Coaching for Success

Coaching is perhaps the most effective method of increasing performance available to managers, team leaders, and colleagues. This article defines coaching and outlines a process for effective coaching.

Coaching Defined

Coaching is perhaps the most effective method of increasing performance available to managers, team leaders, and colleagues.

If you wish to improve the skills of your employees, you must plan to observe them and provide them with feedback. If you're like most supervisors or managers, you have limited time and are looking for employees to become proficient - and independent - faster.

Entelechy's Coaching Model is designed to help you do just that!

The Coaching Model is appropriate for developing the skills of employees if the employee is willing to improve. Coaching should not be used as a softer, gentler version of corrective action; if a performance problem occurs, you will want to use the Problem Solving model.

The Coaching Model is based on several important principles:

  • There are two primary goals to coaching:

    • To improve performance.

    • To help employees gain the ability to self-assess.

  • It is important that the coaching sessions follow a predictable process. This will help the coachees feel more comfortable and relaxed, which will help to ensure they actively participate in these sessions. It is for this reason that we suggest that you share the coaching model with your employees prior to coaching.

  • Coaching is a planned development process and should not be a surprise.

  • The way you open the conversation sets the tone for what will follow.

  • After we open the conversation using our initial probe, we discuss positives first and areas for improvement last. Beginning with positives first is motivational and accomplishes the following:

    • The goal is to have employees increase their performance. If they are not in a positive frame of mind, they will not be open to this change.

    • Reinforces good behavior and ease into the coaching session.

    • Builds self-esteem.

  • Ending the coaching session with a discussion of areas for development ensures that they are focusing on those areas.

  • Always give the coachee a chance to self-assess before you offer your insights. Encouraging self-assessment is positive for several reasons:

    • It encourages improvement even when you are not coaching.

    • It allows you to determine why the employee may not be performing as desired; they may not know that they're doing something incorrectly.

    • It builds self-esteem.

    • It increases the chances that behavior will change.

  • Reinforce correct self-assessment.

  • Defer or redirect inappropriate or incorrect self-assessment.

  • We focus coaching on only two strengths and two areas for development. Limiting the discussion is important and accomplishes the following:

    • Increases the coachee's ability to reach proficiency.

    • Focuses on the most important issues.

    • Other issues can be addressed after some progress has been made on the most important issues first.

  • If an employee is not identifying areas that you identified (or has identified them incorrectly), use increasingly specific questions to allow the employee to self-assess if possible. This allows you to determine if the employee doesn't know what's expected, doesn't have the skill, or simply chooses not to demonstrate the skill.

    The Coaching Model at Work

    Now let's turn our attention to Entelechy's Coaching Model in practice.

    Step 1: Open the Conversation

    The coach opens the conversation with a general question; this helps the coach get a sense for the accuracy of the coachee's self-assessment. If the coachee responds with, "that was the best call ever" and you thought that the call was poor, you know that you'll have to adjust your coaching conversation.

    Step 2: Probe for What Went Well

    The coach asks the coachee what went particularly well and listens for the responses. By identifying what went well first, a positive tone for the coaching session is set. We want to make sure that the coachee continues doing these things. This also forces the coachee - NOT THE COACH - to identify superior performance.

    Step 2a: Redirect or Defer

    Sometimes the coachee will bring up a negative when you're discussing positives. You will want to defer that discussion until later in the coaching conversation by saying, "I'd like to talk about that more later. What else went particularly well?"

    Other times, the coachee will claim something as a positive that - in your opinion - was an area that needs development. You will want to redirect their perception by pointing out what you saw that helped you conclude that it was less than desirable. "Oh, really? Did you happen to see John's face when you discussed the product's features? That's right, he seemed to lose interest when you started talking about us rather than about him...."

    Step 2b: Support and Build

    When the coachee correctly assesses his performance - both strengths and areas for development - support the assessment by saying, "I agree." Build from their conclusions to reinforce the accuracy of their self-assessment. In this way, you are reinforcing one of the most valuable skills anyone can acquire: the ability to assess and improve their own performance.

    Step 3: Probe for Areas for Development

    The third step is to ask the coachee what he would change if he could do it again. Obviously, if the coachee knows what could be improved and knows how to improve it, he won't benefit from YOU telling him! And by mentally rehearsing what he will do differently, the likelihood of him actually carrying out the improvement is increased.

    Most experts agree that two or three areas for development are enough for anyone to work on. Working on a laundry list of things to change is frustrating and futile. Focus on the areas of greatest need.

    When identifying areas for development, the coachee may not have identified the one that you thought was most important. Again, you can redirect their perception by identifying what you saw that they might not have that allowed you to come to your conclusion. "I agree that the two areas that you identified would definitely had made the call go better. What do you think the effect of your product feature presentation was on the customer? Why? What might you do differently the next time...?"

    Step 4: Summarize and Support

    Even though you may have limited the coaching to a few strengths and a couple areas for development, you will want to briefly summarize the discussion, especially what the coachee will do differently the next time. This recap will cause the most important things to remain fresh in memory. You will also want to support the changes by saying something like, "I think those changes will make your next call go even better."

    Follow these four steps to help your employees and colleagues increase their performance.

    (This information comes from Coaching for Performance, a module in Entelechy's High Performance Management program. Check out this module as well as our 40 other modules, training tools, and eGuides at www.unlockit.com)

    I have a diagram jpg or Word drawing of the coaching model that would illustrate the process better than words. I also have this available in Word format.

