A Coaching Power Tool created by Michelle Eiland
(Transitional Coaching, UNITED STATES)
Coaching should focus on behaviors and looking at changing behaviors and/or forming new behaviors that will allow the client to be more efficient and/or effective. When a client walks away from a coaching session with just a “feel good” about the discussion, the client was not truly coached, they were most likely prescribed a solution. In many cases the coachee is believed to already know the answer. As the coach, my job is to help the client articulate that answer, in their way, and from there help hold them accountable (in a positive way) for implementing his or her idea. We do this by asking questions not by telling the client what to do, providing self-discovery verse prescriptive dialog.
When coaching is mandated, the client will have a tendency to close-up and/or assume the answers have already been predetermined by the organization, and that the job of the coach is to help the client find “their” answer. In order to help the client see that the coaching is truly based on his or her desired outcomes the coach must develop the skills and trust necessary to identify the proper dialog that will set that tone and atmosphere for self-discovery verse prescriptive conversations. When a coachee reaches this conclusion and can begin to see the value of the process through self-discovery, sustainable change is more likely to occur. In the case of the clients I have had the opportunity to work with when this happens it is apparent that no matter what stage of their career they are in, this type of coaching can and does help them grow and reach desired outcomes.
I would like to provide an example, a district advisor coaching a field advisor in increase his or her production numbers. If the district advisor goes in talking about his or her district goals and trying to have the advisor set their objectives based on that the coachee will assume this is prescriptive coaching. That the coaches objective is to get the coachee to find solutions that will benefit the district not necessarily the coachee.
Instead, the coach should approach the conversation as a discovery consult. Ask the coachee what he or she would like to get out of the coaching sessions. Attempt to identity responses and listen for statements that show that the coachee is “in” and not just trying to check-a-box.
As a coach I need to help the coachee identify his or her objectives and ask open ended questions that show the coachee I am truly interested in helping them find their answer…self-discovery.
For example, as the coach I should ask questions such as:
- You stated that your goal for this year is to make Summit Club. Last year you made President’s. How and/or what has changed from last year that makes you believe you can achieve a higher level this year?
- Last year you created zero new clients, what will you do differently this year?
- You state you are having issues with one of your team members contributing to your bottom-line. What should be done about that?
- Do you have a value proposition? If no, how do you tell clients who you are and what you can do to help them?
These types of open-ended questions provide the coachee an opportunity to begin to start thinking about their business in a new way. Take a step back and think about the business instead of just reacting within it. Key, providing them the opportunity to self-discovery the answers they typically already know and willing to make the necessary changes because it was through their discovery and not prescribed solutions.
As we know, when someone is able to come up with his or her own objectives and solutions they are typically more willing to commit to the changes and next steps. Without this willingness, the coachee will not benefit fully, nor will they sustain any benefit long-term.