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 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.