Expert Coaching. Practical Resources.

September 13, 2016

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Joseph Inskeep

Travelling by Coach

Jannice Moore, our company founder, named our firm The Governance Coach™.  While coaching is just one of our services, we emphasize it in the name because we’ve found coaching to be the most effective way to help boards realize and sustain a culture of governance excellence.

Sport offers a good analogy for the potential contributions of coaching. Virtually every team has a coach, whatever the sport or level of competition. In a hypothetical “first season”, the coach teaches the rules of the game and the basic skills and roles necessary to play as a team. In relatively short order, most teams are out on the field involved in the game, to one degree or another.

But in no sport would the coach be dropped at this early stage. Not only does it take time and practice to fully integrate the initial skills, but there are increasingly advanced skills and strategies to incorporate when the team is ready. This “ramp up” of capability is not accomplished in one or two seasons. For boards that seek to be highly effective governing bodies, an equally sustained commitment to learning is required. Even the best teams continue to find value in having a coach in order to stay at the top of the game. After all, a few new players arrive every year; a changing field of competition requires retooling of strategy; and individual discipline and skills occasionally wane. A coach that supports your board is a partner in sustainable, highly effective board leadership.

Boards that learn the basics of the governance game and create a body of policy have taken necessary first steps. But like any team, boards that aspire to excellence must continue to build their capabilities in layered stages over time. Our job is to support a board through that entire arc of development.

Most go through similar stages of development. From working with hundreds of boards, many of them for more than a decade, the Governance Coach has created a map of the Policy Governance® journey to help boards visualize the road ahead. That map is depicted here on our website.

Part of our role is to see the whole field. That means understanding the overall governance journey and knowing where your board is at any given point. That viewpoint puts us in position to provide “just enough, just in time” service based on what will bring you the most value.  That might be ownership-linkage, policy refinement, orienting new members, a plan for board education and strategic foresight or any of the other domains that make up the board skillset.

At the center of our coaching service, we provide a Coaching Advisory for all of our coaching clients. This includes reviews of each board agenda and package, with written suggestions for improvements in the application of Policy Governance.

We organize our comments in alignment with the principles of Policy Governance. We do this because it is the use of all the principles together that creates the comprehensive integrity the system provides. By using this format, we can keep you advised so you know where you are on track and where you need to do some work to retain the integrity of those principles.

The reports include comments of two kinds.  Some will simply be suggestions for how you can maximize the value of the governance model.  In other cases, we specifically point out if your actions as a board are inconsistent with a principle of the model.

The coaching relationship is a valuable partnership. You are experts in your organization, your industry, your people, your priorities, your values and your resources. You are committed, busy people who care about your board’s impact. We bring expertise in Policy Governance principles and effective board process, and we are dedicated to increasing your board’s impact as well. Time and again with boards of all kinds, we find that collaboration leads to increased board effectiveness.

The vast majority of governors and directors are volunteers who faithfully serve on boards that invest little or nothing in governance education and capacity. Yet they hold in their hands the very future of their organizations. This lack of governance “expense”, while entirely laudable in intent, has costly consequences. Some of these we read about in daily headlines describing organizations that have foundered. But most are hidden in the quiet ravages of lost opportunity and wasted time. In the end, investing in board capacity matters most because it leads directly to increased organizational impact.

Ready to get on board? Travelling by “coach” will get you to the right destination.  You’ll get there quicker AND at less expense. Contact us today.

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