Coaching

by Jeremy Cassell and Tom Bird

Things to watch for in your coaching sessions

When you are coaching effectively you are watching for everything. You are noticing everything that is being communicated and looking for a sense of congruence, an alignment between what is being said and all the non-verbal communication. Below are some specific things to watch for in a coaching session.

Is the coachee taking responsibility?

Taking responsibility and being accountable are the key goals of a coaching approach. As you manage a coaching session, notice to what extent the coachee takes responsibility for their actions and results. If you feel this is not happening, look for an opportunity to check this and to provide feedback to them. Think about your own coaching and to what extent you are supporting their ability to take responsibility through your asking of open questions.

Are they engaged with the coaching?

For coaching to be effective, the coachee needs to engage with it. Watch for whether their words are in alignment with the rest of their communication. If not, give some feedback or ask a question to check their engagement. This is particularly important when coaching around a behavioural or attitudinal issue. One potential contributor to a lack of engagement is the absence of a clear or motivational and specific goal. If you feel engagement with the process is an issue, then this must be addressed if coaching is to bring about a result.

Do they deliver on the agreed actions?

When you agree clear action plans, are they delivered by the coachee? If agreed actions are continually not met, make this the subject of your coaching!

Do they reflect on their performance?

We know that reflection develops performance. This is a goal in our coaching. If you can develop self-reflection, you are assisting in developing continuous learning. To encourage this reflection, get into the habit of asking some good open questions, such as

  • ‘What have you done that really worked well?’
  • ‘What have you done that detracted from the result?’
  • ‘What will you do differently next time?’

If these questions become part of your regular communication, you will begin to encourage the coachee to ask them of themselves.

Do they take feedback on board?

How does the coachee react and respond to feedback? Feedback is a critical input to improve and develop performance, especially in behavioural issues.

If feedback is not being taken on board, look first at how you are giving it.

  • Have you asked permission?
  • Are you being objective, descriptive and non-judgemental?
  • Have you agreed with the coachee how they like to receive feedback?
  • Are you balancing positive with developmental feedback?

If they are still not taking feedback on board, then consider making this a topic for coaching.