Coaching Skills - FAQ

What is coaching?
The objective of coaching to encourage people to solve problems for themselves rather than referring them back up to their manager. In fact, managers who coach tend to place a lot of emphasis on developing the people reporting to them, and on creating an environment where people can perform as independently as possible.

What does coaching involve?
Coaching involves the coach and the coachee working together to create changes. The main skills required by the coach involve focusing on goals, listening, asking non-leading questions, and giving non-judgmental feedback.

What are the differences between coaching and training?
Training is driven by the trainer, who will control most of both the process and the content in order to transfer knowledge or develop a new skill as efficiently as possible. In contrast, coaching is driven by questions addressed to the coachee, who then explores what they already know, but in a way that would probably not occur to them without the guidance of a coach.

What are the differences between coaching and mentoring?
In a mentoring relationship, the advice and expertise sought from the mentor will be broad based, with the objective of developing the individual for future roles both on a career and personal level. In a coaching relationship, the coach does not typically pass on experience or give advice, but rather uses questions and feedback to facilitate the coachee's thinking and practical learning.

What are the differences between internal and external coaching?
Coaching can be done using professional coaching services supplied by an independent firm or consultancy, or it can be done by the manager themselves or by someone else within the organization. As part of your decision-making process you will have to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each of these approaches.

What are the differences between formal and informal coaching?
Where formal coaching is being used, both the manager and the team member will be clear that they are engaged in 'coaching' and will be explicitly committed to the process. Informal coaching can happen as part of the everyday conversation between the manager and a team member if the manager is using a collaborative leadership style.

What are coaching skills and behaviors?
The coach must not be judgmental, must believe that the coachee is capable of improving their performance, and be committed to ongoing support. The coachee must be allowed to set the agenda, define the actions required as a result of the coaching session, and demonstrate their accountability for these actions by reporting the progress they have made in the subsequent session.

What factors are needed for successful coaching?
There are seven key skills you need for successful coaching: active listening, building rapport, asking questions, demonstrating empathy, using intuition, goal setting, and giving feedback. Another key part of being a successful coach is the use of a coaching model that aids this learning process.

What skills are needed for coaching?
The essential competencies and skills required by a successful coach are: active listening, asking questions, goal setting, giving feedback, building rapport, demonstrating empathy, and using intuition.

How does active listening fit into coaching?
Active listening requires you to put your own concerns, attitudes, and ideas to one side while you listen to your coachee. This demonstrates to that individual that you are giving them your undivided attention.

How does asking questions fit into coaching?
Using questions to focus the thoughts and attention of the coachee on a particular issue that they may take for granted and therefore gloss over is important in attaining the coaching objective. As coach you will use questions to 'zero' in on particular aspects of a problem or issue that you want to encourage the coachee to think about in detail.

How does goal-setting fit into coaching?
Goals operate as a self-regulatory instrument that guides the planning and focuses the coachee's energies and thinking on a clear objective. Whilst the individual being coached is responsible for setting the agenda (goal), as coach it is your responsibility to be familiar with how to set motivating and attainable goals.

How does giving feedback fit into coaching?
The key to delivering effective coaching feedback is that it is observational and non-judgmental. You must provide clear, specific feedback about the coachee's actions and their consequences, so that the coachee can evaluate their own performance.

How does building rapport fit into coaching?
In the coaching relationship, the focus should be on the coachee's professional goals and how they can be achieved. Coaching is not counseling so it does not require the coach to know too much about the coachee's private life or to become their 'best friend.' Your aim as coach is to create a level of rapport that means the coachee is happy to talk honestly about their work performance.

How does empathy and intuition fit into coaching?
Empathy helps you to 'tune in' to the things that are important to the coachee. It is as important as the more tangible coaching skills, like questioning and active listening. Intuition has a key role to play in establishing rapport. Accessing and articulating your intuitive sense about something that concerns the coachee adds another dimension to your usual logical and rational perspectives.

What is the 'Inner Game'?
This is an approach to coaching developed by Tim Gallwey, a professional sports coach. Coaches using the Inner Game soon realized they could apply these principles in other learning situations. This led to the development of 'GROW' a structured framework using the Inner Game principles to achieve goals.

What is the GROW coaching model?
The GROW model is easily understood and straightforward to apply to management coaching. GROW is an acronym of Goal, Reality, Obstacles and Way forward.

What is the TGROW coaching model?
The TGROW model covers the wider environment that impacts on the specific issue to be addressed through coaching.

What is the OSKAR coaching model?
The OSKAR model requires you to ask questions in such a way as to move the coachee's attention away from problems in favor of solutions. OSKAR is an acronym for Outcome, Scaling, Know-how & Resources, Affirm & Action, and Review.

What are the organizational barriers to coaching?
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), Europe's largest HR development professional body, has conducted research into the organizational barriers to effective coaching. It provides you with insight into why some organizations are reluctant or unable to implement effective internal coaching.

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