Coaching Is a Copout

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1 6 | COACHING IS A COP-OUT BY ALAN FINE These days, "coaching" has become quite a buzzword. There is much discussion about the results coaching can produce, the various types of coaching (from tennis coaches to life coaches to everything in-between), coaching strategies and best practices, when to coach and who to coach. Almost everyone now has the word coach on their resume. I would argue that there's no one on this planet who's a bigger fan of coaching than me. My coaching journey began when I was 14 and was working as a children's tennis coach. Since then, I've coached amateur and professional golfers and tennis players, musicians, public speakers and executives, and I've witnessed some amazing results from this thing we call coaching. We all know instinctively that good coaching drives lasting results. Athletes and musicians have always hired coaches to help them determine the quickest, most effective way to improve their performance. Now, the business world recognizes coaching as a powerful way to improve performance within organizations. Coaching has been shown to boost everything from revenue and productivity to employee engagement and retention — and it's one of the most important skills needed to "manage" millennials and Generation Z. As its impact on performance and engagement has been repeatedly demonstrated, many organizations have invested considerable resources into training managers and leaders to become better coaches. Yet, despite the time and money dedicated to building managers' coaching skills, many organizations struggle to achieve the behavior change they are looking for. All too often, although managers know how to coach, at the end of the day, they aren't actually doing it. Employees of these well- trained and well-intentioned managers frequently say they aren't getting the coaching they want or need — or, at least, not enough of it. When managers explain why they aren't coaching, the most common refrain is: "I'm too busy doing all the other things I have to do." It's seen as one more thing on a to-do list that is already too long. Leaders often make coaching a separate task to be completed, viewing it as something else to fit into an already busy schedule. So, when I look at coaching in the business world, I find myself wondering: Is the notion of "coaching conversations" a cop-out? Does the concept of coaching conversations get us off the hook for doing what we could or should be doing in every conversation? I would say yes — at least in most of our conversations. Here's why:

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