Don’t « tune » your organization, change it!

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Don’t jump too fast on the “obvious” solution represented by individual coaching. It may become evident in certain cases that coaching an individual in the company is not sufficient to solve the situation. If I may use this parallel, it’s like if you wanted to improve the performance of your automobile. You could tune a little the engine in order to get more power but if you wish to transform it in a race car you’ll have to change more than that and modify the entire system to obtain an entirely different type of car that will deliver a completely different performance.

Today, in the business world we know, companies are facing situations requiring more flexibility and reactivity. They need to define proper strategies and shape the appropriate plans and organization to implement it. The pressure they put in the system is increasing and requires different elements and work procedures to be able to deliver the expected performance just like the car I was mentioning.

The individuals involved in today’s business world are requested to deliver an increasing level of performance. If everything else remain the same in the existing system, the greater difficulties they are facing to perform and be individually effective will become unbearable. Additional performance requires therefore a change in the specific nature of the organization which has a tendency to become a more and more complex system that operates with many interrelated actions and doesn’t allow individual performance in any circumstances.

Keeping that context in mind, in some instance you may be willing to propose an individual coaching to someone who seems to struggle with personal difficulties. This could be for example a dysfunctional communication with the boss that impacts the performance and results or an increasing employee turnover in her perimeter that disorganizes the concerned department. My experience is that this person generally is not in a position to change the system but appears to be considered responsible for the situation. This person with an individual coaching would risk to find herself loaded with the symptoms of the problem by her environment and risks to become the scapegoat of the struggling organization. You will agree with me that this is not an acceptable outcome. Neither from an ethical perspective nor from a business perspective because it doesn’t solve the issue.

In such a case and to avoid the scapegoating process, the one recommended solution would be to launch a coaching process for the entire system represented by the persons involved, their relationship, the team and the organization. This approach would enlarge the scope of the mission like for the transformation of your car into a race car, and would allow a better treatment of the root causes of the present situation. The coach becomes then the architect of the complete solution that remain designed by the client with an extended team of coaches, trainers and consultants. This solution allows the coverage of all the different aspects of the situation encountered by the client and brings the expected deep transformation in a way that respects the homeostasis of the system.

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