Coaching and Character: A Double Benefit

August 1, 2017 Mary Ellen Sailer

I’ve always appreciated this quote from famed author Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.: “Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance.”

What good is building character only to have it erode due to a lack of maintenance?  Coaching enables people to gain clarity about who they are, what they are doing, why they are doing it, and where they want to go.

In a recent coaching call, a client described a situation where during weekly staff meetings, a leader had been allowing one of her team members to speak negatively about people in another department.  The leader saw team meetings as a place to vent—but over the weeks they had begun to morph into weekly gossip fests.

My client was concerned about the situation. I listened and probed to help illuminate the source of her concern.  Affording her the time and space to discuss the topic moved the issue from being someone else’s problem to solve to being an opportunity to assess her own character and maintain it.

A coach will challenge clients to conduct themselves according to who and what they say they are. The coach does this by listening, asking focused questions, reflecting, challenging, and acknowledging the client.

The business case for coaching is that it supports the development of self leadership—but coaching accomplishes much more than that.  I’d say the personal case for coaching is that it is “customized maintenance for a leader’s character.”

What have you noticed in others that could be a good reminder to you?  What’s your maintenance plan for the leaders in your organization? Consider how a coach could help!

About the Author

Mary Ellen Sailer headshotMary Ellen Sailer, Ed.D., is a Coaching Solutions Partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies’ Coaching Services team. Since 2000, Blanchard’s 120 coaches have worked with over 15,000 individuals in more than 250 companies throughout the world. Learn more at Blanchard Coaching Services. And check out Coaching Tuesday every week at Blanchard LeaderChat for ideas, research, and inspirations from the world of executive coaching.


About the Author

Mary Ellen Sailer

Mary Ellen Sailer is a Senior Coach for The Ken Blanchard Companies. She is a frequent contributor to Blanchard’s LeaderChat blog. Mary Ellen received her professional coach training from Coach U, earned the Professional Coach Certification from International Coach Federation and her Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Organizational Development from the University of Massachusetts.

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