What the British Army are learning about Coaching - and you can too!

Thank you for reading!

I am in the privileged position to be coaching leaders  from the British Army in High Performance, and have coached 300 officers and soldiers in group coaching this year. 

 

Their seniority ranges from strategic - Colonel (responsible for circa. 2100 soldiers and officers) to tactical - the soldier on the ground. This is a unique insight into the minds of exceptional military leaders who live and breathe leadership as a life choice every single day.

 

You may think that coaching is a ‘soft skill’ and takes a long time to be effective and both of those ideas are a mistake. If this is your experience, I challenge you to read on and gain new perspectives other than your own.

 

Coaching can be a powerful precision weapon when guided by a skilled and experienced coach with a highly engineered process.

 Lee Evans

 

I asked some of these military leaders to share their top insights about coaching from their experience of working with me and this is some of what they said:

 

  • Coaching can be a transformative personal journey and your results are largely determined by how much you are willing to personally invest and share in the process – you must have the courage to go all in and take swift consistent action based on your insights.

 

  • Effective group coaching facilitates real sharing and learning from others’ perspectives, your own, that of the coach and the team in breakout discussion – it generates many alternative options, which is so valuable in itself.

 

  • The authenticity, energy and conviction of the coach can facilitate change even in people who don’t want to, or think they don’t need to. Simply making them think through targeted questions, they realised their thinking was the problem and changed their minds.

 

  • Coaching has disrupted my thinking and given me new motivation. It can be the catalyst for change in things you have been avoiding for a long time.

 

  • Effective coaching made me reassess my life very quickly, and gave me insights and options - I am more organised and focused now than I have ever been.

 

  • Coaching made me realise that Self-awareness is something we need to do on a daily basis rather than something we have - reflect daily with targeted questions.

 

  • Effective coaching is not always a case of cajoling or being kind and understanding, sometimes it calls for creating shock, asking probing questions, holding people to account and taking them out of their comfort zone to facilitate growth - not settling for ‘I don’t know’ as an answer. If they know you genuinely care about them, you can go there very quickly.

 

  • Being vulnerable, opening up and sharing our own challenges as leaders with our subordinates is a powerful act of courage and humility, which allows others to do the same and creates powerful feelings of trust and respect. This authentic courage is required to benefit fully from coaching and is a ‘tell’ of true leadership, a cornerstone of a happy life and increased performance.

 

  • Coaching can give you confirmation of what you already know and tangible areas for development that you didn’t have in focus, notably for me Focus, Clarity and Energy and preparing these as I’d prepare my equipment for a patrol in Afghanistan.

  

We measured the Operational Effect in both Quantitative and Qualitative ways and here is what this team achieved in just 12 weeks of hourly coaching calls

 

  • As a result of a 12 week High Performance Coaching course delivered by Mind Power Solutions to 25 (CS) Engineer Group, data has been captured relating to the habits associated with ‘High Performers’. The High Performance Indicator (HPI) assessment quantitative data harvested from the group has revealed several important outcomes relating to the effectiveness of this coaching. Importantly, the data is based on questionnaire data, from pre and post course.

  

Metric against world 15% High Performers (inc. Fortune 500 organisations)

 

  • The HPI assessment revealed that the top 15% of High Performers worldwide score a 4.76 HPI. One individual from the team scored 4.77, from an initial score of 3.67 (the average score for General Public according to extensive research by the High Performance Institute), and through this course has transformed from an average score to a top 15% High Performer Worldwide. 5 others scored 4.6 HPI very nearly meeting the top 15% criteria. These remarkable results are from 12 weekly coaching calls of 1 hour each.

 

  • Productivity Net Gain. Productivity saw a notable overall increase with a mean average 21% net gain. In relation to an average 40 hour working week, each individual saw a productivity increase of 8.5 hrs making them a full working day more effective over a 5 day week.

  

  • Clarity Net Gain. With a 20.34% mean average % net gain in clarity, participants are ~20% clearer about who they are at their best, where they want to go and what’s important to them, what they find meaningful and what the right decisions are for them personally, their families, and at this stage in their career. They are clearer on their goals, ambitions and the outcomes they want personally and professionally.

  

  • Influence Net Gain. A mean average % increase of 16.18% has been achieved. This means an increase in ability to influence others professionally and personally, to get buy-in to their plan support them and their endeavours. This is a significant leadership skill, which borders on the art of effective communication and is invaluable to success in life.

 

If you want to begin to realise the benefits of coaching, you can immediately by investing some of your time in regularly asking questions - every morning and throughout your day

Lee Evans

 

Here are some of the ways you can begin immediately by investing in the first hour well.

 

  • Protect the first hour of your day from screens

 

Use it to plan how you want to be in the day’s activity and what you want to achieve.

 

Falling into screens and emails as soon as you start your day puts you immediately into reactive mode and you dive straight into other peoples’ I want, I need and can you?

  

  • Use the first hour to set and record daily ‘being goals’ in your most important roles

 

For example, if you’re a father or mother, how do you want to be in that role? Loving? Present? Kind? Confidence building?

 

What evidence do you have that you’ve demonstrated love, presence and built confidence (or whatever you want to be like) in your children today? Would they agree with you? Is it tangible? Do you have evidence?

 

  • Use the first hour to set daily ‘necessity goals’

 

What are the top 3 things that you really must get done today that are meaningful to you, that progress an important project for you, that are not just part of the ‘busy to do list’?

 

Now allocate them to your daily plan in blocks of time and protect them.

 

Consider when is best to get them done, when you have the most energy and chance of achieving them if they require deep work and focus.

 

Are you attacking these with the discipline and energy they deserve? If they’re important to you, think about needing to succeed like you need to breathe and you gain a different level of motivation.

 

But what if I don’t have time?

 

As Stephen Covey and many others have famously said, we all have the same amount of time, the challenge is to manage ourselves and invest in the most important things in the time we all have available.

 

Ask yourself this

 

  • Do you brush your teeth every day?

 

  • Do you have extra time for it?

  

Leaders are made more often than they are born. You all have leadership in you. Develop it by thought training and by practice.

 Field Marshal Sir Bill Slim, 1949

  

The British Army is investing its time in its most important asset, its people, and they are realising immediate effects in transforming both personal and professional performance.

Whether you realise it or not, the same can be true for all people and organisations.

If you’re in the British Army and you’d like to bring high performance coaching into your Unit or Group or you’re a civilian and you want to create this impact and effect in your organisation, send me an email at

[email protected]

Or if you’d like to pre-order the ‘Purposeful Life Planner’ released in Nov 20, which will facilitate your thinking in a high performing and targeted way, get in touch to join the list.

If you’re interested in Leadership, High Performance or Coaching, you can find me or follow me on social media here. Whether you do or you don’t, have an amazing day, on purpose.

High Performance Leadership

https://www.linkedin.com/in/leeevansmindpowersolutions/

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