want to be a good coach?

Keith Webb's "The Coach Model"

Coaching values the coachee’s past experience, honoring his/her knowledge and
decision-making skills, and fostering 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 persons 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 the 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 previous 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 failure and help the coachee adjust the 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 his/her desired outcomes for the meeting. A good coach helps the coachee by asking questions that narrow the topic enough to make progress in the time allotted. Some questions that 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 better questions focus on what the coachee wants to see in the future.

Tell me about the conflict.
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) goals ensures the coachee confirms the what, how, by when, and with-what-help details of the 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 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 can also follow his BLOG or attend one of his workshops.

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


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

asking powerful questions

questions Do you ask powerful questions?

I have been learning about active listening the last few weeks; now I am learning about how to ask well. Once again, I felt convicted and challenged by all that I can improve, especially if I want to demonstrate respect and allow the other person to come up with their own answers.

I am especially challenged by this key attitude check… Do I believe the best in the person and their ability to solve their own problem(s), or do I just want them to do what I want them to do?

You may already recognize some of these questions already, but if you are like me, there are some new ones in the list and/or some that you can use more often…enjoy the review!


A closed question can only be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” answer. It does not invite further conversation or deeper sharing. An open question, on the other hand, has no right or wrong answer and can be answered in many different ways.

KEY TIP: Almost any closed question can be made open by adding “how,” “what,” “which,” or “who” at the beginning.

Example: “Did you do your action steps this week?” “No.” (Closed)

   “What did you do on your action steps this week?” …… (Open)


Solution-Oriented questions are often well-intentioned, but they are actually just a predetermined answer in the form of a question. (This one was very convicting! I know I am often figuring out how to fix the situation as I listen. 😦 ) A Bigger question allows the other person to take charge of thinking up the solutions.

Example: “How about if you took a class in that?” (Solution-Oriented)

   “What are some ways you could learn more about that?” (Bigger)


Probing questions explore and gather more information. They are neutral and help to keep the person talking.

Key Tips: Avoid “Why did you…?” questions and remember that 80% of “air time” is for the person you are coaching. Just 20% is for the coach.

Examples: “Tell me a little more about that.” 

    “What did you mean when you said__________?”

    “How does that make you feel?”

If you try some of these questions this week, let me know how it goes for you!

What are some questions you would add to this list? (Notice my open, bigger, probing question! 🙂 )

**These are great questions for encouraging the thought process. Next week we will look at questions to use for helping people move toward action steps!