Coaching is a word very much in use today. It is defined as a method to reflect, instruct, prepare, accompany, a person or group of these in the process of reflection, evolution, and change. And all this for what?
In principle, a coaching process pursues an evolution in some facet both personal or for teams within an organization. And all this to achieve some objectives, although at the beginning of a coaching process it is not always known what they are. Sometimes coaching also begins as a reflection process for situations where a person or group of them is not satisfied with a specific situation.
This article mainly talks about cases or situations where coaching can be applied. Being the concept of coaching something broad and varied, we cannot forget the existing connection of the concept with personal improvement, organizational improvement, mentoring, or other concepts. Sometimes it is more necessary to know the relationship between different concepts in-depth than the concepts themselves. When we talk about a specific concept without landing it in concrete reality, we can get lost in eternal discussions. Hence the need to know the relationships between a concept and the elements that surround it in a concrete organizational reality.
Usually, the fact of initiating coaching, independent of the possible casuistry, implies a situation of nonconformity. Now the nonconformity involves two questions:
- Who is not satisfied?
- What is the issue not to be satisfied?
If a person or organization is satisfied with their situation, is it advisable to start a coaching process?
It is also the case where a person or group of people are satisfied with their situation. However, consciously or unconsciously, these compliant people may be generating some nonconformity that significantly affects other people or groups of these, with whom they are related.
Noting that the cases where some coaching could be applied are varied, we will develop some concrete examples:
- I.-General considerations and experiences in WITORG.
- II.-A person initiates a coaching process of his own free will.
- III.-An organization invites or forces some people in its organization to a coaching process with some objective to achieve.
- IV.-Two entities (Persons or groups) without hierarchy between them and generating situations of nonconformity in one or both directions.
- V.-Coaching as a process of continuous improvement.
I.-General considerations and experiences in WITORG.
A few years ago, I conducted a coaching process. Without knowing in depth the world of coaching and with a personal situation of nonconformity with both my life and the company where I worked, I began the search for a Master to reorient my career. After analyzing different options, an MBA caught my attention both for the references obtained and for the coaching process that it was included. I didn’t know the coach, although I got good recommendations from him as a professional.
At that time, I was open to change, due to my situation of nonconformity both with my personal life and with my professional career. Participating in that process could be a way to overcome the nonconformity
In general, the coexistence between the MBA participants was perfect. The topics or subjects discussed were widely commented, and therefore, each also gave the version of how he saw his coaching process. However, I could notice that there were quite different versions of how each person perceived the process towards himself. We cannot forget that all the MBA participants were there voluntarily, although in some cases part of the cost was paid by the participant’s organization.
Below is a list of the different profiles of participants that I could observe:
- Managers satisfied in their current positions who saw the MBA as a way to update themselves and try to continue growing and contributing within their organization. They positively appreciated the coaching process.
- Executives with their own business looking for a new path for their organization.
- Managers not satisfied within their organization with a vision that changing their organization was not possible, or not dependent on them.
From these three profiles, I could find three perceptions about coaching:
- People to whom the coaching process had helped them sort their goals and their way of perceiving their surroundings.
- People who had entered the process with some skepticism and some curiosity at the same time. You could say that in an attitude of prudence and with an approach of the type: Can coaching help me in my improvement and in developing my environment? In what way?
- Other people, even before starting the process, did not think about getting anything from it. In some of them, their perception of coaching changed positively; others instead found no benefit from the coaching process once it was finished.
I experienced this coaching process in 2005. 1994-2007 were years of economic bonanza at a global level, and the perception of people about their environment was positive in general. At that time, coaching was a less widespread activity than today. The economic bonanza I suppose helped in that. In the years 2007-2008, a major global financial crisis was entering. Since then, the rise of coaching has been unstoppable.
From 2008 onwards the economic crisis and the significant changes in business due to technological progress have produced a considerable sense of uncertainty and provisionality. This breeding ground has facilitated the growth of coaching activity. From my point of view, there is a direct relationship between coaching and how to be more capable in difficult times and uncertainty. And with coaching, other concepts close to him have also been developed such as GTD, networking, mentoring.
