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Powerful coaching equals care for your people

Power of coaching to unleash potential of people in the organization can be amazing. In this blog post I discuss about benefits we can achieve with coaching individuals, teams and organizations.

women in a discussion
Kati Ilvonen 

Change driver and Head coach at Ericsson R&D

Category, topic & hashtags

Coaching is an increasing trend in constantly changing VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world (see more from wikipedia). Importance of coaching increases due to fact that there are less and less people with “right” answers. At least for personal choices in life, one cannot really give answers to others. And same tendency is visible in the corporate world. Ericsson people philosophies rely strongly on each individual as a talent. We want constructively to challenge our colleagues to help them perform at their best. Coaching can really be powerful tool to unleash each person’s talent and potential. 

In a complex environment, there are several different solutions depending of the situation. At the same time, many different solutions can work and what worked yesterday, doesn’t necessarily work today. We need agility and capability to see different options and viewpoints to come to best possible conclusion in each situation. Also, we need to constantly evaluate if our conclusions lead to the wanted direction and have courage to change them when we are not getting the outcomes expected. 

In order to discuss coaching, we first need to define what I mean with it. 

Coaching is to help person to unleashing her hidden potential by increasing awareness and focusing on strengths as well as helping person herself to see different options and viewpoints. Coaching is goal and solution orientated discussion where coach has different means to enable coached person to find solutions for her topic under discussion.  With help of a coach, person can see and utilize her strengths and possibilities in better way. Someone has said that coach acts like a light pointing to areas of brains where otherwise isn’t light. For me coaching is like planting the seeds. You can choose what quality of seeds you plant, but you don’t know what will grow out of them and which ones will flourish. 

Coaching can be done on different levels: individual, team or organizational level. Principles are same, as teams and organizations consist of individuals. However, coaching of teams has more dependencies and interactions between individuals become crucial for success. In team, we aim to coach whole team through individuals by bringing up pain points to honest and open discussion. 

Why is coaching important and what can be reached with it in the organization? Here are my top six takeaways based on my experience: 

  • Understanding: With help of a coach individuals can widen their perspective and gain more understanding of the situation, possible solutions and how to utilize their strengths in that specific situation. Shared understanding on team and organizational level is crucial for working towards common goal as a team or as an organization 
  • Clarity: Feedback from coaching sessions often is clarity. Different perspectives and wider understanding enable and ease prioritization of goals and actions. This brings more clarity and helps to leave out less important work. This applies on all levels from individual to organizational level
  • Motivation: When person has clear view of the situation and has made her own prioritization and actions, it is often easier to find internal motivation. Motivation is something inborn and coach can help person to find what are her internal motivators as these can largely vary between individuals. On team level it creates trust and understanding when motivational factors are openly discussed and shared
  • Empowerment: Motivation is great starting point, but also empowerment is needed to make sure person feels responsibility to act. Coach has possibility to influence on empowerment by giving feedback and helping to increase self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Commitment:  When motivation and empowerment are in place, planned actions will be followed.  Committing to something you have decided yourself is much stronger than committing to external orders.  Commitment as a team can be reached through fruitful debate. Coach can help to bring different viewpoints into discussion and make sure everyone is heard with their opinions. Sometimes this phase might take a lot of time and effort and it is greatly influenced by organizational culture weather that time is allowed or not to get genuine commitment from everyone. Finding a commitment as a team, instead of individual ambitions is key success factor for a great team. Also, time that is used here often pays off with efficient execution and common understanding of the goal and means to reach it. Coach also can help to exploring if commitment for some reason is not in place
  • Progress: Commitment enables progress. Things really get forward only when we have clarity what we want to reach, we are motivated and empowered to make needed effort and we are committed to follow agreed plan. Coach can help person to create this path for herself or for whole team or organization

Culture of the organization is defined by the behaviours and actions of individuals. Coaching is more influential when it happens in small daily situations supported by the organization.  

Coaching is about asking better questions. Quality of your questions is reflected in your decisions. What are your experiences of coaching? How could you be part of creating a coaching culture in your organization? 

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At the Ericsson Blog, we provide insight to make complex ideas on technology, innovation and business simple. In a world that is increasingly complex, we are on a quest for easy.