want to be a good coach?

Keith Webb's "The Coach Model"

Coaching values the coachee’s past experience, honors their knowledge and
decision-making skills, and fosters their ownership of chosen action steps. 

Keith Webb’s, The Coach Model, offers an excellent process that helps me to focus on coaching rather than talking, and enables me to help the person I’m coaching discover solutions for themselves.. You’ll notice that Webb’s five process steps spell COACH so that it easy for to remember. Here is a quick summary of how it works:

CONNECT — How are you?

A good coach begins the conversation catching up on anything that has been going on since their last time together. This “small talk” helps to build relationship trust and ensures there is no major distraction going on that might sabotage the discussion that day.  An especially difficult situation may require rescheduling the appointment or simply acknowledging the trial may lessen the pressure enough to continue with the conversation.

During the Connect time, a good coach will also ask about action steps. The question, “What progress did you make on your action steps?” positively assumes progress, validates partial completion, and focuses on what worked well. This is also a great time to address any struggle or failures and help the coachee adjust their action steps if necessary.

OUTCOMES — What would you like to work on today?

Once the past action steps have been reviewed, it is time to for the coachee to state their desired outcomes for the meeting. A good coach helps the coachee by asking questions that narrow the topic enough so for progress in the time allotted. Some questions help:

  • Explore: What might be the deeper issues? What do you want to achieve?
  • Clarify: What do you mean by…? Could you give me an example of…?
  • Focus: Which part of the problem would you like to work on today?

AWARENESS — What can you discover about this issue?

Once the coachee settles on a topic, a good coach asks lots of powerful, open-ended, questions to help the coachee reflect, increase perspective, and consider different angles that might be helpful.

A good coach will be careful to ask questions that benefit the coachee. For example, a coach doesn’t need to know all the details of past situations, so questions focus more on what the coachee wants to see in the future.

Tell me about the conflict.
vs
What would excellent resolution of the conflict look like?

COURSE — What will you do this week to move forward?

Now it’s time for action! Once again good questions help the coachee generate a variety of possible action steps, evaluate the options, and then choose the best one(s). Using SMART (Specific,Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Timely) ensures the coachee confirm the what, how, by when, and with what help details of their actions, increasing the follow-through.

HIGHLIGHTS —  What are your “take-aways” from our conversation?

“We build our brains by repeating things.” Keith Webb

A good coach closes the conversation by asking summary questions for the coachee to review and repeat their newly gained awareness or knowledge and useful or meaningful aspects from the appointment. This helps to embed the learning and give some feedback to the coach also.

If you want to learn more about this process and increase your coaching skills, I highly recommend Keith Webb’s book, The Coach Model. You could also attend one of his workshops. or read his BLOG

I’d love to hear from you… What are your best tips for coaching well?  What process do you use for coaching? 

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You might also like: how’s that working for you?a coaching process you can use, asking powerful questions,  or questions for a destination

questions for a destination

Roundabout SignageHave you ever had a conversation with someone that went around and around in circles and ended without any resolution, next steps, or action plan? That might be OK for some informal or ideological discussions, but a coaching relationship helps the client make progress towards a goal.

An effective coaching process begins with the client (or spouse/child/co-worker/friend) choosing a personal or professional goal, and then discussing options and barriers with the help of open and probing questions from the coach. Once the client chooses their best option, it is time to move the conversation towards action steps.

I recently learned three types of questions that the coach can ask to help the client move forward: Direct, Revealing, and Ownership.

DIRECT Questions:

Good direct questions focus and challenge, but do not threaten or judge. They are neutral and inquire without using guilt. They avoid the word “why”. They ask for action or decision and point toward a positive outcome.

“What will you do?” “Do you want to focus on XXX or on XXXX?”
“What investigation have you done?”
“What might you need to do to ensure a good decision?”

REVEALING Questions:

Revealing questions help people “get out of the box” when they feel stuck and unable to move forward. They help the client discover the limitations (physical limitations, finances, fear, priorities, lack of information, etc) they view as unchangeable obstacles and look for creative alternatives.

“What if you thought outside of the normal structure?”
“Who else could help you?” “What could you do differently to free up new resources?” “What if you had four extra hours in your day?”
“If that difficult person wasn’t there, what would you do?

Another option is to help them imagine a new situation without the barrier… “What if you had all the time you needed, what would you do?” “If you couldn’t fail, what would you try?” “How would your perfect job look?”

OWNERSHIP Questions:

Ownership questions help people avoid blaming others and take responsibility for the action. They help take away justification, excuses, and passivity, and instead lead to growth opportunities.

“What might you have done that contributed to the conflict?”
“How can you make things better?” “What might you do differently?”
“Which step do you want to take?” “How do you want to do that?”

A last helpful tip or two… When your client talks about action steps, help them be as specific as possible and include timelines.

Usually, in a coaching situation, the coach is simply helping the client recall or use their own existing information and knowledge. If, as the coach, you feel the situation requires your input, ask permission before you speak!

“Can I challenge you on that?”
“Would you be open to hearing a different perspective?”

These questions can help us get out off of the roundabout and on to our destination!

Which of these questions might be most helpful to you?

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Many of these questions and more can be found in Leadership Coaching by Tony Stoltzfus. I highly recommend the book!