My passion for organizational and executive coaching began in 2010 when I experienced my first coaching program as an elective within my Masters in Leadership program at Royal Roads University. This prompted my Masters thesis to be based upon “The Effectiveness of Organizational Coaching” at First Credit Union.
The objective of this research project was to ascertain if First Credit Union (FCU) would benefit from the implementation of an internal coaching program. An extensive examination of the learning that occurred during a coaching pilot at FCU, augmented by a comprehensive review of relevant literature, indicated that FCU would benefit from the implementation of coaching practices. The experience of participants led to recommendations for the development of a coaching culture at FCU.
Upon completion of my Masters in Leadership, I kept the momentum going and enrolled in the Certification in Executive Coaching Program through Royal Roads. This fantastic program provided a solid foundation for my coaching knowledge and practice. Through the culmination of my studies a powerful philosophy emerged regarding the significance of the ‘coach approach to leadership’. Through my research and practice, the profound impact of leading with questions and listening became clear. As a self admitted ‘teller’, I realized that a lot of my value proposition had come from ‘telling’ others my perspectives. Although this has served me well, and those around me seemed to appreciate my advice and guidance, I realized that this approach had not inspired transformative change for others. Once I began to ask more questions, and practice my contextual listening, I saw the power of Leading with Questions at work and at home. In 2011 I wrote a three-year business plan for introducing the coach approach within the First Group of Companies and presented it to my CEO. The vision noted was “Within 3 years build coaching competencies of First Credit Union leaders so that they can effectively engage employees in organizational and personal goals, foster accountability, and achieve results. This leadership development will be characterized by a ‘coach approach to leadership’”. Two years later, I’m thrilled with the progress we have made within the organization.
Another significant piece of my foundational knowledge came in the form of a coaching program developed by Shana Ring of Expedition Coaching. As a past graduate of the leadership and executive coaching program at RRU, and successful Human Resources manager for SaskPower, Shana did a brilliant job of developing a powerful program to teach the basics of coaching in a way that can be understood and remembered. The Expedition Coaching GUIDE and DIRECT models now serve as the foundation for the First Group of Companies coaching culture. http://www.destinationleadership.ca/newmenu/overview/
Leading with questions has moved from being something I was curious would be effective, to something I know to be powerful in terms of fostering solution-based thinking, ownership, confidence and action in others.