12th January 2020
Introduction from WFL
More and more organisations are exploring how to help senior professionals move out of permanent headcount into more independent working. Many want to maximise their contribution alongside purposeful opportunities to work as a coach and mentor. Indeed many senior professionals preparing to move into independent working are attracted to Coaching and Mentoring as a professional activity. These people have great knowledge, skills and experience that can be integrated within an expanding value adding market.
This section is aimed at people who are considering either a 100% Career as an Independent Coach/Mentor or an involvement in Coaching as a significant part of their Independent lifestyle and, of course, their revenue. The aim is to provide an overview of what Coaching/Mentoring means in practice. The supporting content will help people get a handle on what this could mean for them and how to do it successfully.
To those who are looking at Coaching and/or Mentoring as their new career, we would say this:-
- You need to find out as much as you can before making any commitments.
- Thinking that you know enough can be a very dangerous mindset – as is going for the first option that looks viable!
- But, paradoxically, this is where you need to start. Learning continuously is vital – and what your clients expect of you.
This website aims to alert you to all the key knowledge that you need to have and points to where you can find it.
On the other hand, you may be looking for a Coach for yourself. Talk with me at [email protected] . But, knowing what Coaches do and how they operate will make the process much easier
Overview & Key Points from the Technical Topic Partner
Coaching and Mentoring represents an exciting and fulfilling opportunity for self employed professionals. Many new to Coaching and Mentoring are surprised to discover that this is a huge area of skill, knowledge and behaviours with lots of opportunities. Coaching and mentoring within the organisational structure is all about helping others perform and grow better than if they did not have your help. Increasingly – within a world of pace and uncertainty – individuals, teams and organisations also share many similarities. Both Coaching and Mentoring use a very similar set of capabilities and will often be used in the same session. Both have now become established as a ‘high return on investment’ performance and growth methodology.
Coaching tends to be defined as unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is built around helping them to learn rather than teaching them. It is very much about facilitating through conversation to help someone perform closer to their potential, learn their role or task, help them develop and achieve fulfilment.
Mentoring is often defined as the act of helping and guiding and giving advice to a less experienced person. Many organisations have used processes to allocate senior leaders as mentors to more junior leaders. Whilst there are nuances of difference they both represent interventions that focus on the future and on individuals. My technical approach here is driven by strong commercial opportunities of mainstream coaching in which a combination of coaching and mentoring are used to maximise impact and value.
Globally, the coaching sector has evolved, and is currently the second fastest growing industry after IT. According to the International Coach Federation (ICF), the coaching industry in 2017 was believed to $2 billion. In the UK specifically, CIPD studies indicate that now over 80% or organisations use some form of coaching and mentoring services and approaches. A number of professional organisations such as the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and the European Mentoring Coaching Council (EMCC) work hard to develop professional standards and development for professionals operating as executive coaches. The UK has opportunity for more self-employed professionals to offer services both business to business, such as executive coaching, and direct to individuals, such as life coaching, which itself is a growing niche.
Significant further growth is forecasted in the UK and it is not difficult to find people calling themselves coaches and/or mentors even without any qualification or training. As the market matures this is both a challenge and a significant opportunity as demand for qualified and accredited coaches and mentors increases. Further it may well be prudent to consider the emerging niches that often need specialists or differentiation that emerge from corporate coaching assignments – areas such as:
- SME Coaching
- Low leadership pipeline mentoring and coaching situations
- Women in leadership
- Resilience and well being
Currently in the UK there are number of large coaching brokerage firms that house ‘associate coaches’ who contract in to support coaching assignments. A number of medium to large sized consultancies offer coaching services as part of their suite of offerings to organisations. These often have a combination of external ‘freelance’ associates and full time paid coaches. Further, a lot of organisational psychologists offer coaching services. Business coaching is not restricted to external experts or providers. Many organisations expect their senior leaders and middle managers to coach their team members to reach higher levels of performance, increased job satisfaction, personal growth, and career development. Increasingly, organisations are developing their internal coaches and we are seeing moves to develop a mixed blend of external and internal coachees.
In reality, there is no one go-to professional body in the market. Our advice is to consider developing commercial offerings that support both coaching and mentoring. I, like many, advocate that for the exiting senior professional who has the ability to skilfully combine both with their business opportunities. You should also include considering your own niche offerings going forward within the growing market. An existing senior leader with particular industry expertise alongside technical knowledge may well find more opportunities to entry by offering the service of not only asking great questions but also answering great questions that their clients may ask. This increases their service differentials, prospect activation, and revenue opportunities.
Skills, Behaviours and Knowledge
Above all, being a great coach and mentor is hugely rewarding. However, it is not for everyone.
- You have to let go.
Great coaching operates at a different level. You have to be willing to shift your own psychological rules away from helping others by giving your own opinions or ideas towards listening, cleanly probing and encouraging new thinking.
