Speed coaching and problem solving
My experience as a consultant convinced me that this type of coaching responds to a real need expressed or not expressed by many managers within organizations. This finding is based on the following paradox: individuals in organizations have never been so interconnected, involved in groups, networks, matrix teams. To support this, many concepts of team collaboration, ability to understand and work with others (think about emotional intelligence) have been developed and highlighted in organizations. Yet many managers and leaders find themselves helpless and alone with their questions, their doubts, their daily decisions.
The appearance of being part of a connected community with all the resources and support needed, hides a much more ambiguous reality. Indeed, the pressure on the results, the need for quick execution and decision making and the lack of tolerance for doubt and failure put many managers in situations of tension and extreme stress that can lead them to intense self-questioning or to situations of exhaustion and discouragement. The loneliness of the manager is not a figment of the imagination, it is a reality.
That is why, offering quick problem-solving sessions for managers is one of the responses to this type of problem. Speed-coaching consists usually of one short session (30 minutes to 1 hour): ‘A problem, a session’. In preparation for the meeting, the coachee is required to send a short written outline of the situation, the challenge and the goal he wants to achieve through the coaching. The coach will then lead the session with the objective of helping the coachee to:
- Converge towards a solution
- Engage precisely on thepractical implementation ofthe solution
Each session will proceed as follows:
- Identification of the problem
- Causes analysis
- Solution finding
- Queries to the coachee and commitment to act from the coachee
The problems usually addressed by this type of coaching are:
- Performance Management
- Time Management
- Conflict management
- Difficult interpersonal relationship
- Difficult decision
For example, here is a case problem that has been addressed through this approach:
1) Identification of the problem
The coachee : “I have an employee that remains unresponsive to my requests and who does not deliver what I expect from him. I think I have tried everything I can. I do not know what to do and I need a coach to help me find a solution to address this problem.”
2) Causes analysis
Role of the coach: understand the situation (history of the relationship, personality of two protagonists, what the coachee means by ‘I have tried everything’) and the impact of the situation on the coachee and the performance of his team.
In this case, the coachee was a former colleague of his employee. He managed the relationship on an affiliative and conciliatory mode. He had difficulty in positioning himself as a leader and to get out of this relationship.
3) Finding Solutions
In light of the analysis, the coach helps the coachee find his own solution. If necessary the coach can suggest ways and can lead the coachee out of his thinking modes.
In this case, the solution found by the coachee was to confront his employee and to clarify his own dissatisfaction, his expectations as a manager and the impact on the performance of the team if the situation was to continue.
4) Queries from the coach and engagement of the coachee to act
It is fundamental that the coachee engages himself precisely in what he will do. The coach must then validate and steer the coachee towards making the most concrete and realistic commitment possible (what will you do? When? What do you need in order to do it? What could hinder you? …).
In the case summarized above, the solution defined by the coachee was a challenge for him. It was then decided, between the coach and the coachee, to schedule another 30-minute coaching session in which the coachee presented to the coach the frame of his discussion with his employee and rehearsed it with the coach.