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Coaching Counts - Part II

Here is Part 2 of Ashim Kumar’s article on the importance of coaching for accountants. Check out Part 1, which featured in last month’s career advice

January 2019

So how does the magic of coaching happen? This is a frequently asked question, but before discussing the process and its inherent power we need to understand some basic principles, namely:

• The ability to achieve great things resides within us.

• We must take personal responsibility for our growth.

• We agree, as part of the coaching process, to be held accountable for our behaviour.

Nothing will change unless the coachee truly commits to the process. They are charged with investing effort, energy and time to achieve the results they seek. They cannot delegate responsibility to the coach; change must come from within the client.

What does a coach actually do?

The coach’s role is to encourage the client to think deeply about their reality and what can be done to improve it. It explores the fundamental drivers of an individual’s behaviour and their impact on outcomes. For example, it examines self-limiting beliefs, and how to overcome them.
It will also delve into what the coachee really wants in their life and explore actions to get there. Coaching will work on tactical and strategic goals to ensure that there’s coherence between them; our short-term goals become stepping stones towards the desired long-term transformation.
The coach is not a professional advisor, nor is it their role to judge whether an action was right or wrong. The coach will help the coachee evaluate the consequences of an action and modify their approach for the future; generating
behaviours that the individual aspires to.
Perhaps most importantly, the coach will be a constant companion on this journey of growth.
They will be on hand, even outside formal sessions, to help reinforce the client’s commitment to goals they have set for themselves.
“Can you be more specific? What can I talk to the coach about?” you ask.
At the start of the relationship the coach will help the coachee identify priority areas; this will be the starting point for future interactions. As the process matures the interventions extend in many directions as we move towards a holistic view of the coachee’s current reality and ambitions. It is fundamentally important to recognise that the agenda is, at all times, driven by the client.
Areas where coaching can help, include (but are not limited to):

• How can I set my long-term goals?

• How can I overcome the obstacles to growth?

• How can I manage my time better to get everything done?

• How can I focus on the important stuff rather than fire-fighting all the time?

• What should I do next in my career?

• How can I achieve a better balance between work and home life?

• What skills do I need to grow and develop further?

• How can I make my relationships more productive?

A typical coaching session will be 60 minutes in duration. We recommend a minimum of six sessions. Yet most coachees find such interactions so valuable they continue indefinitely.
Remember, all coaching interactions are strictly confidential. I was recently asked: “I can find a friend to talk through all this stuff with me. What’s so special about a coach?” Well, a certified executive coach has undergone rigorous training. They’ll be intimately familiar with the complex methodology necessary for an effective intervention including:

• Ethical and professional standards.

• Techniques for establishing trust.

• High level communication skills.

• Formulating powerful questions.

• Creating awareness of the coachees reality.

• Designing actions.

• Planning and goal-setting.

• Managing progress and accountability.

• Understanding the stages of the learning journey.

The coach will also often be a seasoned business professional. Although they will not (usually) make suggestions, there will be a rapport based on mutual understanding of the commercial reality. Rapport is fundamental to any successful coaching intervention.

Finding a good coach

The value that executive coaching adds has been increasingly recognised for many years.
Consequently, there has been an explosion in global supply of these services. I recommend that you select a coach who’s been certified by an internationally recognised body, such as the John Maxwell Group or the International
Coaching Federation (there are other reputable certifying bodies). These organisations will have members’ directories, which can be accessed on-line to find a local coach.
That said, the availability of Skype and similar technology allows effective coaching interventions to be delivered wherever the coach may be. We at AKA Sp.zo.o. regularly participate in cross-border coaching sessions, and find no diminution in value of the process.
Another question I get asked is: “I believe that coaching will add substantial value to me, but what about my teams? Can they benefit from coaching too?” The answer is that coaching is often used in a group or team context. Here, individual contribution and learning is orchestrated for the good of the team as whole; to ensure that a shared purpose is recognized and achieved.
As with individual coaching, the aim is to raise awareness and develop new skills, but it also allows issues to be communally addressed by drawing out a collective wisdom. This reinforces joint commitment to a unified purpose and can transform the results produced.

• Ashim Kumar is John Maxwell Group Certified Leadership Coach, consultant, trainer and tutor at fmelearnonline.com

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