The purpose of coaching is to help you develop effective leadership behavior. As you advance in your career, success increasingly depends on your ability to build working relationships and to talk about difficult issues with others who see things differently.
Coaching provides a structured and confidential setting in which you can clarify your goals and aspirations, assess your ability to achieve desired results, and develop new behavior to improve your leadership effectiveness. In some situations it is useful to combine individual coaching with relationship coaching, in which you and a colleague meet together with your coach to enable the two of you to bring out the best in each other.
Action Design’s approach to coaching focuses on how you think and act in high stakes situations. Insight can be helpful, but it is the ability to act effectively that counts. You and your coach will analyze what you do in specific situations, identify options that could be more effective, and practice how to produce them.
The way you think determines the action options that are open to you. Your coach will help you reflect on the reasoning that leads you to act as you do - your beliefs about the other person, how you define your objective, what you assume can or cannot be said. Conscious attention to how you are thinking creates opportunities to reframe the situation and to see new options.
Situations that trigger your own emotional reactions are often the most difficult to handle well. When your emotional button gets pushed, you may have a characteristic way of reacting - perhaps you repeat your point more firmly, or maybe your questions take on a disbelieving tone, or maybe you go silent. Each of us has what we call a behavioral footprint - a characteristic way of acting that can limit our flexibility and effectiveness. Your coach will help you map your behavioral footprint and design action experiments to enable you to modify it.
In order to develop your leadership behavior, you need an accurate understanding of your current behavior. It is notoriously difficult for human beings to get an accurate picture of themselves and of their impact on others. Your coach will suggest options for how you can get good data as a basis for moving forward.