10 Jun 5 Tips for Successful Coaching Conversations
Coaching is ever-evolving. Now more than ever it is proving to be an extremely effective development tool, helping today’s leaders to create a motivated team, working towards a common purpose.
Massive emphasis is now placed on leaders engaging their teams through asking and involving, rather than just ‘telling’ to get a task done. A leader with a coaching mindset can unlock new levels of performance in themselves and their teams, by stimulating accountability by asking great questions.
The increased demand for leaders to act as coaches can be a real challenge – managers often choose a more directive style due to time constraints or lack of experience. But more efficient in the short term may make for less effective over time.
Here we’ve put together 5 tips for managers and leaders looking to ‘coach in the moment’, ask before they tell, and have better coaching conversations.
Listen, Listen, Listen
Listen to your coachee’s needs and don’t go straight into solution mode. Better listening helps with a deeper understanding, creates a sense of calm and shows you care. If you are talking, you aren’t listening. Giving your coachee sufficient focused attention by listening well, helps them think clearly about the issue or what he/she is going to say. In the long term this builds trust and saves time. When you have the opportunity for longer or deeper coaching discussion, use listening as a metric of your focus – really effective listening should leave you with a sense of having worked hard!
You need to be able to provide real, effective feedback. Make sure you are feeding forward – great coaches support their coachee by helping them use their learning to reimagine how performance will be in the future.
Ask Focused Questions
Ask open-ended questions. It’s important that you as a coach resist leading by answering questions for your team member. It’s not your development pathway. When you ask effective questions, you can get them thinking in the direction you propose, but they still find the answer! Resist the temptation to rescue them or try to impress them with your ideas, rather establish rapport and trust by asking questions, eliciting ideas and information from them. When you find the answer for them, you remove the opportunity for them to learn.
Help them identify and set goals and discuss the steps necessary to achieve them. Contract well at the beginning of the coaching relationship and throughout, to ensure that it’s clear who’s accountable for what. Action plans should be created and owned by the coachee.
Regardless of what’s going on, it’s vital that you are consistent in your actions, words and discipline as a coach. Check-in with yourself before you check in with them – show up aware and engaged. Be present, be genuine, be authentic. If your day doesn’t create the conditions for that, consider rescheduling. Coaching is important but even more important to coach with the intention of listening and building real relationships and to be consistent to develop others.