Exponential Training delivers qualifications in coaching and mentoring accredited by the Chartered Management Institute. One of the main questions we get asked is: “How can I make my coaching even better?” here are ten of our good practice tips that every coach whether you are an independent business or executive coach or a manager using coaching with your team.
Upgrading Your Coaching
Like many things in life, effective, high impact coaching (and mentoring) is about developing great habits. You do not need sophisticated on-line coaching platforms and tools, although they do help – you need simple, routines and the discipline to use them consistently and routinely.
- Check in on Key Action Areas
This is a MUST! Regularly checking in, helps people to maintain their momentum, heads-off any emerging or potential problems and helps to make people accountable for their performance. Exponential Training recommends using simple question that you always ask, something like:
“Hi <insert name>, the last time we talked on <insert date>, you said you were going to make/do/start/implement/evaluate/contact. How did that go?”
An alternative might be:
“Hi <insert name> how are you doing on action point 1 on your action plan about <insert the specific action?”
Using the same question is important as people know what to expect and that they are going to be asked about what they have done. This simple tip helps to make people accountable and gives them the responsibility to act and identify issues. It means they know they need to make progress as you will ask them it at some point soon. It keeps them focused and on track.
- Problem Solving
A typical answer to the question above might be to describe one or more problems they are having. Remember, this might be a deflection tactic to cover up a lack of progress. The first thing to do, is to listen to the problem and to ask what solutions they have tried or plan to try. This will help you to determine if the problem is real or a decoy!
Assuming it is real, be careful. DO NOT JUMP IN AND SOLVE IT FOR THEM! Problems represent opportunities for learning and developing independence. In response to a typical response such as: “I’m struggling with X, Y or Z. How can I handle it?”. Help them, but do not solve it for them – that is not coaching.
Instead use coaching questions to help them to define the problem and to describe what a solution might look like and be able to do – what would success look like? Now invite them to create options that would meet their success criteria. List the options and help them analyse and evaluate the options enabling them to select the best one. See how they are now designing their own way forward and taking ownership! Just remember to ask questions, to guide them and to listen rather than playing the role of the superhero-problem solver!
- Work Through a Crisis
When people have a crisis (in reality they usually mean a problem or a challenge), they are present and receptive to coaching, BUT only once you have helped them to move past their initial shock when they ‘become frozen like a rabbit in the headlights of a car’. Helping them to gain a sense of perspective is important.
Here are some simple steps to take:
- Get Clear on The Issue: establish the root causes and not the symptoms
- Reduce Anxiety Levels: Help them to reframe the problem and to put in context.
- Life Threatening: Seek agreement that the problem is not life limiting and then explore the worst-case scenario – ask if they feel this is now survivable?
- Way Forward: Using your best coaching skills, help them to plan a way forward making sure they use ‘baby steps’ if necessary.
- Provide Support: Agree precisely what they will do and how you will support them.
- Monthly/Quarterly Coaching Sessions
Make sure that you hold routine sessions to review progress and learning outcomes as this will maintain momentum.
- Action Plans
The action plan is the route map and therefore it is a key document. Make action plans SMART and practical with short review timescales. Make notes.
- Summarise and Re-cap
Just like your ‘Check in on Key Action Areas’ (see 1 above), always close coaching sessions with a re-cap or summary. Use the say approach every time as it signals the close of the session and requires their full attention. Say something like:
“<insert name>, let me just recap on exactly what you have committed to doing before our session. You said you will <insert action>. You also agree to <insert action> I think that is what we agreed – is that correct? I will make sure I do what I have agreed and of course if you need my support on anything, let me know and we can have a mini coaching session”
Six simple habits, but when implemented routinely, they work! These are habits that Exponential Training use all the time. If you want to learn more about business coaching, coaching as a manager or how to support growing enterprises, check out these three Erasmus+ projects – each one includes the opportunity for you to take part in new and exciting coaching and learning programmes as part of the testing of these new training programmes!
- Growing European Microenterprises otherwise known as GEM, is a new and exciting Erasmus+ project involving Exponential Training & Assessment. The aim of the GEM project is to develop a new coaching methodology setting out the competences and skills required by coaches specializing in helping microenterprise to achieve fast growth.
- Managers as Coaches otherwise known as MAC, is designed to help managers to implement practical, performance focused coaching to improve the performance of their teams and team members.
- Coaching MAPs otherwise known as C-MAP, provides a new model for coaching based on a set of High-Performance Work Practices (HPWP). The on-line course includes a set of 12 prepared Coaching MAPs that you can download and use with your own teams.
If you are thinking about becoming a business coach, you already deliver business coaching or want to develop your coaching skills as a manager, check out the projects, tools and recourses on the Exponential Training website or by contact john.moore@exponentiatraining,com today!
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