Coaching – What Has Changed?

What had changed? My approach, my mindset, and my ability to read more accurately the dynamics of the board. Also, my confidence to ask for what I needed to help me to be more effective in my role. What helped me orchestrate this turnaround? Being open to being coached.

Coaching is based on the premise that the person being coached—the coachee—will come to workable conclusions and solutions if the space exists to explore options, and arrive at one’s own position or outcome. Coaching is non-directive, and differs from training or consulting, both of which can be directive. The coachee will quickly notice that he or she is not being instructed or told what to do.

Coaching methodologies—and there are many—take a systematic approach to solving problems or clarifying what needs to happen next. During my coaching experience, I was introduced to a practical and applicable model called the Johari Window. What did knowledge of the Johari Window help me to achieve? It brought more insight. I was able to recognize my blind spots and my biases, which—even though unintended—were getting in my own way and, thus, in the way of my effectiveness!

Coaching works particularly well for promoting dialogue. One question that will open conversation is, “tell us what you think about the approaches we are considering.” It is also good for encouraging the board to look at all angles. “Are there some views we have not put into the mix?”

You do not need to hire a professional coach. The coaching approach can be implemented by the board chair, the board committee or the governance committee. The advantage of using an external coach is that person can bring objectivity and independence to the coaching process. But, the important thing is to find someone who can drive the coaching initiative and obtain the results your board requires.


Where Coaching Works Best

While coaching may not be the answer to everything, it can be effective in the right circumstances. So what are the situations that best lend themselves to a coaching approach? I have found the process works well in the design or implementation of the following:

  • A recruitment or orientation process
  • A board assessment framework
  • Meeting strategies
  • Executive director support
  • A plan for the executive director and the board chair’s partnership
  • Performance tools

What are the Benefits of Coaching?

Among them are:

  • The board and the board members develop a sense of greater possibility, opportunity, and hope.
  • Authenticity enables the organization and its leaders to be the real deal.
  • Focus is increased.
  • People are willing to listen to new points of view, and experiment with new options—even court failure.


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