A Coaching Process
I get my love of sports from my Mom. Actually my Dad also encouraged my individual sports (tennis, skiing, running), but Mom is the one who loves all team sports and watches the games faithfully. I even like sports movies, especially those where the underdog team or player rallies to a miraculous win at the end.
In all of those movies and in real life, the person who inspires, comes alongside, and brings out the player's best for the unexpected, against-all-odds, fist-pumping success is the coach. A great coach knows the player's strengths and weaknesses, and they believe that the player can grow and improve. The coach cannot do the hard work for the player, but they can help the player move forward towards their dream.
Even outside of sports, coaching is important. Parenting older children, mentoring friends, and professional job situations are all opportunities to coach.
In our organization we use a coaching process that is transformational for coaching situations. Instead of trying to fix the problem or give advice, this simple process guides a conversation from the present "Where are you now?" to the future "Where do you want to be?"
1. The first step is to focus the conversation. Ask the person being coached, "What can we do today?" or "What would be most helpful for us to discuss today?" or “What is the focus of our appointment?" It may take a while for them to distill their needs or thoughts into a simple answer, but this is important since there is no way to work intentionally on an unclear goal.
2. Second, explore options. Brainstorm without a commitment to any particular idea at this time. The coach asks, "How do you think you could...?" "What are ways you might...?" "Where could you find…?" "Who could help with...?"
3. Third, plan next steps. After brainstorming many options, it is time for the person to choose the best option that surfaced. It is important to ensure that the chosen option is SMART: specific • measureable • achievable • relevant • timely (due date). Help your person plan carefully and completely by asking them, “And then...? And then...?"
4. A crucial, but often neglected, fourth step is to address the obstacles. Good coaches deal with reality. Assuming a simple, clear, unchallenged path to the goal is naive. A really big obstacle might return the conversation to the second step to explore other options; the discussion does not have to be linear.
5. Last, take time to allow the person to review and close. The coach should not do the review. Make sure the person being coached can summarize what they have decided to do and who will hold them accountable for their plan.
A first conversation using this process may feel stiff or unnatural - probably because we usually do a lot more talking and a lot less question-asking - but it will feel more comfortable with practice. You will like the results. As you coach, praying, observing, and listening well are key.
... And don't forget to celebrate and encourage the "wins"! A good coach knows how to do the vocal-cord-stressing, all-body gyrating, who-cares-who-sees-me victory dance along with their players!
Who could you take through this coaching process? How can you improve your coaching skills?
Terry desires to love, live and lead in HIS strength and grace - with HIS passion and compassion - reflecting HIS wisdom and hope to others… preferably with a strong, black cup of coffee in hand. She writes from her heart journey as a wife, mom, ministry leader, and daughter of the King. Find her on twitter or blogging at MaturitasCafe.com
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12/14/2012 01:14:53 am
Thank you for making this so do-able and clear. I was pleased to read that I'm already doing a few things right. I hope to learn how to mentor better. Thanks, "Coach" Terry!
12/15/2012 02:19:08 pm
My pleasure, Sus! I love to coach and mentor, so it is always fun when I can find new tips and resources! Let's learn together!
12/17/2012 01:14:37 am
Terry, this is SO helpful. I'm definitely keeping it in front of me as I have my Skype appointments. Great summary!
12/22/2012 10:48:07 pm
I really liked it when I learned it too, Jan! (My) Steve says it has revolutionized his coaching appts.
1/30/2013 11:22:05 am
Thanks for the encouragement, Nicole! I am continuing to learn myself about how to be a better coach - sounds like you have a great example right in your own family!
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