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There is an extensive range of materials on coaching and mentoring which will help both you and your participants to improve your skills.

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360 Degree Feedback

About this Article:
Carol Wilson identifies the tools and models frequently used during coaching projects. In this article she looks at 360 degree feedback.

About

About this Article:
Carol Wilson identifies the tools and models frequently used during coaching projects. In this article she looks at 360 degree feedback.

Opening Words:
360 degree feedback is a process used by many organisations today to provide managers with information about how they are viewed by the different categories of people they come into contact with in the course of their work, for example, the managers they report to, the staff who report to them, and their colleagues, customers and clients.

The feedback is usually delivered anonymously and participants are asked to fill in a series of tick-boxes (often on-line) and to provide individual comments about various aspects of the subject’s performance, typically around their skills, abilities, attitudes and behaviours.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who is thinking of using 360 degree feedback or upward appraisal mechanisms for their own or others' development.

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Active Listening

About this Article:
In this article Tony Atherton explains why good listening is such hard work and discusses the characteristics and techniques used in Active Listening.

About

About this Article:
In this article Tony Atherton explains why good listening is such hard work and discusses the characteristics and techniques used in Active Listening.

Opening Words:
Good listening is hard work! Very often when we listen to someone we only half pay attention; talking is much more fun than listening so we start thinking about what we will say when it’s our turn. What we want is a conversation where we put in at least half of what is said, if not more. We are not looking for hard work.

The phrase active listening has crept into management jargon. It is a good phrase though because good listening is not the passive action it is sometimes thought to be. Good listening requires active participation by the listener.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who needs to listen. Especially useful for those in a coaching or sales role.

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Catching a Coach

About this Article:
Jeremy Thorn takes a look at Executive Coaching, who it applies to and who may be missing out on the benefits of said coaching.

About

About this Article:
Jeremy Thorn takes a look at Executive Coaching, who it applies to and who may be missing out on the benefits of said coaching.

Opening Words: 
Whom do you think might benefit the most from an opportunity for Executive Coaching? Would it be just for those who show promising career potential, do you think, or could there be others? And although coaching has become increasingly popular over the last 10 years, is this the only alternative to a more formal programme of management development? It doesn’t have to be!

Useful Reading For:
Anyone interested in introducing executive coaching to their organisation or in being coached.

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Coaching and Coach Training in the Workplace

About this Article:
In this article, Carol Wilson, looks at:
1) How the workplace is changing from authoritarian bosses and jobs for life towards self-directed learning and portfolio careers.
2) How the Virgin empire was built using a coaching culture..

About

About this Article:
In this article, Carol Wilson, looks at:
1) How the workplace is changing from authoritarian bosses and jobs for life towards self-directed learning and portfolio careers.
2) How the Virgin empire was built using a coaching culture..

Opening Words:
Over the last fifty years the world has moved from an authoritarian society – where figures such as priests, fathers and bosses were obeyed without question – towards self directed learning. Society has seen rebellious teenagers, the debunking of religion, and an end to jobs for life. People are making their own decisions, portfolio careers are becoming more common, and companies are moving away from consultancy towards coaching.

Coaching at work is sometimes regarded as the latest fad. Companies are falling over themselves to provide their senior and middle managers with personal coaches, and to train them in coaching skills.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone involved in providing or receiving coaching in the workplace.

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Coaching and Mentoring in Learning Organisations

Article Overview:
In this lengthy article, Graham Guest looks at the need for learning organisations in the modern world, and what defines a learning organisation. He goes on to look at the importance of mentoring and learning in learning organisations and provides a clear and interesting distinction between the two.

About

Article Overview:
In this lengthy article, Graham Guest looks at the need for learning organisations in the modern world, and what defines a learning organisation. He goes on to look at the importance of mentoring and learning in learning organisations and provides a clear and interesting distinction between the two.

Opening Words:
The world is witnessing rapid changes in the way we work and learn. The effectiveness of traditional organisational structures is being questioned and new ‘buzz-words’ are entering our vocabulary. We talk about the global economy, the knowledge-society, and the networked company.

One approach to dealing with change is that of the learning organisation, where learning holds the key to both economic prosperity for the organisation and personal well-being for the individual. The traditional, and somewhat mechanistic, techniques of management and supervision are being supplemented with, and in many cases replaced by, a more holistic approach involving the processes of coaching and mentoring.

In this paper I describe the features and benefits of a learning organisation and explore how coaching and mentoring form an integral part of the model.

Useful Reading For:
Trainers and anyone interested in developing a learning organisation.

