Hey Coach, You’re Not My Internal Coach

As the pressure for Corporate America increases to be more self reliant on the issue of leadership development, they are asking more of the folks who are already on the payroll to adopt the role of internal coach, as opposed to calling an outside consultant when the need arises.  Training is really just an exchange of information or knowledge, but that doesn’t ensure that the receiver will actually pick up the ball and apply it.  That is where coaching comes in.  Coaching is the accountability piece where the application of the training is expected, and which is why a training and internal coaching program together is absolutely critical.

However, for an individual to be an internal coach, the coachee has to see them as one.  The coachee has to trust both the coach’s competence and intentions, or the vulnerability vital to the relationship just wont happen.  At times, the things that a coach says and does, unknowingly removes them from the list as an effective coach to somebody within the organization.  Lets take a look at what these things might be that may negate a coachee from accepting an individual as their internal coach.

1. Water cooler talk is a big one because gossiping has the opposite affect as to what one would expect.  When a person shares the inside scoop (gossip) about the company or another person, the person listening loves hearing the information and feels like they are in the know.  The gossiper feels like they offer value and sees themselves as the go to person.  Well it’s great to know, but they just removed themselves from the list of coaches because they can’t be trusted with private information.

2. The games that managers play is another one.  When managers ask their direct reports “tell me what my values are” or “you tell me what you think I do every day”.  These tests are just games and the recipient knows what you are up to.  These mind games will take you off the list as a trusted coach.

3. When a mistake is made and the customer or another department was adversely affected, and the boss comes up with some kind of excuse and gives direction to their direct report to “just tell them that….(insert story)….”  This may be a temporary reprieve and the customer might even buy it but if it isn’t the truth, then the direct report will never accept the boss as their leader and coach.

4. Bosses or coaches that don’t accept responsibility for their mistakes, point fingers and blame almost genetically will never be accepted as a internal coach.  Enough said.

Who do you know that thinks they make a great internal coach, but either their competence or intentions cannot be trusted, therefore you would never accept their coaching?  What other behaviors do you see in people that take them off the list of potential coaches to the organization?