Coaching has not only become a sought after skill among individuals but has grown rapidly as a career for many in the recent years. “In simple terms, coaching is an interaction between two people…and is aimed at developing the performance of the coachee in some aspect of their life.” (Stewart and Rogers, 2017 pg. 202)
Coaching in the workplace is most likely to take place between a manager and their direct report, but can take place in any capacity such as between coworkers, or between an HR team member and an employee.
Myles downey developed the scale of directiveness which shows us how our actions as the coach can show up on the ends of two different styles – non-directive and directive.
Non-directive coaching actions can look like listening (to understand), reflecting, paraphrasing, summarising, asking questions (that raise awareness). However, the more you start to put your own view, expertise and advice into the process, it will start to look like more directive style coaching. These actions include, making suggestions, giving feedback, offering guidance, giving advice, instructing and telling.
If a key purpose of coaching is to develop a coachees ability to take responsibility for their own decisions and selection of activities, then you would expect the coach to take a more non-directive approach.
If you’re a line manager wanting to implement coaching into your 121s with your team members, it’s important to ensure there are clear boundaries with the feedback given. Coaching is not a substitute for performance management. When giving feedback, be clear on whether it’s being given in order to correct a performance issue or for performance development.
The GROW Model was founded by Graham Alexander and gives the coach a useful process to keep the conversation flowing with the coachee in a way that is productive and useful.
Goals – what does the coachee want to achieve and why? Be specific and agree on how success will be measured. Know when the goal wants to be completed by, who else might have influence in this, and what are the consequences of not completing the goal.
Reality – what is happening now? Understand the issues that may need to be factored in, the helpful and unhelp factors, what has been tried previously and what have been the results previously.
Options – what are the possibilities for moving forward? To stimulate new ideas, think about what the options would be if time, money, resources, energy was unlimited. Try viewing the problem as if it belonged to another person and then ask what their options are. What is possible?
Wrap Up or Will – what are the best options and what specific action will be taken? Think about the obstacles that may be encountered and how they will be addressed. What support is going to be needed in order to stay on track?
Using the GROW model as a framework with your coachee will help you to guide the conversation, and agree on actions that will get results.
More tips on how to be an effective coach include:
Get better at active listening. You can do this by eliminating distractions, showing your concentration physically (with your body language), avoiding interrupting, summarising and reflecting to ensure you’re understanding your coachee correctly.
Start asking questions. Draw out the information by asking open questions. Questions like “How are things going?” or “Tell me about X.” are examples of open questions.
Ask questions to Inspire deeper thinking:
“Why did you choose that particularly?”
“Can you tell me a bit more about what X involves”.
Ask questions to clarify thinking:
“Where would that be on a scale of 1 – 10?”
Ask questions to consider different viewpoints:
“Why do you think they have responded that way?”
Ask questions to reflect back thinking:
“So, you feel they did that intentionally?”
Ask questions to challenge assumptions:
“How can you know for sure X feels that way?”
Get creative with your questions:
“Has this situation occurred before? How was it resolved then?”
“If you could do anything you wanted to do in this situation, what would you do?”
“How would (mentee, hero, person admired) deal with this?”
Ask questions to extend thinking (especially when stuck):
“Can you think of one more option?”
“If there were any other possibilities, what would they be?”
“If this didn’t work, what would be your Plan B?”
When coaching, it may be useful or necessary to provide feedback. The BOOST model will help give you the appropriate framework:
Balanced, include both strengths and development points in your feedback.
Observe, base the feedback on what you have observed.
Objective, check for and avoid any biased, or personal agenda.
Specific, give specific examples.
Timely, give the feedback as soon as possible and is beneficial after the event has occurred.
The coach, coachee and the organisation are all likely to benefit from an effective coaching relationship, with the benefits including an increased connection with team members, to increased confidence, motivation, engagement, and enhanced staff competence. Like any skill, it requires practice to develop, but will be well worth it.
Stewart, J., and Rogers, P., (2017) Studying Learning and Development Context, Practice and Measurement. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
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I’m Courtney, and I write about leadership. I love connecting with like minded people, so please reach out and let me know what you’re working on or how I might be able to help. You can also say hi in the comments below.