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Coaching Feedback for Managers

Article Overview:
In this article, Carol Wilson looks at four key areas of feedback: Positive feedback, negative feedback, receiving feedback and coaching feedback.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Carol Wilson looks at four key areas of feedback: Positive feedback, negative feedback, receiving feedback and coaching feedback.

Opening Words:
Feedback is often regarded as the most difficult part of a manager’s job. However, in a coaching culture, negative feedback is experienced in a positive way; as an opportunity for making new discoveries rather than blame.

Positive feedback is an energy raiser for the giver as well as the receiver. However, it must be authentic and genuine or it will be dismissed as worthless.

People often say that they only hear feedback when something is wrong. However, it costs nothing to tell people when they have done well, or give a simple thank you. Both will make the recipient feel more valuable and raise their confidence. Self-belief is vital for success, and praise, when it is deserved, builds confidence and motivation to achieve more.

It is great to give positive feedback in public; it gives people a real boost to be singled out and admired for what they have achieved. There are also two possible areas for caution here:

Useful Reading For:
Managers, including first time managers, and anyone who wants to develop their ability to give, or receive, constructive feedback.

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Coaching for Excellent Performance

Article Overview:
In this article, Graham Guest looks at the importance of coaching as a holistic method of managing performance. He explains the role of the coach and the coaching relationship.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Graham Guest looks at the importance of coaching as a holistic method of managing performance. He explains the role of the coach and the coaching relationship.

Opening Words:
Many businesses proclaim that their people are their greatest asset. This is an attractive idea, particularly to the assets themselves. Some of the businesses making this statement actually believe it. Of those that believe it some will try to put the philosophy into practice.

This might seem like a cynical opening to an article, but it is true that if we observe businesses closely we see that manipulation and control are still the favoured tools of management. Kofman and Senge (1995) ask, 'Why do we confront learning opportunities with fear rather than wonder? [...] Why do we create controlling bureaucracies when we attempt to form visionary enterprises?' They suggest that the main dysfunctions in our institutions - fragmentation, competition, and reactiveness - are actually by-products of our success over thousands of years in conquering the physical world and in developing our scientific, industrial culture.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone involved in providing or receiving coaching in the workplace.

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Coaching, Mentoring and the Sibling Organisation

Article Overview:
This article from Mike Bagshaw, considers the changing business culture. He argues that the paternalistic approach has gone, replaced by a sibling stage in organisational development - a sort of half-way house to full alignment between individual and organisation needs.

About

Article Overview:
This article from Mike Bagshaw, considers the changing business culture. He argues that the paternalistic approach has gone, replaced by a sibling stage in organisational development - a sort of half-way house to full alignment between individual and organisation needs.

Opening Words:
The sibling organisation is a stage in the development of organisations following the uncertainty created by downsizing and restructuring. People feel the need to invest in self-preservation, perhaps at the expense of collaborative effort, risk-taking and shared learning. Organisational defensive routines limit growth and creativity. Morale is depressed, job satisfaction is reduced and performance goes down. To counter this post-change depressive effect, a new contract of mutual investment and respect needs to be created between the employee and the organisation. A coaching style of management combined with independent mentoring support can provide the vehicle for a climate of two stranded development where both the needs of the individual and the needs of the organisation are aligned.

The concept of the sibling organisation is a new one. It's a stage of evolution in business ethos, and it seems to me it's the stage we're at now. We have moved past the old paternalistic ethos, where we were looked after in exchange for loyalty. That move has been forced on us by the changing market demands and shareholder power. The drive has been to cut costs. The highest cost is people, so it has been uneconomic for the bosses to go on looking after people. There has had to be downsizing. "Lean and Mean" has become the cry. All too soon that has meant "Sad and Mad".

Useful Reading For:
Anyone involved in coaching and mentoring.

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Continuing Professional Development in the Workplace

Article Overview:
In this article, Graham Guest considers the view that a job can no longer be considered for life and the implications of this for continuing professional development in the workplace.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Graham Guest considers the view that a job can no longer be considered for life and the implications of this for continuing professional development in the workplace.

Opening Words:
It is not so long ago that a person joining a company - particularly a large organisation - could expect a job for life. The way into a company for a professional was through a period of academic study followed by, or combined with, structured training. After this the individual would generally follow a clearly defined path of progression in his or her chosen field of employment. Continuing professional development (CPD) was regarded at best as an optional extra to be undertaken according to the needs or wishes of the individual or to meet some short-term requirements of the company. At worst CPD was felt not to be important and additional training was given at random to use up training budgets or to make staff feel that they were wanted. "John hasn't been on a training course lately; isn't it about time we sent him on one?"

Useful Reading For:
This is relevant for all personal development in the workplace.

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Developing a Coaching Culture

Article Overview:
In this article Carol Wilson looks at what coaching is, how organisations can integrate it, and what the pitfalls might be.