If we analyze the internal elements of the WITORG guide´s outline A and D, we can understand more fully the new reality in which we live. And given the uncertainty described, people have to prepare themselves to cope with the world around us in a less traumatic way. Besides, if you also get a more satisfying life better than better.
From the above, issues such as:
- Are we preparing as individuals to have more ability to survive individually in complex and turbulent environments?
- Have we stopped believing that the governments of countries or other organizations can generate some order?
- Have social networks, current communication options, and the possibility of access to the available information helped us to know a much more chaotic world than we thought? Or, on the contrary, is it the technological advance which has generated this situation of uncertainty?
- Is the preparation of individuals as warriors promoted to survive in hostile environments and to seek their benefit? Or on the contrary, are collective organizations supported to generate a beneficial order for the majority?
- How can coaching help answer the above questions?
In my particular case, coaching helped me prepare to survive in complex environments. First helping me understand the situation, and second to be able to move through it and achieve some goals. Being coaching a process applied mainly individually, from WITORG, the following questions arise:
- How does coaching help to find solutions for collective nonconformities?
- How could the launch of coaching processes for individuals help to improve collective nonconformities?
- When, within an organization, it is planned to apply to coach to certain people, how it is set individual objectives in connection with common ones?
- When an individual sets out goals where the primary beneficiary within an organization is himself, how can it affect the rest of the individuals in the organization?
- Can individual goals be balanced with collective ones within a personal coaching process?
- To be raised by the reader.
II.-A person initiates a coaching process of his own free will.
Sometimes in life, we find ourselves in prolonged situations in time where life seems to be meaningless. Or at least there is some part of our life where there is a creative nonconformity of some kind of discomfort or friction. Without knowing the origin of the nonconformity, we decided to start a reflexive process first. The reflection can be in different ways, and one of the options is to opt for a coach.
Maybe years ago, a coach was related to profiles belonging to psychology or psychiatry mainly. These profiles have treated mental problems. Therefore, it was sometimes scary to go to them. Today the profiles of the coach are varied, and the fact of going to them is treated with some naturalness. Now the truth of the diversification of the coaches’ profiles, together with the different coaching currents, does not help the choice of one. Starting a coaching process will require the selection of a proven coach as the first step.
WITORG analyzes the organizations; therefore, from now on, we will focus on the coaching processes of people trying on their initiative to improve their situation within their organization. In any organization, there are interest groups with more or less power to influence when changing or evolving their organization. A person should be realistic, know the interest group he/she belongs to, and be aware of their situation.
In the process of coaching, and after an initial reflection, it is necessary to set some goals. An individual who voluntarily initiates a coaching process may consider different types of objectives. These may have been raised thinking of an individual or collective improvement within an organization.
We will consider the following situations:
- A person belonging to an interest group with the power to influence and to change the collective nonconformity
- A person belonging to an interest group without influence to change the collective nonconformity
- A person belonging to an interest group with the power to influence and to change his/her personal nonconformity
- A person belonging to an interest group without influence to change his/her nonconformity
A person belonging to an interest group with the power to influence and to change the collective nonconformity
In this case, the person in question wants and can make changes within the organization. Knowing what the nonconformity is and being able to ask what the evolution goals should be is basic. Are the objectives clear, and do you know how to evolve towards their achievement? If this is not clear, the coach may be the person who brings knowledge, hence the importance of the coach. However, we cannot forget that the coach can know conceptual models, but he will always need the internal knowledge of the nonconformity. In this way, between the coach and the person receiving the coaching, they can undertake the evolution with guarantees.
Recognizing a nonconformity is relatively simple, overcoming that situation, not always so much. In addition to the coach and the student, it is sometimes essential to go to third parties to find the solution.
In the process of evolution person receiving the coaching, although the evolution to be carried out, has been approved, may encounter difficulties that friction the evolution. These difficulties may be different. The internal element of the WITORG guide ‘600. Teams of People’ talks about the development of the teamwork. It is advisable to read element 600 to determine what the difficulties are. From element 600 of the guide, we are going to mention specific points that help the organizational evolution by the teamwork:
- Management commitment.
- Factor-3, people’s knowledge and experience.
- Factor-3, the power to participate in organizational design, power.
- 200. Continuous improvement within the organization (WITORG Guide).
