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Consortium for Service Innovation

9) Coaching for Success

Change Behaviors Through Peer Mentoring

Changing behaviors and habits is hard work. While understanding and buy-in can happen through communication and training, changing behaviors takes time and usually requires an external influence: a coach.  Industry research shows that when training is combined with coaching, individuals increase their productivity by an average of 86% - compared to 22% with training alone.  The speed at which organizations realize the benefits of KCS is directly related to the speed at which the Solve Loop behaviors become a habit for the knowledge workers.  Coaching is how we increase the speed of adoption and maximize the benefits.

 Leadership has four important roles in building a strong coaching program:

  • Support the coach selection process: coach candidates are the trusted individuals on the team.
  • Provide coach training that develops influence skills and an understanding of the coaching process.
  • Allocate time for coaching.
  • Create demand on the part of the knowledge workers to learn KCS.  Coaches can only be successful if the knowledge workers want to learn KCS.

Selecting the right people to be coaches is critical.  Coach candidates are the people on the team who are most trusted by the team.  They should have excellent interpersonal and influence skills and show an interest in the success of others. Coaches do not have to be subject matter experts but should be KCS advocates and have a desire to be a coach. Organizational Network Analysis (ONA, sometimes called Social Network Analysis or SNA) is a valuable technique in understanding the trust network within the organization and identifying coach candidates.

Coaching represents an investment.  All of the KCS benefits are enabled by the behaviors of the knowledge worker. The degree to which the organization invests in coaching to support the behavior change dictates the degree to which we will realize the benefits of KCS.  If we compromise on coaching the benefits of KCS will be compromised.  A strong coaching program includes training to develop influence skills and an understanding of the coaching process.

One of the toughest challenges in implementing a coaching program is allocating time in the organization for coaching. No one gets extra resources to support the coach program; we have to figure out how to allow time for coaching and still get the work done. While the need for coaching doesn't go away, it does reduce as the organization matures. The greatest need for coaching for a team is during the first few months of the team's adoption of KCS.  This is one reason the KCS v6 Adoption & Transformation Guide recommends adopting KCS in manageable groups or waves of adoption. This distributes the impact of the initial coaching requirement over time.

Coaching for the knowledge worker is only effective if the knowledge worker wants to learn KCS. It is leadership's job to create demand on the part of the knowledge workers to learn KCS.  The job of the coaches is to satisfy that demand.  

Coaching is a good investment. Coaching skills have long term benefits for the organization well beyond KCS. A recent survey of 100 executives, conducted by Manchester Inc. found that coaching provided an average ROI of almost six times the cost of coaching.

There is a push for more coaching in today’s work world which is based on the results of research studies.  Organizations are not only hiring coaches to coach their executives, but they are making the investment to develop coaching skills in their supervisors and managers in order to realize various benefits including:

  • More productive and motivated work groups
  • More consistent, replicable bottom-line results
  • A work environment characterized by flexibility, innovation, and loyalty

Source:  Get Fit For Coaching

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