Business Coaching Methodology
Coaching is about movement. It is a process in which the coachee will move from point A to point B. It is a partnership through which the coach helps the coachee achieve his goals more efficiently and faster than he would do alone. In doing so, it pushes the coachee to excel and to go out of his comfort zone.
First used in sports, coaching spread to the business world in the ’80s and ’90s. Economic globalization was followed by an increase of competition and a need for continuous renewal and change. Acceleration of transformations in organizations has led to a greater pressure on the leaders of these organizations in a never-ending quest for performance and efficiency. As one of the solutions, business coaching grew to support these leaders and to help them meet the growing demands they were burdened with.
Nowadays, coaching is booming (for more details, refer to the study on the reputation of the coaching conducted by ICF). Much research has been undertaken on this theme, new branches have been created and new certifications aimed at regulating the profession have emerged. That is why, it is sometimes difficult to navigate in this thriving environment.
Business Coaching Methodology
Each coaching is different and the flexibility of the coach to the needs of the coachee is a condition for success. However, the coaching process generally follows these steps:
- 1) Setting up the approach
- 2) Setting up the objective
- 3) Coaching interviews
- 4) Actions of the coachee
- 5) Monitoring and adjustments
1st step : Setting up the approach
Before undertaking a coaching engagement, it is important for the coachee to choose his coach. In particular, it is fundamental that the chemistry between the coach and coachee works and that both of them are comfortable working together in an atmosphere of trust. To confirm this, the first meeting will allow :
– The coachee to ask any questions about the process, the operating mode of the coach and his approach.
– The coach to ask questions about the context of the coachee: his mindset, his values, his professional context, his expectations regarding the coaching approach.
This first step should allow the coach and the coachee to validate the possibility to initiate a sincere and lasting commitment.
In the case of a tripartite relationship involving the representative of an organization, the coachee and the coach (the payer usually being the representative of the organization), this first step is accompanied by a discussion to clarify the three roles, the methods of operation and the expected overall objectives of the coaching process.
Confidentiality must be preserved in this type of coaching, but initial contact is recommended between the coachee, his supervisor and the coach to validate the coaching goals. It is also recommended that the coachee forecast a formal mid-term review with the superior in the presence of the coach as an observer. Finally, a discussion between the three parties is usually conducted to conclude the coaching mandate, with the coachee leading the meeting.
2nd step : Setting up the objective
A coaching mandate starts by clarifying the objective of the coaching process and the expectations of the coachee: What does he want to achieve through the coaching? What does he expect from the coach? The coach can assist the coachee in this process, and assist in the identification of what the coachee really wants. However, the coach cannot substitute for the coachee in defining his goal. It is not uncommon to spend one or two coaching sessions only on clarifying the objective as this step is crucial to the success of a coaching. Setting up the objective in writing should rely on the SMART method to ensure its relevance.
The objective will thus meet the following criteria:
Specific: The objective must be reached because of the coachee’s actions and not depend on uncontrollable external elements.
Measurable: The goal achievement must be quantifiable by predefined indicators.
Ambitious: The achievement of the objective requires efforts from the coachee and will put him out of his comfort zone.
Realistic: The achievement of the objective should be possible once devoting the necessary efforts
Time: The objective needs to have a defined deadline.
3rd step: Coaching interviews
Coaching interviews form the basis of coaching. These are periods of variable duration during which the coach, by listening, questioning and providing feedback helps the coachee achieve his objectives. These meetings allow the coach to offer the coachee queries that will lead to actions to be taken in between coaching sessions.
Finally, these interviews are also used to validate the goals and adjust them when necessary, or even to set new targets if the original objectives are achieved.
It is not during the interviews that objectives are realized. These moments provide support to the coachee: to make commitments, to develop awareness, to assess progress, to identify chokepoints and to celebrate successes.
Remember that the principles of coaching are based on movement, and the coaching sessions are meaningful only if they enable the coachee to grow, evolve and move towards the achievement of his objectives.
4th step: Actions of the coachee
It is through his actions that the coachee makes the coaching process a tangible and effective one. Action means any realization of the coachee resulting from his will to move towards achieving his goals and intentions. It may be a change in behavior, the practice of a new approach, the performance of a specific task, the giving up of a habit, the readjustment of his time management, the revision of preconceived ideas, the expression of hidden truths, the verbalization of certain needs or problems …
These actions allow the coachee to discover new aspects of his personality and therefore this process sometimes creates a sense of discomfort and can occasionally lead to blockages. This is part of the coaching process and it is not unusual. However, it is important to be able to identify these blockages in order to make these a potential topic of discussion with the coach.
5th step: Monitoring and adjustments
Coaching is a dynamic, living process and its results need to be monitored regularly in order to adjust goals or set new targets. This is usually performed during the coaching interviews. The coach has the responsibility to ensure that the conditions for such monitoring are met and to link actions and results to the initial objectives. This will prevent the ‘butterfly syndrome’ during coaching session i.e. addressing a multitude of subjects without digging into any of them in particular, and especially without relating them to the initial objectives of the coachee. It is also important to conduct that monitoring in order to redefine the targets of the coachee when the original objectives have been met or are no longer relevant.
At the end of the coaching period initially set, or earlier if the coachee’s goals are achieved, the partnership must be concluded by making an assessment of the collaboration and particularly of the progress the coachee achieved. If applicable, it might be useful to define a monitoring plan so that the coachee perpetuates his achievements and successes.