Coaching in the Workplace on Personal Relationships

Here is the scenario: a coach is hired by a company to work with an employee for the purpose of enhancing their team management skills.  The employee is personally involved in a relationship that is in turmoil.  Should coaching include addressing the personal relationship?  While on the surface the personal relationship has nothing to do with work or leading a team, the reality is that the personal turmoil very possibly affects performance.

One challenge for coaches is determining whether and when it is appropriate to spend time on personal issues with a client sponsored by their company for coaching services.  Some companies do not want personal issues addressed and others recognize that flexibility in this area is important for coaching results.  Harvard Business Review stated that 76% of the time in executive coaching, personal issues are addressed.

Before beginning a coaching relationship, the coach establishes an agreement with the company or the sponsor, and with the client.  When establishing this agreement, the coach must explore the expectations of the company and the client, and discuss the parameters of the coaching services.  At this stage, the coach can discuss with the company the possibility of personal issues affecting performance and determine whether the company is open to providing coaching that does address these personal concerns.  If the company does not want personal issues discussed during the coaching at work, options include coaching outside of the workplace, a referral to a different professional, or limiting the coaching sessions to discussion of performance.

The coach, client, and sponsor must agree to and know the scope and parameters of the coaching agreement.  The time for ensuring this is before coaching starts.

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