We live in a VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) in times of unheard-of turbulence. It is an era of ever-increasing competition and technology that changes at speeds unimaginable a few years ago. Surviving and thriving in this environment requires a unique approach to accelerating innovation, catalyzing discovery, and tapping emerging opportunities. Albert Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”. Leaders need to develop the capacity to navigate these waters with new thinking, skill, talent and character to create new processes, products, and services that have value for their customers. Today, innovation is not a choice – it’s a must for every organization!
Transforming an organization’s culture into an environment that welcomes innovation requires more than just generating a slew of creative ideas. It’s about following-through on the good ideas, which calls for a very different set of skills and resources. Tools to meet the challenges of innovation – coaching being one of them – have been readily available for quite a while, however, not sufficiently or consistently applied yet.
In the discovery phase – i.e. developing new and creative ideas and translating customer insights into workable ideas – innovation is enabled through balancing big picture and details, challenging assumptions, changing perspectives, influencing others, encouragement and support by managers etc.
During the evaluation phase new ideas are being discussed, tested, and assessed to identify the highest-value opportunities and determine the feasibility of executing them. Innovation is energized through taking risks, balancing day-to-day and longer term, encouraging some failure (within boundaries) or thinking cross-functionally.
The delivery phase aims at making the innovation happen (alignment with organizational capabilities, provision of resources, performance tracking etc.). Innovation is invigorated via constantly communicating the need for innovation as a strategic business focus, sponsoring and funding innovation projects, learning from failures, capturing and sharing innovation learnings and many more.
When you – as a coach or leader – coach for innovation, you encourage a culture of idea generation, maximize creativity and engagement, and generate more options and opportunities. Ultimately, you will go beyond the obvious and break through to new ideas. Coaching is an effective tool to drive innovation. Using the language and skills of coaching means honing your questioning skills, enhancing your listening ability and strengthening skills for leading and motivating teams to deliver results that exceed expectations. The creative power of your team is strengthened, and also team interaction, cooperation and mutual support, synergies within the team, visual imagination when tackling problems, following common objectives and much, much more.
For supporting organizations and their managers and leaders to handle the turbulence, to learn the language of coaching for innovation, to master breakthroughs in technology, and the evolution of a new management paradigm, the work of coaches is inevitable. Going forward, coaching is not a choice – it is a must for every organization! Coaching skills are desperately needed as organizations are moving to the next stage.
Organizations need reliable support in these turbulent times. Please select coaches for your executives and teams or for your corporate coaching pools from a professional organization like the International Coach Federation or a coach training school. I went through the coach curriculum of iPEC – Institute for Professional Institute in Coaching. iPEC graduates have the opportunity to become part of their global network, and organizations and individuals can search in their LiveLeadPlay directory for a suitable coach. Make sure you choose a professional coach who has successfully gone through an adequate coach training and there is congruence as relates to experiences and career background.
Coaching for innovation enables leaders and their teams to find clarity, brainstorm possibilities, make informed decisions, have the essential conversations needed to envision, strategize, develop, mobilize and commit to action. Contact us.
Lead courageously, Annette.