About

Article Overview:
In this article Carol Wilson looks at what coaching is, how organisations can integrate it, and what the pitfalls might be.

Opening Words:
Many organisations across the world today are putting coaching programmes in place, either hiring external coaches or training their own managers. The word is out that a ‘coaching culture’ is the goal to pursue, although there is some confusion about what the term actually means and even more about how to achieve it. In this article we will look at what coaching is, how organisations can integrate it, and what the pitfalls might be.

I have identified that there are three principles underlying a coaching culture:

Useful Reading For:
Managers and anyone else wishing to increase the use of coaching skills within their organisations.

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Don't Make Me Go Back to the Gym

Article Overview:
In this article, Rod Webb wonders why he's not motivated to return to the gym after Christmas this year, and considers the lessons here for organisations and managers. The article outlines key thoughts and ideas about motivating people at work and managing change.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Rod Webb wonders why he's not motivated to return to the gym after Christmas this year, and considers the lessons here for organisations and managers. The article outlines key thoughts and ideas about motivating people at work and managing change.

Opening Words:
I had one of those moments this morning, which seem to come with increasing frequency once you reach your forties. The image in the bathroom mirror just seemed to be a little more out of shape than normal – the sagging more noticeable, the posture a little worse. On really bad days I see my father in the mirror. Nothing against my father, you understand, but when he was my age (and I wasn’t) I thought he looked old, whilst I of course know that I’m still very much in my youth.

Anyway, this unfortunate revelation got me thinking and wondering whether once again I should try and lose some of the post Christmas excess via lots of exercise at the gym.

I’ve tried the gym before – many, many times, without any discernible difference being achieved in the few weeks my commitment lasted before the excruciating boredom became unbearable and I was driven back to the sofa - and chocolate.

Useful Reading For:
Managers and team leaders who need to motivate others.

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Falling on Deaf Ears

Article Overview:
In this excellent article, Sheila Williams looks at the importance of the recipients willingness to listen for feedback to be effective.

About
Article Overview:
In this excellent article, Sheila Williams looks at the importance of the recipients willingness to listen for feedback to be effective.

Opening Words:
Feedback offers us an opportunity to gain insight into how others perceive and experience us and yet, on occasions we resolutely refuse to hear it. This can happen when we have a knee-jerk response to something that hurts us. Yet, given time, we may bring ourselves to consider the view put forward. However, outright refusal to listen and reflect on feedback also occurs when it contradicts or is not consistent with strongly held beliefs we hold about ourselves, about others or about our view of the world.

This was the case for Richard who was unsuccessful in his application to go on his organisation’s leadership development programme. After the selection process, he was given feedback that suggested he needed to focus on developing his communication and inter-personal skills. A specific comment related to the dismissive way he dealt with ideas and contributions from colleagues. When talking this through with him he was quite scornful about the feedback, seeing it as carping criticism. He felt that his organisation did not want “charismatic leaders” as he considered himself to be.

Useful Reading For:
Everyone - whether giving or receiving feedback.

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Firm Management or Bullying?

Article Overview:
This article from Sheila Williams looks at the differences between firm management and bullying and considers why behaviour might be interpreted differently in different organisations.

About

Article Overview:
This article from Sheila Williams looks at the differences between firm management and bullying and considers why behaviour might be interpreted differently in different organisations.

Opening Words:
What are the differences between firm management and bullying?

ACAS characterise bullying as offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient.

Bullying is assessed as behaviour that is unacceptable by reasonable, normal standards and is disadvantageous or unwelcome to the individual. However, what is reasonable and normal for one may be unacceptable to others and, as Hamlet observed, ‘therein lies the rub’. It is hard to get agreement on objective measures of what constitutes bullying behaviour. Nowhere is this more apparent than when managers are dealing with staff under-performance.

Linda is a manager who came from a ‘command and control’ culture into an organisation with a radically different approach. She is ambitious, dynamic and has, as she puts it, ‘a short fuse’. Her style of management led to a formal complaint of bullying by one of her team. Other team members gave witness to this during the internal investigation that followed. The investigation team concluded that she had used inappropriate and bullying behaviour; in particular losing her temper with the individual on a number of occasions and belittling them in public.

Useful Reading For:
Line managers and supervisors.

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Frying Pan, Fire or Neither?

Article Overview:
Martin Haworth explains how getting someone else out of their 'frying pan' can get you into a 'fire' and explores a better way of helping your team members when they are struggling.

About

Article Overview:
Martin Haworth explains how getting someone else out of their 'frying pan' can get you into a 'fire' and explores a better way of helping your team members when they are struggling.

