Vlerick launches new tool that brings business coaching behaviour into focus

Based on solid empirical research into the DNA of a good coach, Vlerick Business School has recently developed a brand-new and extremely practical tool. What distinguishes the ‘Business Coach Behavioural Index’ from other tools for evaluating coaching in a business environment is its focus on behaviour. Whereas other instruments put most of the emphasis on competencies (can I coach or not?), this new tool maps out the coach’s concrete and observable behaviour – which provides valuable feedback for adjusting the behaviour, as necessary.

The tool will first be employed as follow-up training after the new 4-day Business Coaching Essentials management programme in May. The programme is targeted to everyone who wants to coach within a business context or who wants to know how business coaching actually works.

What makes someone an effective coach?

Coaching is steadily gaining popularity as an effective method for motivating and stimulating managers and employees positively. Studies show that coaching can lead to improved individual performance, and it can even have an impact on a business’ bottom line. But just what exactly makes a good coach? “He or she must be very communicative and good at listening,says Peter De Prins, Adjunct Professor at Vlerick Business School. “In addition, a methodical approach is essential, and a good coach also has a substantial array of techniques and structures. Finally, clear objectives must be established up front.”

There are innumerable models for evaluating these required competencies. But what do successful coaches actually do? How do the skills translate into concrete behaviour? From its research, Vlerick has identified 8 categories of behaviour that form the basis for this new tool.

Feedback is crucial

The starting point is introspection, in which the coach evaluates him/herself via a questionnaire. The employees – or so-called ‘coachees’ – also receive the same list of questions. Then, each coachee designates a number of observers who must observe the coachee’s behaviour and evaluate whether or not that behaviour changes as a result of the guidance that the coachee receives from the coach. Peter De Prins: “Putting all of that together results in a final score and a coaching profile. Plus, we can also compare each individual result with the results of hundreds of other coaches, which establishes a better framework. An enormous number of useful lessons can be drawn from this exercise, through which coaches can identify possible blind spots and make their coaching behaviour more effective.

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