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In your HR role you may be privy to succession planning information related to the possible next steps in the client’s career. If the client is viewed as having high potential, then there may be some plans already in place for the next several assignments. If the client must successfully navigate the coaching intervention for career progression to occur, then this fact should be communicated to the coach as well.
6. Discuss with the coach how the assignment will be managed—what has to be shared, with whom, when. You will maximize the effectiveness of the coaching process if communications to relevant members within the organization are planned and coordinated with the phases of the contracting process. Your role in the management and communication of the coaching assignment is very important. How the coaching is perceived by the organization is critical to the success of the effort. Together with the coach, you will want to give some thought to the language that is used, the timing of the communications, and the appropriateness of the persons with whom the information is shared. You will want to be proactive in your role and check in with the coach periodically to see how things are progressing.
7. Help the client gain access to other sources of information, as appropriate. In your role as the bridge between the client and the rest of the organization, you may be in a position to have
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some knowledge about both the relevant leadership issues with which the client is dealing and, simultaneously, about the topmost organization development concerns. Quite often, these two apparently separate issues are linked. You are in a position to assist the client in advancing his or her coaching goals by helping the client to gain access to sources of information that could enhance or accelerate his or her ability to learn and adapt to the ever-changing organizational environment.
Support the Coaching During and at the End
Because your help is needed to ensure that the coaching assignment stays on track, that the client commitment remains strong, and that the coach stays connected to relevant organizational issues, you will want to consider the following set of tasks:
1. Be open to discussing shifts in the goals for the coaching. Initial issues may not be the useful or complete definition of the scope of the assignment. Very often the client issues are initially defined in terms of behaviors that have been observed by others and obtained from a consensus of opinion. This “presenting problem” may only be the “tip of the iceberg,” and it is incumbent upon the coach to diagnose the true issues. The coach, together with the client, may determine which behaviors should be modified in order to have the greatest impact. As the coaching process evolves, goals may shift for many reasons as the client gains practice in behavior change and as the salient issues in the organizational environment also evolve. Your flexibility and openness to discussion with the coach and the client concerning the future scope of the assignment will add value to its outcome.
2. Make sure the coach and client are staying on track and are in contact with any other people who need to be involved. Periodic contact with the coach and the client is important for obtaining feedback on whether the coaching engagement
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is proceeding as planned. Since you are the primary point of contact, you may need to determine who else should be involved and make those suggestions to the coach and the client.
3. Help the coach and client evaluate and wrap up the assignment. Goal attainment, behavior change, new skills, better ability to make decisions or deal with complexity, more accurate self-perceptions, improved functioning, more data collection, client satisfaction, business results, reactions of other people to the client’s new behavior. . . . How do you know whether the client is making progress or not? What kind of feedback must you seek out to determine whether or not the coaching objectives are in the process of being reached? If the goals have been set up appropriately at the outset of a coaching engagement, then steps in the achievement of some of those goals may be reached relatively early. It is reasonable to expect that there should be evidence of some behavior changes within the first two months of the onset of the coaching, even though different skills are acquired at different rates.
More complex skills will take longer to develop than simpler skills. For example, improvements in presentation skills may be evident sooner than changes in organizing and planning capabilities. Rates of learning may vary depending on the individual, the complexity of the new skills being acquired, opportunities to practice those skills, and the resources and support of the organization.
To evaluate progress and to help you determine whether or not the client is moving toward the attainment of stated goals, here are some questions you may want to ask: