How to Manage the Coaching Process Effectively to Achieve Great Things

Coaching requires preparation, intent, and reflection. Here is what to do before, during, and after the coaching process.

Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash

I recently wrote about what it takes to be a great, high-performing workplace coach. What I left out is how to do it step-by-step.

There are four types of coaching: standard, executive, business, and life coaching.

In order to be an awesome coach, you need to not only understand the role, responsibilities, and characteristics of a good coach but understand the process and content of effective workplace coaching as well.

In this article, I want to explain how to manage a coaching process by agreeing on goals and following a simple coaching model.

Start by setting a variety of goals, early in the coaching process

As demonstrated in a previous article of mine, the role of goal-setting is paramount to the success of the coaching practice. Goals are defined by Grant as:

‘internal representations of desired states or outcomes’.

Goal-setting helps provide structure to the coaching process. This can be beneficial for reporting purposes from the coach’s perspective. For the coachee, it can help with their personal development planning and self-improvement.

Grant argues that goal-directed self-regulation is the most generic form of coaching, which is at the core of every coaching relationship.

Within his model, he specifies eight stages of action:

  1. Issue identification
  2. Goal setting
  3. Planning
  4. Taking action, led by the specified plan
  5. Progress tracking
  6. Changing inefficiencies from the plan in order to obtain the desired outcome
  7. Evaluating performance
  8. Experiencing success.

With the role of the goal being so pivotal of the outcome achieved, Grant specifies that agreed goals should be time-framed (both distal and proximal) and outcome-focused.

There should also be avoidance and approach goals, the former being expressed as a movement away from an undesired state, whereas the latter is a movement towards a specific state or outcome.

Goals should also be performance- and learning-related, with performance goals focusing on task execution, typically expressed as being competitive. For instance, performing well in a given task or comparatively to the performance of others.

This results in focusing the attention of the coachee on issues relating to personal ability and competence, whereas learning goals focus the attention of the coachee to the learning required with mastering a given task. Learning goals are better associated with a range of positive cognitive and emotional processes. These include task complexity perception as a positive challenge rather than a threat, greater absorption in the actual task performance, and enhanced memory and well-being.

Considering the variety of goals that can be set and agreed upon, the stages that the process should go through for efficient goal-setting in coaching are:

  • pre-contemplation
  • contemplation
  • preparation
  • action
  • maintenance.

To efficiently navigate through these stages, the coach should be able to set effective goals and facilitate action planning, maximize goal compatibility and goal alignment, whilst also facilitating the coachee’s goal-focused self-regulation.

The coach should have the ability to bring perceived value to the coaching session and develop a strong alliance with the coaches. Let’s talk about how to achieve just that.

Tools and techniques to support effective coaching

The tools that a coach can use include assessment tools, questionnaires that assess personal and career values, spheres of influence, learning style assessments, leadership competency inventories, coaching worksheets, and journaling logs.

How to apply this in practice

Coaching can be done through a variety of techniques, such as on-the-job training, mentoring, job rotation, and temporary assignments. Such practices are positive psychology coaching tools and theories, which are often used in skill and performance coaching. This philosophical model is focused on diagnostics of psychological processes and is aimed at personal development.

How to apply this in practice

One exercise is the tree questions process — an exercise that asks straightforward questions in the context of work. Namely, these are:

  • What gives you meaning?
  • What gives you pleasure?
  • What engages you?

Although simple and direct, these questions are not often asked, which challenges the coachee to re-evaluate their goals and streamline their behavior into a direction focused on the well-being and occupational meaning.

Should you maintain records of the coaching activity?

Record-keeping should help improve continuity between sessions. It can also become a future reference source for the coach and coachee, in their reflective learning.

It can help facilitate assessment, planning, and evaluation of progress.

Keeping records also enables the collection of basic statistical information for the purposes of departmental audit, if the coaching is carried out in an organizational context. To ensure that roles and responsibilities are kept and the record is clear, complete, and up-to-date, documentation is needed.

What should coaching activity records contain?

Coaching records may consist of:

  • coaching notes
  • worksheets
  • personal development plans
  • action plans
  • performance assessments
  • performance review reports
  • activity logs

Coaching records should be kept for each contact between the coach and the coaches and should be dated, signed, and in a written format.

Information on it should be concise, relevant, and objective, rather than based on subjective interpretation of events. Entries should be made within 48 hours of a session, allowing for reflection to be implemented on the efficiency of the coaching process.

Coach-coachee relationships are confidential. They are often protected by the principles of DPA, which requires that personal data is processed fairly and lawfully, obtained for a specific purpose, accurate and up-to-date, not kept for longer than necessary, protected in accordance of the rights of the data subject (in this case the coachee), protected against loss or unauthorized use (i.e. breach of access), and relevant and not collected excessively and unjustifiably.

The coach should inform their coachee of not only what personal information would be kept in an official record, but also how the data will be stored, protected from unauthorized use, and disposed of following the end of their relationship.

This Article in Short

This article explains how to manage a coaching process by agreeing on goals and following a simple coaching model.

Before you start: Use goal variety and set the expectations for a goal-directed self-regulated coaching approach.

Make use of time-framed and outcome-focused goals, avoidance and approach goals, and performance- and learning-related goals.

Set the expectations that the coaching process would be goal-directed and self-regulated, and follow through the eight-step process.

During the coaching program: Use a variety of tools and techniques

Use include assessment tools, questionnaires that assess personal and career values, spheres of influence, learning style assessments, leadership competency inventories, coaching worksheets, and journaling logs.

Make use of available techniques for reframing and streamlining behavior.

After the program ends: Consolidate and reflect on the records of the coaching activity.

Through maintaining logs of the coaching activity, assessment, planning, and progress evaluation can be facilitated. These records will likely become a future reference source for both coach and coachee in individual reflective learning journeys.

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