A short post about coaching

Working with leadership teams I often get questions about coaching. Here are a few questions and answers

What is coaching?

A development process whereby a person (the coach) uses a framework and range of techniques to help the coachee identify solutions to a problem they face which they take full responsibility for.

Why is coaching effective?

Because the person coaching (should) operate from a non judgemental, non-critical, highly confidential base where the coachee identifies the answers for themselves. This creates a learner centred (androgogy based) environment of trust. In this type of environment a coachee is more open to change.

Is coaching always appropriate?

It can be however in a performance/business environment it would typically be more effective at a specific stage of the Concious Competence Model. Example below

conscious competence

What are the coaching model frameworks?

There are a number of different frameworks out there. The one I am most familiar with is G.R.O.W model and then I use my own performance coaching framework which I have dubbed G.A.R.D :0)

What do G.R.O.W and G.A.R.D stand for?

G – Goal (what is your goal? What do you want to achieve as an outcome?)

R – Reality (What have you done to achieve your goal? What is stopping you from achieving your goal? What have you thought of trying but not done to achieve your goal?

O – Options (What else could you do to achieve your goal? What would the person you look up to the most recommend you do that hasn’t been done yet?)

W – Will (Based on all the options you have identified rank the 5 which you feel will most likely when done lead to your goal? Explain your reasoning? Which ones are you going to do (set SMART action plan)


G – Goal (what was your goal? What did you want to achieve as an outcome?)

A –  Actions (What actions did you need to do to accomplish your goal? What actions did you commit to do which would help you accomplish your goal? What did you learn in training about this? What skills would you have had to apply to accomplish your goal? What would this have looked like? What do you mean by?)

R – Review (Lets take a look at what you have done; talk me through …? How does this compare to what you should have done? What is the reason for your results – achieved: praise not achieved: acknowledge)

D – Develop (What are you going to do (stop/start/continue) to achieve your goal moving forward – SMART action plan)

Can I give advice or recommendations when coaching?

There are many theories around this. Although it is not wrong to share ideas or make suggestions be aware that there may be draw backs to this –

1.The session becomes your agenda not the coachees which then puts ownership back on you and turns to a training centred approach = decrease in buy in

2.You may without realising become judgemental/critical in your recommendations = decrease in buy in

How could I make recommendations?

If you have asked enough questions to identify options and the person is still missing a key step then it can work (i.e. still maintain buy in from the coachee) to do the following

Ask if they mind if you suggest some other actions/solutions. make the suggestion “Have you thought about …”

The key is not to suggest what they Will do – this must their choice`

What if the person doesn’t want to admit to not doing what needs to be done?

This is where G.A.R.D works really well for me. This makes the person state what they know should have been done e.g. what did you learn in training about this? And then when looking at what was done (Review) it is plain as to what the discrepancy is. 99% of people will at this point take ownership for their actions and results.

What about that 1% that doesn’t take responsibility?

This is where another framework comes into play P.R.O

P – Problem (state the problem behaviour that you are experiencing from the person. E.g. X you said you should do this and as this shows you have not done it. I am here to help you and you continuously push back)

R – Response (Ask for a response e.g what is going on? How am I contributing to this? What is causing this? If this continues what do think my thought will be? What do you think is going to happen if this doesn’t change?)

O – Options (What are you going to do moving forward? What support do you need?)

What if the person doesn’t want to admit to not doing what needs to be done?

Leadership is about setting clear standards and then sticking to them. It is important to look at each situation in its own light however when in doubt I tend to follow this approach

 Train – Tell – Coach – Feedback/Reprimand – Performance Plan

In summary coaching is – when done properly – a very powerful tool.

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