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Tips to support coaching in your business (Part 1) – Getting started and planning the coaching journey

by Rose McDonald

Here at The Smart Training Company, we work with several industry colleagues to help them become better coaches through fostering a great working relationship with their team members, by truly understanding them, and through strategic goal setting. We also coach team members within organisations on a 1:1 basis where we are asked to do so. Our varied and in-depth experience, knowledge, and passion in the hospitality industry help us to ensure our support is relevant and above all empathic.

Effective coaching can improve retention and build the knowledge, skills, and abilities of individuals and teams. By adopting a coaching leadership style, leaders and managers can develop more agile and high-performing teams. This blog details five tips that are important to consider when getting started and planning the coaching journey, such as models and frameworks that you can consider – part 2 of this blog will explore aspects of delivery, getting feedback from the people you coach, and evaluating impact!

1. Take stock of where people are at and align coaching conversations with needs

Effective coaching is not a one-size-fits-all venture, some individuals will be at different starting points and some may need more support than others. Coaching team members at different levels requires you to adapt your style depending on how best they learn and where they are at in terms of knowledge, skills, and abilities to deliver in their role and their long-term career goals.

A good starting point might be to agree with individual team members on their current performance level and work with them to develop a roadmap that is appropriate for their performance level and tailored to their needs.

2. Ask guiding questions, set short-term development goals, and use the ‘3T’ questioning technique to ensure accountability

When discussing development journeys with team members, asking open-ended questions will ensure that they can communicate their personal goals and needs. It is important to find a balance between identifying gaps and where people need to improve, and recognizing what’s going well.

Don’t try to do too much at once. Build momentum once trust and confidence is built. Allow your team member to achieve even the smallest of goals as this demonstrates positive reinforcement of coaching for your team member. Celebrate any progress made in your sessions, however small, to ensure that the focus is not only on what might be perceived as negatives, as this can be demotivating.

The ‘3T’ questioning technique can ensure accountability, for example: “What are you going to do… tomorrow…two weeks from today…and thirty days from today?” Agree by discussing these together and setting goals.

3. Use a coaching model (such as G.R.O.W.) to instil confidence in your team member

This will mean they see a methodical approach rather than being coached haphazardly which can lead to a disorganised and frustrating coaching session. Coaching should be natural and using a coaching model will develop a consistent and natural process for both of you. Consistent coaching is crucial to ensure the full benefits are realised for both the team member and the business.

The G.R.O.W. coaching model is underpinned by four key strategic steps:

  1. Goal – Where does a team member want to be? Ask new and current team members about their future career ambitions and define those into clear and achievable goals that motivate, inspire, and drive team members towards success.
  2. Reality – Where are team members now? Take stock of current knowledge and skills and identify any barriers that might be present. This can support identifying team members’ current strengths, qualities, and the resources available to support them.
  3. Options – How can a team member progress? Review what learning and development opportunities are available to support team members to advance towards their knowledge and skill development.
  4. Will – What are team members willing to invest? Agree on actions, set a timeframe, and report on progress to generate ownership and accountability.

4. Identify the goal first, and end with putting a plan together

Setting a goal first sets the tone and shapes the discussion with your team member. Ensure these are agreed together and clearly defined. Vague and confusing goals are usually never achieved. Write it down in a plan otherwise it won’t happen. Putting together a well-defined, unambiguous plan is vital to know the direction you need to go and to be able to measure success or points for improvement.

5. Ensure goals are clearly defined and discuss the next steps

Define specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound (SMART) driven goals. This is really important otherwise you may never see improvement or achieve the goals. With clear goals, coaching time will become more efficient, measurement of success will be more accurate, you will be able to make a clear and concise plan ahead of each session, and will have time to prepare targeted questions.

A final thought from us…

As a coach, it is extremely rewarding to help, support, and encourage your team member on their learning journey and to help them achieve growth. Establishing trust and maintaining it is the most important part of the entire coaching process. This must be a genuine desire in you and requires an investment in time and emotion. These five tips can help you to get started, understand the importance of taking stock of where your team member is now and where they want to be, and how to plan and integrate models into your planning that will enhance the effectiveness of coaching.

To find out more about implementing a culture of coaching in your organisation or if you wish to broaden your own coaching skill set then please do get in touch at: