5 Coaching Programme Essentials – Part 2
In Part 1 – Effective Preparation I suggested ways you can prepare for a coaching engagement. This sows the seeds for a positive start, but let’s now focus on this in more detail.
Here are a few tips on how to make that positive start with your coachee.
1. Make sure the coachee understands what’s expected of the coaching programme.
Use your coaching skills and ask some open questions such as …
- “What do you already know about coaching?”
- “What do you want to achieve from our coaching sessions together?”
- “What’s your understanding of how the coaching programme will work?”
This will help address any misunderstandings.
2. Get focused on the goal area
They may have come to the 1st session not actually knowing what their goal for coaching is, but will hopefully have an idea what general topic they want to talk about, or what challenges they want to solve.
Questions here might include:
- “What topic have you brought to the coaching session today?”
- “What’s taking up all your energies right now?”
- “What issues do you have that you’d like to solve through coaching?”
- “So what do you want?”
- “If your job was perfect right now, what would that look like?”
NB Although coaching is useful for helping people solve problems / resolve issues etc. it’s not solely about that. For example, think of using coaching to move from being a good practitioner to an outstanding one! Encourage the coachee to think of coaching as a tool for moving forward, whatever their starting point.
More on setting and clarifying goals in a post next week!
3. Agree what will be fed back and to whom
Due to the confidential nature of coaching, what is said in the coaching session should go no further. However, in organisations where someone has been sent or recommended to have coaching by a line manager for example, the latter usually wants some kind of feedback to know how things are going, and that coaching’s working and the time is being well spent … time being such a precious commodity in schools!
So agree some general feedback points that will be acceptable to pass on. Statements I’ve used in the past include …
“Mrs _____ has made a positive start to our coaching sessions, understands what is expected of the process, and is already making progress towards her goal area.”
I always ensure the coachee is happy with what I send before I send it! It helps to build trust
If you have a coaching culture in your school, and coaching practices are embedded, you may not need to provide feedback, as the proof of the pudding will be in the outcomes from coaching … the coachee will be demonstrating (through their actions / behaviour) that coaching has been successful!
4. Build rapport
This is crucial. Until you have a good level of rapport, the coachee isn’t going to trust you enough to open up fully. This means you won’t have an honest and open relationship; one where you can positively challenge the coachee to help them move forwards.
“People like people like themselves”
It’s easier for coaches to build rapport with coachees in whom they have several things in common. But as a coach, you need to be prepared to coach someone who has little in common with you. In these circumstances you need to be skilled at building rapport.
There are a range of ways you can do this, including mirroring and matching body language – to show there is an element of ‘sameness’ between you.
Perhaps you have your own way of building rapport that you’d like to share in the comments below, or you have some additional ideas on how to make a positive start
Tomorrow’s focus will be on asking great coaching questions.
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.