"I would like you to write the first 5 words you associate with the word Happiness". The coachee looks at me puzzled and asks me some questions, to better understand and manage her anxiety. Then she focuses, and her hand starts moving faster over the paper. One, two, three words and then a pause. "It’s difficult". "Yes, it is. But it’s not impossible," I answer. She gains concentration again and completes the task.
"Would you like to share them?" She looks at her paper, awkward, justifies herself a little for the quality of the output and then lists them: "Realization. Success. Family. Money. Professional development. Bringing value”. There are six.
"Very good. Now please do the same thing with the word “Organizational". This time, the coachee goes quickly on the sheet and in a few minutes concludes the task. "Corporate. Structured. Organized. My life. Transparent". She asks me to confirm the correctness of the output. "There is no right or wrong. They are your associations with respect to words given".
"If you like, I ask you for a last association of ideas, with the word Coaching". This time the coachee shows some impatience but, in the end, she finalizes the activity. "Support, Potential, Awareness. Improvement. Future. Action”.
My last request was to ask the coachee to integrate some of those words, in order to create a definition of "Organizational Coaching".
That was our first meeting, two years ago.
Maria at that time was a sales back-office operational manager. Very well prepared and precise, she had built her image and success so far on her skills. And on the solidity of her skills, she evaluated her collaborators and colleagues. This made her so demanding over time that she became a thorn in the side for all her stakeholders, including her director and the other members of the leadership team.
Her HR Business Partner and the HR Director had described a critical situation to me. Maria’s behavior had already had consequences on her annual performance assessment and much worse ones would have been if she had not promptly reviewed her behavior.
Two years after our first coaching path, we resumed a second coaching path, which was oriented on developing her potential rather than on bridging gaps. Since then, Maria transformed her life. She made two jumps up in the hierarchical scale. She is now appreciated by everyone not only for her competences, but also for her ability to manage the most difficult situations and people with assertiveness, respect and ability to influence. Maria decided to take responsibility for her future in the company, and to stop pointing the finger at others, recognizing that everything depends largely on her behavior and on limiting beliefs (towards herself, others and the company) that generated them. Maria recently passed an assessment brilliantly and was chosen to take part in the company program for future directors.
What was Maria's definition of "Organizational Coaching" at the end of her second coaching intervention?
"A tool that boosted my change process - transparent, well structured and result-oriented - which gave me the possibility to express my full potential and bring value to my organization".
The HR Director, after reflecting on Maria's experience, said that it was:
“A life-changer, a practical tool that has been able to realize Maria's organizational happiness, mine and that of our company”.
In conclusion of this real case study, I would like to sum up why, in my opinion, organizational coaching develops happiness inside organizations:
“Culture eats strategy for Breakfast” - Peter Drucker Organizational coaching helps to develop a strong company's culture more quickly.
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful” - Albert Schweitzer Organizational coaching helps people to understand the “raison d’être” for having chosen their job and to be fulfilled in their role.
“In the end, it is important to remember that we cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are” - Max De Pree Organizational coaching helps people to overcome their limits and renew themselves.
“When we liberate the leader in everyone, extraordinary things happen” - James Kouzes & Barry Posner Organizational coaching helps people to unleash their potential and achieve more.
“There is a very genuine belief that without diversity of thought, companies can't innovate”- Julie Sweet Organizational coaching helps people to respect and leverage any kind of diversity to foster innovation.
I wish you a great organizational coaching experience at some point in your managerial life. Be coached, be happy!
*Giovanni Boano is the CEO & Chief Happiness Officer of Hic et Nunc. Pedagogist of Expression, Organizational Coach, Experienced Virtual and F2F Trainer and Coach.