Make This the Year of Boosting Coaching SkillsThere’s been a big surge in coaching over the past decade. Part of this is driven by the pressing need for increasing bench strength and succession planning. It’s also very clear that leaders with strong coaching skills have dramatically higher levels of employee engagement, productivity, safety, and customer service.

Scott Schweyer, Ed Haltrecht, and I are delighted to kick off 2013 this week at a Zenger Folkman’s international partners conference at the beautiful Swiss Zermatt Resort in Utah’s scenic Rocky Mountains. We’ve been networking, exchanging best practices, and learning about ZF’s leadership research and development. We’ll be missing the Sundance Film Festival coming up later this month. Since I am not an autograph hound and don’t want to be a paparazzi selling photos, missing the Festival is likely a good thing for getting hotel rooms and avoiding the crowds!

As we continue developing our strategic partnership with Zenger Folkman, a highlight of this week is becoming certified to deliver their highly effective development system called The Extraordinary Coach.When it was published a few years ago I reviewed Zenger Folkman’s book, The Extraordinary Coach: How the Best Leaders Help Others Grow. Long before Jack Zenger and I had any thoughts of forming a strategic partnership I fell in love with this powerful body of work. The more we’re learning about the one and two-day versions of The Extraordinary Coach skill building system the more we see just how exceptional and highly effective it is. It’s a unique combination of solid research, practical frameworks, and hands-on skill building.

If you’re looking to develop coaching skills in yourself or others, I highly recommend you get a copy of the book. Click on The Extraordinary Coach: How the Best Leaders Help Others Grow for a look at ZF’s definition of coaching, what gets in the way of coaching, how “no time for coaching” doesn’t hold water, the coaching mind and skill set, the FUEL coaching framework, and three guidelines for providing personalized feedback.