    About The Author

    Terence R. Traut is the president of Entelechy, Inc., a company that helps organizations unlock the potential of their people through customized training programs in the areas of sales, management, customer service, and training. Check out our 40 customizable modules, training tools, and eGuides at www.unlockit.com. Terence can be reached at 603-424-1237 or ttraut@unlockit.com

  • More Resources

    Unable to open RSS Feed $XMLfilename with error HTTP ERROR: 404, exiting

    More Coaching Information:

    Related Articles

    The Long Way
    I wrote you about four years ago, when my eight year marriage was ending in divorce. At that time you gave me some great advice about beginning again.
    Just Listen, Please!
    When did you last do that? When did you last listen to yourself? Is there a small voice inside you calling out "Just listen to me" Just listen. Please".
    Successful Implementation of Company Wide Coaching Programmes
    Ten years ago I was fortunate enough to be heavily involved in the implementation of a company wide coaching programme, both as an employee who was to receive coaching but also as a manager and coach who was expected to regular coach my reports and my peers to enable them to achieve their objectives. I say, fortunate enough, because I found that when I was coached effectively I became really motivated and focused, and when I finally became a proficient coach, I again found it motivational in that I was able to support and enable my direct reports to achieve more.
    Managing Performance Every Day
    The scenario?The company has decided it needs to eliminate costs. Hundreds of jobs are on the line.
    The Right Coach
    Who is the Best Coach For Achieving Your Goals?A friend of mine was recently at a Mark Victor Hansen and Robert Allen workshop. They were promoting their Enlightened Millionaire Program.
    Coaching Skills
    IntroductionThe question for leaders in organizations today is how do we go about unleashing motivation, facilitating idea creation, promoting information flow and go beyond being Number One? How do we distance ourselves from our competitors? We cannot relax and take our success for granted. Our competitors are fierce and anxious to take back market share, produce the next blockbuster product, or invent some new technology to better serve customers.
    Aim For Your Star
    "Aim for your star, no matter how far, you must reach high above and touch your life with love, you must never look back, but charge on! Attack! See your goal your star of desire, see it red hot, feel it burning, you must be obsessed with it to make it your true yearning, be ready my friends for when you truly believe it, you will certainly achieve it and by all of God's universal laws you will always receive it!"Bob Smith(American editor, author, founder of Orison Swett Marden Foundation)Are you disappointed, discouraged and discontented with your present level of success? Are you secretly dissatisfied with your present situation? Do you want to become a better and more beautiful person than you are today? Do you want weight loss, or an end to food obsession? How about inner peace?Yes, you can have what you want! Of course you can. But accomplishing your goals while at the same time feeling inner peace means doing things differently than you've done them before.
    Why a Self Help Book May Not Help You
    For a self help book to work, we have to read right it through to the end. While this may seem like a no-brainer, many people never finish reading books that they buy.
    Listening Skills In Relationships
    Recently, when out to dinner with another couple, my husband is surprised at what someone says about one of our neighbors. He even comments this to the person about his amazement.
    How Can Sceptics Get the Proof They Need
    Are you one of those folks that needs to figure-it-out all the time? Are you one of those Law of Attraction students who catches yourself saying things like, "I wonder how this is going to come to me?" or, "What do I need to figure out so I know what to do next (to manifest what I desire)?" Attention Law of Attraction Students!Stop trying to figure out where/how/when your manifestation is going to come! It's not your job!Here's a great tool that will help all of you 'figure-it-outers' reduce your need to figure it out. Those of you who are thinkers need to see it or know it before you can fully accept that The Law of Attraction exists and is working in your life.
    Be A Champion Communicator by Becoming a Chameleon
    Recently, I worked with a client who was having a problem with some of the women in her organization. The organization had just undergone major changes, which resulted in different reporting relationships for many of the women.
    Change the Words and Change the World
    Excerpt From The Relationship Handbook: How to Understand and Improve Every Relationship in Your Life by Kevin B. BurkIf we want to change our lives in any way, all we need to do is to change our words, thoughts and beliefs.
    Emotional Dependency or Emotional Responsibility
    Emotional dependency means getting one's good feelings from outside oneself. It means needing to get filled from outside rather than from within.
    W Edwards Deming
    Immediately post second world war W Edwards Deming went to Japan to create order from the crisis that was the Japanese economy.In Japan he found fertile ground for a set of ideas that had been around since the twenties.
    Do You Want to Impress Others? Then Don't Talk ?Listen
    Recently my friend Michelle was concerned about a professional conference she was planning to attend with her husband, a veterinarian. She has no background in veterinary science, so she did not think she would be able to effectively communicate with the people at the conference.
    The Power of Visualization
    Professional athletes and other highly successful people use the power of visualization technique on a regular basis. Why? Results of a 20-year study of the effects of visualization on results revealed an amazing discovery.
    Priorities: Are You Living Yours?
    In the Charles Dickens classic, "The Christmas Story", Scrooge is given the opportunity to examine his life and his priorities before it is too late. Upon being shown his grave by the ghost of Christmas Future, he asks "Spirit, are these instances of things that will be or are they of things that might be? Is it too late for me?" How long has it been since you have examined your life and its direction? When the day comes that you leave this earth, how will you be remembered?Have you ever noticed that once people have something life-changing take place in their lives, an illness, death or tragedy, how quickly their priorities change? It is amazing how instantaneously things that were so important yesterday, fail to cross their radar screens today.
    Dont Settle
    Settling is about not embracing what is best for you, and accepting what you really don't want. When you settle, you accept less than you deserve.
    Tempering Temper
    I'm almost always a calm and collected person. Or at least I think I am.
    Skills for Change
    The name of the game is CHANGE -- that's true at work, and it's also true in life. In both situations there are FOUR skills you can trust:1.