THE 5 GREAT STEPS TO INFORMAL COACHING

Coaching is about kitting employees with the requisite tools and relevant knowledge to be successful and ready for greater assignments. Outstanding employees need guidance, same as underperformers.  In effect, coaching should not have a narrow approach targeting either high or low performers within teams. Here are the 5 great steps proposed by Peterson and Hicks (1998) to guide and administer a blameless coaching process. Stage one, is to set up a meeting (coach versus trainee). The purpose of the meeting is to establish a good partnership based on mutual trust. Even though trust could be developed along the way, the coach must do well to engender it, from the start. Determinedly, the coach must be consistent to wield trust.

“It’s all about upskilling trainees to meet standards and expectations.”

A good coach must stimulate good feedback from trainee in terms of where the follower is and where the follower must be. Trainee career goals must be respected, understood and defined. If it calls for redefinition, the coach and the trainee must agree on a new path. The whole idea is to prepare the mind of the trainee for the journey. The second stage is to inspire commitment. Here, the coach must redirect the focus of the trainee to see through his or her lenses. Body language is very important here too. The coach may use this stage to review a trainee’s past performance. Proper analysis backed by data and information will direct the discussion to elicit trainee’s developmental needs devoid of perceptions and prejudices. Step three, is the plan. It’s about growing the skills or upskilling the trainee to meet standards and expectations. A good coach will always use the trainee’s developmental needs to develop a plan.

The trainee needs within the plan must always be prioritized. Once this stage is about learning, the coach is at liberty to use mixed approaches to check, cross-check and re-check trainee’s learning process. For example, on-the-spot feedback, leading meetings, representing teams, going on seminars and planning or organizing team programmes tend to increase trainee’s tacit knowledge. At this point, it is essential for the coach to share experiences with the trainee. I mean, the good, the bad and the ugly, if there are. The coach must provide support and also discuss principles around resources and also teach the concept of efficiency in simple terms: using little to bring in more in a responsible way. The coach must find out the obstacles on the trainee’s journey and help him or her to fix them.

The last stage is the success story. Trainee must be elated about the expedition so far. I mean he or she must feel like a twelve feet tall super human. That’s the spirit of acquiring new knowledge. The whole process must be exciting, yet stretching. Trainee must be willing to transfer experiences and lessons learned. In an informal coaching process, timelines are controlled by the coach. The downside of informal coaching is always about the issues around weak leaders feeling intimidated by high performing ambitious trainees. This is the main reason why Leadership experts propose that coaches must have referent and expert powers to build self-confidence at all times. In the next episode we’ll look at formal coaching which is more structured, then we’ll share the new conversations around mentoring, subsequently.

This is Leadership!

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