- Start with a good foundation of emotional intelligence.
The heart of great coaching is your ability to be self-aware and self-manage your reactions. These are the two fundamental components of emotional intelligence which need to be part of your overall approach.
- Assess your skills, behaviours and knowledge.
Effective coaching and mentoring is a complex skill set. The EMCC number 8 competence categories areas of critical capability that are typical of best practice in this area and these should be studied.
These are my top tips:-
- Understanding Self– You need to demonstrate awareness of your own values, beliefs and behaviours and recognise how these affect your practice and how you use this self-awareness to manage your effectiveness in meeting the client’s objectives.
- Committed to Self-Development– You need to be committed to exploring and improving the standard of your practice and maintain the reputation of the profession. Your brand and your reputation is vital.
- Managing, in physiological terms, the contracts– You need to establish and maintain the expectations and boundaries of the mentoring/coaching contract with the client and, where appropriate, with the sponsors.
- Building the Relationship– You need to build and maintain an effective relationship with the client, and where appropriate, with the sponsor.
- Enabling Insight and Learning– Through skilled listening, questioning and presence work with the client, you need to bring about insight, new thinking and learning.
- Outcome and Action Orientation– Great coaches demonstrate a positive orientation approach and use skills in supporting the client to make desired changes.
- Use of Models and Techniques– Great coaches manage the process and not the agenda. This means that they are willing and capable of using a range of coaching and mentoring models and tools, techniques.
- Evaluation– Great coaches will willingly and effectively seek, gather and use information for the effectiveness of their own practice and contribute to establishing a culture of evaluation of outcomes.
Have a realistic worked Business Plan
The Key Points are:-
- Coaching and mentoring is a business offering and it needs to be supported by effective, researched and detailed business planning.
- This needs to include key elements such as defining precisely and clearly your professional product, its differentiation, how it is delivered and, very importantly, to whom. Bering a specialist tends to work better than being a Generalist – it enables you to have skills amongst the best and makes your target market smaller and easier to penetrate and manage.
- Pricing, marketing and promotion – three separate areas – need to be carefully planned and costed…….
- ……. as also does continuous professional development.
- ….. and the supporting admin.
- Working Free provides in Part 5 ( Self Employment)a framework of materials aimed at helping you to get your initial business plan started. The content includes a 6 stage Self- Employment Model plus 6 associated “essentials” Checklist Panels. (Google EMCUK.org – Competence Framework)
Whilst this market is expanding, there are more players coming into the game – and if the supply exceeds the demand – which it probably does – you have to find ways of being heard above the noise. Not easy. But you do need to take advice about what goes into the business planning process. Done properly, it should become an integral and important and continuous driver in your own success story.
We also support this with a number of business plan/marketing and sales related recommended books. See Additional Material
This material also connects up with the TTP Finance/Tax content that you will find in Part Six.
- Happy to have a conversation and work out with you next steps – [email protected]
- Prepare the ground whilst still on the permanent headcount. If feasible, talk about it with your line manager – and get them to pay for the transition process! Note that the Working Free Pathfinder Programme is designed for the Corporate Market and would be available to you by agreement through your employer. See the link on the home page to “Organisations”. Otherwise, you can sign on to the Working Free programme for Individuals – see the link on the home page to “Individuals”.
- Working Free is also able to introduce Coaches to Coaching Organisations seeking to augment their teams by engaging Associates or organisations generally who are seeking coaching support within their own businesses.
More info from [email protected]
Becoming a Professional Accredited Coach
There are several options for becoming a well-trained accredited coach. We note three which are best done while you are within permanent employment to allow coaching hours to be built up commensurate with the professional level sought.
- ICF offers three credential paths; Associate certified coach, professional certified coach and master certified coach
- EMCC offers 4 levels of foundation, practitioner, senior practitioner and Master practitioner.
- ILM offers levels certificate and diploma for executive and senior level coaches and mentors
At Working Free we run a professional coaching programme to enable Independents to obtain an ILM Level 7 certificate or Diploma in executive and senior level coaching along with ongoing accreditation. This is 6 day programme phased over 4-6 months, including virtual supervision support while achieving required coaching and mentoring hours.
In all our work in the Technical Topics Sections at Working Free, we seek to approach the Topic in an even-handed, comprehensive and objective way and rely heavily on signposting for the delivery of much of the detail. Whilst our Technical Topic Partners are experts in their fields, they are also niche and independent businesses selling their services in support of their Technical Topic. They/ We would not knowingly sell something that does not need to be bought. With all parties being aware of this, we expect openness and well-informed discussion to ensure that all our clients buy what is best for them, if at all.
- Module 1: Assessing your suitability for coaching and mentoring
- Module 2: Understanding the options for becoming a professional coach
- Module 3: Running a Coaching Business – Understanding the business dynamics.
