Become an outstanding coach to your coachee
21 February 2021
How to become a good coach and help people who ask for your advice without imposing your worldview on them? What toolkit should you have? And a hint on choosing a coach.
Let’s differentiate a coach from a mentor or an advisor. These roles are similar; that’s why people still confuse them.
COACH, ADVISOR, MENTOR. WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?
A coach does not provide answers. The coach listens to their coachee and asks open and guiding questions to help them come up with the answers. Once their coachee has a plan, the coach can help hold them accountable for any planned/outlined actions.
An advisor provides advice. The advisor possesses the skills and knowledge that the coachee may lack and can give advice on growing those skills and knowledge.
A mentor shares their experience. The mentor can help to guide the coachee through their career based on the successes they have achieved themselves.
However, as a coach, you may find yourself shifting between these various roles based on different scenarios, which is fine.
Although, I believe that coaching is conducive to the most considerable personal growth of your coachee.
Remember that you are not expected to be an expert! Your role as a coach is to help enable your coachee to find the solutions to their problems. The first excellent step is to refer them to some helpful learning resources or an expert in the field of interest. And as a bonus, you may even learn something new in the process.
YOU ARE ASKED TO BE A COACH
Congratulations to you!
Schedule an introductory meeting for you and your coachee to get to know one another and explore together whether the relationship is a good fit. Don’t worry if it is not, and you didn’t click because you do not always do!
During your first conversation, you get to know each other. You can talk about the coachee’s strengths and weaknesses, discuss goals if necessary, support them in setting some new ones, and agree on a regular catch-up schedule. This is also an excellent opportunity to share your journey with your coachee to build a positive relationship.
Discuss the coaching agreement (formal or informal):
· Study of Confidentiality and Ethics: it is good to let your coachee know that the discussions held with them are confidential;
· Administrative Details: discuss the length of your coaching agreement. Agree upon the cancellation conditions, so you both are respectful of each other’s time.
· Relationship Details: discuss who holds the sessions and define the best way to work together; set the expectations – what you expect from the coachee and what they expect from you.
Start building a trusting relationship with your coachee, and as you get to know the coachee better, let them find out more about themselves.
It is always nice to have some questions prepared in advance. I will touch on this part later in the Coaching Toolkit section.
Also, take notes! It is helpful to take notes during your coaching sessions, and you can even share them with your coachee.
REGULARITY OF MEETINGS
The specific frequency will depend on the coaching context. It would be best if you met with your coachee on a regular basis. Ideally, it would help if you meet at least once a month.
ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
As a coach, you do not need to have all of the answers.
Moreover, it can help the coachee take ownership of their solutions. What a good coach can do is use questions to achieve results.
The objective of asking powerful questions is to get the person we’re coaching to explore.
Open questions are those that get the person to think and talk supporting that exploration.
Closed questions are the questions leading to a single-word response (“yes/no”; “true/false”, “it’s OK/it’s not OK”). Without a follow-up investigation and open questions, closed questions can limit exploration.
Examples of the difference between open and closed questions:
Open Question: How can this problem affect others?
Closed Question: Does this problem affect anyone else?
THE GROW MODEL
The GROW model (or process) is a simple method for goal setting and problem-solving.
It is oriented around taking the coachee through 4 stages during a discussion.
1) Goal is the ultimate aim, a desirable outcome to achieve by an individual. It’s important for it to be quantifiable and measurable. Smart goals are specific, measurable, achievable/actionable, realistic, and time-bound.
2) Reality is what is currently going on in the area that’s been worked on. This phase provides the opportunity to explore and to challenge the existing assumptions.
3) Options: Considering the current reality and assuming that anything and everything is possible, what are the sorts of things you could do? Explore all the possibilities and inspire people not to dismiss or discount any options as this will come next.
4) Will: Reflecting on the options, identify what next steps the coachee can take to move towards their goal and what they will commit to doing.
Gallup has created the science of strengths. For decades, the CliftonStrengths Assessment has helped people excel.
It takes only 177 questions to uncover the one authentic you. The CliftonStrengths Assessment provides personalized reports and identifies an individual’s top five strengths.
Below are some helpful questions to ask your coachee after completing this assessment.
Possible Coaching Questions:
● Please tell me what you think/how do you feel about the five strengths once you have read through them.
● Were there any surprises? Why?
● Do you embrace any one or two more than the others? Which ones and why?
● In what ways can these strengths support you in the role you’re in today?
● In what ways can these strengths help you fulfill your ambitions?
● Based on your strengths and aspirations, where can your blind spots be?
All of these described instruments and resources are optional, but I encourage you to check them out and find what works best for you and your coachee.
- Coaching for Performance: GROWing Human Potential and Purpose – The Principles and Practice of Coaching and Leadership, by John Whitmore
- Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, by Kerry Patterson and others
- The Trusted Advisor, by David H. Maister
Any suggestions? If yes, please let me know in the comment section to add them to the list!
I’D LIKE A GOOD COACH, PLEASE
Coaching is a decisive role that can help people work through career transitions and learning goals.
In the end, I would like to offer some advice on what people should consider if looking for a coach.
Form a request and a coach’s profile, define what you may be interested in and what you are ready to give in return: time, energy, etc. Let your coach know that they can scale themselves via you.
If you have a person on your mind – write them! Remember to emphasize what you are ready to give in return and how communication with you will help them.
Tell everyone that you are looking for a coach.
Become a coach yourself to understand how it feels.
A good coach does not give advice, does not indicate what to do, but listens carefully and asks the right questions to help you find answers.
A good coach does not seek self-approval at your expense or want to prove their right. At the same time, they do not agree with you if your opinions differ.
A good coach provides information on your request and is ready to see you do it in your own way.
A good coach remains silent if they have nothing to say or if your request is not clear enough. And they always have some questions to be of help to you.
A good coach respects you and does not feel sorry for you, does not want to save you, and does not consider you a delicate flower.
A good coach is independent enough and self-respecting.
A good coach does not impose their vision on you.
The most important thing is for you to feel comfortable with this person and to get inspiration and an understanding of what to do next during the process.
You are free to try, challenge and replace your coach or have more than two!
Have fun in self-exploration or helping others in their personal growth journey!
Do you have a coach? How did you choose one?