Coaching and Advice

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What is it like for you to receive unsolicited advice?  We are great at giving advice.  We love to share our recommendations and opinions.  As a person who has the opportunity to coach many leaders from many different stages of leadership, advice is given with great hesitation.

“Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.” – Whitlock

The role of the coach includes the following key areas:

1.) Space: Leaders are often lonely and unsupported.  They are the ones providing support not necessarily receiving support.   Space is provided through questioning, reflective listening and the provision of feedback.  Typically clients will solve problems through an environment of space, where they can process challenges.  So many times, I hear clients share “I really appreciate having this opportunity to process with you.”

2.) Not A Fixer:  I had a client ask me to fix their boss.  Great coaches do not fix people.  In fact, leaders improve themselves through continual learning, gaining feedback and self-reflection.  Coaches help the individuals they work with make the changes that they want.

3.) Introduction To New Resources or Tools:  A recent study indicates that those being coached want their coach to provide new resources or tools.  These resources or tools can be used to help the individual make decisions on their own.  This could include the sharing of the best practice followed by a question asking – “Which of these would you like to commit to or utilize?”

4.) Provide Options vs. Telling Them What To Do:  Oftentimes in a coaching session, we will explore the options for them to consider to solve their problem.  A coach that continually tells people what to do may inadvertently create over-dependence. This is clearly not the goal of the coaching engagement.

5.) Questions:  The most powerful part of coaching is thoughtful questioning.  The client can then draw conclusions and develop a path forward.   Open ended questions that connect to previous content is effective.

A sampling of possible questions you can incorporate into your coaching are outlined below:

  • What is on your mind today?
  • How does this impact you directly?
  • What challenges are you facing?
  • How are you evaluating your options to address these challenges?
  • And what else?
  • What is outside your control what is inside your control with this issue?

How would you evaluate your coaching effectiveness?