While most leaders believe that they’re providing effective coaching, many are, in fact, not. Review the effective vs. ineffective coaching behaviors below to assess your coaching skills.
An Effective Coach…
An Ineffective Coach…
Knows his/her gaps and is proactive plus successful in mitigating them.
May or may not know his/her gaps and if known, either rationalizes the behavior or makes excuses for not mitigating the gaps.
Is self-disciplined by consistently modeling the behaviors that are being recommended.
Is undisciplined by behaving in a manner that is contrary to the advice that is being given.
Truly cares about the Coachee’s success.
Cares more about the Coach’s vs. Coachee’s agenda.
Listens more than he/she talks.
Talks more than he/she listens.
Establishes crisp and concise Coach and Coachee expectations at the beginning of the partnership, and with that, engages the Coachee in rich dialogue around the expectations to ensure that the rules of engagement are clearly understood and agreed to by both parties.
Does not establish bi-directional, upfront expectations.
Holds both the Coach and Coachee co-accountable to the upfront, agreed upon expectations.
Does not hold both parties co-accountable because upfront, agreed upon expectations are not established at the onset of the partnership.
Invests a fair amount of time in exploring the Coachee’s motivations. An effective Coach wants to first learn why the Coachee is behaving or responding in a particular manner to see if there are some underlying gaps or issues that need mitigation in order to best position the Coachee for optimal success. An effective Coach gathers all of the data before offering sound advice.
Does not care about (or is not interested in) what motivates the Coachee.
Wants to know how the Coachee defines “coaching success” — identifying what will be different in the life of the Coachee after the coaching engagement includes.
Does not care about (or is not interested in) what success looks like to the Coachee.
Asks the Coachee where he/she would like to focus first because this approach not only engages the Coachee as a partner, decision maker and direction setter, but additionally the Coachee is more likely to commit to the required work if he/she has an appropriate voice in the Coaching Plan. Of course the Coach guides the discussion based on how the Coachee has defined “success”.
Tells the Coachee where he/should must first focus vs. engaging the Coachee in the planning process.
Operates in an organized manner, keeping track of goals, objectives, assignments, target dates and results.
Operates in a haphazard, unprepared manner, e.g., “wings it” plus isn’t results-focused.
Not only tells the Coachee to Start, Stop and Continue various behaviors, but additionally provides the Coachee with the necessary and practical tools to assist the Coachee in adjusting his/her behaviors. An effective Coach is able to conceptually step into the Coachee’s shoes and assess what tools might benefit the Coachee.
Tells the Coachee what to do but the assistance stops there. In some cases the Coach doesn’t have the time to assist. In other cases the Coach doesn’t know how to assist. Ineffective Coaches see the world from their vantage point, but are not capable of viewing the world from the Coachees’ vantage point — recognizing that Coachees may need additional assistance beyond what the Coach is willing or able to provide.
Provides coaching advice and assignments that are within the Coachee’s competence level to successfully perform.
Assigns work where the Coachee will fail because he/she does not have the background, knowledge, skills and/or experience to deliver a successful outcome.
Consistently checks for understanding to ensure that the Coachee recognizes the “why” behind the coaching assignments.
Assigns work but does not check for understanding.
Encourages the Coachee to respectfully “push back” and challenge the Coach if the Coachee has a different perspective. Important note: given that some Coachees attempt to excuse or rationalize their behaviors, it’s important for a Coach to stand firm in these cases.
Does not encourage open dialogue and Coachee feedback.
Provides objective assessments, observations and recommendations.
Does not or cannot maintain objectivity.
Seeks out opportunities to first-hand observe the Coachee’s behaviors, if/as possible.
Does not go the extra mile to gather as much observable data as possible.
Knows when to step back from a coaching engagement because the Coachee is not doing the work required and/or is not benefiting from the experience. Effective Coaches also know when to recommend that additional third party resources be pursued by the Coachee, e.g., degreed therapists, counselors, etc.
Keeps forging ahead with the Coachee even though the desired results aren’t being achieved.
Maintains the Coachee’s confidentiality except in cases where the Coachee may cause harm to himself/herself or to others or where moral, ethical and legal standards, policies and rules may become compromised. A Coach must not enable or be complicit to “harm” in any form.
Inappropriately shares confidential information about a Coachee that is no one else’s business and/or fails to share information (in a professional manner) that may cause harm to others.