Coaching is not something that is done by one person to another. It’s where the knowledge and experience of two (or more) people combine, with the objective of releasing the coachee’s potential. It’s an art really, with quite a bit of science to back it up.
Contracting clearly with your coachee at the outset of the relationship and the start of each session. What’s the objective? What process will you follow? How will you deliver your role? Do you take notes? Everything that is said in the coaching session remains confidential unless expressly agreed otherwise.
You should give each coaching session equal priority. You should prepare well by focusing on the objectives for the session and mentally rehearsing the questions you believe you should ask. The session should begin on time.
Focusing your attention on the coachee, asking questions based on their line of thought and not on your own agenda, is vital. Be patient and be prepared to change your perspective. The confidence that they derive from your encouragement and support could be the difference between success and failure.
Ask yourself which questions will raise the coachee’s level of awareness. Consider the different reactions you might receive when asking “are you monitoring your pipeline?” and “what conversations have you had with your prospects this week?” Start building a bank, for future use, of some of the great questions that you already use.
Be aware during a coaching session of where the balance of talking lies. Be prepared to use silence. Having just asked a carefully considered question, give the coachee time to process the question, to think and then to respond.
Ask your coachee to consider how their daily behaviour impacts on their own performance – and that of others. As a coach, you are building a healthy relationship with your coachee; challenging them constructively is part of the contract.
TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS
If your sixth sense is telling you to focus on the coachee’s level of awareness in a specific area, then trust your instincts and tell them what you’re thinking. By being bold, you are more likely to help your coachee to uncover new insights.
HOLD TO ACCOUNT
You will be seeking concrete commitments from the coachee during a session. And they need to know that there is a diary entry for a future session where you will hold them accountable. After all, whatever else is going on outside, these are their priorities to improve performance.
PUT IT IN WRITING
Always follow up a session with a written summary of discussions and actions. And, without altering what was said, emphasise key points that you know will be influential to the coachee.
REFLECT ON YOUR COACHING
After a coaching session ask yourself some questions. How did you demonstrate that you believed in the coachee? What else could you have done to raise their level of confidence? Did you challenge them when you needed to? Give yourself a score out of 10. Write down three things that you did well and something that you could improve on with the aim of building that action into a future session.