HOW TO MAKE A COACHING
SESSION MORE EFFECTIVE
The power of coaching has been recognized in many areas for many years. Astute managers see coaching skills as a vital addition to their personal effectiveness toolbox. Everybody has to start somewhere, but the challenge we face in providing coaches to executives in organizations is the need to put our most experienced and effective coaches in front of clients.
Follow these points to make your coaching and feedback process more effective.
KEEP IN MIND THE ORANISATION CONTEXT
Keep in mind more crucial components to creating a successful coaching culture within your organization. Make sure your coaching is aligned with your company’s core values. Coaching is the key to achieving company goals. Therefore, your coaching should be based on your organization’s core values. They become the “why” behind your advice and encouragement. This way, your coaching becomes less about what you think and reinforces the culture that you want in your organization. And when you and your employees are looking at the bigger picture together, it should help them be more receptive to you, too.
DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH
Before you go to your employees with a new project, you need to be clear in your own mind about what you want them to accomplish. Focus on what the end result should look like more than how you think they should get there. Think about the big picture. How will it affect your overall company objectives? How will it affect your employees’ role in the long run? If you can explain this to your employees, you’re more likely to get buy-in.
SET A GOAL WITH YOUR COACHEE
Then, it’s time to talk to your employees and set goals together. Discuss what you want to accomplish and be clear about your expectations. Consider giving your employees a model of what their end goal looks like or set specific criteria for what the output should include. Has this ever been done before? If so, is there someone else within the company or team who might provide some first-hand advice? Set your employees up for success by being crystal clear about your expectations.
In the same conversation, discuss a project timeline with your employees. Set milestones that build toward the end goal. Set up “check-in meetings” that allow you to get together along the way in order to evaluate how things are going. Talk about a deadline and indicate how important the timing may (or may not) be to the success of the project.
As your employees work toward accomplishing the goal you set together, be sure to attend your check-in meetings at the agreed upon times. Let them ask questions. Give praise for what’s going right with the project and make suggestions if you feel they need more direction. Also ensure your employees have access to all resources necessary to meet the goal. Find what tools or aids they need to make the job done better.
GET AGREEMENT ON THE WAY FORWARD
Probably the most critical step in the coaching meeting process is getting the employee to agree verbally that a performance issue exists. Overlooking or avoiding the performance issue because you assume the employee understands its significance is a typical mistake of managers. To persuade an employee a performance issue exists, a manager must be able to define the nature of the issue and get the employee to recognize the consequences of not changing his or her behavior. To do this, you must specify the behavior and clarify the consequences.
The skill of specifying the behavior consists of three parts.
1. Cite specific examples of the performance issue.
2. Clarify your performance expectations in the situation.
3. Asks the employee for agreement on the issue.
The skill of clarifying consequences consists of two parts. You should:
1. Probe to get the employee to articulate his or her understanding of the consequences associated with the performance issue.
2. Ask the employee for agreement on the issue.
REVIEW TO CHECK UNDERSTANDING
Meet a final time with your employees to take a look back on the project as a whole. Discuss what worked, what didn’t, and what might be better if done differently next time. But be sure to make time to celebrate success and reward their accomplishments as well. This positive reinforcement helps make the extra effort feel worth it to your employees and encourages them to keep moving forward.
KEEP THE CONVERSATION FLOWING SMOOTHY
No matter the situation, coaching conversations should flow both ways with ample opportunity for mutual feedback and discussion. This way, you’re not removing your employees’ responsibility in the matter or doing the work for them. Collaboration in coaching emphasizes the relationship and teaches you how to become sounding boards for each other. Some coaches make the following mistakes too often; mainly out of good intention and lack of practice.
· they let the client go on too long about their story. the narrative is important insofar as the coach or client needs it to write the ending—but detailed plot twists just waste time.
· they ask a bunch of why questions to assess motive and purpose. many people being coached don’t know the why of anything and will go in circles trying to figure it out. why is to be used on very rare occasions to help the client get through layers to reach what’s real and true.
· they step over opportunities to challenge the client about attitudes, beliefs, or potentially unproductive behavior. it takes some courage but it is part of the job. i have worked with clients who said they had worked with other coaches they characterized as being “too nice.”
· When you establish great coaching relationships with your employees, it can improve every interaction you have with them and makes management far easier. Effective coaching can build more trust on both sides and keep the door to improvement open at all times.
GET A COMMITMENT TO ACT
The next step is to help the employee choose an alternative. Don't make the choice for the employee. To accomplish this step, the manager must be sure to get a verbal commitment from the employee regarding what action will be taken and when it will be taken. Be sure to support the employee's choice and offer praise. Employee excuses may occur at any point during the coaching meeting. To handle excuses, rephrase the point by taking a comment or statement that was perceived by the employee to be blaming or accusatory and recast it as an encouragement for the employee to examine his or her behavior. Respond empathically to show support for the employee's situation and communicate an understanding of both the content and feeling of the employee's comment.
These key points can not only help you when coaching but also make you an even better manager or leader. Take time to assess where you strengths lie and where you need to develop. The good news is that new coaches can move ahead much more quickly by identifying any of these possible errors in their own approach and practicing alternative approaches that are more beneficial to clients. With practice, new coaches will soon find themselves having the productive engagements that we—and all coaching organizations—look for.
Best of luck
Dr Wilfred Monteiro