Finding 2: Less than Half of All Coaching

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Relationships Evolved Beyond Quadrant 2

It takes time for a coaching relationship to run the course through

all four quadrants. In fact, few coaching relationships complete the

cycle. Figure 14.2 shows the percentage of coaching relationships

that cover the four quadrants of the Leading with Insight model.

This figure shows that, for example, only 15 percent of the total

coaching relationships successfully dealt with issues related to “Original

Actions” (Quadrant 4). These percentages are cumulative, so the

The Value Nexus: Organization Value and Individual Values 253

15 percent of the relationships related to original actions were also

included in the other three quadrants of Finding Focus (Quadrant

1), Building Bridges (Quadrant 2), and Creating Alignment

(Quadrant 3). This figure also shows that 43 percent of the relationships

dealt with Creating Alignment (and Finding Focus and

Building Bridges), whereas 77 percent dealt with Building Bridges

(and Finding Focus). All coaching relationships in the data (100%)

dealt with issues about Finding Focus.

Of course, not all coaching relationships should cover all quadrants.

The specific quadrants covered relate to the specific issues the

coaching client needs to have addressed. Once these needs are

addressed, then the coaching relationship has achieved its goal and

the relationship can be concluded. Chapters 3 and 4 offer case

studies to this effect for Quadrants 1 and 2, respectively. On the

other hand, in most coaching relationships, as one door closes

another opens. There may be, for example, a presenting problem

that must be immediately dealt with. As this problem is resolved,

new issues pop up and the coach and client then tackle these new

issues. Each new door that opens deepens the relationship and

254 Coaching That Counts

15%

43%

77%

100%

0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

4. Original Action

3. Creating

Alignment

2. Building Bridges

1. Finding Focus

Figure 14.2 Percentage of Coaching Relationships That Covered the Four

Quadrants of the Coaching That Counts Model.

explores more profound issues. At least four factors limit how the

coaching relationship may evolve:

1. The skill level of the coach. There is great variability in the education,

experience, credentials, and personal development of

coaches. Not all coaches are capable of guiding clients through

all four quadrants. This opens up a “buyer beware” situation

for those people who wish to engage coaches in their organization.

Fortunately, groups such as the International Coach

Federation (ICF) have established rigorous and consistent criteria

for certifying coaches and accrediting coaching schools.

An ICF Master Certified Coach (MCC), for example, must

have 2,500 hours of documented coaching experience and 200

hours of approved education in coaching. With fewer than

1,000 MCCs in the world, however, there are too few of these

coaches to go around. There are other groups and other certifications

as well. Some coaching companies will qualify

coaches based on a set of skill and experience criteria. It is

essential that coaches experience all four quadrants through

their own personal and professional development in order to

guide clients to do the same. It is important to note that the

experiences do not need to be the same. Ever person who goes

through the depth of personal and professional development

described by the Leading with Insight model will travel

his own path; however, the underlying dynamics in each quadrant

have similarities that can only be appreciated through

experience. The point is for people who hire coaches to explore

the qualities and qualifications of the coaches and to know

what the coaches bring to the party. As we will see later in this

chapter, coaching relationships that cover all of the quadrants

tend to generate benefits that are more strategic in nature

and result in higher monetary value. In launching a coaching

initiative, selecting coaches who do not have the ability

to guide their clients in all quadrants may limit the strategic

value of the initiative. The added investment in higher quality

The Value Nexus: Organization Value and Individual Values 255

coaches may produce a greater monetary return on the

investment.

2. The willingness and ability of the client to explore deeper issues.

Just as variability exists among coaches, so too with coaching

clients. Not all clients are willing to dig deeply into their own

reactions, emotions, and values, in order to grow and develop.

Clients must be deeply committed to their own development

to devote the time and energy required to realize results in

Quadrants 3 and 4. Not all clients are willing, or in some cases,

able to undertake the complex, but deeply rewarding, challenges

that are at the core of these later quadrants. Some clients

may choose to take a break from coaching after attaining their

goals, and will resume a coaching relationship later when they

have the need or desire to further their own development.

Interviews with some clients revealed that they were not

willing participants in the coaching initiative. They were told

to be coached. In many of these cases, coaching did not go too

far.Coaching should always be a voluntary decision. To do otherwise

does not serve the person, the coach, or the organization.

Even for those who are willing participants in coaching,

there is still an initial skepticism that must be overcome.

Coaches must, as soon as possible, establish rapport and allow

the skepticism to dissipate.

3. The demands on rapport, intimacy, and trust. These demands

increase as the relationship moves to the higher numbered

quadrants. The coaching relationship evolves to the extent that

the coach and client infuse this relationship with mutual trust

and feel comfortable with higher levels of intimacy. This takes

time to happen as the relationship matures, and still many

coaching relationships do not mature to the point that a sustained

and successful exploration of Quadrant 4 issues can be

done. It is a very powerful partnership when both the coach

and the client are ready, willing, and able to work their way

through to Quadrant 4. The client must trust the coach, and

the coach must trust herself. Coaches must be willing to reflect

256 Coaching That Counts

very clearly the dynamics that they see, including telling clients

things that they don’t want to hear. It takes a lot of courage

on both the part of the coach and the client to step into this

revealing place.

4. Internal versus external coaches. Many organizations have

decided to develop a cadre of internal coaches. These coaches

may be hired from the outside and perform full-time coaching

services or be drawn internally from the ranks of people in

HR, training, leadership development, organization development,

or other areas. The rationale for having internal coaches

varies among organizations, although cost considerations are

usually at or near the top of the list. Full-time professionally

credentialed coaches hired into organizations can be as effective

as external coaches as long as these internal coaches are

perceived to be independent agents with no axe to grind or

politically tainted in any way. One of the first decisions to be

made, and perhaps one of the most important, is to whom

these coaches report. Generally, the higher the reporting relationship,

the greater the perceived independence the coaches

will be. Having the lead coach of the group report to the CEO

is likely the best solution, although this may not be practical

in all situations. Alternately, having smaller groups of coaches

report to the heads of the business units in which they work

may be a good solution.

Let’s turn our attention now to internal coaches drawn from the

ranks of HR and other groups. People who have been tagged to be

coaches are often sent to an external coaching school. This education,

while often excellent, needs to be combined with the experience

of coaching and being coached. It is surprising how many

internal coaches have never received coaching themselves. It takes at

least a year or two of full-time coaching to develop the requisite skills

and applied knowledge to be an effective coach. Part-time coaches

will take longer. Organizational leaders who develop their own

internal coaches must recognize the time and resource require-

The Value Nexus: Organization Value and Individual Values 257

ments. It will take time for these newer coaches to develop the skill

set, insight, and experience to coach in all four quadrants. To gain

the greatest impact from coaching programs it is essential to calibrate

the needs of the leaders to be coached with the coaching capabilities

of the coaches assigned to work with them. Inexperienced

coaches are unlikely to offer the high-quality coaching the leader

needs or the high-impact coaching the business requires.

Finding 3: The Impact of Coaching on the Business