Information that you may want to know about coaching
Q. How long does a coach work with an individual?
A. The length of a coaching partnership varies depending on the individuals or team’s needs and preferences. For certain types of focused coaching, 3 to 6 months of working with a coach may work. For other types of coaching, people may find it beneficial to work with a coach for a longer period. Factors that may impact the length of time include: the types of goals, the ways individuals or teams like to work, the frequency of coaching meetings, and financial resources available to support coaching.
Q. How do you ensure a compatible partnership?
A. Overall, be prepared to design the coaching partnership with the coach. For example, think of a strong partnership that you currently have in your work or life. Look at how you built that relationship and what is important to you about partnership. You will want to build those same things into a coaching relationship. Here are a few other tips:
- Have a personal interview with one or more coaches to determine “what feels right” in terms of the chemistry. Coaches are accustomed to being interviewed, and there is generally no charge for an introductory conversation of this type.
- Look for stylistic similarities and differences between the coach and you and how these might support your growth as an individual or the growth of your team.
- Discuss your goals for coaching within the context of the coach’s specialty or the coach’s preferred way of working with a individual or team
Talk with the coach about what to do if you ever feel things are not going well; make some agreements up front on how to handle questions or problems.
- Remember that coaching is a partnership, so be assertive about talking with the coach about anything that is of concern at any time.
Q. Within the partnership, what does the coach do? The individual?
A. The role of the coach is to provide objective assessment and observations that foster the individual’s or team members’ enhanced self-awareness and awareness of others, practice astute listening in order to garner a full understanding of the individual’s or team’s circumstances, be a sounding board in support of possibility thinking and thoughtful planning and decision making, champion opportunities and potential, encourage stretch and challenge commensurate with personal strengths and aspirations, foster the shifts in thinking that reveal fresh perspectives, challenge blind spots in order to illuminate new possibilities, and support the creation of alternative scenarios. Finally, the coach maintains professional boundaries in the coaching relationship, including confidentiality, and adheres to the coaching professions code of ethics.
The role of the individual or team is to create the coaching agenda based on personally meaningful coaching goals, utilize assessment and observations to enhance self-awareness and awareness of others, envision personal and/or organizational success, assume full responsibility for personal decisions and actions, utilize the coaching process to promote possibility thinking and fresh perspectives, take courageous action in alignment with personal goals and aspirations, engage big picture thinking and problem solving skills, and utilize the tools, concepts, models and principles provided by the coach to engage effective forward actions.
Q. What does coaching ask of an individual?
A. To be successful, coaching asks certain things of the individual, all of which begin with intention. Additionally, clients should:
- Focus-on one’s self, the tough questions, the hard truths–and one’s success.
- Observe-the behaviors and communications of others.
- Listening-to one’s intuition, assumptions, judgments, and to the way one sounds when one speaks.
- Self discipline-to challenge existing attitudes, beliefs and behaviors and to develop new ones which serve one’s goals in a superior way.
- Style-leveraging personal strengths and overcoming limitations in order to develop a winning style.
- Decisive actions-however uncomfortable, and in spite of personal insecurities, in order to reach for the extraordinary.
- Compassion-for one’s self as he or she experiments with new behaviors, experiences setbacks-and for others as they do the same.
- Humor-committing to not take one’s self so seriously, using humor to lighten and brighten any situation.
- Personal control-maintaining composure in the face of disappointment and unmet expectations, avoiding emotional reactivity.
- Courage-to reach for more than before, to shift out of being fear based in to being in abundance as a core strategy for success, to engage in continual self examination, to overcome internal and external obstacles.
Q. How can the success of the coaching process be measured?
A. Measurement may be thought of in two distinct ways. First, there are the external indicators of performance: measures which can be seen and measured in the individual’s or team’s environment. Second, there are internal indicators of success: measures which are inherent within the individual or team members being coached and can be measured by the individual or team being coached with the support of the coach. Ideally, both external and internal metrics are incorporated.
Examples of external measures include achievement of coaching goals established at the outset of the coaching relationship, increased income/revenue, obtaining a promotion, performance feedback which is obtained from a sample of the individual’s constituents (e.g., direct reports, colleagues, customers, boss, the manager him/herself), personal and/or business performance data (e.g., productivity, efficiency measures). The external measures selected should ideally be things the individual is already measuring and are things the individual has some ability to directly influence.
Examples of internal measures include self-scoring/self-validating assessments that can be administered initially and at regular intervals in the coaching process, changes in the individual’s self-awareness and awareness of others, shifts in thinking which inform more effective actions, and shifts in one’s emotional state which inspire confidence.