Inquire into and advocate different perspectives.
Throughout the coaching process, you and your coachee need to agree on goals, create plans for achieving them, and make any changes necessary to improve the coaching process. A blend of inquiry and advocacy can help.
For example, “Julie, I’d really like to see you build the skills you need to take leadership of the product development team. Based on what I’ve observed, and what you’ve told me, learning to delegate would be a major challenge for you as a new manager. What do you see as the most important focus for our coaching sessions?”
Offer your ideas for conducting the coaching process or helping your employee achieve his or her goals.
For instance, “Julie, I think that talking with several experienced managers about delegating could be very helpful.”
Check for understanding.
Ask questions to assess your employee’s understanding of what you’re proposing.
“Julie, what is your understanding of the delegating process? In your view, how will we measure your progress with this skill?”
Check for agreement.
Ask questions to check whether you and your coachee are in agreement.
“Julie, do we agree, then, that our coaching should focus on delegating skills rather than another aspect of management?”
Revisit step 1 when agreement is in question and begin the process again.
If you check for agreement and the employee’s response indicates lack of agreement, begin blending inquiry with advocacy again. The following dialogue provides an example:
Coach: “Julie, do we agree that we’ll review your progress on delegating in two months, and that we’ll measure your progress according to whether you’ve met your goal of delegating four projects to team members?”
Julie: “I’m a little nervous about having just two months. I’ve got another big deadline that will hit midway through that timeframe, and I’m not sure I can handle the coaching assignment at the same time.”
Coach: “I think it’s important to review your progress on the delegating assignment promptly, and I’m worried that waiting longer than two months may make it harder for you to learn this skill. Do you share my concern? If so, let’s explore ideas for sticking with that timetable.”
Julie: “If the two-month review is crucial, maybe I could reduce the number of delegated projects to three instead of four. That might be more manageable.”
Coach: “That sounds like a good idea. So, we’ll agree to review your progress two months from today to see whether you’ve been able to delegate three tasks to your team?”
Julie: “Yes, let’s move ahead with that understanding.”
Here are some practical tips for when to coach and how to deliver effective coaching engagement.