Developing Workplace Coaching Skills

The best way is to encourage your team members to solve problems their own problems without having to refer back up to you. To achieve this objective your team must have the correct level of knowledge, skills and attitude to perform their role. One effective way to do this is through the use of coaching.

From a management perspective this can be performed as a discrete activity, management style or an integral part of your daily activities. To be successful you need to create an environment where people can perform as independently as possible.

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Most importantly, you as coach and your coachee (the individual to be coached) must understand and acknowledge coaching is a collaborative process designed to create changes. The best success is achieved when coach assumes that the coachee knows more about their own situation than they do.

Clear Responsibilities

This places the coachee in a better position to develop the insights and ideas needed to create the desired changes. The collaborative nature of this type of relationship makes the responsibilities of both parties easier to understand.

As the coach you are responsible for three actions:

  • Keeping the focus of the discussion on a clearly defined goal, which has been set by the coachee.
  • Facilitating the coachee’s thinking to enable a fresh perspective.
  • Delivering constructive feedback through questioning and active listening.

The coachee in turn is responsible for:

  • Generating ideas and options to resolve the problem so that the goal can be attained.
  • Deciding what actions need to be taken and ensuring they are performed so that the goal is achieved.
  • Regularly reporting on progress throughout the whole process.

This is usually more difficult than it sounds. When these responsibilities become confused the coaching process can break down as a result of frustration and annoyance.

The behaviors you need to display

These skills require you to make a conscious effort to control you initial instincts when a problem arises. You have to resist wanting to direct, resolve and judge the situation. Instead as coach you need to be the catalyst for change in a non-judgmental way by taking on the role of facilitator, listener and questioner.

It is critical in this ‘goal-focused conversation’ that you keep discussion centered on what a solution would look like and how it could be achieved. You must make a conscious effort not to assign blame for the problem. Nor can you give in to your overriding temptation to simply tell someone how to do it.

Success factors

Any workplace coaching opportunities require certain aspects to be present in order to be successful.

  • The coachee must need to achieve something
  • They are prevented from doing so by ‘something’
  • The solution takes account of the current obstacles and situation

Coaching can be defined simply as skillful questioning to bring out the best in people, helping them achieve their goals. It is concerned with helping them to realize their potential and ensuring that they have the skills, understanding, knowledge, and motivation to succeed.

It is about helping an individual shift their perspective, level of confidence, skill, motivation, or attitude. Coaching benefits you and your team by encouraging communication and feedback between members. This in turn helps to develop openness and an atmosphere of trust and honesty.

There are several tried and tested coaching models available for you to use, such as GROW, TGROW, and OSKAR. Descriptions of these models and the principles of coaching are available in our new Coaching Skills eBooks in this skill set area on this topic.

Key Points

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Goals operate as a self-regulatory instrument that guides the planning and focuses the coachee’s energies and thinking on a clear objective.
  • 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.

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