This includes attending one of our ILM Level 7 Coaching and Mentoring certification programmes run by www.Arema.co.uk
NOTE from Working Free. Arema is a company owned by Andy Maggs and with which Working Free collaborates.
- Masterful Coaching , Extraordinary Results by Impacting People and The Way They Think and Work Together, Robert Hargrove, Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer
- Coaching For Commitment, D Kinlaw,Pfeiffer
- Executive Coaching, with Backbone and Heart. ( A systems approach to engaging Leaders with their true challenges), Mary Beth O’Neil, Jossey-Bass Inc.
- Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman, Bantum
- John Whitmore, Coaching for Performance,Nicolas Brealey Publishing
- Myles Downey, Effective Coaching,Thomson Texere
- Jane Greene and Antony Grant, Solution Focused Coaching, Managers ISBN 1 -843 – 04028 – X
- Laura Whitworth, Henry Kimsey-House and Phil Sandahl, Co –active Coaching, Davis Black
- Mary P Conner and Julia B Pokora, Coaching and mentoring at work, Mcgraw Publishing
This is a complex area and lies at the heart of becoming and being a successful Coach. We differentiate it here from Books for no particular reason! Your best approach, we think, is signing on for the Working Free Module on this topic. More info from [email protected]. One of the benefits of working towards a qualification is that participants will be exposed to an array of Models and Frameworks.
- Herons Six Categories of Intervention-Challenge Coaching. John Heron ( July 2012 updated). (This Model is regarded by many as one of the most useful – arguably one of the best coaching frameworks ever.)
- See also Heron’s 6CIA ( Six Categories of Intervention Analysis) on You Tube-8 and a half minutes, April 2017.
- The Thomas Kilman Model-Conflict/Challenge. Once again a very useful coaching framework.
Winning Business/Creating a Marketing Strategy For A Coaching Business.
In the early stages of your Independent Coaching career you may well find it helpful to work under the umbrella of one or several well established Coaching Organisations.
This has the obvious advantages that “others” have won the business that you are delivering, it gives you time to find “your feet”, to build your skills/knowledge and to develop your own style and reputation.
It also gives you time to research/network and to understand your market place better. There is clearly no substitute for experience.
This umbrella “business route” does come at a cost as it means that a third party “takes a cut” of the fee that if you had gone direct you would have had 100% of i.e. if you are working under a “service arrangement” of some type for someone else you will be subject to their rates/business terms and not your own and of course, they have borne the sales/marketing costs, they have other overheads that need covering and they need to make a profit.
This may not be a disadvantage to you as the trade-off of not having to market/identify clients and sell your services may fit what you want to achieve very well. This is just one of the many “Strategic” personal decisions that go with the territory of becoming an Independent- Do I go out and win business directly for myself or do I get work from others or do I decide to do a “mix of both”?
If you decide to build your business by going direct this tends to require another decision, Who am I going to market and sell to? Do I market/sell directly to Corporate ( Large/Medium/SME) Organisations or to individuals, or do I do a mix of both?
The “direct route” does need thinking through but your strategy and plan will very much follow traditional lines for the marketing and selling of professional services. This is a well – trodden route and there are many useful books, tools and programmes that you could tap into as well as, of course, to proactively research/network and to talk to contacts who are experienced in these activities.
Whatever you decide to do you need to research your market, fix on the niche or niches that you want to specialise in, checkout rates/pricing, think through your business terms and think about how you identify and get to clients. All of this needs summarising in a marketing strategy and a business plan, one that you feel fits best for you both commercially, professionally and personally to reflect how you want to use your time, talents and energy.
For more Information please contact [email protected]
Please also refer to Section 5 ( Self Employment), as mentioned earlier. In particular to review Module 3 of the Self Employment Model – Winning Business and Growing Customer Relationships: Product Specc’ing and Sales Planning.
Market Research- Some Headlines.
This Report of Coaching in the UK, albeit based on 2017, has strong messages.
This includes average coaching rates
These are a few of the top players in UK
- Lee Hecht Harrison – and – Penna
(Coaching) (LHH is part of Penna.)
- BTS – look for Coach in a Box
Get certified !
As already noted, coaching and mentoring is becoming more professionalised and certification is critical. Here are some useful external links:-
In this section we will keep you updated on further information as it becomes available. We would pleased to hear from anyone with suggestions for additions to this list above
If you would like to make a comment that others can read, see where marked TTC at the end of every Section. This where you can make your Contributor comment – which is emailed to [email protected] - and published after screening. Please include your name and contact details so that other readers can get back to you. The real value in this Section– for all Readers – will doubtless come from learning from other Independents’ experiences and knowledge – what works and what does not work – things to do and things to avoid.
To get started as a Technical Topic Contributor click here.