Before meeting a potential candidate we invite the person to complete a short on-line questionnaire, with
advice to spend no more than five minutes completing it (plus 15 minutes thinking time).
Usually our Managing Director, Robin Johnson, meets the candidate for a 45 minute to one hour FREE pre-session without obligation. This chemistry meeting is important as the candidate and coach need to be comfortable working together. We often receive feedback that this short session is inspirational as it immediately gets the candidate thinking by opening up new possibilities and creating focus. Some sponsors of coaching like to hold a three-way meeting with coach and candidate to agree the business objectives of the coaching initiative. Under certain circumstances it may be beneficial to work with one of our sixteen specialist coaches and this is proposed about 5% of the time.
Under our code of conduct, coaching sessions have to be confidential between coach and candidate. The only feedback the sponsor receives is from the candidate.
The coach sets about identifying between eight to twelve top-priority themes most likely to unlock the candidate’s true potential. Draft themes are written up in a particular way that defines successful outcomes. Candidates edit and score these. Far more time is devoted to coaching the candidate’s highest scoring themes during subsequent coaching sessions. Generally there is little if anything for candidates to do between sessions apart from using their eyes and ears differently…
Clients often start with one or, most often, two candidates rather than more. One candidate on his or her own can send off misleading signals; most people feel comfortable starting with two. Start dates for multiple candidate programmes can be staggered to spread the investment. We sometimes suggest four session coaching programmes for certain candidates though most of our clients (just over 90%) prefer the popular six coaching session programme – providing 12 hours of coaching over a six or seven month duration. Six session programmes work best for generating long term change.
One good approach is to start with at least one ‘mover and shaker’. This has many benefits. It sends out a clear message that coaching can be used equally successfully with stars and rising stars. Coaching isn’t a punishment. Professionally delivered coaching is about taking people to their next level and it works. For example, we work with a great many Managing Directors, Managing Partners and Heads of Department. Working with stars can also make it easier to ‘sell’ the coaching concept to the ultra-sceptical. Some firms select a mixture of stars and other candidates which can work particularly well.