by Ryan Panzer
In out first post of the ATD-MAC All things Coaching Series we looked at the effectiveness of coaching and how all organizations can benefit from some level of coaching engagement. In the next few posts we will take a look at different models of coaching programs, highlighting a free programs right here in the Madison area!
Brandi Davis, a member of ATD-MAC, is the owner of B. Davis Directions, a consulting firm focused on employee performance, retention, and development. As part of her consulting practice, Brandi frequently serves as an external coach to leaders in Wisconsin's assisted living sector.
As a coaching consultant, Brandi is brought in to coach emerging leaders, and to provide one to one coaching and guidance to leaders who may be struggling or looking to become higher performers. Typically, Brandi finds that engagements last between four to six months.
When identifying candidates for coaching, Brandi says it is as much about the employer's buy-in as it is the employee's motivation and self-awareness. Davis says, "Coaching is helping someone discover the path they want to go on, then creating opportunities and resources to help people get there."
Not every employee, and not every organization, will benefit from working with a coach. Employees have to be willing to make the first step down the path, and employees must be dedicated to promising the necessary opportunities and resources that their leaders need to accomplish their goals.
When Brandi works one to one with her clients, she starts with a two to three-hour interview that assess the coachee's leadership style, as well as their view of their organization. then, Brandi brings in the perspectives of others in the organization.
"I ask other members of the team, do you have the training and resources you need, what do you think is going well in the organization, and what are the opportunities? Do you feel valued, and do you feel recognized for the work you do?"
Typically, these conversations are quire open-ended, giving the staff time to think and process, then take the information and synthesize it into a series of finding on the coachee's skill for teamwork, education, and communication - and how these skills fit with organizational realities."
Once Brandi has completed her research on the coaches and their place within the organization, she is ready to work directly with her clients to create an action plan with specific, attainable goals.
When the action plan is set, Brandi and her clients break down a category into a series of steps to drive goal accomplishment. Brandi ensures her clients - both the coaches and the organization leadership - are brought into the action plan and willing toward towards it s completion. As Brandi and her coaches work on the action plan, they hold a series of regular phone check-ins, usually over the course of four to six months.
"There's always this partnership in coaching, with an end-goal that is attainable and engaging for the coaches and can be supported by myself. We celebrate the small successes along the way together."
Throughout Brandi's engagement with her clients, question and conversation are always prioritized over advice and direction Davis says that "coaching is constant question asking. It's not me giving advice. It's me trying to engage the client's critical thing. It's their own performance that is on the radar."
Brandi views coaching as beneficial to all organizations, provided the organization is willing to invest in coaching on a regularly and routine basis.
"The big thing to think about is the consistency of the model. For this reason, I would recommend that organizations start with an executive coaching program, then a middle management program. It's important to remember that coaching is not a one-off, six-hour session. the biggest thing about coaching is the consistency and the routine of it. If your executives don't have time to participate, then what are you really looking to get out if it?"
Even without a formal coaching program in place, leaders can start to promote coaching behaviors simply throughout heir interactions in the workplace. Brandi encourages TD professionals to start speaking the language of coaching. Just get comfortable with three to four questions starting out. You can use those questions in the workplace - and then you do, you start to develop a coaching culture. My go-to question are about seeking to understand in issue firsts, and that starts with 'help me understand.' Or, 'what is the goal you are hoping to achieve?"
Similar to working with a client in a one-to-one setting, it takes time an an resources to build a program. But getting started is as simple as asking ehe right questions, setting a course, and celebrating successes along the way.
Brandi Davis has worked in the health and human services industry in a variety of files such as AODA clinics, PT/OT, hospitals, hospice and the assisted living industry for over 15 years. Brandi has over ten year' experience in recruiting, orienting, training , and supervising both volunteers and paid staff. During this time, Brandi has discovered one thing: She truly believes in the power of people. Brandi understand that people can and do excel in environments that allow them to reach their full potential through engaging training and proper coaching. Brandi is committed to building long-term relationships with her clients and providing top-notch customer service.
Ryan Panzer is a trainer and instructional designer at Zendesk's Madison office where he is currently working to launch a coaching program. Prior to working for Zendesk Ryan trained sales and customer support teams at Google's Ann Arbor office. Ryan is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is currently working on ATD's CPLP certification. He is passionate about Badger football and building cultures of learning.