For Ann to succeed as a leader in her department and proceed in her ascend to more demanding roles within the hospital, there is an existing need for her to understand herself and how her peers view her. In so doing, she will be better placed to get their support by modifying her behavior.
Yet another leadership complexity for Ann has to do with her visibility given her senior position as the head of the Nutrition and Dietetics Department. Traditionally, being promoted to head a department within the hospital has been seen as some sort of grooming for a bigger management role. In that regard, Ann needs to clearly distinguish between goals that could derail her and those that could pave her way to success. Further, it can also be noted that if indeed she is promoted to a more senior and demanding role, Ann would be required to develop the necessary skills required to enhance her communication with people from different backgrounds. This is more so the case given that Ann had not had the opportunity to interact with people from diverse cultures as a result of having grown in a predominantly white neighborhood. However, as Ann's supervisor, I can vouch for her willingness to learn. Further, she does not shy off from exploring new possibilities. For example, Ann has always been willing to travel so as to meet diverse people in addition to learning more about how others handle different challenges in the organizational setting.
Evaluation/Assessment Tools Utilized and the Rationale for Their Utilization
Bluckert (2006) notes that as far as coaching is concerned, the relevance of assessment cannot be overstated. Assessment in the author's opinion provides critical information regarding the learning preferences, intelligence (emotional) as well as styles of thinking and personality of the client. According to Peltier (2001, p.3), "assessment is one of the early steps in any successful coaching effort." The author further notes that though all the four assessment methods may have to be applied for the evaluation of the client to be considered optimal, they may not always be feasible. In my case, I utilized three of the four methods namely; observation, interview as well as what is referred to as the 360-degree feedback.
This assessment tool in my opinion remains one of the most powerful. Observation provides a coach with a rare opportunity to observe the client in a wide range of contexts so as to evaluate how the client handles pressure, copes with stress, manages his work environment, relates with others etc. In basic terms, an observation of the client in action is the best way of understanding him or her and his or her specific or unique circumstances. Indeed, as Jones (2007) notes, when those being coached are observed in their natural settings, it becomes possible to identify a number of their skills first hand. In the opinion of Peltier (2001), observation in this case can take place in quite a number of settings. This could include the direct contact the client has with the coach (one-on-one) or passive contact. To allude to the relevance as well as the need for observation, Peltier (2001, p.12) is of the opinion that "direct observation is so important and powerful that coaches must forcefully advocate for its use." Further, it can also be noted that clients seem to be more comfortable with direct observation than they usually are with any other assessment approach.
In seeking to utilize this approach, I accompanied Ann to a number of team meetings both at the departmental and the interdepartmental level. Further, I sought to observe Ann as she worked and with her permission, I also went through her work e-mail messages. To ensure I came up with an accurate and concise assessment of Ann, I also observed her interaction with colleagues in various scenarios including but not in any way limited to during meetings, at the cafeteria, in the corridors etc.
This is yet another important coaching tool. However, for an interview to be successful as far as coaching is concerned, there is a need for the coach to build and nature rapport with the client. The interview may avail to the coach a rare chance to take into assess the interpersonal skills of the client. I chose to use this approach so as to supplement the other assessment approaches. The choice of this assessment tool also allowed me to probe Ann extensively and seek clarifications on issues I dint quite get to understand using the other two assessment approaches. It can also be noted that the use of this assessment tool also allowed me to establish a vibrant working relationship with Ann. This proved beneficial throughout the entire process.
In this case, I developed an interview schedule with a raft of questions that were designed to address distinct concerns. More specifically, the questions floated to Ann during the interview primarily sought to bring out her personality as well as the behavioral challenges unique to her.
The 360-degree feedback according to Luecke, Ibarra and HBS (2004, p. 67), is essentially "a method that systematically collects information about the client's behavior and performance from people who interact with that person: the client's boss, peers, and direct reports." According to the author, not many organizations grant the coach the go ahead to undertake the 360-degree feedback. Those organizations against this assessment approach in most cases cite the need to conserve or save both the employee and consultant time. The assessment approach in this case is regarded as being rather time consuming. However, it is important to note that the approach is largely relevant as it helps clients take into consideration their shortcomings from a more serious perspective.
In my case, the assessment method was instrumental in helping Ann understand herself as well as how others perceived her. Here, Ann's raters included but were not limited to her peers, heads of other departments where she had worked before as well as myself. The most logical points addressed in this case were derived from an evaluation of the feedback availed to me by raters. According to Goldsmith & Lyons (2005, p.185), "a well-designed 360-degree feedback instrument is incredibly versatile and useful…"
The Assessment Process
To guarantee desired outcomes, the assessment process was done in a step-by-step manner. The first step in this case had to do with self-assessment. Here, I began the process of coaching assessment by asking Ann to undertake a self-assessment exercise. Issues of particular interest had to do with the goals of coaching, the need for coaching as well as professional goals amongst other things. Self-assessment in this case was undertaken after a fair deal of self-reflection. The next process had to do with coach assessment. In this case, the assessment could have assumed either a formal or informal approach depending on Ann's past experiences as well as the stage she was in the development process. As I have already indicated elsewhere in this text, I chose to utilize observation, interview and the 360-degree feedback approaches. My main goal in this stage was to get as much information as I could regarding the interests, goals, competencies as well as behaviors and individual values of Ann. I also sought to determine the various opportunities that existed for Ann's development. Through the assessment, I was also able to attach new meanings to Ann's behaviors as well as identify other possibilities which she could utilize to further enhance her behavior. I took deliberate measures in this stage to keep all the information I gathered confidential. According to Frisch et al. (2011, p.271), confidentiality has got to do with "the safeguarding of privileged client information." To further enhance confidentiality, I gave Ann all the documentation relating to the assessment after the assessment. This is a standard practice meant to enhance confidentiality. The coach-client relationship stage came after the coach assessment stage. On completion of the assessments, I reviewed the data with Ann so as to facilitate the provision of feedback. It is after this that we agreed to come up with a development plan as well as a number of objectives founded on both Ann's goals, and the results availed by the data. Further, we identified stakeholder roles as well as the relevant measures of both progress and success.
As the coaching process was going on, I also undertook the midpoint assessment in which case I sought to determine how the coaching exercise was unfolding. Further, the midpoint assessment enabled me to highlight the progress of the relationship between Ann and myself. To fully evaluate progress at this point, I asked Ann a number of questions including what in her opinion was working as it should, what needed to be improved and what needed to be done differently.
At the end of the coaching relationship, I undertook the final assessment. Here, the key areas of assessment included but were not limited to accomplishment of goals, the relationship…