Business Coaching – How Strong is the Ripple Effect?

By August 17, 2012 Leadership No Comments

The impact of any business coaching program is only as good as it’s extension beyond the focus of the executive. What are the influences that are reshaping the organisation and what are the ripples that are being created as a result of an executive changing his thinking and actions? This article examines the extent that small business coaching moves beyond the individual into the hearts and minds of those who will be touched by the changes that occur.

I’m a strong advocate that for any organisational change to take place the leader will be required to make the change first. The principle in small business coaching which upholds the premise “leadership influences culture and culture influences performance”, is certainly an important factor within the determinants of the ripple effect.

In fact the ripple effect stretches to how the personal belief system of a leader shapes the belief systems of those led by them. If the cultural definition in the business coaching texts is “an expectation of behaviour”, then it cannot ignore the personal thinking and behaviours styles of those being coached.

Beliefs are the causes of action. If the goal in business coaching is to develop powerful and effective role models, then an objective measurement and assessment of personal beliefs would go far in identifying the relevant areas for improvement.

While this is a crucial first step in the causes of ripple effects, there is another component that needs to be addressed. This component drives the way people operate and sets the norms adopted in everyday behaviour. This is the values system of the organisation.

Values are core to the “personality” of a company, as the actions of people and groups are determined by the values they hold dear. From an small business coaching perspective they are vital. These values whether known or unknown seep into every aspect of the working environment. Decisions and choices are dependant on them as are people dynamics and culture.

Where do these values come from and who decides their composition?

When leaders take on the responsibility of formulating organisational values, they use their personal values as an indicator of what these should be. Consequently the values become inextricably tied to the beliefs, thinking and behaviours of the leaders. The ripple effects here tend to be detrimental as something sensitive and fundamental is perceived to be prescriptive.

Another point to consider is that if indeed they are prescribed, leaders run the risk when they are not role modelling the values. The ripple effect turns into hypocritical waves. A certain case for small business coaching.

If however they are decided by the people through a constructive and equitable approach then the probability of acceptance and sustainability of action increase. When leaders hand over the responsibility the ripple effect is very different. The effect is trust, empowerment and autonomy, three central outcomes in any corporate coaching program.

As we know there are many factors that cause ripple effects in an organisation. These two themes however are crucial in creating a constructive working environment with strong and inspiring leadership.

From the business coaching perspective the ripple effect of doing it wrong is severe and the waves it creates are difficult to contain.

Take some time to consider the leadership ripple effect in your organisation and please be mindful that it only takes one stone to create many ripples in all directions.

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