More and more people in our coach training programs are saying, these coaching skills are really good, how can I use them more in my work as a supervisor? And how will that experience be different or better than bringing in an external coach?
I answer those questions in my upcoming book, Coaching From the Inside: The Guiding Principles of Internal Coaching. The following is an overview of the themes we’ll explore. We go into much greater detail in the book, including first-person accounts from internal coaches who do this work every day.
- As the internal coach you have the opportunity to see and experience the system first-hand, and your client’s place in that system. As an external coach, you are usually receiving second-hand information about the system and your client.
- As an internal coach, you are in the system and have a vested interest in the outcome of the coaching. As an external coach, your primary interest is the success of your client and there is little to no investment outside of their success.
- As an internal coach you are doing multi-directional/dimensional coaching (e.g., upward coaching, peer coaching, performance coaching, systems coaching, individual, intact team coaching). As an external coach, you are primarily doing mono-directional/dimensional coaching.
- Internal coaching happens in the moment. As you and your clients go about daily work routines, coaching happens. As an external coach, your coaching is primarily scheduled.
- The reward and risk factors are much higher when being brave and bold as an internal coach (we call this “skinny branch coaching”).
- As an internal coach, you need to become fluent in the non-verbal language and cultural norms of your organization. (e.g., habits, patterns, and unspoken assumptions that guide decisions).
- As an internal coach, you know the players in your workplace, and you have a history that is part of the coaching. As an external coach, you are coaching from a clean slate.
- As an internal coach, the following question is constantly changing: Who are we in service of?
- As an internal coach, you need to be alert to when an external coach is called for. Also, internal coaches need their own coach – preferably outside the system.
What have you noticed about using coaching skills at work? Do you see a role for both internal and external coaching in your workplace?