Is it time to coach?

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Time to coachTake a look at this slide in the box below that we use on our training programme:





Typical situations for which coaching is used:

  • To accelerate development
  • To improve performance
  • To develop new attitudes or behaviour
  • To develop skills
  • To support people through change
  • To help people address workplace challenges
  • To help in developing a learning culture as part of a change programme
  • To help develop team working
  • To help improve motivation

In fact, it is a way of moving things forward or taking the next step and it is useful in virtually all aspects of working life.

Furthermore, coaching requires and generates a positive belief in the huge untapped potential of all people.

We can see from this that there are few if any situations in which coaching isn’t useful. However that is an over-simplified view and there are a number of important considerations in deciding when to coach:

Whose issue?

Coaching is going to work best when an individual has approached you with something they want to move forward. This might be a problem they have or it might equally be something that’s already going quite well but which they’d really like to develop.

If you’re going to try coaching as a means of subliminally persuading people to see things the same way you do, you may struggle. Sometimes we need to ‘tell it like it is’ and then when people have agreed on the underlying issue we can use coaching as a means of dealing with it.

What’s the desired outcome?

Are you looking to get the job done, or are you looking to get the job done well?

What does the person need?

When people are new to a role or team there is a need for some telling because they will have a need for knowledge. They’ll need to know the rules and regulations, processes and procedures and be given the information they need to complete their tasks. Coaching can then kick in as a way of developing their ability to do those tasks well.

How much time is available?

Sometimes the needs of the situation may dictate that coaching is inappropriate. In an emergency or against a looming deadline, learning takes a back seat to getting things done. We can always review the experience later. Coaching might also be counterproductive in the middle of a crisis. Sometimes people need a rubber ring before the swimming lesson!

Think about the last few weeks at work and recall some times when you’ve issued instructions and other times when you’ve tried more of a coaching approach. Review what you’ve considered in this post and decide whether you would have changed anything that you did in light of what you’ve learnt.


Matt Somers

Matt Somers

Matt Somers is the UK’s leading trainer of managers as coaches. His coaching skills training programmes, books, articles and seminars have helped thousands of managers achieve outstanding results through their people.

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