Coaching

by Jeremy Cassell and Tom Bird

Forwarding the action

Ever found that sometimes coaching sessions can go round in circles and that you seem to be chatting without any real focus? It’s important to move from discussion to commitment – to forward the action.

As coach, you can and should help the other person to forward the action when there is energy to do so. Action creates momentum and new perspectives, so coaching is very present and future action-oriented. A successful coach is less interested in what went wrong in the past and more interested in what will happen in the future, based on what is happening in the present.

So how do you forward the action?

  1. Ask questions that allow the other person to go with the momentum that has been created in the coaching session.
  • What are you going to do tomorrow?
  • What will get you started?
  1. Use questions to reintroduce momentum when the conversation is more like chatting and is not leading anywhere.
  • What’s the real learning here?
  • What’s the bottom line?
  • What could you do differently?
  1. Make plans and set tasks. Planning is about thinking things through and then executing the tasks.
  • What’s the next step?
  • How are you going to move from A to B?
  • Set a task that by its nature forces the coachee to focus on the areas they are seeking to improve
  • A simple task could be to read and comment on a specific topic in this resource that relates to their goals
  1. Acknowledge with the other person that there has been an insight, and then help them to change their approach to the issue.

Motivating the coachee

To stimulate the greatest likelihood of action happening as a result of your coaching, consider the following points.

  • Be clear on specific goals. Action is less likely to occur if goals either do not exist or are not specific.
  • Link the goal to the other person’s individual motivation. No one has a problem doing things they are really motivated to do! Take the time to understand what motivates the individual, what their values are and what the specific benefits of achievement will mean to them as an individual.
  • Ensure that throughout your coaching you keep responsibility and accountability in the hands of the individual concerned. Do this through asking open questions, probing barriers to performance and getting very clear on what the person will need to do to overcome these barriers.
  • Spend enough time to plan action at the end of a coaching session – the ‘will’ stage. How long is enough time? Whatever it takes for you to feel convinced that action will follow. If you don’t think commitment to action is there, then you should challenge it.
  • Ask appropriate questions before you finish the coaching session to check for commitment.
  • What could prevent you completing these actions?
  • What are you going to do to overcome these barriers?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is certain to achieve and 1 is unlikely to achieve, how do you rate your confidence in getting these actions done? If the answer is 7 or less you can ask ‘What would be necessary to make it 9 or 10?’

There is much more in the Motivation topic.