- 300. Robust and flexible management processes within the organization (WITORG Guide).
- 500. Project management or NCI (WITORG Guide).
- Transparency and trust.
- Levels of self-demand, professionalism, sacrifice and personal effort.
- The reward of the participants.
- Absence of large differences within the same interest group.
- Absence of large differences between different interest groups.
- Disagreement resolution system.
- Organizational maturity.
- Others that the reader considers appropriate.
The points mentioned above are part of the breeding ground necessary to evolve continuously. A person may develop a collective nonconformity more or less efficiently depending on the degree of preparation of the organization. The coach can help, guide, propose systems, improvements, etc. to the person who guides. However, when changes are made that affect the group, the starting situation of that group is critical to be able to take the evolutions, as mentioned earlier to the designed destination.
When a person on their own initiative initiates a coaching process and also in principle has support and authorization to carry it out, he/she will not always achieve the objectives set. Organizations are more complex and unknown systems than we sometimes believe. This fact occasionally prevents ‘simple’ organizational developments in principle.
With this previous paragraph, it is not intended to demotivate. The individual initiative must be a value to be enhanced and mainly if it is focused on a collective improvement. Therefore, we invite you again to understand the internal element of the WITORG Guide ‘600. Teams of People ‘.
A person belonging to an interest group without influence to change the collective nonconformity
An individual belonging to an interest group with hardly any hierarchy or power to change something collective may want to start a coaching process. Some people who are not satisfied with their organizational environment wish to change it, and that a coach can help them in it. We are going to list some options that you might find:
- Together with the coach, he concludes that in that organization, he will not be able to make changes on his own. The current organizational system does not allow this individual to propose changes or carry them out. The person can conclude being in an organization where they will not grow professionally, nor will they be allowed to participate in evolutions. In these cases, you can think about starting the search for a new organization where a person feels more fulfilled. Switching to another organization is not always easy. And when a person chooses a new organization and gets to enter it, it is not guaranteed to feel more fulfilled either. Nevertheless, without trying, you will never know it.
- There are cases where organizations have mechanisms to propose and participate in improvements for almost the entire group. If together with the coach’s help, a person proposes improvements, they are approved by the organization, and he can participate in their development, he will be initiating a process of personal and professional growth. This attitude, nowadays essential, can bring with it a professional and personal evolution.
- There are organizations where it seems that all individuals can participate in the improvement. However, in reality, the proposed improvements do not receive any response, or some of them are initiated but without rigor or order. Wanting to improve without having an organization for it can become very frustrating. This situation can cause the consequence of demotivation mainly.
A person belonging to an interest group with the power to influence and to change his/her personal nonconformity
A person with the power to influence an organization may be experiencing a nonconformity with his/her situation within the organization. The reasons can be several, demotivation with the work he/she does, lack of recognition, feeling unable to do the job correctly, etc. This person can initiate a coaching process on their initiative, to reflect on the causes. This person can also set goals and a way to achieve them. Hence the following questions:
- Do organizations understand that a person starts an individual coaching process?
- Can the objectives of the organization align with those marked by the person receiving coaching?
- Can the objectives set by the couched person generate some kind of friction in the organization?
- Can your nonconformity be resolved within the organization?
- Can the organization itself be the cause of the nonconformity?
In this case, we talk about a person with the ability to influence the organization. Your personal decisions may affect the organization in different ways:
- A person’s coaching process can be positive and even exemplary for an organization. As a result, it could bring benefits to the organization.
- Negatively in cases where the objectives pursued by people may not be aligned with those of the organization. This fact would generate friction with other people or entities.
A person belonging to an interest group without influence to change his/her nonconformity
Generally, a person starts a coaching process due to some nonconformity present in their life. The final objectives to be achieved at the end of the process are not always defined at the beginning. Therefore, in the early stages of coaching, reflection and setting goals will prevail.
Next, we will describe the two most common cases that we can find:
A person not satisfied with his situation in his organization seeks to improve his situation within this.
If a person intends to grow within their organization, reflect to see the existing options for it. He/She will define some objectives, how to carry them out, and planing. In each organization and conditioned by its own culture, climb the hierarchy, get a lateral movement, or both at the same time can have different paths.