Opening Words:
How tempting is it to fix things? You know, you are passing by one of your teams’ cubicles and they are doing something you know all about. So you give a hand...

And then it's fixed, and you feel a rosy glow all about how you've 'helped'. But who is this about, you or them?

You see, it can be so frustrating, for someone already frustrated, when some smart-ass boss comes along to show their superiority. In fact, after it's fixed, all they get is a general feeling of inadequacy. And more frustration.

Useful Reading For:
Everyone, especially managers, team leaders and experienced staff.

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Good Practice in Appraisals

Article Overview:
All managers know that staff appraisals are an essential part of ‘performance management’. But Organisational Development Consultant, Jeremy Thorn, suggests that ‘performance enhancement’ might be a far more rewarding focus.

About

Article Overview:
All managers know that staff appraisals are an essential part of ‘performance management’. But Organisational Development Consultant, Jeremy Thorn, suggests that ‘performance enhancement’ might be a far more rewarding focus.

Opening Words:
In some organisations, appraisals are widely reported to be dreaded, by both managers and subordinates. Managers often dislike conducting them, especially those who have not been trained, perhaps because they see appraisal interviews as a possibly embarrassing formality, which take up too much precious time. And across the desk, staff often say they find appraisals daunting, often threatening and, sometimes, even de-motivating. Done badly, the appraisal process can indeed frustrate and damage staff relations, especially if seen as a one-off ‘end of term report’ – or even worse, a ‘character assassination’!  

Done well, however, an appraisal can be genuinely productive and enjoyable, for both the appraiser and the appraised. Indeed, in many organisations, I hear complaints by staff very much more often that their appraisals have not been carried out by their busy line managers on time, rather than that they have happened at all.

How does any organisation ever achieve such a positive outlook?

Useful Reading For:

All managers and anyone wanting to improve the way the appraisal system is used in their organisation.

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Houdini Moments

Article Overview:
In this article, Steve Marriott looks at how we can break away from the conventional coaching techniques to transform the world of coaching.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Steve Marriott looks at how we can break away from the conventional coaching techniques to transform the world of coaching.

Opening Words:
The world of coaching is changing. Successful people the world over will at some point talk about a great coach or mentor who has helped and inspired them on their way to fame. So why is it that ‘coaching’ is still seen in many organisations as something to be avoided? Do you work in an organisation where to be ‘coached’ means to be ‘performance managed’?

We all want to be better at something in our lives; perhaps you want more of (maybe less of) something in your life, but from time to time we find ourselves ‘stuck’, procrastinating or simply unable to move forward with our dreams and desires.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who wants to develop their coaching skills, or better understand the role of the coach.

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How To Develop Workplace Coaches

Article Overview:
This article from Carol Wilson, looks at: What is a coach? Who can train as a coach? Keys to successful training of workplace coaches. Certification for workplace coaches. Who can be coached in the workplace? How to measure the benefits of coaching.

About

Article Overview:
This article from Carol Wilson, looks at: What is a coach? Who can train as a coach? Keys to successful training of workplace coaches. Certification for workplace coaches. Who can be coached in the workplace? How to measure the benefits of coaching.

Opening Words:
Some people are born to be great coaches: the good news is that it is possible to make great coaches too.

There is nothing new or mystifying about coaching – it is simply a style of communication which engenders trust, mutual support, personal growth and great leadership. Some natural coaches learn their skills through the good fortune of being born to parents who are natural coaches. Others have teachers, or later mentors, as their role models.

For many years I worked with one of the world’s most famous natural coaches while helping Richard Branson set up the Virgin Empire and going on to run some of his companies. The coaching principles of openness, positive feedback, ownership and a blame-free culture were core values at Virgin, decades before the word ‘coaching’ was applied in its current sense. A few years earlier, Socrates also recommended coaching skills – although I don’t believe the words ‘executive coach’ are specifically mentioned in his writings! References to the skills have popped up in various forms many times since.

Useful Reading For:
Managers wishing to develop workplace coaches and anyone involved in coaching in the workplace.

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How to Introduce Coaching to Your Team

Article Overview:
You have attended the coaching skills workshop. You feel inspired. How do you introduce your new skills into the workplace? Jennifer Hampson discusses the way forward.

About

Article Overview:
You have attended the coaching skills workshop. You feel inspired. How do you introduce your new skills into the workplace? Jennifer Hampson discusses the way forward.

Opening Words:
You’ve attended a coaching skills workshop. You feel inspired. You’ve been coached and found it thoroughly beneficial. Now you’re wondering how you can use coaching in real life with your team. You start pondering your options:
• I could just start asking more open questions.
• I could build coaching into regular meetings.
• I could look out for ‘Coachable Moments’.
• I could find other ways just to build it in without them really noticing.
• I could tell my team I’ve been on a course and I’m going to be coaching them from now on.

