Review and reflect
After each coaching session, take a few minutes to review and reflect on your experience. This time can provide an opportunity to consider what happened, what you did that worked well, what needs improvement, and what actions you may want to take in the future to continue to hone your skills and mastery of the art and science of coaching.
These questions can be applied to coaches of all types—professional external and internal coaches, managers who use a coaching approach, peer coaches, and personal coaches. Through reflection, learning can occur. This learning can be applied to improve the positive impacts you have on your clients.
Consider these questions
- In what ways did I build rapport and establish trust? This might include showing interest in what has occurred prior to the coaching session, and/or remembering a significant event that occurred since the last coaching session.
- How was the Coaching for Change (Bennett & Bush, 2014) process* (6 steps) used? Consider how you guided the coaching conversation through the steps, your agility in moving back-and-forth through the steps while moving through them in order, and how well you concluded a step before moving to the next one—perhaps with a closed-ended question such as, “Are you ready to move on to talk about ____?” or “Are there other possibilities you would like to consider at this time?”
- How did I help my client discover their goals and agenda for this coaching conversation? Consider the clarity that your coaching client had as you started the conversation and what you did to help them clarify and declare their focus for your coaching work together. This might include helping them identify several possible topics and narrow the focus to start the conversation. It might also include returning to a second topic once the first one is addressed.
- Which coaching skills* did I use? Reflect on the skills you used. Which ones did you rely on? How effectively did you apply them? Were there skills that could have been employed that were not? What might you have done differently?
- What were the turning points or breakthrough in the coaching conversation? Notice when your coaching client has a breakthrough, gains awareness, shifts perspectives, etc. What were the circumstances? What did you do to foster this?
- What about my coaching was well-developed? Having a behavior that is well-developed does not mean it was best for the interaction. It means that you did it well—even if it was not the ideal thing to do. Think about the coaching conversation and your role in it. What are the one or two things that you did that impacted the interactions with your coaching client?
- What about my coaching was less developed? This is the other side-of-the-coin from what was well-developed. This is a behavior that may not have been used, or might have been underused. Consider what you might have done more of, or, done more effectively.
- How do I feel about my experience coaching? Consider your emotional response to the coaching experience—e.g., confused, excited, proud, tired, bored, critical, hopeful, and nurtured. Consider the implications of these responses to your coaching. This might include recognizing when you are most and least comfortable, how you respond to the statements and behaviors of the person you are coaching, and what you might do the same or differently in the future. There are many ways to do this reflection and processing—e.g., meditation, talking with a colleague, replaying the situations, and journaling.
- What insights about my coaching do I have? Reflect on the coaching experience and your responses to the previous questions. What did you learn from this coaching experience? What will you apply going forward?
- Going forward, what will I focus on—continue, stop, start, modify? Now, move your reflections into actions. Develop a plan of action to stop, start, continue, or modify one or two things about your coaching as you continue to use your coaching mindset and skills. Your plans could include what you will do, by when, for what desired outcomes, and with what support.
I am reminded of a statement by Rene Redzepi, owner and chef at Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark, rated multiple times as the best restaurant in the world …
“Slowly, step by step, you find yourself being good at something. You find yourself also daring to move forward, and trust yourself, and be able to always take the first step even when you’re afraid to do so”.Rene Redzepi
As you coach, keep in mind that it takes time, practice, experimentation, reflection, and learning to develop to a level of mastery. I’m interested in your thoughts and ideas so leave your comments, feedback, and suggestions below.
Photo by RF._.studio
© 2023, John L. Bennett. All Rights Reserved.