Leadership coaching can have many areas of focus.
I feel a significant focus ought to be what the coachee’s direct manager wants to see different and how the manager will know that these differences have happened. You may choose not to involve the coachee’s immediate manager in the coaching; I think that is a waste of everyone’s time. The worst case is that the person going through leadership coaching has a horrible or asshole manager … the best is that their manager is supportive … most managers are in the middle.
How do I involve the manager in leadership coaching?
You meet with them and the coachee. I meet with the coachee first and work to determine some goals and hopes for our time; sometimes I use a 360-Leadership Feedback tool, sometimes the coachee and I create a series of questions that we will ask people to gain feedback.
Next, I meet with the manager and coachee together. This meeting consists of the manager sharing what areas they would like to see the coachee create, eliminate, accept, and preserve. From the areas that the manager shares I ask the questions below. The questions below help to frame some direction.
Leadership Coaching questions to the manager:
- Determine on a scale of 1 — 10 with 10 being exceptional and 1 being the opposite, where do you feel that (coachee) currently is on that scale for each of these areas.
- What is currently happening that supports your decision to choose that number.
- What is (coachee) doing well?
- What is (coachee) not doing well?
- Where would you like to see (coachee), realistically, be on the same scale in 6 months?
- What will you see, hear for yourself, and hear from others that (coachee) is doing when they are at that different number in 6-months?
The leadership coaching questions accomplish several things:
- A discussion between the coachee and manager.
- Agreement on areas to create, eliminate, accept, and preserve.
- Some baseline and better-off measurements to see how the process is working.
- Framing what will happen in the minds of the manager, so they know what to look for with progress/regress.
- A series of qualitative data points that can be referred to, and you can ask the same question in 2 to 4 months.
By involving the leadership coachee’s manager in the process you are developing the manager and the coachee at the same time, this can lead to more trust and accomplishment of shared goals.