TCI Global Toolkit: Coaching Essentials

The Transformational Power of Coaching
TCI U Menu
Purpose
Mentor
Pass on a lifetime of skills and knowledge
Consultant
Provide expert knowledge and advise
Counselor
Help overcome past pain, problems and brokenness
Coach
Aide personal discovery and accelerated growth
Focus
Mentor
On experience and strengths of mentor
Consultant
Problem-solving
Counselor
Past emotional issues
Coach
Future goals and actions
Method
Mentor
Sharing, modeling, teaching
Consultant
Observation, telling, advising
Counselor
Therapy
Coach
Asking powerful questions
Sets Agenda
Mentor
Subject matter, mentor
Consultant
Task to be completed or problem to be solved
Counselor
Counselor
Coach
Client
Model
Mentor
Parent-child
Consultant
Teacher-student
Counselor
Doctor-patient
Coach
Partners

The below graphic does a great job highlighting the main difference between coaches and other leaders. At the core, a coach believes that his/her coachee is a naturally creative, resourceful and whole person. As a result, they operate most often from a place of inquiry, asking the coachee powerful questions to help them identify solutions and next steps for themselves.

Therefore, coaches must possess the following characteristics:

  • Be a partner/ facilitator
  • Be client-led
  • Believe that clients are naturally resourceful, have answers within themselves
  • Create an environment for client growth through asking powerful questions
  • A focus on the present and future, not the past

Key competencies of a coach

Research shows that there is a need to find, hire and retain people with good soft skills. According to “Closing the Technology Leadership Gap” published in 2018, 67% of human resources (HR) representatives report withholding positions due to lack of soft skills. An internal study done by Google in 2013 revealed that 7 out of 8 of the most important job skills are soft skills. According to Indeed, soft skills include any skill that can be classified as a personality trait or habit. These often include:

  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Teamwork
  • Empathy and integrity
  • Problem solving

These are often the same skills that good coaches have.

Coaching competence.

What are the responsibilities of a coach?

Coaches serve as change agents. They are tasked with:

  • Keeping the client at the center of the conversation
  • Entering the relationship without knowing what the outcome will be
  • Remaining curious
  • Raising awareness
  • Helping the client to action plan and set goals

What does coaching have to do with fixed and growth mindsets?

Over 30 years ago, psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck and her colleagues became interested in students’ attitudes about failure. They noticed that some students rebounded while other students seemed devastated by even the smallest setbacks. After studying the behavior of thousands of children, Dr. Dweck coined the terms fixed mindset and growth mindset to describe the underlying beliefs people have about learning and intelligence. When students believe they can get smarter, they understand that effort makes them stronger. Therefore, they put in extra time and effort, and that leads to higher achievement.

Fixed Mindset
  • People, their talents, skills, intelligence and qualities cannot be changed
  • Believes that given and born talent alone leads to success, and effort is not required
  • Avoids challenges
  • Sees feedback as criticism
  • Failure is a limit to ability and cannot be changed
Growth Mindset
  • People can change their talents, abilities, skills and intelligence
  • Willing to approach obstacles
  • Welcomes feedback
  • Able to adopt different effective problem-solving strategies
  • Goal-oriented
  • As a manager, provides developmental feedback to subordinates, in a safe manner
Growth Mindset +
  • Open, curious, flexible and client-centered
  • Focus on the whole person
  • Not a problem-solver, but a person developer: The client has the answers
  • Evokes transformation

Recent advances in neuroscience have shown us that the brain is far more malleable than previously thought. Research on brain plasticity has shown how connectivity between neurons can change with experience. With practice, neural networks grow new connections, strengthen existing ones, and build insulation that speeds transmission of impulses. These neuroscientific discoveries have shown us that we can increase our neural growth by the actions we take, such as using good strategies, asking questions, practicing, and following good nutrition and sleep habits.

As a result, TCI-trained coaches use different strategies to ensure coachees lead the engagement, specifically the learning process, by helping them to see opportunities instead of problems. Coaches ask thought-provoking or powerful questions to allow for creation, adaptation and innovation instead of reaction. Coaches find opportunities to build psychological safety for the coachee to practice new skills.

How is TCI coaching different from technical assistance?

According to Britannica, technical assistance is a “form of aid given to less-developed countries by international organizations such as the United Nations (UN) and its agencies, individual governments, foundations, and philanthropic institutions. Its object is to provide those countries with the expertise needed to promote development.” Traditionally, this has been a very top-down approach in which the international organization comes in to “fix” something and often ignores and overlooks local knowledge and expertise. Although this thinking is shifting, it is ingrained in the global health sector and change is slow.

In response to this often ineffective and unsustainable approach, TCI has adopted coaching as its primary method of capacity strengthening. As a result, TCI coaches do not implement programs; rather, they serve as resources and advisors to city teams, helping them leverage existing structures and systems to solve problems. The city teams lead the design, management and implementation of high-impact best practices, and the TCI coaches support these efforts.

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