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4 Steps to Effective Coaching Sessions


The most effective managers today are also often great coaches. Posessing effective coaching skills can help a manager to motivate staff and to give feedback that delivers effective performance improvements. Effective coaching continually improves the skillsets of team members, and gives them the belief to succeed.

However - managers who are told "you must provide coaching" without receiving proper guidance on how to coach effectively will not perform well, and could do more harm than good.

As with all people management, the skills required to be an effective coach include:

  • The ability to actively listen (read our active listening tips)
  • Posessing effective questioning techniques
  • The ability to give feedback effectively
  • The ability to set meaningful goals

In addition to these core skills - its important to set a framework for effective coaching.

Here are our 4 Steps to running coaching sessions that make a difference:

1: Establishing a Contract

By establishing a contract, we don't mean a written document - this is a spoken agreement between the manager and the person being coached. You should set the basic ground rules for what will happen in each coaching session. This is most important for session one - however the ground rules and sesison structure can be adapted as you go on, provided these are agreed by both parties.

Most importantly - you should make it clear that coaching sessions are NOT part of any appraisal, and that the person being coached is not being evaluated on their performance.

The essential things to cover inthe verbal contract are:

  • The purpose of the coaching sessions
  • The roles of the manager and the person being coached
  • How often the coaching sessions will be
  • How long each coaching session will be

2: Explore Development Needs

This is where managers really need their active listening skills!

Managers should ask the person they are coaching what they need to know in order to be able to progress in their role. Together - manager and employee should agree what can realistically be acheived in each session, both to manage expectations and to ensure that you don't bite off more than you can chew.

3: Feedback

Make sure you allow time to discuss the coachee's own ideas for how they can improve perfomace. Provide constructive feedback on previous performance, and discuss a range of ways that this can be improved, based on their own suggestions and your own experience. This is coaching - so you are making suggestions, not giving commands - and you are actively listening at all times.

4: Set Realistic Goals

Goals and targets should be set at the end of each coaching session. These targets should be clear, and have realistic deadlines. These will be discussed and reviewed at the beginning of the next coaching session.

Good luck - running effective coaching sessions will lead to increased productivity, morale and performance.

To learn more about the skills needed for effective coaching, Silicon Beach Training offer the following courses:

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