Here the values of each organization become very important. The ways to promote and the competition for getting a promotion can strengthen the organization itself or can cause friction. We are going to present two extreme points:
- Organization A: Meritocracy, clear criteria, transparency, justice, teamwork, balanced salary structures, internal mobility, and opportunities.
- Organization B: No teamwork, diffuse criteria, little transparency, very marked hierarchical differences, favoritisms and political motivations.
Within examples A and B, there is a wide range of organizations. Therefore, sometimes, it may not be apparent if a person will have promotional opportunities. Therefore, it is important in the reflection of coaching to understand what is the organization where one is and what is the way to go.
In organizations close to the type ‘Organization B’, setting goals will be necessary, however, values and lack of criteria may prevent the achievement of the objectives set by a person who has made merit for it. This situation could lead the person looking to grow within their organization to the next section.
A person not satisfied with his/her situation arises if their current professional activity is the desired, sought, appropriate, motivating …
There are cases where a person even being in an organization close to the example ‘Organization A’ can consider a future outside of that organization. Being in the case ‘Organization B’ may be more understandable, however, and for several reasons, some people rethink their professional future.
Change is not easy. The changes involve uncertainty. Not all people face changes in the same way. Therefore, to change, we will present some points to consider:
- The economic situation of a person may change. How is this person going to take that uncertainty?
- Is the change reversible?
- Does the change consist of ‘EXIT FROM’ or ‘GO TO’?
- Is it a radical change, or can it be considered in stages ensuring the transition as much as possible?
- Can there be conditions in the individual’s environment that stop the change?
- Can collateral damage occur in the environment due to the change?
- To be raised by the reader.
Each person is an end in itself. Development through Maslow’s pyramid or each person’s dreams are the motivations that make the world evolve. Sometimes positively, sometimes not so much. Evolving in a positive way is motivating, and a coaching process can help us in that. In the end, both staying where we are and facing important changes requires processes of reflection and understanding that we pursue in our lives. In this way we evolve as people and in turn also evolve the organizations where we participate.
III.-An organization invites or obliges some of its people to a coaching process with some objective to achieve.
There are organizations where some coaching is used as a way to develop people or teams of these. There are different ways of applying to coach, and each organization will consider appropriate models or methods to do so. From here, we can ask ourselves: How diverse can the world of coaching be? There are indeed different schools and ways of applying it. Besides, a particular organization could design a custom coaching format.
However, coaching has applied within an organization that has to do with ‘100. Essence of an organizational system’ and clearly with the objectives sought by the organization
Within the WITORG experience, we are going to cite three cases:
Within the deployment of objectives for managers or senior professionals of an organization, a series of objectives were assigned individually. In some cases, the same goal could be assigned to more than one person. This information was entered into a database and was monitored by senior management. If in the process of reviewing the objectives of a person, it was considered that he had poor performance, he was assigned a coach or tutor. The coaching process lasted about six months. This coach, tutor, mentor, caretaker, or what we want to call him had to support a process of change to improve performance on the objectives. We are talking about the 2000s.
The conclusions obtained by WITORG from the coaching processes observed in case1 are:
- In some cases, the poor performance in achieving the objectives was due to poorly stated goals.
- Other cases showed how the couched person did not have the power to influence the assigned objectives.
- There were also cases where the achievement of one objective made it impossible to achieve another as they were directly related.
- Sometimes it was observed that before the coaching process, there was already a predisposition to fire a person. The incompatibility between people required the expulsion of some of them from the system in a camouflaged way through this process.
- Not all people with the role of the coach had received training as such. In some cases, this role was assigned either by hierarchy or by having demonstrated a high capacity in achieving objectives.
- In other cases, the coaching process delivered satisfactory results.
When an organization assigns a coach to a person, this can lead to an opportunity for professional growth. Although, there are also cases where this coaching process is a clear nonconformity about the performance of the person receiving the coaching.
This case focuses on family situations where a member of the family has drug addiction problems. In these cases, the family, given the impossibility of living with the drug addict, proposes a detoxification process plus a process of rethinking life habits if they want to be part of that family nucleus. When the options are either you heal or leave home, the decision is essential and can condition a lifetime. A detoxification process has a physical and a one more important part of how to change habits and consider another type of life.
