Coaching Done Right—4 Steps that Set People Up for Success

It’s important to ensure that people who are about to receive coaching are set up for success. When using coaching as a development methodology, an experienced coach will take four steps to make sure the engagement has the best chance to achieve desired outcomes. Here’s what to look for in the coaching interactions you set up.

Step 1: What is the goal? What outcomes do you want coaching to achieve? Is a behavior change required? Is a shift in thinking necessary? What exactly has to change? Being specific about outcomes is surprisingly hard for people. Earlier this year, we worked with an organizational sponsor to set up coaching for an executive. When we asked the desired outcome, the sponsor replied, “I’ll know it when I see it.” Needless to say, the target was constantly changing. Coaching is an exploratory process but it must be done with a clear target in mind.

Step 2: Prepare the person to be coached. This includes going over a set of expectations prior to the launch of coaching. Be sure to include expectations around feedback. Share that requests for behavior change will be made in a clear and specific manner along with discussions that ensure feedback is understood and acted upon. Discuss how to create the space for the person being coached to reflect how they might best use coaching and what outcomes they want to achieve.

Step 3: Stick with it. Discuss follow-up. Organizations often expect overnight results. Coaching does not replace the need for internal organizational support—in other words, the manager of the person being coached is not off the hook. In fact, this is a time for the manager to step up, lean in, and follow through. Set up a plan to recognize and acknowledge the growth of the coachee and then support that growth with positive and specific feedback.

Step 4: Gather success stories. Ensure your coaching interventions have some method or process to capture the successes brought about by coaching. Use a post-coaching interview process to capture the changes made and their impact on not only the person being coached but also those around her. Help the coachee to link those successes to business strategies or imperatives. Document the successes and leverage them as a way to influence others to take advantage of coaching.

Coaching will have an impact on people who engage in the process. Careful thought, planning, and follow-through can dramatically increase the effectiveness of coaching, which will pay off a hundred fold in your organization.

About the Author

Patricia OverlandPatricia Overland is a Coaching Solutions Partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies’ Coaching Services team.  Since 2000, Blanchard’s 150 coaches have worked with over 14,500 individuals in more than 250 companies throughout the world. Learn more at Blanchard Coaching Services. And check out Coaching Tuesday every week at Blanchard LeaderChat for ideas, research, and inspirations from the world of executive coaching.

3 thoughts on “Coaching Done Right—4 Steps that Set People Up for Success

  1. Thanks for this Patricia. Good that you drew attention to the fact that coaching in an organisational context isn’t always just about the coach/coachee relationship. If only it were so simple! Really we need as coaches to take care to identify all potential stakeholders in the intervention, and try as best we can to gain consensus amongst them on what the ‘goal’ and ‘success’ would look like to all. Then we can go some way to gaining buy-in to the process from managers and other relevant parties that might ensure the coachee has the kind of support that’s necessary post-coaching. So yes, careful thought and planning are key, along with transparency so that the coachee is confident in the process…

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  3. Hi Patricia,

    Great post and could not agree more with the approach. I think step 3 “stick with it” often presents the greatest stumbling block. Immediate results aren’t always there and people often give up rather than trusting the process and building the coach-coachee relationship.

    Our Coaching Skills for Managers course is currently free on Udemy and I think it may be of interest to yourself and your readers! It compliments the article by educating on the practical steps of running a coaching session. If interested, you can get a token here for free access to the course:

    Keep up the great work!

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