Coaching Does Not Occur in a Vacuum – Successful Coaching Involves Six Key Stages

Coaching does not just happen without an organizational culture that supports coaching and a coaching plan. Successful coaching involves six key stages: (1) create a coaching climate, (2) investigate the coaching opportunities, (3) develop a coaching plan, (4) discuss the coaching opportunities with the employee, (5) coach the employee, and (6) evaluate the coaching process.Stage 1. Create a climate in which coaching can occur. Before coaching can begin, it is important for the manager to accept the value of coaching and communicate this vision to all employees. It may be necessary to implement system and management style changes to facilitate a coaching climate and culture.Stage 2. Investigate the opportunity for coaching. This stage has three steps:In Step 1, the manager must recognize the opportunity for coaching. This requires the manager to assess current and anticipated program needs in order to determine if employee potential can be developed or if there are patterns of employee behavior that need to be addressed. In addition, the manager should note any uncomfortable personal reactions to employees that may also indicate a need to coach those employees.In Step 2, the manager needs to assess the situation.The manager should first obtain data to validate the coaching opportunity. Next, the manager should determine the nature and scope of the situation in order to decide if the opportunity is worth pursuing.In Step 3, the manager should address any barriers to effective coaching.The manager needs to identify any personal or system constraints on successful coaching, as well as available options to address them.Stage 3. Develop a coaching plan: P L A N. The manager is now ready to plan the coaching process:P ick a specific, observable, and measurable goal for the coaching process.L ock into the employee’s interests to create commitment to the coaching goal.A rrange for the appropriate coaching approach(es): train, develop, and/or problem solve.N ote strategies with time frames to measure and evaluate the success of the coaching process in terms of the coaching goal and the relationship between the coach and the employee.Stage 4. Discuss the coaching opportunity with the employee: C O A C H. This is when the manager conducts the coaching interview:Communicate the coaching concern or opportunity.O pen dialogue with questions to obtain buy-in to the coaching process and to draw out the employee’s ideas.

A nticipate action steps to be taken, identifying who is responsible, what is expected, and deadlines.C onfirm checkpoints to follow up and evaluate progress.H and off to employee to summarize the discussion and plan.Stage 5. Coach the employee: train, develop, and/or problem solve At this stage, the manager implements the coaching plan. Depending on the coaching need, the manager may take any of the following actions:If the employee needs to learn new skills, coaching will take the form of training. The manager will have to:a. Identify the training needs.
b. State the specific learning objectives.
c. Determine the best source of training.
d. Develop or arrange for the development of the training.
e. Teach the employee how to perform the skill.
f. Have the employee practice the skill.
g. Evaluate the employee’s performance and give feedback.
h. If necessary, modify the training and repeat (e) through (g).If the employee needs to practice skills, coaching will take the form of developing. The manager should:a. Assign the new responsibilities.
b. Define specific and measurable performance expectations.
c. Reinforce and strengthen the employee’s performance of the new skills or responsibilities.
d. Measure employee progress.
e. Remove system barriers to successful performance.
f. Provide constructive feedback to the employee.
g. Recognize and reward satisfactory performance.
h. If necessary, when performance is still not satisfactory, either repeat (c) through (g) or move on to problem solving.If employee performance is unacceptable, coaching will need to take the form of problem solving.In this case, the manager should:a. Identify performance issues.
b. Provide constructive feedback to the employee.
c. Set specific and measurable performance improvement goals.
d. Determine appropriate training or developing strategies.
e. Obtain commitment from the employee.
f. Measure employee progress.
g. Recognize satisfactory performance.
h. Identify remedies to address continuing performance problems.Stage 6. Evaluate the coaching process.Once the coaching process is concluded, the manager should conduct an assessment to determine what worked, what did not work and what needs to be changed in the future:The manager should review the coaching needs and determine whether the coaching plan has successfully met those needs. If necessary, the plan should be revised. The manager should document the coaching process for future planning regarding the individual employee. Finally, the manager should standardize the coaching process if it involves a recurring need for other employees.For coaching to be effective, there needs to be an organizational culture that supports coaching. The manager needs to prioritize coaching needs and create a coaching plan. Once the coaching plan has been shared with the employee, it needs to be implemented. This may involve training, developing, and/or problem solving, depending upon the coaching need. Finally, the coaching process should be evaluated and revised and/or systematized if necessary.

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