If the drug addict had raised to his family the need for a rehabilitation process, we would be in a more advanced state. Therefore, let’s go back to the process where the family forces a member to enter the rehabilitation program. Surely the drug addict will not understand the process,
Questions that arise:
- What is the relationship between a coaching process and a detoxification process?
- What is the relationship between an organizational system and the use of coaching, with a detoxification process of a person living within his family?
- Do people in organizations have harmful habits that generate friction and poor organizational coexistence even if they have nothing to do with drugs?
- Are we aware of bad habits and their consequences within an organization and its teams?
Surely in most organizations, a person with drug dependence problems and poor performance are dismissed without any other consideration. There are also cases where the company proposes that after rehabilitation, when the person involved is cured, he is readmitted.
WITORG with case-2 aims to go to an extreme to later understand what is happening in an organization. Starting points in the situation of the person involved:
- when the family tells a member, or you heal, or you leave, he/she has to choose an option.
- Even if the person decides to enter the detoxification process, he/she may not be convinced of the need for it. Only leaving your family environment is scarier.
- The person will enter the process with the thought of: “Let’s see what happens!” and “I’m not so bad, and I’ll get over it easy!”
- My family is exaggerating, but I have no other choice.
In addition to a coach, this process requires group therapies, family support, professional support, etc. The phases will be several, and the person involved will change their perception of themselves and their way of life. Some of these processes turn out to be a success in recovering the person for family, profession, and others.
Situations of low performance of a person and the use of coaching.
Organizations detect cases within them where they find individuals or groups of these with poor performance regarding the objectives set. Organizations, in cases of poor performance, can give a person two options, or change or leave. However, this is not always possible due to situations such as:
- Not being able to face the cost of dismissal.
- The knowledge and experience of someone without whom and in principle, the organization would suffer.
- The belief that the person is recoverable and can contribute.
- When a person is untouchable due to political reasons.
- To be contributed by the reader.
Coaching can be a tool to try to redirect people or groups of these in cases of poor performance. So far, we see coaching as a corrective tool. Coaching is only applied when a person does not achieve the objectives set due to poor performance.
Hence the following reflections:
- Coaching is often applied in corrective mode.
- People can enter into a coaching process forced by the organization. Some of the obligated persons may believe that it is not necessary in your case.
- People can enter a process because of the threat it represents, not doing so.
- Drug addicts often do not understand the scope of their problem of bad habits. A person with low performance due to their practices will understand the need to enter a coaching process?
- Many years of doing the same job can generate harmful habits if the organization needs to change or evolve.
Inviting or forcing a coaching process requires a broad organizational vision. Doing it reactively may be necessary in some cases. However, we must be aware of the causes of the application of each coaching case. Understanding the reason that has led an organization to apply coaching could help to launch an organizational evolution.
Case-3: Coaching a team of people
An organization can detect a team of people with unsatisfactory performance in a function, department, or project. To talk about a team is to focus on the functioning and results of this team collectively, before falling into the temptation to perform individual coaching.
Therefore the main focus will be to center on the relationships among team members firstly. The second step will analyze the systems used in these relationships. Conceptually defining the footsteps of such team coaching could be somewhat complicated. Although some generic phases can be determined, each project will have a personalized approach. The generic stages:
- Definition of the problem
- Definition of the objectives
- Intervention plan
- Tracking and feedback
- Closing (Although a continuous coaching process can also be considered with the aim of continuous improvement of the functioning as a team., Point-V.)
Within the project, some personalized coaching could be considered, as long as it is at the service of understanding the relationships between team members and the systems used in them.
In an increasingly complex and changing world, a person individually is limited, as explained in ‘600. Teams of people‘ and in ‘D. People and surrounding circumstances‘. Individual success has been empowered in recent times. Personal branding, one-on-one coaching, leadership concept, GTD, own economic success, etc., clearly reflect it. However, organizations increasingly need teamwork because of the increasing complexity they face.
The internal element of The Witorg Guide ‘600-Teams of People‘ describes what the operational leadership is. In coaching for a team, we can find resistance to change by one or several people. In a coaching process, in addition to the coach and according to the starting point, a robust internal leadership will be convenient to overcome possible resistance to change or evolution that may appear in the process.
