Develop a Coach and Consultant Profile
OLB 7007, Assignment 6
DuBose, Justin Z.
Dr. Jaime Klein
17 March 2019
The complex nature of the ever-changing modern work environment causes organizations and organizational leaders to constantly evaluate and improve their products, people, and proficiency (Joo, Sushko, & McLean, 2012). One major consequence of this evaluative process is the explosive growth of professional coaches and consultants (Joo, Sushko, & McLean, 2012). Each of these fields are on the rise and show no signs of slowing down. Consulting is a 400+ billion-dollar global industry (Baaij, 2014) while coaching, while significantly smaller, is likewise a multi-billion-dollar global industry and continues to grow in nearly 250 countries across the globe (Segers, Vloeberghs, & Henderickx, 2011). With the increasing utilization of professional coaches and consultants in the workforce, it is important to understand what makes for an effective coach. This paper will examine recent research on coaching and consider what common characteristics are present in effective coaches. Furthermore, the author will self-identify a coaching profile based upon the findings of researchers and the conclusions or recent research.
Many researchers have studied the role of professional coaches in the workplace. Recent research has concluded that several important commonalities and characteristics are inherent within all successful coaching relationships. Most importantly, Espedal (2008) noted that trust between coach and client is the foundational building block of the relationship. Lee (2015) concurred with this foundation of trust between coaches and clients, noting that without a deeply connected, meaningful trusting relationship between coach and client, the entire relationship is unproductive and ineffective. All coaches, then, must ensure that a foundation of trust exists with clients.
Built upon this foundation of trust is a pairing of values between coach and client. Boyce (2010) utilizes the nomenclature of “matching” to describe the proper alignment of coaching personality to client. Boyce notes that coaches and clients must be matched in both their values as well as relational goals. Darling and Heller (2012) also noted that when the values of coaches match the values of clients then the outcomes of the coaching relationship are maximized. When this value and personality alignment are in place, coaching has been found in studies to positively impact both desired organizational and individual outcomes as well as individual goal attainment of coaching clients (Theeboom, 2014). Even with these commonalities and aligning of values in place in relationships, however, the individual element of coaching cannot be removed from the uniqueness of each situation. Research has also addressed this important aspect of coaching.
Lee (2015) importantly noted that no coaching style is suitable across all clients, and that ever situation is unique and requires a uniquely nuanced approach by the coach. Darling and Heller (2012) further noted that flexibility is the most important characteristics of coaches in working with different individuals and teams. Without the element of flexibility, the nuances inherent in coaching relationships are unable to be adjusted to properly by coaches. Thus even when the aforementioned common characteristics are in place, Darling and Heller (2012) conclude that flexibility by coaches is the single most important element for coaches to ensure success in their relationships. Muhlberger (2015) also addressed the individual nature of coaches when he noted that one importance difference in leaders and coaches is that leaders drive followers to attain organizational outcomes whereas coaches work alongside individuals to attain personal goals and outcomes. So potentially powerful is the individual dynamic of coaching that Espedal (2008) noted that coaches even help identify and define a leader’s own self-conception. The self-identity of leaders can be largely shaped by the input of coaches in the context of relationship. Coaches, then, must be ready to adjust to the unique individuals and situations they find themselves in. Furthermore, with these conclusions from recent research, it is imperative that coaches be aware of their own values, personality, and profile to maximize their effectiveness.
Individual Coaching Profile
In developing an individual profile, it is important to place a profile within a larger framework. For the purposes of this profile, the framework developed by Darling and Heller (2012) will be employed. Darling and Heller (2012) classified coaches as largely fitting into one of the following four profiles: Achiever, Analyzer, Creator, and Relater. These profiles are based upon the individual’s level of assertiveness and responsiveness. Within this framework, assertiveness is defined as the ability to speak up and take charge in group situations whereas responsiveness is defined as physically and emotionally responding to the needs and situations of others around you. Figure 1.1 below illustrates this framework with each profile occupying one quadrant.
The profiles of Creator and Achiever are more assertive in their personality while those of Analyzer and Relater are classified as less assertive. Similarly, the profiles of Creator and Relater are more responsive while those of Analyzer and Achiever are classified as less responsive. The character traits listed underneath each profile are the dominant personality strengths of each. In assessing my own personality strengths, weaknesses, and values, what is my coaching profile?
