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Tips to help you with coaching in your business (Part 2) – Delivery, feedback, and evaluating impact

by Rose McDonald

Part 1 of this blog detailed five tips that are important when planning the coaching journey: 

(1) take stock of where people are at and align coaching conversations with needs; 

(2) ask guiding questions, set short-term development goals and use the ‘3T’ questioning technique to ensure accountability; 

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

(4) identify the goal first, and end with putting a plan together; 

(5) ensure goals are clearly defined (SMART) and discuss the next steps. 

This blog, part 2, will explore a further five steps focusing on aspects of delivering coaching sessions, gathering feedback from the people you coach, and evaluating impact. 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: 

6. Talk less, listen more!

During coaching sessions, encouraging your team member to speak more enables you to gather more information on what they want to achieve and feedback from them on how they are finding the coaching experience. For example, at the beginning of a coaching session – Set a coaching objective. This might be integrating an open discussion (for 10 minutes) at the beginning of each session, where you ask questions about their goals, ambitions, values, and perceived strengths – knowledge, skills, and abilities. Use this discussion to set an objective for the coaching session(s). 

Creating this space at the beginning of each session also encourages reflection throughout the journey on what’s working and what might need to be altered. Understanding where they are and the reality now in relation to their goals and how they are progressing, will help to identify where they may need more support from you – this will build a great working relationship. Some people may not feel entirely comfortable speaking their mind at first, encouraging them to do so and ensuring that their thoughts are respected and discussed (not dismissed) will be important to build their confidence and trust in the process. 

7. Demonstrate empathy and identify any obstacles that might impact performance/progression

      “One of the characteristics that distinguish a great coach from a good coach is the skill of empathy(The Coaching Room)

Team members may be experiencing some personal or organisational challenges that are hindering their progress. To demonstrate empathy, a coach uses language that shows they are acknowledging the emotions of the team member, for example.. ‘I can understand how that might be challenging for you’. 

When a team member expresses concerns or challenges, it is important that you clarify if your understanding of the situation is correct. For example, when a team member tells you about something, which may be done indirectly, say it back to them as you understand it – ‘I would like to clarify a point you raised during our session and would like to ask [if you feel/how] this [situation/challenge] is presenting as an obstacle in your performance/progression’. When they realise the impact on performance on their own, they will be more likely to suggest their own solution with you there to guide and support. You can discuss options, ideas, support and resources available, and guide them on how to get around the obstacle. 

8. Ensure feedback encourages team members to reflect on their own performance 

Self-reflection and the feedback people give themselves is an important aspect of effective coaching. Planning and feedback conversations should encourage and empower team members to: (1) identify and examine their challenges and areas for improvement; (2) celebrate their strengths and successes; and (3) be supported in developing positive and productive next steps. 

Below are some examples of questions that support meaningful feedback conversations:

  • What would you like to achieve from this feedback discussion?
  • How do you feel about your current performance and have you identified areas where you have improved/developed?
  • What has gone well for you so far and have you experienced any challenges?
  • Are you happy for me to tell you about areas where I feel you have succeeded/areas where you could develop further?
  • On reflection, is there anything you might do differently and if so what would you do? 
  • Can we discuss your thoughts further and are you happy for me to offer suggestions?
  • Can you identify any next steps that might be productive and are you happy for me to make some suggestions?

By asking people to self-reflect on their own performance and experience of coaching enables them to lead on their own development and self-determine their future goals. This will help to generate ownership and accountability for their journey, with your guidance and support as a coach. It’s so important that your team member feels this is a two-way, guided discussion and not just the couch telling the team member from their perspective how the team member is progressing. More innovation and creativity can often result.

9. Regularly evaluate development and keep track of performance improvements

The SMART goals you set (see part 1 of this blog) will act as indicators, helping to evaluate development and measure performance improvements. A continuous or regularly scheduled (e.g. performance appraisals twice yearly) will ensure that performance can be observed and documented. Coaching and team member development is an ongoing process and should be embedded within organisational culture. 

10. Lead by example and commit to developing a culture of development 

Demonstrate that your organisation is committed to continuous learning and development at all levels. If you as a leader/manager/coach are not continuously developing your skills and competencies, why should team members? Business leaders and managers should be continuously investing in learning and development across the whole organisation, this will help to build a culture of development and will show that you are committed.