Coaching Tools of the Trade

Coaching is fundamentally a simple process, a way of being and communicating which is aided by a small number of guidelines and rules. It is perfectly possible, and indeed quite common, kms auto to deliver a session which can literally change the course of someone’s life or business using no more than the foundation coaching skills of listening, questioning, and clarifying, supported by structured coaching models like GROW and EXACT for goal setting.

After mastering the basics, coaches usually start to discover other tools, which may be nearer or further away from pure coaching, dryer repair san diego but which can be useful when applied in conjunction with it.

How this often happens is that new coaches come up against various challenges in their first few months of sessions, so they research, read or talk to other coaches, and hear of methods and techniques which have helped others in the same position. Extra training seems called for but it is not cheap, fancy name and few of us have an abundance of time these days to do courses, never mind practise to become proficient, in which case the new learning will soon be all forgotten. So how do we decide which of the many tools available we should choose to follow up?

The first step that most new coaches take is to seek out and mix with other coaches, garten at meetings, in societies, in networking groups or through contacts they have made at work or during training. Coaching can be an isolating process and this may be alleviated by finding out what others in the profession are doing. Almost immediately our new coaches will hear people talking about tools and methods that the new coach has not heard of at all; it can be bewildering to know where to start in acquiring more knowledge.

On top of all this, some coaches come from related backgrounds, such as counselling, therapy or sport, and from time to time they incorporate techniques from their previous professions into their new coaching one, often with great success.

I know coaches with strings of qualifications to their names, and admire them enormously. For most of us the choice is more limited, either due to time, budget or the particular focus we have on our careers.

Organisations face the same quandary when looking to hire coaches; should they ask for NLP trained coaches, or systemic coaches? What sort of training does a cat house coach need to be effective? Is a degree in psychology necessary?

The hard part starts when the coach or HR manager researches the field to find out firstly what is out there and secondly how essential, or even useful any of it is. Because of this I included lots of information about coaching related tools and models in my book ‘Performance Coaching: A complete guide to best practice coaching and training’ (Kogan Page, 2014). At best, SEO this will bring new knowledge to a large number of coaches and managers; at the very least it will enable people who should know about these things to sound as if they do!

Each generation learns from and develops what has gone before, Home deco so it is well to be aware of the chronology of the various theories, exercises and diagrams. For example, the Situational Leadership Model, which is widely used in organisations today, was developed by Ken Blanchard and Paul Hersey in the 1960s. The model comprises four quadrants, depicting the style of leadership which a manager may need to adopt in any given situation. So far so good, but one of those quadrants is called ‘coaching’.

I have lost count of the number of times managers have confessed to me their confusion about this. And they are right to be confused because the term ‘coaching’ simply did not have its current meaning, of ‘self directed learning’ when Blanchard and Hersey created their model; by coaching they were referring to the word’s syntactic root ‘coaxing’; it was meant to denote a way of leading and persuading staff to adopt the manager’s solution and has no real bearing on the meaning of performance coaching as defined by Sir John Whitmore in his 1993 book ‘Coaching for Performance’ (Brealey), which urges managers to encourage their staff to come up with the solutions themselves.

‘Now that we’re being asked to coach in a management style’, managers say to me, ‘does that mean these other three quadrants are wrong?’

I am happy to say it does not, and the new learning can stand on the shoulders of the discoveries made in the 1960s. A coaching style is about attitude and behaviour, not about what the manager has to do or achieve; for example, say a manager has to fire someone. Now, you cannot get much more directive than that. Yet coaching is not meant to be directive, so the brains of managers who have attended a 2 day coaching course start to spin. However, it is perfectly possible to fire someone in a coaching style – emphasising their good points, keeping the reasons to specific information, speaking kindly and encouraging them for the future; or you can be Alan Sugar and make them cry. No prizes for guessing which one is the coaching approach.

Because of this change in meaning, the Situational Leadership model has had its boxes tampered with a good number of times, sometimes substituting ‘selling’ or ‘persuading’ for ‘coaching’. Clearly, unless we have a good picture of the evolution and broad scope of models like this, there are all sorts of ways in which we can come unstuck.

Most of the psychological management tools developed over the last 40 years are useful in raising people’s awareness about themselves, others, how their behaviour affects other people and how other people’s behaviour affects them. However, there are also a number of yawning pitfalls and, for each model, I will be exploring the pro’s and the cons.

For example, the Myers Briggs’ personality defining tests, almost universally used in business today, can be a revelation to people in terms of clarifying their motivation and preferred ways of working.

The test works by defining what combination of identified ‘labels’ are prevalent in the candidate. However, the danger is when the label on the tin starts dictating the content; for example, once you discover you are an introvert you might stop trying to master the art of public speaking because you no longer feel you have the wherewithal to do that. I use this example advisedly; having masqueraded as an extrovert all my life I discovered through Myers Briggs that the reason I had to have ‘solitary’ time was not because I was a neurotic, but because that is how introverts recharge their batteries. Nothing used to terrify me more than standing up in front of an audience, and if I had received the Myers Briggs judgement 30 years ago I would quite likely never have developed my current highly enjoyable (by me at least) career as a speaker and trainer.

Another aspect to take into account is that when coaches start to build a corporate practice and find themselves sitting in offices opposite Learning & Development managers, they will almost undoubtedly hear references to all manner of techniques with fancy names that the organisation may roll out to all of their managers as a matter of course. At the very least, the coach needs to be aware of what the executive is talking about and able to discuss it on an intelligent level; in some cases it is essential to have enough understanding of the process to be able to review the results with coachees as well.


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