The concept of the perfect Leader, CEO, farmer or football manager is widespread in today’s world. We expect them to be miracle workers. We are constantly analysing them and quick to lay the blame on their shoulders if they fail to turn around poorly performing teams and business’s overnight. The challenges facing leaders today is greater than it ever has been.
We live in a highly complex, technological, interconnected and competitive world. The demands on the individual business leader are enormous. They work long hours. Frustration and early burnout are unfortunately a common consequence of this.
Coaching has been described as the antidote to this destructive cycle. Coaching provides the reflective space for people where they can find time to think, challenge their routines of working and what they are doing and why.
It is no surprise that Coaching has become one of the fastest growing services in recent years. The benefits of Coaching, first recognized in sport in the 1970’s, was quickly adopted by leading business organisations. Today, it is estimated that over 90% of Business and Organisation Leaders have Executive Coaches. Seeing the benefits of Coaching first hand, many Leaders use Coaches to support their managers, drive leadership, talent and development programmes.
In this feature, I will describe what coaching is, types of Coaching, the benefits of Coaching and where I see Coaching will benefit farmers.
What is coaching?
Coaching is essentially about enabling a person think better. “People tend to become what they think about themselves “ (William James, Psychologist Harvard University)
The roots of coaching stretches back to the ancient philosophers. The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates quote is the very essence of coaching “I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think, which is far superior to passing on my little wisdom.”
European Mentoring and Coaching Council’s defines Coaching “Coaching is partnering with another in a thought provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential”
The Coaching process involves;
1. Building Rapport between Coach and person being coached is critical.
2. Active Listening – listening to understand is central to good coaching
3. Using Intuition
4. Asking the right Questions at the right time
5. Giving Feedback
A typical coaching session lasts from 1.5 -2 hours.
Types of Coaching
1. Executive Coaching refers to one to one Coaching of Leaders in Business, CEO’s, Managers and other professionals with the focus on helping you;
· Manage yourself – Building Self Awareness and Emotional Intelligence, Manage your time.
· Manage others – your management style, effectiveness, add Coaching skills to your core management skills
· Run Effective Meetings
· Set Goals
2. Business Coaching; Getting the big decisions right is critical to operating a successful Business. Coaching and Mentoring can be an invaluable support.
3. Career Coaching; For people who are at an important crossroads in their career;
· Career Planning
· Interview Coaching, CV and Job Application
· Retirement - Transitioning to a new Chapter
4. Life Coaching is focussed on the broader aspects of life – work life balance, family, relationships, community, health and wellbeing, fulfilment
5. Sports Coaching where Coaching began and today it has branched in many areas such from skills coaching, performance coaching to the psychological side.
Benefits of Coaching
The Coaching will be designed to address issues, the person being coached wants to consider. Coaching is about dealing with current challenges and looking to the future.
A good Coach will be mainly facilitative with the aim of enabling the Client to come up with their own outcomes. The Coaching process will support the development of self reflection. Something remarkable happens in a good Coaching session where the person begins to visualise their desired future. This vision can become so vivid that it compels them to orientate their actions towards it. They begin to see pathways around obstacles, keeping their eye on the prize rather than focussing on the difficulties that lie in the way.
The benefits of Coaching to the individual are higher motivation, empowerment and self directed learning. Teams will develop a clearer vision, have higher morale and have a higher
performance. The benefits to the overall organization include better communication, higher learning and development and staff that adapt quicker to change.
There is a solid business case for Coaching – Research has shown the return on investment from coaching ranging from 500%- 800%.
Benefits of Coaching in the Farm Business
Farming today has become a complex business. However, farming is unique in that the farm owner is the manager and together with his family is also the business operator. The day to day demands of farm work often leaves little or no time for planning or pardon the pun, “seeing the wood from the trees”.
Coaching is very different to advisory or extension work. With coaching the focus is on the person. It’s about enabling the farmer think better, develop their vision mission and set medium/longer term goals for their farm and family. It’s about building attitude and commitment to your goals. It’s about building resilience for the setbacks which every farmer is familiar with.
I see Coaching is particularly beneficial for the big decisions in farming life - Strategic Planning, Managing Labour and Succession Planning.
Today’s successful farmers think and act strategically. Going through the process of drawing up a Strategic Plan is especially beneficial when you are at a particular crossroads in your business or your life - changing or expanding your business, when your work – life balance is out of kilter. The Coaching/Mentoring process will enable you do “joined up thinking” by analysing everything from where are you now, where do you want to get to and how you will get there. Strategic Planning will guide you in what would you like your business and quality of life to look like in say 5 years time.
· SWOT Analysis of Your Business – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
· How will your market and customers change into the future?
· Staging your Plan
· Setting SMART Goals
· Achieving Results , Action Steps
· Cash Flow and Budgeting
Succession Planning is a very important issue for any business. It can be a particularly challenging and emotive issue for the farm family. Coaching and Mentoring can offer a powerful support in enabling the farm family make the right decision from;
· Starting the Succession Conversation
· Thinking out your Options? – Land Leasing, Partnership, Share Farming etc.
· Financial Implications,
· Communication within the family
Recruiting and Managing People
Expansion in dairying is resulting in an increasing number of farmers relying on full time hired labour. The recruitment and management of quality people is a new Challenge.
What kind of person are you looking for? · Job Description ,Qualifications & Experience · Contract of Employment, Remuneration, Bonuses · Effective Management, Communication, Motivation, Teamwork · Longer term Career Development
Achieving success is never easy. It’s important to surround yourself with the right people who will support and encourage you but will also point out the things you need to hear. Find a Coach or mentor who will suit you and stick with him/her. An effective Coach must be supportive and have a belief you can succeed.