Coaching Cultures During Times Like These

“The Heart of Coaching” was written to provide leaders and their teams a universal, systematic, and pragmatic way of creating coaching relationships, and then planning and conducting coaching conversations that ended up serving both the coach and the coachee. When it first appeared 10 years ago, the world never contemplated such times as we are experiencing today. The emotional stresses brought about by the economic meltdown are immense and far reaching.

It is precisely during times of emotional stress and deep human challenges that the core skills of coaching come into play. In “normal” times, it is difficult enough to build trusting relationships and hold helpful coaching conversations based in candid feedback that actually led to enhanced business results. Overlay the current context of what is going on in today’s global for-profit businesses and not-for-profit communities, and you have a powder keg of emotional energy that can bring people down further.

What people need during times like these is resilience – the ability to bounce back from and effectively deal with the negative events of the times. That often begins with having people around you being willing to listen.

At the heart of a “coaching culture” are people acting as coaches for one another. They CHOOSE to respond with compassion. When leaders and teammates engaging in a coaching conversation have both the capacity and willingness to respond to their colleagues with heartfelt listening, empathy, and a sincere desire to be helpful, they can change everything for their coachee. We directly work with empathy in our coaching workshops as a natural expression of one’s Emotional Intelligence, and propose that empathy does not mean one necessarily agreeing with their coachee – but being able to relate to their human experience – and to do that without blame, criticism, or judgment.

These times call forth the very best of us as human beings, and remind us to come from caring, compassionate concern. This is one significant way we can maintain the tone of hopefulness as we wade through these rough waters together.

Tom Crane, author, “The Heart of Coaching”