Sunday, 26 November 2017

Coaching For Confidence in Business

Pretend for a moment you are a very good golfer. You have a reputation for hitting every approach shot closer than 120 metres to within a metre of the hole. You always manage to execute the shot no matter what the lie and always judge the perfect elevation of the ball and the run of the green.

Then without explanation, you start missing the green.

What is the business equivalent?

It might the IT expert, the one who is sensational at solving user problems, quickly, accurately and happily. They always seem to understand the problem and guide you through the solution.

Then without explanation, questions asked are greeted with confusion and solutions are delayed and ultimately incomplete.

It may be the Financial Adviser who is highly skilled at discussing financial and investment strategies with clients, simplifying the seemingly complex and in doing so, achieves consistently high Nett Promotor Scores.

And without obvious explanation, their high scores start to drop and complimentary letters are replaced with the occasional letter of complaint.

In all three cases, we can expect some time in a coaching situation will follow. In the case of the Golfer, it will be the club coach and for the IT Expert and Financial Adviser, it will be their immediate Manager/Leader.

The first point addressed may be to look at process. The grip on the club, the online information being accessed to resolve the IT issue or the flow of the Adviser s appointment dialogue.

The IT expert will be “double jacked” on the phone, the Adviser will have an observer and the golfer will hit endless shots under the watchful eye of the coach. The golfer may also start with a conversation.

Is this all complicating the solution, particularly the Business cases?

There is a high probability, everything looks and sounds fine. Chances are, all three appear to be doing what they have always done. However, given the results of late, the Coach will suggest changes, because surely a change is needed.

Very quickly, the problem compounds as new, unfamiliar practices are implemented that do not necessarily align with the coaching subject’s physical abilities or personality traits.

If someone has always, up to a point performed superbly, the first thing we should look at is their confidence.

Elite sportspeople always reference the importance of confidence in their decision making and skill execution.

The coach of a sporting team will often reference the need to restore confidence and self-belief, however we rarely if ever reference “confidence” when dealing with a non-sporting situation.

Consider how easy it may be for a negative impact to arise from a simple conversation, or even the most casual of comments may have on a staff members confidence?

What might the impact be on the IT expert if he hears a comment that a new system is needed, and it is one he has no experience in or knowledge of.

There may be no intention of such a new system and if there is, it will be years in development anyway, but their confidence is rocked regardless.

The Financial Adviser is subjected to ever increasing governance and compliance scrutiny. A throw away line from a colleague suggesting they all need to be very careful to fully explain product technicalities may have resulted in them questioning, and then changing the way they illustrate the benefits of a product or strategy. Their explanations have become highly technical and therefore confusing.

The Adviser will be questioning themselves and changing what doesn’t need to be changed.

The Coach of the elite sportsperson will start by talking about events or occurrences that may be impacted their players thought process and confidence. This is often the starting point to remediate a problem. The result is often to mutually arrive at a physiological, and quick solution to what appears to be a physical problem.

By reinforcing the robustness the sportsperson skills and their ability to execute their skills, they are restoring their confidence. In the elite sporting world, there are few if any matters that are more important to consistent elite performance.

In our workplace coaching, we should also consider commencing a Coaching process with a discussion aimed at confirming the person’s ability and track record and discovering what has changed.

Our elite staff members have similar needs to elite sportspeople.

In business it is rare that we consciously address matters of confidence. Whether it is sport or business, confidence is king.

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