My dominant profile is that of an Achiever, however, depending on the situation, I can also fit the profile of a Creator. The character strengths listed which fit that of an Achiever are most evident in being active, decisive, disciplined, independent, and strategic. In each of my professional roles (Army Reserve Chaplain, teacher, and pastor) these character strengths are evident. Darling and Heller (2012) also noted that the greatest weaknesses of each profile are the strengths of the profile on the opposite side of the figure. Following this, my greatest weaknesses as a coach are as a diplomat, empathizer, harmonizer, and being inclusive. Like the accuracy of the listed strengths, these identified weaknesses are equally applicable in my coaching profile.
Individual Coaching Process
Given the profile of an Achiever, what process should be established for communication and collaboration which would maximize the effectiveness of this coaching profile? Firstly, recognizing the research findings of Boyce (2010), potential clients should be matched to align with the personality type of the Achiever. In other words, individuals or groups seeking an assertive, decisive, strategic thinker as a potential coach would “match” my own strengths. This same philosophy would also hold true for individual or group values. Individuals or groups which value inclusivity, empathy, and harmony would be better suited to find a coach which fits the profile of a Relater. Once potential clients are aligned based upon values and matched to personality strengths of an Achiever, the next step is to establish a clear process for communication.
Communication is one the most important aspects of coaching as it helps establish the nature of the relationship between coach and client (Lee, 2015). Thus, included in the coaching profile should be a clear plan for communication. As a strategic thinker, the initial stages of communication are gathering the “big picture” of the goals and desired outcomes of the client so that an overarching strategy can be developed to help achieve those goals and outcomes. Once this strategy is developed, one of the most important aspects of communication between coach and client will be personal accountability. This is where the strength of discipline enters into the equation of the Achiever’s coaching profile. As an Achiever, discipline is not only a personal strong suit, but it is also essential to closely adhering to strategy in order to achieve the desired goals and outcomes. Consequently, inherent in the communication between coach and client is the issue of accountability. The client can expect the coach to constantly inquire and demand accountability of the client to ensure that discipline is present in order to align behavior patterns to strategy.
Self-awareness by the coach is an essential characteristic to ensure effectiveness. Consequently, developing an accurate profile is necessary to ensure that coaches and clients are properly aligned and that the relationship is built upon honesty and trust. When organizational leadership and management understand what a coach has to offer – including both individual strengths and weaknesses – then a realistic action plan can be developed, communicated, and followed by both parties. When relationships between coaches and clients commence by following this pattern, then it makes the essential characteristic of flexibility easier to enact throughout the relationship because honesty and trust comprise the supportive foundation. When followed, each of these action steps maximize the potential benefits to both the coach and client for the duration of the relationship.
Baaij, Marc G. (2014). An Introduction to Management Consultancy. London: SAGE Publications.
Boyce, L.A., Jackson, J., & Neal, L.J. (2010). Building successful leadership coaching relationships: Examining impact of matching criteria in a leadership coaching program. Journal of Management Development, 29(10), 914-931. doi: 10.1108/02621711011084231
Darling, J.R. & Heller, V.L. (2012). Effective organizational consulting across cultural boundaries: A case focusing on leadership styles and team-building. Organizational Development Journal, 30(4), 54-72.
Espedal, B. (2008). Making sense of leadership in Norway: The view from management consultants. Leadership, 4(2), 181-200. doi: 10.1177/1742715008089637
Joo, B. K., Sushko, J. S., & McLean, G. N. (2012). Multiple faces of coaching: Manager-as-coach, executive coaching, and formal mentoring. Organizational Development Journal, 30(1), 19-38.
Lee, R.J. & Frisch, M.H. (2015). Legacy reflections: Ten lessons about becoming an executive coach. Counsulting Psychology Journal, 67(1), 3-16. doi: 10.1037/cpb0000033
Muhlberger, M.D. & Traut-Mattausch, E. (2015). Leading to effectiveness: Comparing dyadic coaching and group coaching. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 51(2), 198-230. doi: 10.1177/0021886315574331
Segers, J., Vloeberghs, D., & Henderickx, E. (2011). Structuring and understanding the coaching industry: The coaching cube. Academy of Management & Education, 10(2), 204-221.
Theeboom, T., Beersma, B., & Van Vianen, A. (2014). Does coaching work? A meta-analysis on the effects of coaching on individual level outcomes in an organizational context. Journal of Positive Psychology, 9(1), 1-18. doi: 10.1080/17439760.2013.837499
NG, LR, NCU, USAR
My collection of personal papers written over the years