Who should conduct Performance Coaching

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During any sports event, you can easily discern who the coach is. Often he’ll be dressed differently than the players. And he’ll be the guy closest to the court, pitch or field, jumping, shouting out guidance and gesturing.

Now, if you visit any business premises, you’ll be hard pressed to figure out who is a coach. In fact, while searching for images for this article, I couldn’t find any image that conveyed who the coach is.

What created the spark to write this article was a question a friend asked me in early March when we spoke after a 2-year gap. When I told him I conduct coaching skills training (among other things), he asked me if I was certified. I’m not a certified coach but a coach nonetheless.

I’m a coach based on the fact that I coached my staff when I was a manager during my working years in the corporate world.

Do managers have to be certified in order to coach?

Do you really think that Jack Welch, and the Fortune 500 CEOs are all certified coaches?

You don’t need to be a certified coach to train others to be coaches. The criteria of a coach is not one who was the best in the task, but someone who understands the task well and has done it well before. My favorite example is that of Usain Bolt. His coach is not the Fastest Man on the Planet, but was definitely a good runner before.

I bet you none of them were certified. Certification takes years and these guys wouldn’t have had the time to sit through a certification course. Yet they were able to create excellent productivity from their staff. Does being a certified coach mean that you’re an effective coach, i.e., is your output great?

This is like asking if a company that has ISO certification makes good products. The answer is of course no.

ISO certification merely means you perform tasks in a standard way. It’s the same with certified coaches – they have a methodical way of coaching someone, but it doesn’t mean the output is of high quality.

The reverse is that millions of managers out there do coach their staff to achieve their KPIs, without being certified. Not to blow my trumpet, but I was one of these guys.

I mean seriously, do you find out if a company is ISO certified before you buy their product? Why should it different for coaching skills trainers. Ultimately it’s their track record, not the paper. This is similar to the arguments 20 years ago about IQ vs EQ.

Couple of days ago I read an article on coaching, that had this quote, that I totally disagree with…

"I believe that all salespeople should hire an external sales coach,"

It’s the job of every leader/manager to coach their subordinates. The moment you have an external coach, the manager is no longer accountable and responsible for his people’s performance.

Coaching skills are one of the skills every leader needs to have and it can’t be delegated or outsourced.

Actually employees expect you to coach them to improve performance and this is listed by Lee Coran as one of the 6 things employees want from their leaders…

"I want to master my work, so coach me often to help me get closer to doing so."

Of course there’s a role for external coaches and I believe it’s for CEO’s. This is because members of the Board are not there to coach the CEO.

At the end of the day, what I’m trying to say is that if you’re a coach who brings in the results, who should care if you’re certified or not.

How many companies out there insist that only those with certifications can become coaches. The ones who are pushing for coaches to be certified are the institutes that run certification courses.

All this certification craze was started in 1992 by Thomas Leonard the founder of IFC and IAC.

Did you know that Tony Robbins is not certified by any of these bodies but has the results that probably none of the ICF certified coaches could ever produce?

One other irony of these certifications is that there are several standards depending on the Certification body too. So who certifies these Certification Bodies?

Tomorrow you can set up one yourself.

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