As a coach I have long held a healthy scepticism about the effectiveness of coaching. I did not want to join a sector that was selling snake oil. It was in part the reason I completed both a master’s degree and a Doctorate in coaching. I wanted to be confident that the craft I was working with, delivered results for clients and customers.
So, at Exigence we keep an eye on the current coaching research and, along with our participants and customers, we track progress towards the goals they want to achieve. Interestingly, both the academic literature and the practical experiences, suggest two very interesting changes to the way coaching could be undertaken to maximise engagement and the outcomes of that coaching work.
Less is more
Firstly, participants of coaching prefer sessions that are shorter in time from the traditional 90 – 120 mins. This makes sense both practically – most of the leaders and managers we work with are very busy people (and that is often the focus of their coaching!) and also from a psychological perspective. I recall having two, three and in one case a six hour coaching sessions over the years. Whilst the results from that length of session means a lot of good ground can be covered, the cognitive load of focusing and doing such deep work over such extended periods, can be counter-productive. Already exhausted leaders and managers can leave longer sessions even more worn out that before they started. Shorter, focused sessions, avoid that trap.
More, is also more
The second research finding of note is that participants of coaching prefer the cadence of meetings to be more frequent than has traditionally been the case. Sessions every two or three weeks is apparently ideal, rather than four to six weeks as has been more typical.
When these two variables are combined, the product is shorter, more frequent sessions than received wisdom would have had us believe was best.
What about transformation?
The challenge we set for ourselves in designing Concise Coaching – our 20 minute coaching sessions, which are response to market and academic research – is that it this model of coaching will not be able to produce transformation or deeper personal development. The assertion is that it usually takes longer to grapple with and make some progress on this kind of individual change.
There are so many assumptions in that assertion that there isn’t space in this post to respond in full. I hope it will be suffice to say that neither the experience of our participants nor the outcomes of their coaching work would align to those assumptions. It is both possible to get to transformation in a short time frame and it is also possible to achieve these deeper levels of development as a sum of several shorter sessions. Less and more, get more.
Coaching has traditionally been available to the top 4% of an organisation. With our 20-minute Concise Coaching approach you can include many more of your organisation’s leaders and managers and thus maximise the chances of your culture being where you want it to be and your transformation programmes delivering the results they promised. You can know offer less to more and get more in return for your leader and manager development.