In these types of engagements, the coach’s role is to offer the coachee a neutral space to work on evolving their career path outside the pressure of the company’s formal performance management process. The coaching sessions will often work in tandem with the company’s formal processes and as such, allow the coachee to gain a more holistic perspective on their career path and direction.
The value of an external coach
It can be as simple as the language used and the range of questions postulated. Even with trusted internal mentors and advisors, coachees can feel inhibited in what they discuss and might be reluctant to open up in areas where they feel they might be penalized if they show dissatisfaction in some areas of their job or it might be that they are fearful about being promoted beyond their natural comfort zone and are suffering from ‘Imposter Syndrome’.
They do not want to appear unenthusiastic, tentative or weak in front of their colleagues and in consequence, tend to bury their deepest concerns underneath the surface, hence it is challenging for the people responsible for their career progression to really know what it is they want.
Questions to open up the thinking
You are unlikely to hear the following questions being asked in internal conversations; however, it can be really helpful in opening up the thinking of the coachee and creating new options and avenues for thought:
- ‘If all jobs paid the same, what would you be doing?’
- ‘If you had the power to make this next job perfect, what would perfect look like’?
- ‘Is this what you really want to do or what you think you ought to be doing?’
- ‘If you had a year off with the same pay as you will get in your new role, would you be going for this job and why?’
The right mindset
I see my role as getting the coachee in the right mindset to make their internal conversations more productive and to ask the right questions to their internal stakeholders as well as to themselves when working through their career progression. I help them to see the whole picture from a broader perspective and give them the thinking space to make wise decisions.