Why We Coach

The Careereon Blogging Team
October 28, 2022

Every leader has a responsibility to coach the people around them. Whether a person reports to you or not is immaterial. A good leader knows they have insight and wisdom to offer and knows how and when to share it in the way that a recipient will best absorb it. Let’s focus on the coaching of a direct report or even the team you lead. For any successful coaching session, it’s imperative that the leader, or coach, has properly prepared. What does that mean? Every aspect of the session should be designed for the coachee to gain the most from the session. Thus, the Coach has several factors to consider in their coaching.


The Setting

Is the setting private, public, closed or open door, well or dimly lit, is it a dedicated coaching spot adorned with decoration and materials designed to be soothing and informative?

 

The Goal

Improvement is always the primary, if not only, goal of a coaching session. If you are conducting a coaching session because it is an assigned task to complete as part of a weekly or monthly requirement, be honest about whether your goal is about completing your work(i.e. about you), or improving your team. If it’s about you and your assignment, save yourself and your employee time, and do something more fruitful until you get yourself in the right mindset to properly coach.

 

Who am I coaching

Unless a new employee or team, where an early coaching session can have goals more aligned to fact-finding, you have a good sense of who your people are, their quality and level of performance or production, and may have one or more critical areas that you need to focus on. While this intimate knowledge can be helpful, it can also prevent you from having the open dialogue that should be an integral part of every coaching session. While it is important to know your audience, be and stay open enough to notice even the smallest improvements as they happen, while staying curious about the person you coach to truly hear about their life and work from their perspective. The greater your ability to stay curious and to listen to your people, the more impactful your coaching will be, as you will have an audience that respects your openness and considers coaching with you to be safe zone through which they will learn.

How will I coach

Most leaders are looked at as though they have all the answers. Some expect this from their leader to the point that they think no further than the scope of their own work and rely on the leader to tell them anything beyond that. Good coaching can change that and create business owners instead of robots. Much like you know your people, your people likely know you, which can include what to expect from your coaching. They may be familiar with your style, your questions, even what your goals for them will be prior to meeting with you. If you’re in that space you need to get out of it, as this dynamic is simply two people ‘checking boxes’ on their respective worklists for the week and nothing will be gained here. Rather than trying to have all of the right answers, work on having the right questions for the people you lead and coach. Asking powerful questions will help you and your coachee better understand their thoughts and their ability to improve and to move your business forward.

Examples:

– How do you think your interaction impacted the customer?

– Do you think, based on your work with them, this customer would refer our company to friends and family?

– Would you do anything differently if you could do it over?

– What do you think customers expect when they contact us?

– What do you think makes a company easy to do business with?

– What would you change about our business to help us grow and be successful?

– There are many more questions you can ask that go beyond the simple item or two you may otherwise look to cover in a typical coaching session or team meeting.

They key to great coaching is preparation. It is nearly impossible to execute great coaching sessions without having a solid gameplan. Know what you want to get out of every coaching session, whether to a person or a team, and have goals designed to move your people and your business forward. Doing so, while staying open and curious to gain insight and intelligence from your people, will yield discovery and ideas from those likely closer to your customers than you, and create the powerful, collaborative coaching system that makes your people feel that they are as integral to the success of your business as you do.  

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