The response to the Coaching For Managers eGuide (available to you in the right sidebar) has been brisk. So,we're figuring that this is a topic that's genuinely helpful.
I'm in the midst of finishing the wording for a contract with a new coaching client. Since my mind wanders a bit when hunkering down with details, here are some coaching thoughts that emerged during the periodical mental breaks. In my experience, these hold true for both internal and external coaches:
Seven Coaching Tips To Consider
1. Take time to accurately diagnose the situation. Begin coaching conversation using open-ended questions, then sit back and let the client hear what (s)he is saying in response. Clients often become start to recognize behavioral patterns through their own answers to good questions.
2. Ask the unexpected question. How often have you experienced that feeling of being stuck with no apparent options to escape a situation? This bumps up the stress level. The secret here is for the coach to create brainstorming questions that will generate alternatives to the current situation.
3. Get really, really clear about goals. We've all experienced goal-setting of some sort. However, for a goal to be really useful it needs to be meaningful to the individual. Dedicate significant time to working with clients to refine their goals and sign off on them. (I have them physically sign a document. It increases a sense of accountability).
4. Initiate options. New coaches sometimes rush through this and quickly offer advice. (Hey, it's a lot easier to say, "Do this." Of course, the coach has just taken ownership of the solution).
Effective coaches take time to ask questions that allow the client/employee to come up with some new options that will lead to action and new behavior. Only when options come from the client will you get real commitment to change. The loudest statement a coach can make is by quietly asking a question, then remaining silent.
5. Help evaluate options. Work with the client/employee to develop a set of criteria to evaluate the different options. What investment (energy, money, time,) is needed to put a specific option into practice?
6. Design an action plan. Gee, how mundane, eh? Spending time identifying how a goal will be reached will pay off big time if any glitches are experienced. All you have to do is backtrack and see where things went off track. Also: The plan needs to have a "Here's how you'll know you're successful" element. Coaches help people celebrate; make sure you know when to hold the party.
7. Encourage momentum. Sometime cheerleader, sometime nag; we all need someone to keep us on track. Use phone calls, emails, water cooler conversations, whatever it takes. Remember, it's about moving toward a goal or some kind of change. And you'll enjoy being part of the celebration."
What are you doing that is being helpful to your clients or employees?