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Coaching tips

1. Coachable moments

Formal coaching isn't the only way to bring people forward. The day is full of coachable moments when something happens that gives an opportunity for learning. Watch out for these, and use them for a quick bit of coaching

2. Value coaching

Sometimes it may seem as though there really isn't time to pause to bring somebody on. If you give the impression that this is something you're rushing through to get it done, the person may feel debased. If you want them to feel enthused and give of their best, recognise that coaching is a valuable use of time. Arrive in good time, proceed in a relaxed way, and make it clear that this time is for them.

3. Value the person

The purpose of coaching is to enhance the person's abilities. If you think in terms of correcting deficits, you can only hope for minor adjustments. If you think in terms of bringing out the best of person's potential, the sky's the limit.

4. Ask what they want

The best starting point for successful development is what the person hopes to achieve. Find that out first, then help them to strive towards that.

5. Steer clear of negatives

Avoid saying "you can't…" "I don't think…" etc. This closes off the options and puts the coachee in a position where they have to co-operate or resist. Instead, say "What could you do about that?" "Do you think…?" etc. That puts the ball back in their court.

6. Encourage self-evaluation, including self-praise

People can't improve unhelpful or inappropriate behaviour unless they recognise them for what they are. Encourage them to look for areas where they might improve. But don't let them belittle their efforts. Encourage them to recognise the things they do well.

7. Have high expectations

To some extent, expectations are self-fulfilling prophecies. If you think you can't, you probably can't. If you're sure you can, you're well on the way. When coaching, Stretch them. They need to think beyond what they can easily gain. Discuss the next step after the next one, and further, to what they can eventually achieve.

8. Keep the vision in mind

The organisation will not reap the benefit of the person's enhanced capability if they are using it to pursue goals out of step with organisational objectives.

9. Know your limits

Coaching is not psychotherapy, a help line or specialist training. If you feel the coachee needs something you can't provide, refer them to someone who can, or encourage them to seek appropriate help for themselves.

10. Get feedback

You are developing human being just like the coachee. You need to know how you're doing to know how to progress. Ask the coachee how they thought the session went, and how you did.

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© Copyright 2003 Trans4mation. Reproduced with permission. Any opinions or views contained in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Training Reference.

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