Useful Reading For:
Managers and anyone else wishing to increase their use of coaching skills.

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Leadership

Article Overview:
In this article, Sir John Whitmore explains his belief that each and every one of us can be a leader, and indeed, has the qualities and the capabilities to be one if we can only figure out how to unleash them.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Sir John Whitmore explains his belief that each and every one of us can be a leader, and indeed, has the qualities and the capabilities to be one if we can only figure out how to unleash them.

Opening Words:

Overview
Each and every one of us can be a leader, and indeed, has the qualities and the capabilities to be one if we can only figure out how to unleash them.

Our own ‘inner authority’ is the key to unlocking that leadership potential.

Look for The Leader Within
The essence of John Whitmore’s philosophy is that each and every one of us can be a leader, and indeed, has the qualities and capabilities to be one if we can only figure out how to unleash them.

“If you say, ‘Prove it’, you look, when there’s a real crisis – such as the tsunami – perfectly ordinary people do absolutely outstanding things in that moment to selflessly help others”, he says.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone in a leadership role.

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Lifelong Learning for the Global Networked Society

Article Overview:
This article by Graham Guest considers the changing patterns of work and learning and explores how they are forming the basis of a newly emerging global networked society.

About

Article Overview:
This article by Graham Guest considers the changing patterns of work and learning and explores how they are forming the basis of a newly emerging global networked society.

Opening Words:
Professionals have normally become qualified as a result of a period of formal education followed by, or integrated with, a structured training programme. They have then followed this initial formation stage with continuing professional development (CPD). We are however beginning to see a breaking-down of this traditional pattern and its replacement with a process of lifelong learning. Such learning is formal, non-formal and informal and undertaken in a variety of ways. The development and application of a wide range of information and communications technologies (ICT) means that people can learn where, when, what and how they want. In addition the focus of learning is moving away from the teacher and towards the learner.

These changes in the structure of learning are being accompanied by changes in the patterns of work. No longer can a person be guaranteed a job for life and indeed the very concept of the 'job' is being called into question. The emphasis now is on flexibility and portfolio careers, where the individual develops a range of knowledge, skills and understanding to apply to new situations as they arise. The convergence of learning and work is seen in the concept of the learning organisation and other forms of learning community such as the learning city. Societies, along with work and learning, are becoming more and more globalised, and individuals are increasingly regarding themselves as members of a number of inter-relating networks.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone responsible for learning in the workplace.

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Performance Coaching and Training in the Workplace

Article Overview:
This article from carol Wilson looks at:

1) What is coaching?
2) What coaching does.
3) What coaching managers do.
4) Where did coaching come from?
5) What is a coaching culture?

About

Article Overview:
This article from carol Wilson looks at:

1) What is coaching?
2) What coaching does.
3) What coaching managers do.
4) Where did coaching come from?
5) What is a coaching culture?

Opening Words:
A sea of confusion surrounds the term ‘coaching’ in business today. The expression has not even made its way into dictionaries yet, where ‘coach’ is defined simply as ‘tutor’ and yet there is nothing new about the practice other than its name. Socrates was the earliest identified exponent, when he wrote:

“I cannot teach anybody anything – I can only make them think.”

This quote relates to the underlying principle of coaching, termed self-directed learning, sometimes described as self-managed learning.

Coaching helps people to communicate more clearly and in a way that is simply more comfortable. In this modern world of change – the seemingly constant buying, selling and merging of global corporations – and virtuality – teams working together while spread over different parts of the country or indeed the world – communication can be the oil in the wheels or the rust that stops them from turning.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone interested in developing their understanding of performance coaching or wishing to implement a coaching culture within their organisation.

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Picture This

Article Overview:
In this article, Martin Shovel, looks at the value of using pictures in coaching. He argues that using pictures, an abstract word such as 'leadership' can be transformed into something palpable and rich.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Martin Shovel, looks at the value of using pictures in coaching. He argues that using pictures, an abstract word such as 'leadership' can be transformed into something palpable and rich.

Opening Words:
Imagine being asked to conduct a coaching session in total silence. Would it be possible to make it meaningful, or would it feel as pointless as listening to a switched off radio?

Conventionally, words are the medium that support the coaching experience and make it possible. To most of us, the idea of a silent coaching session is about as useful as a waterless swimming pool.

Now let's imagine the same situation again, but this time you're given pencils and paper and told that you and your client can communicate using drawing, as long as you both agree not to supplement your drawings with written words. A film with no soundtrack is a much more familiar, and attractive, proposition than a soundless radio. /p>

Useful Reading For:
All trainers and coaches.

