10 Favourite Coaching Tools

Saturday, 13th December, 2014

bigstock-Background-with-champagne-glas-54908783At the end of November I celebrated 10 years as a qualified coach!

I’m quite proud of this achievement and am taking some time out in December to reflect on how far I’ve come, what I’ve learned, and where I’m going next.

bigstock-The-question-What-s-in-Your-To-49690580As part of my 10 year celebrations, I’ll be blogging a few lists of 10s during December, starting with 10 of my favourite coaching tools. Here they are.

#1. Coaching Wheels

Originating from the Wheel of Life, this is a highly versatile coaching tool. Here’s an example of both the Wheel of Life and my adapted version for use in the workplace.

If you were to adapt one for yourself / your working environment, which headings would you choose?

#2: Visualisation

Business VisionGetting your coachee to visualise what success and achievement of their goals/targets will look like is a very powerful tool.

As part of this visualisation exercise, don’t just limit it to what they will see. Add in … “What will you hear that’s different?” and “How will you feel?”

I’ve also used visualisation techniques to encourage coachee’s to unblock things that are causing them to get stuck, and to see a range of possible ways forward. E.g. “And if you weren’t stuck (with X), what would you see as the most appropriate way forward?”

What do you see (!) as the best use of visualisation during a coaching session?

#3: Values Elicitation

This is an exercise that is usefully done in the first or second coaching session. It’s a great way of finding out the coachee’s values relative to their coaching area.

It will identify if there are any unhelpful values that are getting in the way of goal achievement, as well as encourage the coachee to add other, more helpful values.

Do you know what your values are, and how they support your personal or work targets?

Circle of Excellence#4: Circle of Excellence

I’ve found this tool is great for both coachees and myself!

You can use it to help the coachee find a resourceful state – for a chosen situation, and for you as a coach – to get into a coaching mindset.

What would be in your circle?

#5: Mindfulness Meditations

Speaking of mindset … recently I’ve been including mindfulness preparation to both the start of my day, and to prepare for coaching sessions.

Here’s an example, with links to more resources on Mindfulness. It’s a great way to focus your attention on the here and now, and help you enter more challenging situations with greater control and confidence.

What mindfulness exercises have you tried that have proved useful?

#6: Preparation for Coachees

bigstock--D-Man-Prepared-To-Race-44598502I like to give my coachees an idea of what to expect from their first coaching session, especially if they’ve never been coached before. So I send them, in advance, a brief information sheet which covers:

  • information about my style of coaching (performance coaching)
  • a confidentiality statement and agreement
  • coaching environment – if working in a school, it’s important that the coachee can find a room where we won’t be disturbed. The coaching environment is usually the responsibility of the coach, but when I coach a teacher or headteacher in their own school, I need to rely on their ability to arrange a suitable environment
  • coaching mindset preparation – this is about the coachee coming to the session with an open mind, one that’s open to new possibilities

With the right level of preparation, this helps us hit the ground running at the first session.

If you’re a coach, what preparation do you send to your coachees? If you’re being coached, what would you expect from your coach before the session?

#7: Confidence Building

The coaching process usually results in the coachee’s confidence (in 1 or more areas) getting a boost. If ‘building confidence’ is their main focus, I sometimes use the ‘Ask 6 People’ exercise, which is detailed in this blog.

Any coachee who’s gone through the exercise uncovers some pleasant surprises!

Try it and see for yourself. Feel free to share any interesting outcomes in the comments box below :)

bigstock-Emoticon-with-adhesive-bandage-29321573#8: Use of Silence

This is a must in any coach’s toolkit. One of the most common comments I get following a coaching demonstration (during my coaching skills training sessions), from staff who’ve not seen coaching in action before, is …

You provided the coachee with valuable time and space to think/reflect.

I must admit, it wasn’t easy at first. I wasn’t always comfortable with periods of silence when I started out on my coaching journey. I wanted to fill it with another question, or a summary of what the coachee had said. Now it’s second nature. I know that during these periods of silence the coachee is doing some valuable thinking and useful reflecting … often resulting in those wonderful ‘lightbulb’ moments!

How comfortable are you with the sound of silence in your coaching sessions?

#9: Identifying Motivation Preferences

Intrinsic to any goal achievement is the ability to motivate yourself. If motivation becomes an issue for the coachee, I may offer to share information about motivation styles.

Here’s a post which describes Towards or Away From motivation; and here are two blogs (Part 1 and Part 2) that offer descriptions of Internal and External styles of motivation. There are others, but these are ones I tend to refer to most often.

What are your motivation preferences for your current goals/targets?

The Big Question words on a 3d question mark background to illus#10: Great Coaching Questions

I’ve left the best for last! I suggested earlier that use of silence is a must for successful coaching sessions. Asking great questions is just as important, if not more so.

In the words of Julie Starr (p.90) …

In coaching, a well-timed timed, simply worded question can remove barriers, unlock hidden information and surface potentially life-changing insights.

I will be posting another blog this month with 10 of my favourite coaching questions, because I feel that this deserves a post all of its own! But for now, one of my favourite ones is “What else?”

Do you have a favourite coaching question? 

So these are 10 of my favourite coaching tools. I could think of at least another 10! What are your favourites?


Tdebbie019 fhank you for taking time to read this blog.

I’m Debbie Inglis, a performance coach, mentor and trainer, working with Heads, Principals, School leaders and their teams to maximise leadership performance, create more effective, confident, and motivated teams … in a way that brings out the best in you.

If you’re interested in my services, please get in touch, and you can read more here.