How to Coach Well – Coaching is Not Telling, Part 3

In last month’s Sales Culture newsletter, I shared with you the first two of seven steps of coaching and how I believe great coaches coach. If you want to refresh before reading this follow-up article, you can check it out here. If you do, make sure you come back here to get the rest! Ok, ready to proceed?

  1. Self-Esteem and Coaching for the Future. Starting a coaching session means creating a setting where the coach has the responsibility to develop a base level of self-esteem in the person being coached by describing and referring to his or her good work and results. It’s very important to recount good behaviors and to discuss above-par performance. Great coaches know how to establish and gain mutual understanding of why a coaching session is happening and what the outcomes should be. I like a method where I use the “Oreo cookie” as a model for basic good coaching. Offer something good and valued that the person being coached is doing, then move to the area that requires the coaching, and finish by making sure you note and acknowledge good behaviors. When a coach focuses on the good and the areas of challenges, future good coaching is ensured as well.
  2. “But” vs. “And” and “Facts don’t Lie”; Validating for Mutual Understanding, Responsibility and Desired Outcomes. Effective coaching establishes and gains mutual understanding of why the coaching session is happening and what the outcomes should be. A good coach validates the understanding of the challenge at hand as well as the concerns and input of the person being coached using active listening skills. Good coaching is also achieved when the coach knows how to differentiate between thoughts, feelings, and facts. One of my favorite sayings is “Facts don’t lie.” I also strongly believe that coaching sessions will be greatly enhanced when the coach helps the person being coached to accept responsibility for behavior and actions, and both parties need to agree on a successful outcome. Finally, as in any sales situation, replacing the word “but” with the word “and” can make a world of difference!
  3. Creating Opportunities for Success. Coaching success is accelerated when both parties can capitalize on the conversation and move forward after validation in a crisp, positive manner and agree on the opportunities for change. In other words, coaching does not have to be a long drawn-out affair. How we coach through the conversation by continuing to actively listen – and knowing the difference between facts, feelings, and thoughts—is paramount to getting to a place that lets both parties move ahead. This is done by generating alternatives, options, and strategies for the person being coached so that the future is one of success and achievement and moving from one challenge to the next in a beneficial way! Ideally it would be great if both parties looked forward to further coaching because it’s a conversation, not a negative experience.
  4. Creating a Call to Action and Plan to Ensure Accountability and Follow-Up. Coaching, like training, is useless and a total waste of time if there is no follow-up. The conversations and interactions that are the center points of the coaching conversation must result in a planned action, accountability tracking, and timely follow-up. An effective call to action is always required, along with limiting the number and scope of the choices available to ensure that coaching leads to a desired result. As with sales, in coaching one must present a limited number of options – hopefully, actions actually suggested by the person being coached – to “choose” from. Finally, a great coaching relationship is underscored by creating a mutually acceptable way and time to follow up and by setting a schedule for accountability and follow through. Don’t end a coaching session without scheduling the next. Leave nothing to chance.
  5. Recognition and Success! Guess what? Great results and progress as a result of effective coaching needs to be recognized! Recognizing progress and good stuff happening is defined as receipt of coaching, effort, and outcomes – of the person being coached on a regular basis in a meaningful way. It’s FUN, and it feels so good to let people know that they have done well and why they have done well, and it showcases what has occurred as a result of good progress! This is the best kind of recognition – behavior change as the result of coaching UP! Woo hoo! Success is something to celebrate.

There you have it. Seven steps to being a great coach and knowing that when you coach well, good things happen because you are influencing people. This is as good as closing a deal. When someone responds to your good coaching, he or she “buys” what you have to say and makes changes that have a material impact. As a coach, you’ve closed the deal…and it feels terrific.

If you would like information on how to bring this workshop to your organization, please email me.

2 thoughts on “How to Coach Well – Coaching is Not Telling, Part 3”

  1. Great coaching steps Todd. I particularly like your comment on using ‘and’ instead of ‘but’. This keeps the conversation positive and keeps the person you are having the conversation with actively listening instead of shutting down after the ‘but’ word.

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