A Coach’s Perspective
Whether you are coaching as a manager, or as a professional coach, preparing to engage in coaching conversations is essential. Coaching conversations are not chit-chat. They have purpose and focus. They require skills. And, they require the coach to show-up as a guide. Coaching is a process of discovery that is focused on the other person’s development, performance, and/or transformation. Coaching conversations are action-oriented and outcome-focused. Here are some tips to help you be your best, and provide the best support for your client:
- Take care of your physical needs—food, water, and restroom. If you are hungry, thirsty or need to use the restroom, your attention will be distracted. Remove these potential negative impacts on your ability to focus on the person you will coach and the work you are doing with them.
- Remove distractions—sites, sounds, and any competing priorities.
- Center yourself. This involves letting go of distracting thoughts and emotions. Focusing on how you will bring the best available version of yourself to the coaching conversation.
- Identify assumptions you may have about the person-being-coached. Take a few minutes and think about (and write down, or record) any assumptions you have about your client, yourself as a coach at this time, and the likely topics of the coaching conversation (if you know them). By capturing your assumptions, you are more likely to be aware of them during the coaching conversation. You will recognize when you are operating based on assumptions vs. evidence and facts.
- Gather materials related to your client, and other materials you may need during the coaching session. This may be the overarching goals for the coaching engagement and any related materials (e.g., personality or emotional intelligence assessments), as well as your note pad and pen to use during the session.
- Review any notes from previous coaching conversations. It is useful to review your notes about the topics discussed in earlier coaching sessions. This will help you focus on your client.
- If you are new to coaching, review the coaching conversation framework you used —e.g., the six-step process described in Coaching for Change (1. Context/Situation, 2. Desired Goals, 3. Information Gathering, 4. Possible Actions, 5. Action Planning, and 6. Summary & Agreement).
- Take a deep breath (or two) and fully engage with your client.
What do you do to prepare yourself for coaching conversations? I’m interested in your thoughts and ideas so please leave your comments, feedback, and suggestions below.
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© 2022, John L. Bennett. All Rights Reserved.