So what is coaching? There’s a lot of definitions out there. The way we think about coaching is there’s three key elements. One, there’s perspective. There’s someone that sits outside of your day-to-day experience that really is able to bring an outside perspective. Second element is a spark, something that ignites change moving from where you’re at today to kind of a new reality. And then the third element is action, the development component of it. So really three elements: perspective, that spark that ignites the change, and the third is achieving the best outcomes that you want for yourself.
We’re often asked, what’s the difference between coaching, mentoring, consulting, or maybe even counseling? And the way we think about that is the coach is a the thinking partner. They ask questions that lead you to self-discovery. That concept of being a partner means that they’re in it with you, not necessarily to lead or direct you and give you the answers, but more so to lead you on that path of self discovery. Three really distinct use cases for all three of those, not interchangeable. And each situation may require a mentor versus a coach or vice versa. They’re not mutually exclusive and they can be used in conjunction with each other to really support or further the learning and development process
How has coaching changed over the last few decades? Historically, coaching has been seen as a negative. I remember when I started my career, if you were being coached, that meant there was a performance issue. And that has been the historical view of coaching. You might be asking yourself, why is there suddenly an explosion of people who are entering the coaching field or have the name coach in their title? Largely that’s because there’s been a shift in how coaching is perceived in the marketplace. It’s less about the negative and working on problems and performance. Now, it’s seen as a great tool for personal and professional development. And I think as younger workers enter the workforce, the focus is more on continuous learning and continuous development. Coaching is a great tool for that.
Maybe you’ve heard the term “democratizing coaching”. How do we provide access to coaching to everyone in the organization? Coaching has primarily only been accessible to those in the top five to 10% in the organization, typically C-suite, senior and mid-level managers. If we really want to create a culture of coaching, we need to expand access to coaching to everyone in the organization. That investment seems daunting or not cost-effective. Cloverleaf is bringing Automated Coaching™ into the flow of work. This is helpful not just to expand access to coaching to everyone in the organization, but also it’s important to sustain the work that individual coaches are doing with their coaching clients when they’re not around. Typical coaching engagements are once every two weeks, once a month. What happens when that coach isn’t around? Automated Coaching™ can be the answer to bring additional facilitation and resources into the tools where clients are engaging and interacting with each other.
Often we get asked, how do we create a culture of coaching in our organization, or how do we create coaching at scale? The way we approach this is through a layered coaching concept. Obviously you can’t provide an individual one-on-one coach to everyone in the organization, but there are three key ways to creating coaching at scale across your organization.
The first, facilitated coaching. This is what we typically think of as coaching today, with either one-on-one or group facilitated conversations. In this case, a human coach works alongside these groups or individuals. The second type is on-demand coaching. This is, “Hey, I have a question.” I need access to resources to help guide us to the answers. That can come in a lot of different forms. That might look like behavioral assessment. It could be learning content. And then the third way is where Cloverleaf excels, which is Automated Coaching™. Delivering regular coaching nudges within in the flow of work. That can be accessible to everyone in the organization. There’s kind of a common framework. Cloverleaf supports all three types of coaching. We believe that every type creates a culture of coaching or coaching at scale.
Why coaching? Coaching solves a lot of team and individual employee problems. One of the common themes is interpersonal challenges. This interactivity between coworkers or team members, it shows up in a lot of different formats. What we know is that a third of a manager’s time is spent dealing with conflict. Less than a half of managers feel comfortable communicating effectively with their team members. A recent study with college students over the last three decades indicates that there’s been a 40% decline in empathy. These are all larger macro trends that point to interpersonal challenges in the workplace. Coaching is a great solution for that, especially in an Automated Coaching™ format in the tools that you use every day, how we bring together our insight into how people work.