Anna Kmetova on how to apply Coaching as a Powerful Leadership Tool

Anna Kmetova is a Professional Certified Co-Active Coach & Associate Certified Coach by ICF Workshop Facilitator. With over 10 years of working in a corporate environment (including Booking.com), Anna pursues her career in coaching by supporting her clients with 1-on-1 coaching sessions and helping companies implement a coaching culture.

Raluca Apostol is Chief Product Officer at Nestor.

You can connect with Anna on LinkedIn and Raluca on Twitter @RaluApostol.

We’re very happy to announce the launch of Nestor Podcast!

Our aim is to bring you fresh and useful information with the help of certified and experienced professionals in the fields of coaching and organizational development. We will be chatting on various topics and we will learn more on how coaching could help us be happier and more aware of our potential in our personal life and at work. 

Today’s guest is Anna Kmetova, a certified professional coach based in Amsterdam. Anna has a wealth of experience in supporting young professionals to create their fulfilling life and career path. She is also a workshop facilitator and helps companies with creating a coaching culture. 

The aim of this interview is to discuss how coaching could be used as a powerful leadership tool and what you should consider when starting applying it in the workplace.

Raluca: What are the reasons behind the increasing popularity of coaching?

Anna: The generation of millennials is currently forming 50% of the global workforce. As a generation of professionals, millennials seem to have different expectations from their employers than we were used to by the previous generations – rather than by salary, this generation is driven by their personal values and their development. They want to know what is the contribution of their role and what is the alignment between their values and the values of the company they work for. 

Coaching is a great tool to create a work environment where employees are aware of their values.

Young professionals also want to be recognized for their unique qualities and their strengths – they want to do something they are good at and passionate about. And coaching is a great tool to create a work environment where employees are aware of their values and strengths, and they are the ones in charge of their own development.

Raluca: What are the practices we can start implementing to bring coaching culture to our work environment?

Anna: Bringing coaching culture to the workplace can be more reachable than it might appear to be. It does not necessarily have to be just implementing 1-on-1 coaching sessions. We can start by making a shift in a way we communicate as leaders – instead of telling your people what to do and how to do it, we can start asking more powerful questions.

Coaching enables people to become creative in finding their own solutions for the challenges they face.

Powerful questions are a specific type of questions that invite people to explore what is possible and enable them to become creative in finding their own solutions for the challenges they face. This has an empowering impact on people. There are many articles online about how to build powerful questions, such as this one that I have published recently.

Raluca: What are the ways to structure 1-on-1 coaching conversations to get the most out of them?

Anna: Coaching is a relationship. Besides the coaching tools (such as powerful questions) that we use to facilitate the coaching conversation itself, it is important to establish each coaching relationship in order to create an environment of trust.

It's very important to create an environment of trust.

What is essential for a coaching relationship:

  • A designed alliance between the coach and the coachee – What do we expect from coaching and from each other? What about confidentiality?
  • Specific goals – What would we like to achieve in this coaching relationship? How will we know we are getting there?
  • Consistency – Are we going to meet every two weeks, monthly or quarterly?

For managers that are coaching several team members, it is beneficial to have a system in place to track the progress of each coaching relationship. For companies, having a system like Nestor brings the possibility to measure the progress of coaching to see whether coaching is worth their investment.

Raluca: What are the general rules of confidentiality in coaching?

Anna: The environment of trust is crucial for every coaching relationship. Everything that is shared in a coaching relationship is confidential and stays between the coach and the coachee. If the company needs data to measure the progress of coaching, this should be only downloaded for the whole company or department but never for each individual or a team.

Raluca: What surprised you the most when coaching your clients?

Anna: Coaching is a wonderful profession and there are many things that surprise me every day. For example, one thing that surprises me is how little are we aware of our personal values and strengths and how significant our transformation can be once we build awareness around these aspects.

Raluca: What is the applicability of coaching for teams? What are the benefits of coaching from a team perspective?

Anna: If each person in a team receives coaching, they are all growing as individuals. They know their strengths, their values and goals, their direction. They feel more responsible for the work they do. Each team member is proactive and owns their strengths, which improves the cooperation in a team.

As a manager who coaches their team, you get to know your people from a different perspective. You know what matters to them, you know their strengths and where would they like to go. This enables you to support them in a way that empowers them to reach their full potential.

If coaching is implemented efficiently, it creates the environment of prosperity for high performing teams.

Raluca: What are the ways to measure if we are on the right track with coaching in a company?

Anna: In many companies, it is possible to measure employee satisfaction – which, from my experience, increases if employees receive coaching. If there is a system in place to support coaching, it becomes possible to measure the results of coaching relationships as well – how are people doing with achieving their goals?

Raluca: What are the main arguments to implement coaching in every company as of today?

Anna: Do it as soon as possible! Even for a successful company, it can be challenging to keep the right people on board. It is even harder to maintain their engagement in the long term. And coaching is a great tool to keep your people engaged. Coaching supports building self-awareness, a better understanding of the alignment between their personal values and the values of the company. It empowers your employees to take ownership of their own and professional growth, it improves team cooperation, and impacts employee satisfaction and engagement.

Build a coaching culture soon as possible! Even for a successful company, it can be challenging to keep employees engaged on the long term.

We don’t have to wear different hats entering our work environment. We can be there as a whole with all our personal values and personal goals. We can find alignment between our personality, strengths and the purposes of the company we work for.

People find the alignment between their strengths and the purpose of the company they work for.

Key Takeaways

What makes coaching an excellent leadership tool is the way it empowers people to take charge and become leaders of their own development and work satisfaction. After all, they know themselves best. The transformative power of the coaching culture lies in creating an environment of trust, empowerment and self-leadership.

The results of the successful implementation of a coaching culture in the workplace are increasing employee engagement and satisfaction. And furthermore, motivated self-driven happy employees will make their best to support their team and their company in achieving its vision.