The Consortium community has always recognized the importance of coaching as an impactful way to introduce and sustain transformation, specifically for KCS implementations.
Recently there has been interest in expanding coaching discussions beyond KCS to explore coaching for managers, senior leaders, and executives. At the 2022 Leadership Committee Meeting, one of three topics the team wanted to continue to pursue was “Service Leadership Coaching.” Recently, we had a follow-up to that discussion with 13 leaders from different Member companies. Observations included thoughts on both a culture of coaching and the difference between coaching and other modes of interaction.
Culture of Coaching
- Very few companies have a cultural norm that coaching is a part of ongoing growth for the management team. Several companies have Executive Coaching programs and some specific coaching opportunities for individual contributors, but there is a void in the middle.
- Changing the culture needs to start with a shared idea around “all of us should be looking to get better as a team and as individuals regardless of title.”
Coaching and Mentoring
- Coaching and Mentoring are not the same thing.
- Coaching requires specific skills that are not always easy to develop or identify, including active listening, empathy, clear communication, emotional intelligence, and building trust.
- There are a lot of great coaching models and development programs that people have used. This does not make the act of coaching easy.
- Many of the companies represented have structured mentoring programs on an organizational or corporate level, but none have a current structured coaching program.
- “It’s easier to be mentored or to be a mentor than to be a coach. This is why we see a lot of mentoring and not a lot of coaching. This does not mean mentoring is easy, it’s just easier in our experience.”
The difference between training, coaching, and mentoring as described in this post by Nathan Wood.
Leveraging Principles for an Adaptive Organization
Can we make connections between coaching and an organization’s ability to be adaptive? What if coaching for leaders was focused on the Principles for an Adaptive Organization: Trust, Demand Driven, Abundance, and Create Value? These four principles are critical enablers of organizational transformation and are the basis for the Consortium for Service Innovation’s work.
Coaching for leaders was also an Open Space topic during the 2023 Consortium Member Summit. Follow up sessions have begun for a Leadership Coaching working group, and we look forward to continuing to gather Member perspectives and insights!