5 Ways Sponsors Wreck Coaching Relationships

Posted July 17, 2012 in Latest News & Insights

Recently, I received an email from a frustrated coaching colleague of mine that made me laugh my head off.  With her permission, I’m reprinting it as a cautionary tale to all of you out there that are thinking about hiring a coach for one of your direct reports.  Read and take heed.

Five ways that sponsors wreck coaching relationships…

  • Hire a coach when you know the issue really is performance.  That way your coach can continue to build the individual up, while you simmer and get angry that their behaviour isn’t changing.
  • Tell the coach you don’t wish to be involved – and then book time with the coach to tell them “secretly” all the things that are wrong with the individual.
  • Tell the coach you do wish to be involved – and then don’t be.  Don’t ever ask your employee how it’s going, don’t offer them stretch assignments to support what they are working on, and don’t offer any encouragement at all.
  • Write glowing comments on your employee’s 360 – but then tell the coach you didn’t really mean them.  Let the coach figure out how to convey that message.
  • Hire a coach for your employee, when you really want/need one yourself.

Coaching isn’t a fix-it, nor is it an opportunity for managers to out-source their performance management issues.  Coaching (or any other type of program like mentoring or peer programs) is a great tool for leaders who, in partnership with their sponsors, are aiming to push their performance to the next level.  If you’re going to invest in hiring a coach, make sure you’re not wasting your money by derailing the experience because of your own agenda or abdicating your role in helping make it a success.

Happy leading!


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