Frequently, HR Leaders find themselves in an executive coach role. Usually, senior leadership assigns the coaching role to HR when one of their leaders has one or two derailers impacting their effectiveness. Since HR already has the responsibility to coach employees for disciplinary action and performance improvement, we naturally fall into the role of performance coach. However, performance coaching is not executive coaching.
If you coach executives, you will need to avoid the common traps used in performance coaching. These include explaining the performance problem, needing to correct the problem, agreeing on solutions, and moving quickly to gain agreement. Many HR Leaders admit that they get impatient and tend to tell the leader what they need to do.
An executive coach focuses on helping the leader gain insight into the challenges they are facing by asking probing questions that encourage them to look at situations from multiple perspectives.
Here are some valuable coaching tips:
- Focus on the individual, be curious in them!
- Be mindful, focus on what they are saying, avoid judging!
- Build trust, get to know them
- Ask inquiry questions to understand the situation
- Ask probing questions to explore the situation
- Ask reflective questions to get them to see from another’s point of view
- Ask clarifying questions to gain understanding
- Ask challenging question to look at polarities
- Ask directive questions to encourage action, gain commitment and acceptance