Consider using role play in a coaching session

A point of clarification. I do not mean the use of traditional role playing as experienced (usually painfully) by delegates on sales training courses or similar. I am not about to suggest that you and your coachee develop a script and set up video cameras. By role playing I mean the idea of experimenting and trying ides ‘on for size’ and there are two main ways in which this is helpful in a coaching session. Firstly we can offer our coaches the idea of ‘practice without penalty’. If, for example, they have come up with a way forward that involves

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Handling emotion in a coaching session

You can never legislate for what might happen once we sit people down and start exploring coaching questions. It’s quite possible that difficulties outside work may surface and that things get a little emotional. This is perfectly normal and can be taken as a sign that your coaching – and your own coaching style – is proving effective. It’s unlikely that your coaches would disclose unsettling information if they didn’t trust in your ability to help them handle it. It’s important though to make sure that you’re both comfortable in moving forward if coaching goes from simple task related issues,

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Devoting time to goal setting within a coaching conversation

There is a famous story…. In 1953, researchers surveyed Yale’s graduating seniors to determine how many of them had specific, written goals for their future. The answer: 3%. Twenty years later, researchers polled the surviving members of the Class of 1953 — and found that the 3% with written goals had accumulated more personal financial wealth than the other 97% of the class combined! I don’t imagine there’s a book or a training course on coaching that doesn’t emphasise the importance of goal setting. Indeed I’ve written about it here and examined the place of goals within an overall set

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Holding an initial coaching meeting

  Having defined roles and responsibilities and found an appropriate setting it’s time to get together with your coachee for an introductory meeting. If you’re coaching the same people whom you manage, this meeting will be about introducing the concept of coaching, explaining why you’re using it now and setting out what you hope it will achieve. If you’re coaching people with whom you don’t normally work, this meeting is about establishing a working relationship. Let’s consider both these scenarios in turn as there are common elements to both. Here we meet Simon, Head of Sales for an office supplies

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Getting the setting right for a coaching session

Alongside the other matters we’ve examined in previous posts, we need also to think about the physical location for a coaching session. On our coaching skills programmes we encourage our participants to do their coaching practice outside wherever possible and weather permitting. This is not just to give people a good time (although coaching is undoubtedly more successful when it’s enjoyable) but to recognise that successful coaching requires people to feel at ease and free from distractions. Remember that one of our main intentions is to use coaching to promote high quality thinking so we need an environment that can

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Defining roles and responsibilities in a coaching session

This may seem at first glance to be something of a daft heading. Roles and responsibilities in coaching are obvious and implied in everything I’ve ever posted: we coach, they learn. Simple. But is anything ever quite so straightforward in organizational life? Coaching never happens in a vacuum. If you’re coaching your own team member it may seem that only the two of you are involved, but that’s probably a mistaken assumption. I’m guessing your boss will be very interested in the outcome of any coaching sessions as they too will undoubtedly benefit from improved results and they’ll also be

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How to structure and run a coaching session

In my next few posts I want to concentrate on the practicalities of scheduling and running coaching sessions or conducting coaching conversations. We need to consider what needs to happen before, during and after coaching to give us the best chance of achieving a successful outcome. These considerations range from the seemingly simple (though often frustratingly difficult) matter of booking an appropriate meeting room, to more complex and subtle concerns like handling emotion. Before we do that though, I want to examine in a little more detail what precisely is meant by a coaching session. The term covers many different

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A conversation that uses Tell in a coaching style

Finally in this series of posts on coaching conversations, a quick, task focused exchange. Matt Angie, I need you to finish preparing that slide presentation by 5pm, so I can send it to the client before he goes home. Angie Okay, I’ll get on to it straight away. Matt Great. When you’re doing it see if you can work out how to include a video clip. We don’t actually need it for this one, but it would be nice. Do you think there’s time? Angie Well I’ll finish what we definitely need for the client first and then look at

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A conversation to build on strengths

In the previous three posts we saw that Ed had problems coping with nerves, Ringo had problems with delegation and Nat had problems adapting to change. I’ve fallen for the same trap I warned you of earlier. I am focusing too much on coaching as a means of restoring performance not developing performance or building on strengths. Let’s look at that now. Curtis runs a small consultancy business providing a range of support and training for owners and managers of small to medium enterprises (SMEs). Late last year he employed Elaine as a personal assistant. Elaine has a wealth of

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A conversation to help cope with change

I’d like you to meet Nat. Nat runs the Accounts Department in a small engineering company. Until quite recently he reported to the founder and owner of the business, Valerie. They had a great relationship with few formal controls and Nat was free to do more or less as he pleased as long as the job got done. Around six months ago, Valerie sold the business to a larger engineering firm and Nat now reports to the new Managing Director, Glen. Glen has become concerned about Nat. He sees him questioning the change all the time and longing for the

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A conversation to restore motivation

  Remember Ringo from an earlier post (Is it a question of Willingness or Ability)? We learnt that he is reluctant to delegate and worries over his staff while they do tasks for him. We decided that Ringo fitted the ‘Able but not willing‘ description because he understands how to delegate, but doesn’t put it into practice. How can we motivate him to take up delegation? Pay him more? Threaten him with dire consequences? It seems unlikely that these approaches would do much good in the long term, so let’s see what a coaching conversation might produce. We’ll assume that

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A conversation to address workplace challenges

For sake of ease, we’ll return to the example of Ed, whom we met in the last post, Navigating the Competency Cycle, and imagine that his boss, Sue, knew a thing or two about coaching and decided to have a chat with Ed about undertaking the domestic announcements. Sue So I’m going to ask what might seem like a strange question, ‘How will you know if you’ve been successful? Ed Err, that is a strange question. I guess if the group looks happy and if I feel happy too. Sue ‘Happy’s’ a bit woolly Ed, what exactly will you look

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