5 Coaching Programme Essentials – Part 1
To celebrate International Coaching Week I’ve put together a short series of blog posts on the essential elements of running a coaching programme in your school.
They are aimed at teachers who are trained in coaching skills, but will also be useful for staff being coached (coachees), so they’ll have an idea what to expect!
These 5 articles will be posted daily on this blog from 19th to 23rd May. So on with the first! …
#1: Effective Preparation
It’s important that the coachee is clear about what coaching is and what it isn’t. So some kind of information sheet is useful, or a link to a coaching session on You Tube for example. Sometimes it takes a session or two of being coached for coachees to understand what coaching is, it’s benefits, and how it’s not mentoring or counselling!
I often find that, when delivering coaching training in schools, starting the day with a coaching demonstration really helps the audience gain some clarity. It often elicits useful discussion on the key elements of coaching, which are revisited over the course of the training.
Next, it’s a good idea to send the coachee a questionnaire to find out information such as:
- what areas / topics they are hoping to cover – this will help to identify whether they are coaching topics or whether you need to refer them to someone else … a mentor or local counselling service, for example
- whether they have been coached before, how useful they found it, and how they prefer to be coached (e.g. quite challenging, or perhaps more ‘light touch’ to start, with positive challenge brought in gradually)
- what timescales, if any, they are working towards
- what’s brought them to coaching – did they choose it for themselves, or did someone else tell them they should have coaching
Having some of these pre-coaching questions answered before you start helps you hit the ground running when you have your 1st session!
During the 1st session you’ll also want to both sign a Coaching Agreement, which sets out what is expected of both parties in the coaching relationship. Doing this ‘live’ provides the coachee with an opportunity to ask questions. You could also send them a draft version prior to the 1st session, so they have time to read and digest it, but sign it when you meet.
Another useful discussion that often takes place at the 1st session (or even before) is around the practicalities of the coaching programme:
- where the sessions will be held,
- how often,
- and for how long
Make sure you have somewhere to meet where you won’t be disturbed. There’s nothing worse for ruining thought processes than interruptions. Great things can happen in coaching sessions, like those ‘lightbulb’ moments … when something just clicks for the coachee, and they have greater clarity, or they’ve just learned something about themselves that is useful moving forward.
If that quality time and space to think is not available to coachees – it can result in slow progress and frustration all round.
Make sure that other staff know the “Do Not Disturb” sign means just that! There’s a depth of thinking generated in a coaching session, which is hard to get back once the flow has been lost as a result of being interrupted.
So there are a few tips on good preparation.
Would love to hear your thoughts on this, and other ways you prepare that are useful for you and your coachees.
Feel free to leave your comments below
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.