Understanding the need for efficient equipment, finding shared motives, sharing a purpose, knowing how to evolve, and enhancing adaptive capacities to complex environments will be crucial in the teams of organizations.
IV.-Two or several entities (People or groups) without hierarchy among them and generating situations of nonconformity in one or several directions.
Sometimes two entities with common interests or similar objectives try to reach agreements to work together. In some cases reaching collaboration agreements will be simple; other times, it will be tried without achieving it. Can a coach or mediator work help one or more of the entities involved? Can coaching be used in relationships between peer groups without a hierarchy among them?
In the cases described above, people voluntarily initiated a coaching process, or an organization invited or forced people or entities within it to initiate a process.
In this case IV, the organizations involved could establish a process or methodology to reach agreements. This implies agreeing on a coach, mediator, supervisor, or whatever you want to call. Shared objectives and distribution of responsibilities and obligations will also be set. Not having a coach would consist of a negotiation process without further ado.
The questions that may arise before what has been described so far are:
- Could, mediating between several entities and trying to reach an agreement, be a coaching process?
- Are there coaches of this type?
- Is WITORG rambling too much about coaching?
- Could a coach lead two or several organizations to set goals and share responsibilities and obligations?
- To be added by the reader.
Nowadays and in an increasingly changing world, it is frequently necessary to reach alliances or agreements between independent entities to survive. Partnerships through negotiation processes among two or several entities on equal terms are not always easy. These processes can be lengthened in time without getting any agreement. From WITORG, it is believed that the option of a coach, mediator, arbitrator, and coaching techniques could help in these processes.
Possible cases where a coach could collaborate in the establishment of alliances:
Agreements between political parties.
Agreements between administrations of regions with joint borders.
Agreements between organizations established in different regions but with similar products or services.
Agreements between the management of an organization with its union representation.
V.-Coahing as a process of continuous improvement.
In this post we have treated coaching as a tool / methodology for the resolution of non-conformities of people in relation to an organization. Reactively, the coach is sought as soon as the nonconformity situation generates a poor performance, or an important friction situation. When we speak of nonconformities from a quality point of view, we can cite three types of actions:
- The containment actions.
- The corrective actions.
- The preventive actions.
Until now, the focus of this post spoke mainly about the corrective action of coaching. However, an organization that intends to have advanced adaptation capabilities to a changing world should also know how to contain first and foremost prevent. We are going to focus on the WITORG Guide scheme and then reflect on the coaching and the internal element ‘200. Continuous improvement‘:
How is coaching integrated into management processes? This question is very generic. First, we should know the specific management processes of an organization and see how coaching could be integrated into them. By not having a particular example, we will present a premise to take into account coaching within the management processes:
An organization will use coaching mainly in case III of this entry (III.-An organization invites or forces some people in its organization to a coaching process with some objective to achieve).
An organization could consider having a coach in case someone voluntarily might want to start a coaching process, even if the organization has not detected the need.
If coaching is a tool of the system and addresses a nonconformity, the management process that collects nonconformities must contemplate which nonconformities require coaching.
Each case of coaching is a project in itself. It can be defined in terms of objectives, set in time, and use a work methodology.
Starting from the previous point, each case of coaching is a project. Therefore, each project could have its KPIs and objectives assigned. KPIs and goals could also be assigned to all coaching projects. In this way, it could be assessed how this tool/methodology as a whole evolves over time. Thus, if necessary, improvements could be made to the way of applying to coach as a methodology as well.
Each case of coaching can be considered a project. This implies reflecting on the methodology to be used, and it’s fit within the organization. In WITORG the relationship between ‘200-Continuous Improvement’ and ‘500.-Project Management ‘ is always taken into account, the improvement as the attitude necessary to evolve as an organization over time. And project management as an internal methodology for the management of nonconformities, that is to say, coaching projects in this case.
This internal element includes aspects related to the internal functioning of the people and teams of these within organizations. This internal functioning will help or not the use of coaching within the organizational system.
Currently, outside an organization, there are several alternatives in terms of coaching philosophies/methodologies. The use of coaching within an organization involves its design or customization. Therefore, starting from existing models available outside and through an internal reflection process, a specific model for an organization should be reached.