Once, I was asked by a manager who I thought of as, our company's Little Napoleon, to coach a colleague without her knowing it. I reminded little Napo that in order for coaching to be effective there needed to be full disclosure and that the coachee would be in agreement with said coaching. After all, coaching is a partnership. "Do it anyway," the little general commanded. Needless-to-say I didn't because, I don't know how to coach secretively, it was out right wrong and I respected the coachee too much to insult him with dishonesty. It turned out to be the correct the decision.
Coaching is not training, descipline, remedial action or therapy. It looks forward and only to the past as a guide to how someone's behavior might be affecting their current behavior and or performance. It was too bad that our Little Napoleon never learned the simple and powerful skill of coaching but when you're insecure, ego centric and power driven just like the real Napoleon Bonaparte, helping, guiding and inquiring are not to be found under your epaulets and bicorner hat. It's sad to say that many of today's current leaders are either not given the opportunity and resources to learn how to develop their staff through coaching, think that it will take too much time or, just are not interested. That's too bad because a little goes a long, long way. If I asked you who your favorite teacher was in grade school and what made him or her your favorite, you'd probably tell me that he/she paid attention to you, was nurturing, and respected your developing soul. Adults want and need the same qualities in their professional leaders.
No one, not even a Napo wants to be ignored or told what to do. We want our managers and leaders to be open and honest, especially when it comes to what's important to us. Learn a lesson from a page in the history books: rip off your epaulets, take off that rediculous hat, put down that sword and start asking a lot of questions and start coaching.