Coaching

by Jeremy Cassell and Tom Bird

How do I become a coach?

This page will be helpful to you in the following circumstances:

  • You are already doing some coaching
  • You are interested in how to develop your skills as a coach
  • You want to get some coaching qualifications
  • You need some information to help your organisation fund a coaching programme
  • You want to have more credibility as an internal coach within your organisation.

So you’ve probably bought into the notion that coaching is a good thing. You may have been on a course or read some books on coaching and started using it as a management tool. Where do you go from there? This page may help you get a bit clearer. Here’s your chance to think about what you want.

  • In what ways do you want to develop as a coach?
  • What will you be using coaching for?
  • What sort of internal cultural barriers are there to coaching?
  • How will these barriers affect your development as a coach?
  • What do you need right now?

There are, as always, many routes to what you want. Here are four options to improve yourself as a coach.

Coaching resources

There are plenty of books, which can give you much more information about the nature of coaching and the skills required (see Want to know more?). In addition there are CDs and DVDs that you can buy to hone those coaching skills.

Practice

Then, of course, there is no substitute for practice. Practise coaching as much as you can and take a step back every time to ask yourself some modelling questions.

  • How did I do?
  • What worked?
  • What impact did my intervention have on the coachee?
  • What could I have done better?
  • What have I learned from the session?

Coaching supervisor

Get yourself a coaching supervisor – an expert in coaching who can give you some objective feedback on how you are doing. They may be able to listen in on telephone coaching sessions or piggyback a field-coaching session of a more formal performance or business review. Work with them to identify your current strengths and what you need to focus on to improve. Many experienced independent coaches offer themselves as supervisors; alternatively, there may be someone within your organisation who fits the bill.

The Association of Coaching Supervisors is a not-for-profit organisation promoting coaching supervsion www.associationofcoachingsupervisors.com

Courses

There is now a plethora of courses available. These range from one-day introductions to programmes leading to professional qualifications. It is quite possible that coaching will be licensed in the US soon. In the UK, there are coaching academies and businesses offering a diverse range of coaching courses. You can learn coaching in one hit over a week or weekend, online, or as part of a modular programme. Before you enrol ask yourself what you want.

  • What sort of course do I want?
  • How much time have I got to focus on coaching?
  • How important is a formal qualification to my career?
  • Do I want to practise while I learn?
  • What sort of support will I require?
  • How best do I learn?

The path to improvement

Improving as a coach will include these challenges:

  • Am I getting the results I need?
  • Is there consistency in my performance as a coach?
  • Is there a balance between managing my team and coaching for improvement?
  • How is my credibility with the team?
  • How do I spend my time?
  • Am I developing my own personal awareness?
  • Am I developing responsibility within my coachees?

You may be genuinely surprised by what happens for you as you develop as a coach. You may want to match these developments with your own expectations.

  • How do you want to improve as a coach?
  • What are your current strengths?
  • Which skills still need to be refined?

Your coachees will help point the way. Pay attention to any feedback you get from them. They will be giving you a good steer as to how you are doing, and you can overtly ask for feedback.

  • How was that session for you?
  • What did I do that worked for you?
  • What would you have liked less/more of?
  • What question could I have asked that would have opened up more options?

Accumulate this regular feedback and use it to adjust what you do.

In addition, you may have the opportunity as a coach or manager to notice an improvement in the performance of your coachees. This may be directly related to your coaching. Again, if you can, identify what is working for your people. This will give you some great feedback as to how you are improving as a coach, which will impact on your own self-confidence.

So, there are plenty of ways to improve as a coach – you can monitor the feedback from yourself, from your boss, from your coachees and from a coaching supervisor. This will raise your awareness and generate even more responsibility in you for noticing what steps you can take to help increase the performance of others.