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Kevin Oubridge

Blue Chip Coaching Limited


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How to Embed Learning and Facilitate Change that Sticks


OOPS! I posted the wrong article under the wrong heading but have now corrected that. If you're looking for the article, Why Charging for Value is a Myth (and How to Rid Yourself of Pricing Terrors as a Coach), follow that link. Sorry for the confusion. This article is:

How to Embed Learning and Facilitate Change that Sticks.

I love Q&As!

When I visit a website, if there’s a Q&A link, I’ll click it.

You don’t even need your own questions. You just skim through questions someone else has thought of and, when you find one you like, there’s the answer right beneath it.

Brief, quick, easy.

Something I love even more than Q&As, however, are REAL questions from REAL coaches. It’s the best feeling to connect with coaches in this way, it really is. I always take the time to answer your questions – it’s good for me and, hopefully, good for you too.

So I thought, why not share these Q&As with other coaches. Surely, many coaches will have similar questions and be interested in the answers.

This blog post, therefore, is the first of what I hope will be a series of occasional Q&A posts, instigated by you.

So, feel free to ask a question via the comments section below or via LinkedInTwitter,Google+ or Facebook.

A real question from a real coach

I recently received an email from Jan, a leadership coach. She explained that she and an associate are working with the 6 person board of directors of a 40m turnover manufacturing business. The MD wants to be more hands-off, develop the directors’ leadership ability and, of course, grow the company.

Jan asked:

Is there anything you advise we do to embed the directors’ learning and facilitate actual change through our coaching? And how long might it take?


Some big questions.

And I love how direct Jan has been. Clearly, as an experienced coach, she has her own thoughts on this but is interested in exploring other perspectives.

Perhaps you would like to share your perspective in the comments section below.

A1. My answer to Jan‘s first question

In my reply to Jan I said to embed the learning and facilitate change keep one thing in mind. Whether the learning focuses on increasing confidence, reducing stress, improving delegation skills, or whatever, its purpose is ultimately to:

Enhance the coaching participant’s performance in achieving business objectives.

Therefore, if you can overtly make the link between your coaching and achievement of business objectives, you tie the learning and subsequent changes made by the coaching participant to something that is both concrete and measurable.

And this, to my mind, is what makes learning and change stick. Measuring the before and after to determine the difference.

But measuring coaching is impossible!

Well, true, you can’t measure coaching in feet and inches, by the kilogram or in miles per hour. However, you can measure it in terms of the difference it makes to the coaching participant, the line manager, those around them, and against key performance indicators used by the business and its impact on the bottom line.

Maybe not precisely but certainly with credibility.

And, most importantly, in a way business leaders are prepared to plan and make decisions by.

To measure the results of your coaching it’s a lot easier if you deliver your coaching by the programme, which will have a beginning, middle and end. You can then agree coaching outcomes, aligned with business objectives, at the start, and review progress mid-way and overall success at the end.

The tying in with business objectives sounds complicated doesn’t it?

However, it really isn’t. You just need to coach the participant to nail down the outcomes they want and ask them how achieving these outcomes will help them achieve their business objectives. Then have a three-way meeting with the participant’s line manager and ask them the same question.

Having put the work in at the beginning of a coaching programme, three-way progress and final reviews follow on naturally, and add additional value from your coaching for the participant, line manager and company as a whole.

The beauty of this approach is, as a coach, you are ideally suited to doing this. It’s about asking the right questions and digging deeper in the right areas.

Coaching participants and line managers are ideally suited to doing this also. For them, it’s about reviewing performance against goals, something they should be doing as the norm, although they will probably do it much better with your help.

A2. My answer to ‘How long might it take?’

I could say …

How long is a piece of string? It all depends on the coaching outcomes you set, your skill as a coach and the level of commitment of the coaching participant, as well as how often and for how long you meet ...

But scrub all that blather!

At Accelerated Success we have found that agreeing outcomes that can be achieved in 7 to 10 months works best. Much shorter and the participant doesn’t have time to get anything substantial done. Much longer and the coaching programme can lose momentum and focus.

Knowing what is achievable in a 7 to 10 month period takes practice. However, when you get good at it, individual coaching participants can genuinely effecttransformational change in their organisation.

And, in case you’re worried that you will be doing yourself out of continued business by having an end date for the coaching, you can always recontract for a further 7 to 10 months on completion. Some leaders want to do this immediatley, others want a break before more coaching. Either way, there are opportunities for more business.

Another of your concerns might be that the line manager (in Jan’s case the MD of the company) won’t want to participate in outcome setting and review. However, in our experience, if you try it once they quickly see the value it adds to the coaching participant, themselves as line manager and the business as a whole. After which it is easier to persuade them to participate in the same way with future coaching programmes.

Those are my answers to Jan but what’s your view?

Enter them in the comments section below.

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Kevin Oubridge


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