Coaching a team can be taxing whether you’re a catechumen or a connoisseur. These 10 tips can keep your team on track and moving forward.
1. Listen more than you talk.
A coach’s job is to help a coachee identify and create solutions, not prescribe them. Practice active listening techniques so employees know you’re paying attention, not just biting your tongue.
2. Stay on point.
A coaching conversation follows a structured framework for success. Stick to a specific process (like the award-winning GROW® Model) to ask the right questions and avoid getting mired or sidetracked.
3. Ask “what else?”
When brainstorming with a coachee, refrain from judgement and ask “what else?” to encourage more options. Apply an InsideOut mindset and see what ideas your employee can uncover. Encourage the coachee to come up with as many as 20 possible solutions to a problem before they decide which they want to do. Often, the “best” options are pretty far down the list.
4. Prepare, plan, and practice.
Great coaching conversations – especially the tough ones – aren’t spontaneous. When emotions run high, your memory may not work so well. Think through your approach before you begin and practice it out loud before the meeting so it comes naturally during the real thing. Read this blog post for more tips to handle your toughest conversations.
5. Make every conversation a coaching conversation.
Coaching may be intentional, but it needn’t be long or formal. Keep the dialogue going with bite-sized “check-in conversations” lasting only a minute or two.
6. Seek permission.
When you need to have a longer coaching conversation, first ensure that the coachee has the time and attention to devote to it – otherwise, the conversation itself can be a form of interference.
7. Believe that change is possible.
Stoke your own flames of faith, believing in the potential of others and that the coaching process can make a huge impact. You’ll find the results align with your expectations.
8. Help it stick.
Coaching is trending, but it isn’t a fad. Become a champion of coaching to see real impact and help others master the skills, too. The more coaching becomes “the way we do things” rather than the flavor of the month, the greater the results – in employee engagement, reduced turnover, quality, customer satisfaction, even revenue.
9. Be clear.
Coaching is all about outcomes not just good feelings. Be open and transparent that there’s an issue you want a collaborative effort in solving. Define what’s expected from each conversation and use good job aids to help motivate action on the part of your coachee and then follow up. Set up next steps. Who is doing what and when will you check back in? If you can’t measure it, you can’t master it.
10. Start with a plan.
Have an agenda for the meeting, but don’t run through it right away. Let the coachee share their agenda items first. Cover the tasks at hand, but don’t forget the individual’s long-term goals. It’s easy to focus on putting out the fires right in front of you, but if workers feel like you aren’t investing in them, or considering their big picture, you could have an even bigger fire on the horizon.
For more tips to coach like a pro, check out this e-book or learn more about how coaching can impact your organization by talking with a coaching specialist. What tips do you have for mastering coaching conversations?