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Playing To Your Personal Strengths

Article Overview:
This interesting article from Sheila Williams, looks at personal conflict in the workplace and looks at how our preferred behaviours can bring us into conflict with others who have different preferences.

About

Article Overview:
This interesting article from Sheila Williams, looks at personal conflict in the workplace and looks at how our preferred behaviours can bring us into conflict with others who have different preferences.

Opening Words:
In a week of battling against the winter elements I have also been exploring conflict of a different nature – person to person. The type of interpersonal conflict that can for no apparent reason (at least to the warring parties), spring up in the workplace. Part of this has led to an exploration of how we deploy our personal strengths and whether over-use of these, in certain circumstances, can tip them over into becoming weaknesses.

We develop behaviours that, when used to good effect, over time, become our preferred way of doing things. We consider them as our personal strengths. However, the more we use them and the more success we have with their use then the more we can slip into auto-pilot mode, with an expectation that their use will always produce success. In this way, we sometimes overlook the fact that using a particular personal strength may be inappropriate to the context or situation in which we find ourselves.

Useful Reading For:
Line managers and trainers.

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Ready, Steady ... Coach!

Article Overview:
In this article Jennifer introduces the GROW model and explains the fundamentals of coaching. It provides an outstanding introduction to coaching skills.

About

Article Overview:
In this article Jennifer introduces the GROW model and explains the fundamentals of coaching. It provides an outstanding introduction to coaching skills.

Opening Words:
Let's start with an assumption. You really do want to coach. In other words, I don't have to convince you of the benefits of coaching for yourself, your coachees, and your organisation. You're already motivated and raring to go.

So, how exactly do you get started?

1. It's OK to Start Small:

Sometimes we worry about how people might react if we suddenly do things differently. Don't let this put you off. How about starting small and building up from there? For example:
• Start asking more open questions.
• Practise listening much better to people.
• Summarise what you're hearing.
• Keep your opinions out of it.
• Keep the conversation focused and constructive.
• Base conversations on the GROW Model, i.e.:
G(oal) - What do you want or need to achieve?
R(eality) - What's the situation right now?
O(ptions) - What could you do to get there?
W(rap-up) - What have you decided to do? When exactly?

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who wants to increase their understanding of coaching and the GROW model.

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Reviewing for Development

Article Overview:
If your work is about personal development, social development, team development, leadership development, management development, or 'anything' development you should find some useful ideas and tips in this article from Roger Greenaway about reviewing for development.

About

Article Overview:
If your work is about personal development, social development, team development, leadership development, management development, or 'anything' development you should find some useful ideas and tips in this article from Roger Greenaway about reviewing for development.

Opening Words:
Much advice about reviewing (or debriefing) assumes that the main purpose is to facilitate learning. So what should you do differently when the emphasis is on facilitating development?

One (partly right) answer is that development arises as a direct result of what is experienced during the 'activity' and that learning mostly happens after the activity when reviewing the experience. For example, the sense of achievement on completing a rock climb happens as the climber completes the final move. Such achievements have an impact on development - whether or not much learning arises directly from the achievement. It is during reflection and review after the climb that the climber can learn more from the experience than was possible while engrossed in the climbing. The climber may learn through feedback during a review that their communication was poor or that their recklessness was endangering others, or during a review they may learn how they can also control other fears in other situations. A review can take learning in many directions that were not fully apparent at the time of the developmental experience.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone involved in the development of others.

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Team Coaching

Article Overview:
In this excellent article, Sheila Williams looks at the challenges of coaching a team using her own experiences. The article includes a helpful list of questions to ask before undertaking team coaching.

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Article Overview:
In this excellent article, Sheila Williams looks at the challenges of coaching a team using her own experiences. The article includes a helpful list of questions to ask before undertaking team coaching.

Opening Words:
How many teams do you belong to at work – three, four, five? Research from Clutterbuck Associates suggests we may be members of as many as six or more different teams at any one time. When team members have clarity about their roles and contributions, team performance in key results areas is measurably improved - creating a positive impact in the organisation as a whole, in terms of service quality, organisational performance, motivation and morale.

Team coaching can be particularly challenging, whether the coach is the team leader or an external coach. It is a complex activity involving the facilitation of 1:1 and team interactions, observing and giving feedback on team processes and behaviours, and dealing with tensions and conflict which are often hidden beneath the surface.

Useful Reading For:
Trainers and line managers.

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The Differences Between Coaching and its Related Fields

Article Overview:
This is a superb article from Carol Wilson, Head of Accreditation at the Association for Coaching and essential reading for anyone interested in coaching and performance coaching.

