Creating the Future with Coaching

Imagine being able to connect minds from all corners of the world, to ignite change in the way the world thinks and how business is done? Becoming an entrepreneur first and an HR Leader second? Developing new products, solutions, technologies or services that no one could have dreamed of? This is not just a dream; it is perfectly possible, through 1 consistent and pragmatic approach… Coaching.

We are all very different; developing a team from diverse cultures, roles, experience levels and talent can seem like an impossible task. Particularly within this part of the world, the dynamics of business create an unparalleled challenge, that tests even the most skilled Learning & Development professionals. It’s that challenge that attracts us here and then makes us question whether we should just go for a more simple life somewhere in Europe or the US. I have personally been through an incredible journey that has provided some of the most rewarding experiences in my career and the irony is that I was able to get these experiences by leveraging a single skill: coaching.

A few years ago it was perfectly okay to see coaching and mentoring as something that had a time and a place. It was common practice to always let someone know that they were about to be coached. This is as outdated as the feedback sandwich and I’m sure that most of you will agree that the world has moved on. The reality that coaching doesn’t need any frame, pre-requisite or justification. The power of coaching is like any other leadership talent – your style can make or break it. It’s the art of how you build trust and engage with your ‘coachee’ that makes a difference. Collaborative/co-operative learning has been researched thoroughly and has shown to improve efficiency of learning transfer, generate more new ideas, demonstrate higher-level reasoning and break down any traditional barriers to learning.

An effective coaching session can be that you simply ask the right questions. Using a very simple coaching model for example the GROW model (Goal Reality Options Way forward/What if) you can keep your focus and guide your questioning. Ensuring that you get to the ay forward/what if, is key for success… without that, you just had a nice chat that didn’t go anywhere. Another important factor is that it’s not a race, it’s an opportunity to genuinely get to know people around you. Enjoy getting to know the nuances of peoples belief systems or background and helping them to develop is why we all got into learning in the first place right?

All this being said, the individual 1-2-1 coaching is just the start. The world is becoming more connected, faster paced and more autonomous. In the ICT industry we are building the future of networking with what is known as Machine-to-Machine technology. This is where, what used to be devices acting like slaves to the network and wasting valuable technology within them, can become the network themselves. This evolution is set to revolutionize efficiency and capability of how we communicate via the Internet, voice or other means. As human beings, we are getting there too. Society is less and less hierarchical and more open to the millennial mind of instant knowledge transfer. The Learning and Development industry also needs to experience this. It is widely recognized that the days of corporations buying dry, classroom content in the form of a lecture from an expert are dead. Instead the future is that, if you are completely transparent and open to it, others around you will engage in peer coaching and informal learning and create a catalyst for phenomenal exponential growth. As a coach for individuals we get the greatest gift; to help people discover what they didn’t already know, so why limit yourself to the people you personally connect with.

Through coaching, it is possible to create synergy with both stakeholders and your team all at once. There are many resources out there to help you learn more. One can leverage these resources to hone coaching skills, learn more from those who had success before and share knowledge as a community of coaches.

Simon Muskett is Head of Learning and Development for Ericsson Middle East and Africa Region. Simon started his career as a successful sales person and since then has built a wealth of Learning and Development experience, having worked in leadership positions for some fantastic brands including HSBC, British Telecom and Dell before he joined Ericsson.

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