Setting up a coaching relationship for success

Coaching for Success

When we coach others, we tend to coach for how we want the “coached” to behave based on our opinions. Lets not forget that we are not coaching people to work with us, but instead, to work with everyone.  This is called self-serving bias, in which, you as the coacher wants the coached person to behave to meet your needs.

Coaching is a challenging task and should not be started unless there are several verbal agreements in place.

Verbal Agreements for Coaching

  1. The “coached” needs to know that they are being coached, and they accept the feedback.  To accomplish this, ask the person, are you open to feedback? Would you mind if I provided you some coaching?
  2. Ensure that your team, or supervisor is aware that you are providing coaching. If the “coached” starts to change behavior, or the situation does not improve and instead gets worse, you may need feedback from the leader to help correct the situation.
  3. Know when to deliver constructive feedback, and positive encouragement.  From my experience, delivering 100% constructive feedback (items to improve) will only degrade your relationship.  Work on starting with the positive, always, then share some constructive feedback.  But first, ask the coached if they would have made any changes to improve their work.  Sometimes, we know what to do, but don’t do it.
  4. Encourage your coached person to write down an inventory of what they perceive as their challenges.  This action will serve two purposes.  First, it gives you a chance to see what they perceive as their own challenges and second it automatically creates a plan for your coaching work.  If the coached person develops their own plan, it will be followed with higher success than if you create a plan and push it to them.  We understand what we create because our own language was used.
  5. Once coaching begins, it is never completed.  Your coached person will continue to come to you for feedback and it may turn more from active coaching into a mentorship, this is ideal.  Keep the relationship going, you will learn from this experience as well.

How to get started

Here are some questions for the coached person in order to kick off the work:

  1. What do you feel are your challenges?
  2. What is your goal?
  3. How do you know when you have reached your goal?
  4. What may I do to help you?
  5. Now give some positive feedback – I have witnessed you do < > and I liked how you < >.
  6. Then ask for them to document their challenges.
  7. Once they present their challenges to you, have them put the information into a spreadsheet, so that columns may be added to give you the opportunity to have them refine their plan.
  8. Now find a couple colleagues of the person to give you feedback on their performance, this will help you to see a complete picture.

You are off and running with a coaching engagement!


2 Replies to “Setting up a coaching relationship for success”

  1. Great steps to coaching!! I also like to ask my tream member (one being coached) what they feel their strengths are. This gives the coach an opportunity to learn something additional about that individual. Thank you for sharing!

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