There are many different forms of coaches; life coaches, business coaches, health coaches, career coaches etc but coaching itself is a fairly neutral, performance enhancing skillset that has many applications outside of the traditional arenas.
In Dan Bradbury HQ there are 5 people who act as business coaches but coaching itself is used as a highly effective management tool and in this article I want to lay out the key ways you can start adding coaching to your business arsenal.
What is Coaching?
There are many definitions but in a working summary coaching revolves around having conversations where one person asks questions, listens, reflects back the communication and holds the other person to a high standard and the other person accesses personal responsibility, self awareness, self belief and certainty of action.
Why use Coaching?
As a manager you operate along a scale of direct to indirect in your communication. You can either out and out tell people what to do, how to do it and when or you can give the power to the individual and let them set their own standards, goals and agenda. Most people operate at one or other of these extremes. Coaching is a skill that can bridge them. You allow the person the flexibility and autonomy to grow, develop and deliver results while
How to Coach
The key areas every coaching conversation covers are: Setting directions, Making Choices, Achieving Goals.
The key tools used by coaches include: Active Listening, Incisive Questioning and Offering Feedback.
The key drivers underlying every coaching conversations are: The Beliefs of the coachee, The resources of the coachee (opportunity, skillsets, network, assets etc) and the motivation of the coachee.
So most coaching conversations will start by setting a general direction. What outcome does the person want? What’s critical for them to work on right now? What does success look like to them?
The direction will encompass aspects of what they are already doing: what actions have you already taken? What’s your current thinking about this?
In order to move from where they are to where they want to be they will have to collect and view their options and make choices on them.Every direction taken and option evaluated will revolve around the perceptions, beliefs, evaluations and assumptions of the coachee. This is a good time to ask questions that examine the thinking of the coachee: What are your options? What else? What are you overlooking? Is X more important than Y? What assumptions are you making?
Once the direction is set and the choices are clear then you will need to help them set some actions: What actions do you need to take? When will you take it? What support do you need to get? How confident are you that this will get done from 1-10?
When you interact with your employees or when they ask you for advice or guidance ask yourself what role will be more useful for this person in this moment: The Boss or The Coach? (Both have their uses)
If they try and put the responsibility for their problem on you or if they delegate their natural resourcefulness and effectiveness to you then try asking some questions that put the power back with them or get them to open up their perspective:
- What answer would you give to that question if you were in my position?
- What is the problem and what solutions have you considered?
- Ok, that’s the problem- what’s the outcome you’re looking for?
- What needs to change?
- If you say ‘yes’ to this, what are you saying ‘no’ to?
- What is stopping you from coming up with a solution/ achieving that outcome?
- What’s the most important/ most challenging/ most critical part of this?
- If you had all the resources you needed what would you do?
- How have other people tackled this issue?
- What do you think you need to do right now?
- What resources/ skills are missing?
- What do you need from me to achieve this outcome?
This is just a quick snippet of information from a very broad and diverse topic. If you have any feedback or questions please put them in the comments below.