Archive for Assessments

Planting When the Time is Right

A good friend of mine grew up on a family farm in Minnesota and, over the years, I have enjoyed hearing stories of a childhood that included planting and harvesting crops, and caring for livestock. I’ve enjoyed a bit of planting myself in year’s past—garden vegetables, and herbs now and then, but growing up in a suburban/light-industrial neighborhood pales against the stories of tractors and baling that my friend relates. There is one similarity, however, that spans both my world and hers: readiness.

Just a few days ago the morning’s news showered us once again with images of falling snow–eighteen inches in places like Minnesota. It’s April and most farmers are preparing for their spring planting which, by all accounts, should be right around the corner. But not this year. The ground isn’t ready. Wet fields and low ground temperatures will likely keep seeds out of the soil for another several weeks. This is frustrating, of course (or, as I like to think of it, an “opportunity for patience”). There is other work to do on the farm, after all: repairing and preparing equipment, for example. Still, planting is the most anticipated spring ritual; it sets the stage for the upcoming growing and harvesting season and controls the economic cycles of our family farmers. But you can’t help it if things just aren’t ready.

Farming and planting are good metaphors for coaching. We, as coaches, oftentimes plan a process that will guide the engagement. The process I typically follow covers these steps:

  1. Assessing the client’s situation
  2. Setting specific goals based on the assessment
  3. Designing an action plan for practicing new behaviors or skills
  4. Implementing the action plan
  5. Evaluating the results

These steps set into play a cyclical routine of assessing to be sure that we are on track with what is working, and to see what we might want to change. This sounds all well and fine on paper, but as I’ve mentioned before, humans and organizations can be messy; we don’t always fall into a neat and process-happy routine.

Coaching calls for a partnership in observation, care, listening, and noticing, along with the capacity to meet the client “where they are.” This, like the soil that awaits the seeds for planting, is not always timed just perfectly; where they are might call for us to stop, explore different options, and prepare for an alternate plan. Coaching often unveils inner struggles that may need to be addressed before moving into action.  Just like when the farmer takes a step in another direction during what would be her planting season, needing to refocus on different activities for a while, a coach and a client sometimes take a step in another direction to focus on what’s most important in the moment. The coaching client’s soil may not be ready for planting, just yet, and such adjustments improve the readiness for future work.

Meeting the coaching client “where they are” is, in my opinion, the most important value that a coach can bring to the relationship. The thought-partnership that is the coaching engagement is one of readiness—for the coach as well as the client. The client’s growth will happen in due time, when he or she is ready and able to see what’s true for them. It is then and only then, that their insights will break through and take root.


Grow Your Own Leaders: Using Assessment-based Coaching for Sustainable Leadership Development

Charney Coaching & Consulting and PeopleSense Consulting are partnering for a FREE webinar to be held on Thursday, April 3, 2014 at 1 PM Eastern. Program is approved for HRCI credits!

The power and potential of coaching as a valuable Human Resources tool has grown dramatically in the last decade. The International Coaching Federation, which began in 1999 with just over 2,000 coaches, has seen its membership grow to nearly ten times that number in the ensuing years. At the same time, various advanced performance assessments (often referred to, collectively, as “360s”), have also grown in use.

While each of these approaches is a strong component of any HR-led employee development program, our work with clients suggests that they are most commonly used independently, with 360s generally part of a periodic employee review process, and leadership coaching offered as part of specific leadership development program (often available to only a select few “high performing” individuals).

In this webinar, we will discuss the advantages of each tool, and then demonstrate the power that comes from joining these approaches into a single program aimed at creating sustainable leadership development, an approach we refer to as “Assessment-Based Coaching.” Benefits from the approach include improved employee retention, greater job satisfaction, and reduced turnover—all of which contribute to an ever-increasing bottom line. Assessment-Based Coaching combines the power of assessment feedback from direct reports, peers, managers, and interested stakeholders, and uses that feedback as the framework for targeted coaching in ways that can dramatically improve relationships and knowledge in ways that open up previously unseen leadership potential.

Leadership development has, and will continue to be, a critical investment for Human Resources departments worldwide. A 2012 report from SHRM, “Challenges Facing HR Over the Next 10 Years,” notes that 52% of study respondents indicated that “developing the next generation of corporate leaders,” was a key challenge, the second most concerning topic of all (just behind employee retention, which came in as the highest-ranked challenge, at 59%).  Interestingly—and most tellingly—the percentage of respondents concerned with leadership development was up dramatically from just two years earlier, when only 29% of respondents thought it critical.

This escalation in importance comes as the baby-boomer generation continues its move towards retirement; companies will continually face a loss of seasoned leaders in some of the most critical positions, and across every industry. The understanding and application of new approaches to rapidly and cost-effectively growing new leadership are therefore applicable to all Human Resources functions and departments.

By attending this seminar you will learn how to:

  1. Understand the power of using consistent 360 assessments for your employees
  2. Learn the value of providing coaching as a key component of growing leaders within your organization
  3. Understand the advantages and drawbacks of each
  4. Combine the effectiveness of both approaches into a sustainable, HR-driven leadership development plan

Join today by registering here. We look forward to having you with us.

Attendees of the webinar program will receive 1 (HR (General)) recertification credit hours toward PHR, SPHR and GPHR recertification through the HR Certification Institute. Note: The use of this seal is not an endorsement by the HR Certification Institute of the quality of the program.  It means that this program has met the HR Certification Institute’s criteria to be pre-approved for recertification credit.