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Article Overview:
This is a superb article from Carol Wilson, Head of Accreditation at the Association for Coaching and essential reading for anyone interested in coaching and performance coaching.

Opening Words:
Carol Wilson, Head of Accreditation at the Association for Coaching, and Gladeana McMahon, Fellow of the Association for Coaching, explore the differences between coaching and the related disciplines of counselling, psychotherapy, mentoring and consulting. Coaching draws its influences from and stands on the shoulders of a wide range of disciplines, including counselling, management consultancy, personal development, and psychology. However, there are a number of core differences which distinguish coaching from its related fields. This article is based on a chapter of the book ‘The Handbook of Best Coaching’, produced by the Association for Coaching and available at a reduced price of £20 on www.associationforcoaching.com.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone involved in coaching who wishes to explore the origins and influences of coaching.

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The Effectiveness of Coaching in Work Life Balance

Article Overview:
This article looks at how coaching can help people achieve a healthy work life balance. Apparently, a survey by CIPD found that professionals in the UK would sacrifice up to 40% of their annual salary in order to achieve a better work life balance.

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Article Overview:
This article looks at how coaching can help people achieve a healthy work life balance. Apparently, a survey by CIPD found that professionals in the UK would sacrifice up to 40% of their annual salary in order to achieve a better work life balance.

Opening Words:
A survey by the CIPD claimed that professionals in the UK would sacrifice up to 40% of their annual salary – an average £13,253 a year - if it meant achieving better work-life balance.

Why has work-life balance become such a hot topic in recent years? The sheer number of choices available today can leave the average professional sinking under a mountain of obligations, leisure activities and family commitments.

Entertainment for our grandparents was limited to a sing-song round the piano and, for their children, a game of hop scotch in the car-free street outside. They didn’t have to spend their weekends searching for the elusive best deal on new cars, fridges or the bewildering array of media technology available today; and two weeks in Yarmouth provided an annual treat, without hours of net-surfing for that last-minute, dream holiday.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone involved in coaching or looking at how coaching can affect our lives.

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The History of Coaching and The Need for Accreditation

Article Overview:
In this article, Carol traces the development of coaching since the psychology of Freud and Jung, through Maslow, Perlz, Gestalt Therapy, Solution Focused Belief Therapy, Gallwey and Whitmore.

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Article Overview:
In this article, Carol traces the development of coaching since the psychology of Freud and Jung, through Maslow, Perlz, Gestalt Therapy, Solution Focused Belief Therapy, Gallwey and Whitmore.

Opening Words:
The principles of coaching have been identified for thousands of years, as far back as in the works of Socrates, who famously wrote:

"I cannot teach anybody anything - I can only make them think".

The twentieth century saw rapid developments in the field of psychology and, towards the end of it, the foundations of modern coaching emerged. Until the 1940s, psychology focussed on identifying problems and fixing what was wrong, notably through the work of Freud and Jung. A major shift then occurred through the work of psychologists such as Abraham Maslow and Fritz Perlz.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone involved in providing coaching who wishes to explore history of coaching.

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Tools of the Trade

Article Overview:
This article was first published in Training Journal in September 2007. In it, Carol Wilson considers the need for coaches to add new tools to their toolbox and gives an overview of models like Situational Leadership and Myers Briggs.

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Article Overview:
This article was first published in Training Journal in September 2007. In it, Carol Wilson considers the need for coaches to add new tools to their toolbox and gives an overview of models like Situational Leadership and Myers Briggs.

Opening Words:
Coaching is fundamentally a simple process: A way of being and communicating that is aided by a small number of guidelines and rules. It is perfectly possible, and indeed quite common, to deliver a session which can literally change the course of someone’s life or business using no more than the foundation coaching skills of listening, questioning and clarifying, supported by structured coaching models like GROW and EXACT for goal setting.

After mastering the basics, coaches usually start to discover other tools, which may be nearer or further away from pure coaching but which can be useful when applied in conjunction with it.

How this often happens is that new coaches come up against various challenges in their first few months of sessions, so they research, read or talk to other coaches and hear of methods and techniques which have helped others in the same position. Extra training seems called for but it is not cheap, and few of us have an abundance of time these days to do courses, never mind practise to become proficient, in which case the new learning will soon be all forgotten. So how do we decide which of the many tools available we should choose to follow up?

Useful Reading For:
Coaches and anyone wishing to develop their coaching skills further.

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What Are Your Clients Teaching You?

Article Overview:
This is an interesting article from Olivia Stefanino which considers the opportunities coaches have for learning from their clients. Does coaching also provide an opportunity for coaches to 'look in the mirror'?

