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Internet Survey Results:

Survey Results from Leaders Who Find Time to Coach

Matt M. Starcevich, Ph.D.

Many leaders tell us they just dont have time to coach others. Researchers have found that the "coaching style" is used least often.* Doing more with less, working managers, performance based compensation, focusing on results, and temporary organizations are all seen as contributing factors. Yet, some leaders make the timehow do they plan, manage and find the time to coach?

One hundred leaders responded via the internet to our survey: How Do You Find Time to Coach? How committed are they to coaching? 80% said they live by the belief that coaching is a critical leadership responsibility and a major success role for themselves and the people they coach. They backed this belief with their time; 80% spend more than 4 hours per week coaching others, with half of them exceeding the norm by spending between 8 12 hours per week or approximately 20% of their time. One respondent best captured the guiding philosophy of this group when they said, "If you believe, the time becomes available."

These leaders are very purposeful in planning for and executing their coaching responsibilities as indicated by their response to the question, "Which of the following formal planning tools do you use to help you make time for coaching others?"

* I have a written mission statement for my role as a coach.


* I have defined coaching goals and action statements that can be implemented on a weekly basis.


* Each week, I make 1 or 2 appointments with myself and/or 
others for the following week to act on my coaching goals.


* I honor the coaching appointments I make.


* At the end of the week, I assess my coaching progress and 
set 1 or 2 goals for the upcoming week.


"Plan big and try hard" was the advice offered by one respondent. While another captured the importance of having a plan and working that plan, "My integrity as a coach is tied to my willingness to establish and then follow through on commitments." All respondents used formal planning aides to "write it in ink and stick to it!" The two most popular were some form of the Day Timer and Computer Scheduler.

Coaching has many motivators, for this group the top actions they took during the year to advance their coaching goals were:

    1. Have lunch, coffee, coke, chat etc. with a person to build/reinforce the rapport and relationship.
    2. Tell them that you value their efforts and have faith in their ability to really move forward in a particular area.
    3. Send a hand written note recognizing another persons progress.
    4. Through reading, observation or formal training, try to develop their skills as a coach.
    5. Have lunch/coffee with another leader and brainstorm approaches to a particular coaching challenge they faced.
    6. Reflect and take stock of their effectiveness as a coach.
    7. Reflect on what motivates you as a coach and what concerns/issues hold you back. Ask one of your reports to handle an assignment for you, even if you could have done it yourself.

What is interesting is that half of these actions deal directly with meeting and working with others and half relate to introspection and self-development of the coach. These participants want to both spend the time coaching others and to continue developing their skills and approaches to coaching. One respondent states, "I have found that coaching others automatically increases my personal development, I learn as much from others as I hope they do from me."

Bottom linewhy do these leaders make time for coaching?

The answer is best found in the following comments:

* "Coaching is a leadership skillI believe doing it effectively sets the leaders apart from the managers."


* "Invest valued time and you will all benefit from it."


* "Make it a basic component of your leadership. It is not another task to be done, it is a process necessary for your success and the success of those around you."


* "Coaching others is repaying the debt of gratitude to those who took time to mentor you."


* "Try to see it as a business imperative, its at least as important as winning the next piece of business." And finally,


* "Coaching is one of those big rocks that managers should focus on as a top priority."


So, the next time someone says they dont have time to coach, smile because you know better. The old adage, people make time for what is important, applies. Limited time is not the problem, it is the condition, a given. The problem is how important coaching is relative to all your leadership responsibilitieswhat is its priority? You dont manage time, you can manage your priorities. For this group of respondents coaching is at the top of their priority list.

* Daniel Goleman. Leadership That Gets Results. Harvard Business Review. Volume 78, pp 78-90, March/April, 2000.

About the Author

Matt M. Starcevich, Ph.D. CEO, Center for Coaching & Mentoring has over twenty years experience in training and organization development, as an internal change agent and external consultant.  For comments or additional information email Matt from the selection below.

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Contact Matt Starcevich, matt@coachingandmentoring
2009, Center for Coaching and Mentoring