Published: 24/02/2005, Volume II5, No. 5944 Page 37
Organisations want their high fliers to be coached but have yet to fully realise that coaching should be applied to all levels of an organisation as it will bring more benefits to the company over the longer term.
Leadership skills are valuable but there are a number of areas that do not normally get addressed. These tend to be around the 'games' the executives or their teams/colleagues play that help and hinder the organisation. Coaching should not only address the core leadership competencies but also address how to reduce/eliminate these games from corporate/team working.
There are two types of games that executives play: toxic, which if allowed to dominate will lead to destructive dysfunctional team working, and enriching (based on effective team working). The four most common toxic games are:
'The over responsibility' game: I am responsible for everything, it will not be done properly (I can't delegate).
'The stress' game: I have too much to do and I can't juggle everything.
'The overwhelm' game: I can't keep up with all the changes.
'The unappreciated genius' game: if they just listened to me at the start!
Enriching games consist of:
'Business is just one part of my life' game: I understand the value of a balanced life and one supports the other.
'The solution' game: finding all the alternative ways of achieving a solution.
'The lets collaborate on how to solve this' game: we know there is one so let's put our heads together and find it.
The 'mutual responsibility' game: we understand what we are responsible for/to and therefore work together to achieve it.
During the coaching relationship the client should start to become more self-aware of the choices they are taking. A great way for the client to capture this information is in a journal or diary. This is where (once they have named the game) they can monitor their responses, the outcomes and what they did to affect this outcome. This is a great way to become more aware of actions and behaviours, and their increasing personal power to influence.
Early on the coach should identify with the client what games they are regularly playing, and what effect it is having on others, and develop a coaching programme to develop new behaviours to bring out enriching games and address toxic games.
When all the toxic and enriching games have been defined and their role is identified, the coach can then work with the client to help transform the individuals who are playing. The coach should also look to bolster the client's personal power by:
working on transforming new beliefs to be more empowering;
working with the client to fully accept and want the things that fulfil their vision (ie commitment and desire). The core of personal power resides in how the client behaves, speaks, feels and thinks.
Coaching managers to play winning games is about:
understanding the behaviours that take place inside an organisation;
developing the behaviours to become more self-aware and aware of others;
self-mastery to alter the systemic behaviours within organisations thus challenging and potentially changing automatic responses;
opening up executives' minds to want to change in a way that enriches and empowers themselves and others within the organisation.
Katy Gordon is an independent nurse consultant, professional life coach and founder of Co-creating Balance (katy@co-creatingbalance. co. uk). Andy Ruckley is a professional life coach and runs Equilibrium Coaching.