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Article Overview:
This is an interesting article from Olivia Stefanino which considers the opportunities coaches have for learning from their clients. Does coaching also provide an opportunity for coaches to 'look in the mirror'?

Opening Words:
One of the characteristics that sets great coaches apart from their more average colleagues is an attitude of open-mindedness, curiosity and a willingness for self-examination. And one of the quickest places to discover more about you, your attitudes and your hidden strategies is to look at the kind of clients you tend to attract.

While you might be forgiven for thinking that you’re there to help your clients, there’s always some kind of “energy exchange” (beyond money), that can offer you some rich insights into what’s going on in your own life.

Of course, it goes without saying that when you’re working with a client, it’s only right and proper that you focus all of your time, energy and attention on him or her.

Useful Reading For:
Coaches and coaching managers.

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What Coaching Is and How It Works

Article Overview
In this article Carol Wilson explains the essential coaching skills and the five levels of listening. This is a really good introduction to performance coaching from a well-respected author.

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Article Overview
In this article Carol Wilson explains the essential coaching skills and the five levels of listening. This is a really good introduction to performance coaching from a well-respected author.

Opening Words:
Although the use of the term ‘performance coaching’ is a relatively new development over the last 20 years, there is nothing new about the skills themselves and they can be identified as far back as in the writings of Socrates, who said, “I cannot teach anybody anything; I can only make them think”.

Performance coaching (which expression includes life, career, fitness, business, executive, finance and any other category of coaching in the modern sense of the word) is about communicating in a way that enhances understanding, clarity, awareness, responsibility, self-belief and productive relationships.

The essential coaching skills are:
• Active listening.
• Questions that enhance self-directed learning.
• Clarifying.
• Goal setting.
• Shifting perspective.
• Holding the coachee accountable.
• Effective feedback.
• Creating trust and empathy....

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who wants to learn about using performance coaching in a work environment for the first time.

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What is It You Do Exactly?

Article Overview:
Ever wondered what a ‘Business Coach’ actually does? This article from Sheila Williams will help you understand what they do and what they can do for you.

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Article Overview:
Ever wondered what a ‘Business Coach’ actually does? This article from Sheila Williams will help you understand what they do and what they can do for you.

Opening Words:
There I am, sitting around a table at a breakfast networking meeting for owners of small businesses. The other seven are looking earnestly at me.

“So, Sheila, what’s your line of business then?”

“I’m a business coach.”

There’s a pause.

“Is that like you give advice to people, tell them how to run the business better?”

“Er no…” I start to say.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who'd like to have a better understanding of the role of a business coach.

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Which Course Do You Want To Go On This Year?

Article Overview:
This article considers the importance of using a facilitative approach to identify training needs.

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Article Overview:
This article considers the importance of using a facilitative approach to identify training needs.

Opening Words:
The performance review isn’t simply an opportunity to review what’s happened and dish out praise or criticism accordingly. In fact calling a performance review a review at all is unfortunate, because an effective appraisal should be as concerned with looking forward as it is with reviewing what has already happened.

The review should be used, for example, as an opportunity to check that previously agreed objectives remain appropriate, and to change these if necessary. It’s also an important opportunity to identify what training, development and support an individual will require in order to meet the challenges of the future. If you fail to identify the training and development needs of your team, you are not only failing them, but you are failing the business as well. You wouldn’t send your teenager into town in your new sports car, unless you were pretty sure they could drive competently, so why would you risk giving a member of staff an objective without considering whether they are competent to complete it, and if not, what additional training they’ll need?

Useful Reading For:
Managers and team leaders involved in performance reviews.

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Who Do You Think You Are?

Article Overview:
The final of three articles from Ian Clarke about feedback, this one looks at what happens when we receive feedback from others.

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Article Overview:
The final of three articles from Ian Clarke about feedback, this one looks at what happens when we receive feedback from others.

Opening Words:
The previous two articles discussed the value of asking for feedback and how effective we are at giving feedback to our colleagues. This article explores what can happen when we are the recipients of feedback.

How good are we at hearing what people say when they are talking about our behaviour. Are we able to accept praise? When someone says we have done a good job do we believe him or her? How do we respond? “Thank you – I appreciate your comments” or “It was nothing – just doing my job”.

Are we able to accept criticism? When someone says we could have done a better job do we believe him or her? How do we respond? “Thank you – it would help me to hear your views on how I can improve” or “Hey – give me a break – I’d like to see you do better”. Even if we don’t actually say it we may start thinking – “Who do you think you are talking to me like that?”

Useful Reading For:
Managers in particular, but anyone wishing to develop their ability to receive feedback objectively or anyone wishing to develop a culture of feedback and coaching.

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