Coaching uses practical steps to improve performance over a defined period with regular progress checks. The individual being coached enjoys learning because they experience tangible improvement. A gain in confidence usually accelerates improvement.

Unfortunately, with the advent of 'life coaching', much coaching has been coated with elements of unrealistic positive thinking coupled with jargon and a New Age approach which often bears little practical relevance to the development needs at hand. Effective coaching is much more than common-sense, encouraging homilies and emulating particular role-models.

The main features of effective coaching are that it is tailored to the individual and is achievable over a defined period. It should be supportive, realistic, helpful, practical, useful, carefully monitored and done in manageable chunks. It starts with clear definitions of the current state of skill, the desired state of skill and the improvement needed to get from one to the other. All effective coaching starts with a session to establish a starting point, what is to be achieved and over what period of time.

individual coaching

Coaching undertaken 1:1 is extremely effective because of the amount of attention and concentration that can be given to the person being coached and to the skill in which they are being coached. It gives more time for practice, questions and feedback ensuring that fine detail can be concentrated on.

coaching in small groups

Coaching can be undertaken in small groups. The main benefit is that individuals assess their own style and learning by observing others and using those comparisons to correct mistakes, adjust style and find one's own best approach. The coach needs to be sure that inter-action in groups is encouraging rather than discouraging and act quickly with particular individuals to ensure that they are keeping pace with others. Any competitive element must be carefully managed.

management coaching

Appropriate for those starting their first management role or those already working as managers at any level. It is best done when preceded by Management Analysis, this results in a comprehensive report on management ability and performance along with development needs and suggestions for further training. Management coaching works best on-site, in tandem with observation, once a relationship has been established between the coach and the person being coached.

executive coaching

Beneficial for those at the most senior levels in companies. At this level executives should be prepared for a more critical and confronting approach to gain full advantage from the process.

Leaders and senior people don't get anywhere like the amount of coaching they need because there is an assumption from them, and others, that somehow they have risen beyond the need for it. It is rare to find an individual who is too senior or too talented to benefit from effective coaching. Executive coaching is often not done because of the difficulty of finding someone who can speak honestly to these people at their level. All the more reason it should be done.

At its simplest it can be compared to the slave who was instructed to accompany Roman Emperors as they paraded through Rome in their Triumphs regularly whispering 'Remember, you too are human'.

Vertical Horizon has many years experience of intensive, high-level coaching and will undertake Executive Coaching which is guaranteed to be honest, confronting and developmental.