Working with human behavior is both rewarding and frustrating. Changing behavior is relatively easy. Getting that same behavior to stick is very difficult, even when people want to change. It's estimated that up to 70% of all business interventions designed to bring about change in an organization fail. And feeling that passion and sense of purpose I mentioned in this month's letter can make the sting of failure a little sharper. As I also said, passion can help push us past obstacles and keep moving towards a goal. That's the case with one recent client.
Two years ago, we were asked to help create a coaching climate within an organization. Budget constraints didn't allow for external coaching for their entire managerial staff. However, a number of management level employees stepped forward, willing and anxious to assume the role of internal coaches. In addition to initial training sessions, we interacted on an ongoing basis with the internal coaches over the course of the next six months. After that, senior leadership felt confident that they could handle the program and we moved on.
Six months later, we checked in with the organization. Even though some employees who had stepped forward as internal coaches had dropped out, senior management felt that things were still moving forward. A year later, when I followed up again, I was disheartened to hear that the coaching program had been abandoned. Why? Senior management stepped away from providing needed structure and the internal coaches weren't holding employees accountable.
It turns out that our client's experience was not an unusual one. In researching internal coaching programs, we discovered that they often underperform because of lack of structure and accountability. That's too bad - we know that the coaching relationship can positively impact several areas, including individual performance, developing high potential employees, improving employee engagement and supporting leader transition. So we set out to discover a way to push past obstacles and keep moving towards the goal of helping organizations create a coaching culture through the use of internal coaches.
And here's our solution.
BoldWork Triad Coaching
Colleague coaching was originally developed as a cost-effective way to provide coaching to a larger number of employees. It's ideal for adult learning situations and works on current, real-life work challenges. At BoldWork, we took the concept of colleague coaching a step farther by structuring coaching groups into "Triads." This use of "Triads", with assigned roles, allows for the unique energies of group dynamics to form and provides the framework and strengths that typically propel high achievement groups to sustained success. We briefly mentioned the concept of Triad Coaching in last month's emusings, but recent inquiries from some of our readers helped us decide that a more detailed discussion was warranted.
The Foundation Roles of Triad Coaching
Three people form a Triad Coaching Circle. Each participant plays three alternating roles during a coaching session.
Coach - Serves as the key thought partner who listens and asks questions that help the Coachee explore possibilities. An effective Colleague Coach supports and guides the skill and talent development of their coachees - they don't view themselves as having all the answers.
Coachee - Comes to each session prepared to share concerns and answer questions, is open to receiving feedback and responsible for establishing goals.
Active Observer - Focuses on observing the engagement between the Coach and Coachee during each session, and then shares these observations through constructive feedback.
It's been our experience that having three people in the coaching relationship, all of whom fulfill the role of coach during each session, increases the level of accountability within the group.
How the Triad Works
Triads come together by choice for the purpose of professional development and/or solving problems. Sessions last for 60-90 minutes. Triads choose when and where to meet and how often - weekly or bi-weekly, depending on the issues they wish to tackle. A Triad Coaching Circle Log is provided to each member of the Coaching Triad and contains all collateral materials that we've developed to help the Triad succeed.
Triads meet with their external Mentor Coach once a month. This can be either a face-to-face or phone session. The Mentor Coach ensures that participants are establishing specific, measurable goals, are progressing with goal attainment and that Triad members are being accountable to one another on a regular basis. This ensures that the coaching process is productive and sustained. It's been our experience that having three people in the coaching relationship, all of whom fulfill the role of coach during each session, increases the level of accountability within the group.
Over the course of six months, the Mentor Coach tracks the Triad Coaching Circle's progress and may decide to meet less frequently with the Circle. However, the Mentor Coach will remain in contact with the Triad Coaching Circles for at least one year.
Businesses who train and use internal coaches effectively demonstrate significant increases in retention, engagement, productivity and performance. If your organization would like to enjoy that same success - and maximize your coaching dollars - please contact us for more information at email@example.com