the company’s offices.
  3. A step by step plan or “pathway” to getting from 1 to 2. This is the PDP.

Below is an example of a PDP:-

So, nothing revolutionary so far! That’s the point after all these years as a consultant and coach, fads have come and gone, but I find, and of course our clients have found too, that making a real difference in a business is as much about doing what you need to do correctly and not getting wrapped up in complex models and “new thinking”.

From this experience my top five tips for coaching are;

  1. Listen and watch what is going on in your business. You can’t lead from your office, get out there and mix with the people.
  2. Build relationships with your key people, it will enable you to give them bad news and good news in equal measure. 15 minutes a week just chatting over coffee is valued adding, but in a busy world we ‘don’t have time to do that!’
  3. Start to break your time between… working in the business and working on the business. Aim to spend half your time on developing better methods of working and developing better capacity in your business.
  4. Lead the behaviours you need from others. When you are tardy, aggressive/passive or confusing it won’t be long, due to subconscious forces most of your people will be too.
  5. Don’t try and do too much too quickly. Learn to get successes and make it sustainable. If people who are following you are told too much in too many different ways it will create confusion and failure and ultimately you will lose their trust.