Most people who at some point in their lives had a trusted and skilled personal coach could probably attest to the many benefits they received from their engagement. For many, the experience was life changing.
Coaching in organizations offers at least two powerful advantages over traditional training approaches. First, it facilitates a highly personalized developmental process focused on the “coachee’s” unique talents, aspirations and challenges. Second, while traditional training tends to be episodic, a coaching relationship unfolds over time, thus supporting the coachee through different stages of his/her growth.
If personal coaching delivers such powerful benefits, why not make it available to everyone in an organization? Why reserve it primarily for senior managers and “high-potentials”? One simple reason: cost. Unlike training, coaching doesn’t scale well. At $200-500 per person per hour, it’s simply too expensive.
Shrink the cost, multiply the benefits
Imagine it was possible to create a “coaching system” that —
- Makes coaching available to everyone in the organization
- Grows the number of coaches exponentially — without growing out-of-pocket cost
- Becomes self-managing, self-regulating and self-propagating fairly quickly
- Grows to become a key part of the organization’s people development infrastructure
- Delivers multiple and multiplying benefits to individuals, teams and the organization as a whole
- Starts small and with low risk, and grows organically over time
We at 10X Shift have been designing and evolving such a coaching system. At its core is a concept we call Co-creative Coaching Trios — a special peer coaching structure designed and pioneered by Bill Veltrop during his work supporting a merger of two hi-tech giants in 1998.
A Co-creative Coaching Trio (abbreviated CCT) has three members who rotate through three distinct roles during each coaching session: coach, coachee and facilitator/observer. The facilitator’s role is to observe the coaching process, make useful interventions when appropriate, and to provide useful feedback to the coach after the session.
Co-creative Coaching Trio Process
Each of the below steps is important, especially during the early practice sessions, to achieve maximum benefits:
- Trio agrees on starting roles and how the time will be divided and managed
- Coachee requests co-creative coaching support: What kind of coaching support is wanted? What does the coachee want to focus on?
- Coach asks coachee if there are any special wishes and/or constraints regarding her coaching, and establishes boundary conditions (We provide a special paper “Tips for Coaches” as part of the process)
- The trio proceeds with this round of coaching. Coach draws from “Tips for Coaches” as appropriate during the coaching process — especially using “Coaching Questions That Work”
- After the coachee feels complete, the coach asks for feedback — first from the coachee and then from the facilitator
- The trio rotates their roles and goes through another coaching cycle. (There are three cycles in each CCT session to allow each person to play each of the three roles)
While the duration of the CCT session is up to the participants, we usually recommend allocating two hours to allow adequate time for coaching, feedback and reflection.
NOTE: Highly effective coaching that delivers lasting results is not an easy skill — it requires deliberate development and practice. To help with the learning process, we’ve created a short “Co-Creative Coaching Trio Handbook” that we hand out to the participants prior to their first coaching session. We insist that all trio members review the handbook before each session, until it becomes second nature.
Co-creative Coaching Trio Benefits
The CCT process, when routinely practiced with committed partners, can yield both multiple and multiplying benefits. As a participant —
- You learn to listen — really listen — in a way that can radically improve the quality of your relationships
- You feel supported — fully supported — in a way that encourages you to more fully develop and give your unique talents and gifts
- Within each new Trio, you develop new trusting relationships — in a way that helps grow a sense of community, a sense that “we’re all in this together”
- You develop new and expanded ways of looking at your work life (and your home life) — ways that open up new possibilities, that promote and support new and more rewarding patterns of thinking and relating
- You uncover and develop ways of multiplying your lasting contribution to the organization, its stakeholders and beyond
Scaling up: 10X Coaching
While the CCT process can be powerful on its own, its developmental efficacy and impact can be literally multiplied when put in the context of the organization’s commitment to achieve a major business and/or cultural breakthrough.
Within such a context, we pair CCTs with the transformational process we call “10X Commitments.” A 10X Commitment is a commitment to a radical shift in the contribution you are making to your stakeholders — customers, partners, co-workers, community, etc. “10X” refers to an order-of-magnitude shift, one that feels impossible (i.e. far beyond your current capabilities) — a shift that demands exploration outside the box of your current thinking — a shift that requires co-creative collaboration.
The 10X Commitment process is not just an event — it’s a challenging and exciting developmental journey filled with deep self-discovery and rapid growth. Co-creative Coaching Trios play a crucial part in this journey by providing the much needed guidance, accountability and social support throughout the process.
The benefits of Co-Creative Coaching Trios and 10X Commitments working in synergy side by side can be huge, especially within the larger context of creating a targeted organizational breakthrough. In a typical organization, the senior leadership’s commitment to such a breakthrough can serve as an inspiration and guiding function that spawn new 10X Commitments throughout the organization’s membership.
Over time, the participating changemakers begin to naturally “clump and cluster” around similar 10X Commitments, thus forming specific change initiatives (or “networks of commitment”) that advance the change effort. The process unfolds and grows organically, engaging more and more players in the action-learning journey, until the objectives of the overall effort are achieved.
growing A 10X coaching culture
Traditional coaching approaches are focused on helping develop select individuals — either because they are deemed to be especially important, or because they have a particular challenge or problem.
The CCT strategy (paired with 10X Commitments) is not meant to simply “scale up” individual coaching. Rather, it is designed to multiply the efficacy of traditional coaching by growing an organic and deeply relational “developmental infrastructure” throughout the organization that supports its members in daring to grow and contribute beyond what they deem possible — and then making it happen, time and again.
The CCT strategy is designed to become self-managing, self-regulating and self-propagating fairly quickly, thus significantly reducing the “management burden” on the organization. In the long term, this strategy can become critical to growing the organization’s overall capacity for 10X learning and growth — an urgent necessity in today’s VUCA world.